Transfigured Night: Hebrides Ensemble and Psappha – 25 years of new music

Dig out your dancing shoes, string up the garlands, party poppers at the ready – it’s time for a celebration. Hebrides Ensemble is 25 years old.

Over the past quarter of a century, Hebrides has premiered no fewer than 140 new pieces of music, more than half of which we have commissioned ourselves. From cutting edge digital programmes to classics of the modern repertoire, Hebrides has always championed the very best in chamber music and our 25th birthday events honour this extraordinary legacy.

And what better way to mark the occasion than by joining forces with Psappha, England’s foremost contemporary music ensemble who also celebrate their 25th birthday this year. Together, we mark the start of a new chapter with a powerful new co-commission from David Fennessy that sets string sextet against cimbalom in a stark and compelling modern soundworld. With its austere angles and driving sense of pulse, it forms a thrilling contrast to Transfigured Night, Schoenberg’s beautiful masterpiece for string sextet, which follows two lovers as they share their secrets in the glow of the moonlight.

Just as we look ahead to the future, so we must pay tribute to the past, and in particular to the legacy of the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, whose music has shaped both groups’ programming over the years. Sitting alongside his best-loved work, Farewell to Stromness, performed here in David Horne’s exquisite arrangement for string sextet and cimbalom, is one of his most exuberant masterpieces.The kaleidoscopic colours and glittering textures of The Last Island evoke the ever-changing light of sea and sky off the Orcadian coast, close to Max’s home – brought to life for the first time in the beautiful new film from Tim Williams that accompanies the performance.

Like all good birthdays, this one ends with a great party. We hope you will join us after our Queen’s Hall concert for a slice of cake, a glass or two of bubbles and a late-night celebration with entertainment.

Transfigured Night from Hebrides Ensemble on Vimeo.

 

Peter Maxwell Davies
The Last Island

Peter Maxwell Davies arr. David Horne
Farewell to Stromness

David Fennessy
Panopticon

Arnold Schoenberg
Transfigured Night

 

8 November 2016 @ 7.30PM St Andrew’s in the Square, Glasgow
9 November 2016 @ 7.30PM The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
10 November 2016 Peel Hall, University of Salford, The Red Brick Sessions. For free tickets visit www.psappha.com Presented in association with the BBC Philharmonic
11 November 2016 @ 7.15PM Howard Assembly Room, Leeds
12 November 2016 @ 7.30PM Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre, Bangor University.

We are grateful for the support this project has received from PRS for Music Foundation, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Ireland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Wales, The Leche Trust and The RVW Trust. Composition commission by Psappha and Hebrides Ensemble with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

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