In the midst of darkness so dense that you can almost touch it, there’s a flash of light, a shower of sparks – and Stravinsky’s 'The Firebird' explodes brilliantly into life, giving a musical voice to a revolutionary generation. This was an era of strong emotions, so if you thought Vaughan Williams’s music was merely pastoral, think again, as tenor David Webb sings the orchestral version of 'On Wenlock Edge': music of shimmering colour, swept by a desperate passion. For our charismatic young guest conductor Ben Gernon, it’s a natural complement to Stravinsky’s dark fairytale, while a poignant miniature from 1913 by Vaughan Williams’s great friend George Butterworth hints at a world that might have been.
Prelude: 6.45pm in the Recital Room
PLEASE NOTE CHANGE: Dr Kate Kennedy, who was due to give this pre-concert talk, is unable to appear. We are delighted that tonight's conductor Ben Gernon will take her place. In conversation with BBC SSO violinist Alex Gascoine, he will discuss aspects of the music featured in the programme (free to ticket-holders, subject to seating availability).
The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 - presented by Kate Molleson.