Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, LSO & Simon Rattle
Barbican, 5th May
Hector Berlioz was a true original—a composer whose lack of formal training gave him a unique vantage point, imagining sounds and musical structures as no one ever had before. The Symphonie fantastique is his orchestral masterpiece—a wild, phantasmagorical work based on the composer’s unrequited passion for an English actress. Rattle pairs it with John Adams’s Harmonielehre, which dissolves and refashions influences as diverse as Schoenberg, Sibelius and Jung into a piece of minimalism that’s defiantly maximalist.
Yuja Wang & CBSO
Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 9th May & Basingstoke, 10th May
Chinese pianist Yuja Wang is an explosive presence—ferociously and uncompromisingly brilliant. Here she joins the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and their music director Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla for one of the athletically demanding concertos in the repertoire—Prokofiev’s Fifth Piano Concerto. It is framed here by Ligeti’s folk-influenced Concert Românesc and Brahms’s sunny Second Symphony.
Donnerstag aus Licht
Royal Festival Hall, 21st and 22nd May
Stockhausen’s monumental Licht—a cycle of seven operas, each named after a day of the week—is one of modernism’s most extraordinary achievements. Composed over 26 years, the full work involves 29 hours of music, a camel and four helicopters. This is the first chance since 1985 to hear the playful Donnerstag (Thursday) performed in a concert staging, below, by Benjamin Lazar. Maxime Pascal conducts his own ensemble Le Balcon, joined by the London Sinfonietta and New London Chamber Choir.