Sir James MacMillan – Symphony No. 4 (38’)
Britten – Les illuminations (21’)
Tippett – Symphony No. 4 (32’)
A week after the BBC Philharmonic performs his extraordinary Piano Concerto, the orchestra gives the music of Michael Tippett a second outing at The Bridgewater Hall. The composer described his Fourth Symphony as a “birth to death piece”, tracing an abstract narrative through human existence in quite gripping fashion. It’s performed in a single sweeping movement – as, for that matter, is the other Fourth Symphony on the programme. James MacMillan’s kaleidoscopic masterpiece premiered at the 2015 BBC Proms to huge acclaim, and is presented here in Manchester for the first time. In between these two epics, Benjamin Britten’s Les illuminations, a poignant and gripping song-cycle written when the composer was just 25 and set to texts by the notorious French libertine poet Arthur Rimbaud. It’s sung by in-demand soprano Sophie Bevan, with the orchestra conducted by English National Opera’s Music Director Martyn Brabbins.
Sophie Bevan – soprano
Martyn Brabbins – conductor