When the Danish composer Bent Sørensen won the Grawemeyer Prize in 2017 – contemporary classical music’s highest international accolade – it changed precisely nothing about his creative philosophy. “I think music is only interesting if it’s beautiful” he told an interviewer. “I don’t think, ‘Oh, God, I have to write something beautiful.’ I think it’s something inside me that thinks there is so much in the world at the moment — and so many terrible things have a beauty about them…”. That’s what makes any premiere by Sørensen an event, even when, like the BBC SSO, you have a long-established commitment to championing new music. Like today’s new work by the young British composer Emma-Ruth Richards, we don’t yet know exactly what form it’ll take: that’s part of the fascination. But the inspiration will be distinctly Scottish – and with two composers as rooted in the traditions of northern Europe as Richards and Sorensen, this should be an evening of music to surprise, to stimulate, and to nourish the imagination.
The works featured in this concert will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3.