In summer 2015, Mark Simpson’s extraordinary The Immortal drew rapturous acclaim from critics and audiences when it was premiered by the BBC Philharmonic as part of Manchester International Festival. ‘The most thrilling new choral work I have heard for years,’ reckoned The Times in their five-star review of the piece, which went on to win Simpson a 2016 South Bank Sky Arts Award. Three years on, Simpson – formerly the BBC’s Young Composer and Young Musician of the Year, now the BBC Philharmonic’s Composer in Association – returns to The Bridgewater Hall to present another new BBC commission: expectations are high for his first Cello Concerto, premiered tonight by superb young cellist Leonard Elschenbroich. It’s the centrepiece of a typically interesting BBC Philharmonic programme that avoids the obvious, opening with Strauss’s redemptive Death and Transfiguration and ending with Shostakovich’s staggering First Symphony. Completed when the composer was just 18, it’s a great introduction to the work of one of 20th century music’s most intriguing figures.
Clemens Schuldt – Conductor
Leonard Elschenbroich – Cello