RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Live – Gluck, Barber, Haydn

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Live – Gluck, Barber, Haydn

Friday, 8 January 2021, 7.00pm

A hearty welcome to the New Year as we greet the start of 2021 in the company of a lover venturing into the underworld, a modern classic of graceful beauty and a symphony of spry good spirits.

First staged in Vienna in 1762, Orfeo ed Euridice was in the vanguard of Gluck’s reforming agenda, its radical manifesto succinctly summed up by one commentator as ‘noble simplicity’. Re-telling the ancient Greek myth of a musician who strikes a pact with the gods to reclaim his wife from death with all too fateful consequences, the bright, brisk Overture bristles with Baroque poise and the drama of the adventure into the Underworld still to come.

Arguably the most famous piece of classical music to have come out of America in the last century, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings has become the funereal ode of choice on the death of presidents, was hauntingly used in the 1986 Vietnam War film, Platoon, and as a heartbreaking threnody in concerts remembering those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Dazzlingly simple in design and directness of expression, its intensity is couched in a luminous beauty that is solemn and soothing.

Not for nothing was Joseph Haydn called ‘the Father of the Symphony’. The last of his 104 symphonies, composed in London (hence its nickname) in 1795, shows no sign of failing imagination or sophistication. Instead, it is a work that celebrates Classical style with a free-flowing lyricism and dexterous use of orchestral sections that charts a path from solemnity to exuberance with all the finesse and flair of a master craftsman at work.

WATCH: www.rte.ie/culture or https://www.youtube.com/user/RTElyricfm

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