The Full Score

Queen El­iz­a­beth Hall and Pur­cell Room re­turn in style

BBC Music Magazine - - Contents -

South­bank venues re­open; Nel­sons loses Su­per­bowl bet

A er two years of re­fur­bish­ment, the South­bank’s Queen El­iz­a­beth Hall (QEH) and Pur­cell Room are set to re-open. On Mon­day 9 April, the Chineke! orches­tra will be wel­com­ing au­di­ences to the iconic Bru­tal­ist venues with a con­cert at the QEH fea­tur­ing Brit­ten’s The Build­ing of The House over­ture, Daniel Ki­dane’s Dream Song and Beethoven’s Sym­phony No. 4.

It’s a pro­gramme that looks both back and for­wards – it was Brit­ten who con­ducted the open­ing con­cert when the QEH first opened its doors back in 1967, while Dream Song will be a world pre­miere. And Chineke! it­self has a spe­cial as­so­ci­a­tion with the venue, hav­ing per­formed its first ever con­cert there shortly be­fore the builders ar­rived in 2015.

Fol­low­ing the re-open­ing con­cert, life gets rapidly back to nor­mal at the two halls, with over 100 events sched­uled over the next two months, and no fewer than 32 new works to be pre­miered in that same pe­riod, in­clud­ing In­trada by Har­ri­son Birtwistle. In May, pi­anist Pierre-lau­rent Ai­mard will cu­rate a three-day Ligeti in Won­der­land fes­ti­val.

‘We’ve tried to pay a nod to the her­itage of the venues,’ says Gil­lian Moore who, as the South­bank Cen­tre’s di­rec­tor of mu­sic, is also re­spon­si­ble for the Royal Fes­ti­val Hall. ‘So au­di­ences will hear things such as Steve Re­ich’s Di er­ent Trains, which had its world pre­miere here al­most ex­actly 30 years ago, plus also Schu­bert’s Trout Quin­tet, which was per­formed by Daniel

Baren­boim, Jac­que­line du Pré and oth­ers in the 1960s. And then we also have Mike Old­field’s Tubu­lar Bells, as it was staged here in 1973. Both of the venues have al­ways been places where not only has in­no­va­tion been im­por­tant, but so has a wide range of mu­sic and the arts – it is cer­tainly not just about clas­si­cal mu­sic.’

Given the South­bank’s listed sta­tus, the re­fur­bish­ment has largely in­volved sig­nif­i­cant func­tional im­prove­ments rather than aes­thetic change – the halls them­selves will look much the same. Dur­ing the venues’ two years out of ac­tion, con­certs that would have nor­mally been pro­grammed there – such as cham­ber mu­sic and solo pi­ano recitals – have in­stead been staged at nearby St John’s Smith Square. That’s been fine, says Moore, but as a con­cert pro­gram­mer she is go­ing to wel­come hav­ing her full range of per­form­ing spa­ces at her dis­posal again: ‘It has felt like hav­ing at least one limb miss­ing. Hav­ing all the venues back gives you the scope to go from the very small to the very huge. We’re thrilled to be back.’

A mem­o­rable de­but: Wayne Mar­shall con­ducts Chineke! at the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hall in 2015

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.