A dream celebration of some of the most beautiful classical music ever composed starts at Aberdeen’s Music Hall tomorrow.
Reverie will celebrate musical impressionism and composers such as Debussy, Ravel and Satie in a series of concerts and events until Tuesday.
Not only will their lush works be played by the likes of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Ensemble, but the composers themselves will be represented on stage by talent such as impressionist Alistair McGowan and Tim McInnerny, of Blackadder and Game Of Thrones fame.
Music lovers are in for a treat during Reverie, said Ben Torrie, APA director of programming and creative projects.
“One of the reasons we chose Reverie as the title is because it’s all about that dreamlike state and escapism,” he said. “The music of those composers is very relaxing, it feels very indulgent.
“You just get lost in a moment in time and that’s what we are going for.”
As well as enjoying the music, reverie will give audiences the chance to learn more about the style and the composers themselves.
“One of our aspirations at the Music Hall was to get in about a style of music in more depth,” said Ben. “That’s our ambition with Reverie, to find out more, to explore it in every aspect of the art form, to ask questions and to allow audiences to immerse themselves in that amazing music.”
Among the highlights of that exploration will be Alistair McGowan’s presentation of Erik Saties-Facton, exploring the life and music of French composer Satie on Saturday.
Ben said: “Alistair is a passionate musician and very talented pianist. He becomes Erik Satie in this show, shares some letters he wrote during his life, but he also plays his music as part of a really interesting concert.”
Another actor taking part is Tim McInnerny who will be exploring the lives and loves of Debussy with pianist Lucy Parham on Sunday.
Ben said: “Between them they are sharing the life story of Claude Debussy, her through the music and him through a narration of his life and reading some of the writings he wrote during his life.”
The first concert for Reverie will see the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra play Viva Espana tomorrow evening, a Spanish-inspired programme by Debussy, Ravel and De Falla.
Other concerts see the Scottish Ensemble play Au Reve on Saturday, looking at early 20th Century France with masterworks by Debussy, Ravel and Faure, while foremost French pianist Bertrand Chamayou will centre on the piano output of Ravel at a recital on Sunday.
The finale of the short season will be the orchestra of Scottish Opera presenting an impressionist programme on Tuesday, with Scottish Opera emerging soloists, Bethan Langford and Lucy Anderson.
Ben said this is another highlight of Reverie.
“Scottish Opera’s composer-in-residence, Sam Bordoli, has agreed to write a brand-new piece especially for the occasion, so it will receive its world premiere that evening.”
He added there will also be a tribute in that concert to Aberdeen’s “forgotten diva” Mary Garden.
“She was a superstar of the opera world in the early 20th Century and she was great friends with Debussy. She premiered the role of Mellisande in his opera Pelleas and Mellisande. The orchestra will play the suite from that opera as a bit of a tribute to her.”
Ben added there will also be a pre-concert talk about Mary Garden and her life.
Ben said the impressionism series has also allowed the Music Hall to make a connection with Aberdeen Art Gallery.
“They have given us permission to reproduce some of their impressionist art work which will be around the hall over that five-day period.”
He said the musical impressionism season was inspired by the 100th anniversary of Debussy’s death last year, which fell at a time when the Music Hall was closed for refurbishment.
“The more we talked about it the more we felt there was a really rich repertoire. It is something which artists love performing and exploring. And it is a broad enough concept to allow you to step off in different directions.
Ben said he hoped the Reverie programme will encourage people to make discoveries not just about musical impressionism but about the Music Hall too.
“That is one of the aspirations of not just this weekend but our whole approach to the programming of the Music Hall in this opening season. We want people who know and love it to come back, but we want to appeal to new audiences as well.”
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