Old Don Quixote reads so many tales of knights and chivalry that he starts to believe he’s living in one himself. So, dressed in rusty armour, he ventures forth into a world where windmills become giants, a flock of sheep looks like an army, and a wooden horse can soar through the sky. Richard Strauss has a good laugh at the daft old Knight of the Doleful Countenance, but he sympathises too, and this gorgeously colourful, outrageously entertaining tone poem contains some of the most personal music he ever wrote: a warm-hearted tribute to literature’s greatest dreamer. The extrovert Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan (a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist) is our Man of La Mancha today. With typical imagination, BBC SSO Principal Guest Conductor Ilan Volkov has paired it with a surreal homage to Mozart from Myriam Marbe, a Romanian dissident, and Prokofiev’s sardonic, steel-toothed ballet ‘The Tale of the Buffoon’ – written for the fabled Ballets Russes by an angry young man at the merciless peak of his talents.
Prelude: 6.45pm in the Recital Room (free to ticket-holders, subject to seating availability): Jane Pritchard, Dance Curator at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, introduces some of the cultural background to Prokofiev’s relationship with the Ballets Russes.
The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 - the presenter is Kate Molleson. It will then be available to stream or download for 30 days via 'BBC Sounds', where you can also find podcasts and music mixes.