BBC orchestra season comes to a close with alpine symphony

Date: 17.05.2012     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.49
Category: Wales; Orchestras
BBC National Orchestra of Wales closes its 2011-12 season at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall with a triumphant musical depiction of the Alps, told through the music of Richard Strauss.

In the Orchestra’s last concert of the season at St David’s Hall, on Friday 15 June, Principal Conductor Thierry Fischer explores the beautiful music of Richard Strauss’s Alpine Symphony. The extended ensemble of over 120 musicians, including 12 off-stage horns, will depict a day in the mountains, from the quiet hours just before dawn, through to the glorious sunset.

After six years at the helm of the Orchestra, this concert will be Thierry’s last concert at St David’s Hall as Principal Conductor.

Thierry Fischer explains what makes this work a joy to perform: “I just can’t wait to conduct the Alpine Symphony here in Cardiff! It is descriptive music, telling of a journey to the summit of a mountain. Strauss uses the whole orchestra to describe every moment of the journey... the sunrise, ascent, beauty, fear of danger, alpine horns, birds, rivers, bells in the mountain pasture, the beauty of the summit, the fog coming down, the descent, the sunset; it’s a very inspiring piece. It reminds us of the joy of being outside, absorbing the irresistible energy of nature.

“I love the feeling of inescapability this piece brings to both performers and listeners, combining the force and spectacle of nature with the deepest personal questions one can have only out in nature... strong doubts and exaggerated confidence. It is a majestic torrent of miracles!

“The place where I feel the most Swiss is not when I am at home in Geneva, but when I’m in the mountains – so this piece means a lot to me.”

To open the concert, the Orchestra is joined by Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt for a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 22. This joyful piece, often overshadowed by Mozart’s other piano concertos, is still a beautiful work in its own right. Angela Hewitt currently lives in the UK, and her recordings of Bach and Mozart have gained her critical acclaim.

After the final event of the season, the Orchestra will return to St David’s Hall in September with a new season of concerts.

Booking information

Tickets for the concert at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, on Friday 15 June, 7.30pm, are £10-£26 (discounts available) and are available from St David’s Hall Box Office on 02920 878444.

Alternatively, tickets can be booked through the Orchestra’s Audience Line, by calling 0800 052 1812.

For more information about the Orchestra, visit our website at bbc.co.uk/now

Notes for Editors

BBC National Orchestra of Wales occupies a special role as both a national and broadcasting orchestra, acclaimed not only for the quality of its performances but also for its importance within its own community. The work of BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales is supported by the Arts Council of Wales.

The Orchestra has won considerable critical and audience acclaim over recent years, under its formidable conducting team of Principal Conductor Thierry Fischer, Principal Guest Conductor Jac van Steen, Associate Guest Conductor François-Xavier Roth and Conductor Laureate Tadaaki Otaka. In September 2012 Thomas Søndergård will succeed Thierry Fischer as Principal Conductor. As well as an outstanding ability to refresh core repertoire, the Orchestra is proud of its adventurous programming and continuously demonstrates artistic excellence in new or rarely performed works. In June 2011 Mark Bowden took up the role of Resident Composer, alongside Composer in Association Simon Holt, consolidating the ensemble’s commitment to performing contemporary music.

BBC National Orchestra of Wales is Orchestra-in-Residence at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, and also presents a concert series at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. As well as international touring, it is in demand at major UK festivals and performs every year at the BBC Proms and biennially at the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

Education and Community Outreach is integral to the Orchestra’s musical life and the department have been challenging conventions for nearly fifteen years, extending the work of the Orchestra into schools, workplaces and communities.

The Orchestra is based at its state-of-the-art recording and rehearsal base, BBC Hoddinott Hall at Wales Millennium Centre. It enjoys close working relationships with radio and television programme-makers and records numerous soundtracks, including BBC Wales’s Doctor Who, Torchwood, and the BBC’s Human Planet series. The Orchestra continue to record highly regarded CDs, including the 2011 Grammy nominated Ivanhoe by Arthur Sullivan on Chandos and David Matthews’ Symphonies 2 and 6, recorded on Dutton Epoch, which won Premiere Recording BBC Music Magazine Award 2011.

DH