In the summer of 1914, Gustav Holst heard the ominous rhythms of approaching war – just as, in 1939, Benjamin Britten sensed storm clouds gathering over the Age of Anxiety. But there’s more to Holst’s 'The Planets' than the thunder of Mars, and there’s more to Britten’s Violin Concerto than a glittering act of defiance written under the shadow of conflict. The Canadian virtuoso James Ehnes has both the skill and the emotional insight to explore every facet of this great British concerto, while guest conductor James Feddeck offers a compellingly fresh angle on Holst’s musical journey into the infinite. Barber’s wartime 'Second Essay', meanwhile, sets the terms of engagement with an eloquence that can’t be ignored.
Prelude: 6.45pm in the Recital Room
Dr Kate Kennedy, author of 'Literary Britten', introduces the composer’s Violin Concerto (free to ticket-holders, subject to seating availability). .
The concert will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3.