Ulster Orchestra: Rustioni Conducts Symphonie Fantastique

Ulster Orchestra: Rustioni Conducts Symphonie Fantastique

Friday, 25 March 2022, 7.30pm

Holmés La nuit et l’amour
Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2
Berlioz Symphonie fantastique

Daniele Rustioni Conductor
Federico Colli Piano

This ‘postcard from France’ brings together music by three contemporaries, including one whose name deserves to be much better-known. Thanks to the support of the Association of British Orchestra’s Sirens Fund, this concert opens with Augusta Holmés’s La nuit et l’amour. Holmès flouted the conventions of the late 19th century to not just write music, but write music that was intense, powerful and political. The French-Irish composer’s life story is as bold and dramatic as her music and we are thrilled to be able to perform this work.

Saint-Saëns’s Second Piano Concerto was composed in a flurry of 17 days in order for the composer to premiere it as part of the Parisian conducting debut of his great friend, the Russian pianist Arthur Rubenstein. The result is an exhilarating ride through influences such as Liszt and Bach, inspiration from Saint-Saëns’s then-pupil Gabriel Fauré and finishes with the lively Italian dance, the saltarello.

Berlioz’s epic masterpiece of obsessive desire, Symphonie fantastique, is a truly theatrical close to this concert. Its five fantastic movements (including the famous March to the Scaffold and Witches’ Sabbath) are utterly unique; this nightmarish tale is a feverishly exciting listen.

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