Guy Johnston cello*
Beethoven Grosse Fuge Op.133
Bartók Divertimento for String Orchestra
Tavener The Protecting Veil
The concert begins with one of the most controversial works in music: Beethoven’s gripping Grosse Fuge, which baffled 19th-century listeners but was later praised by Stravinsky as ‘music that will be contemporary forever’. From here, we’re transported to Europe on the cusp of war with Béla Bartók’s fevered 1939 Divertimento.
Then we’re gliding up to heaven with Sir John Tavener’s profoundly beautiful modern classic, The Protecting Veil. Both Guy Johnston and Britten Sinfonia have long and deep relationships with Tavener’s music. Johnston was one of the few cellists to have worked directly with the composer, and he has performed The Protecting Veil several times. Meanwhile, over the course of three decades Britten Sinfonia gave the world premieres of six works by Tavener, and the orchestra was chosen to perform at his 2014 memorial service in Westminster Abbey.
* Sadly Abel Selaocoe has had to withdraw from this concert due to unforeseen family circumstances. We are delighted that Guy Johnston is able to step in to replace him. The concert programme remains unchanged.