A fantastic kingdom, a handsome prince, a beautiful princess, and a well-meaning fairy: it’s the stuff of children’s stories. But this is a fairy-tale with claws – and with a moving forest, dancing flowers, and a deceptively handsome scarecrow, there are some startling surprises in store. Still, it’ll all end happily ever after…won’t it? Find out as Thomas Dausgaard and a specially enlarged BBC SSO venture into the flamboyantly colourful world of Béla Bartók’s 1914/17 ballet ‘The Wooden Prince’ – Hungary’s answer to ‘The Firebird’, filled with vivid folk sounds, exuberant dance rhythms and great ear-tingling splashes of harmonic paprika. Share the thrill of rediscovery, and enjoy, too, the world-beating virtuosity of pianist Stephen Hough in Liszt’s volcanic Second Piano Concerto. Written as an unashamedly spectacular showcase for the greatest pianist of the 19th century – who’s better equipped to make it take flight again in the 21st? A needle-sharp modern classic from György Ligeti sets the imagination buzzing.
Prelude: 6.45pm in the Recital Room (free to ticket-holders, subject to seating availability): Film historian Professor Erica Carter talks about Hungarian writer Béla Balázs’s influence on Bartók’s ‘The Wooden Prince’.
The concert will be recorded, for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 'Radio 3 in Concert' at 7.30pm on Monday 30 March 2020. The presenter is Kate Molleson.