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Flights of Fancy

Music for voices and pianola performed by the BBC Singers and Rex Lawson, including the world premiere of Gabriel Jackson's Airplane Cantata for voices and pianola together.

BBC Singers
James Morgan, conductor
Rex Lawson, pianola

Flights of Fancy

Live from St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, Catherine Bott presents a concert which brings together human and mechanised forms of musical expression as the voices of the BBC Singers join forces with that most ingenious and sophisticated of automated instruments, the pianola.

At the heart of the programme, Gabriel Jackson's new work celebrates the history of manned flight - from mythological Icarus to the 20th century's forays into space. It's a piece inspired, says the composer, by the fact "that the (brief) heyday of the pianola coincided with the pioneering years of aviation" and takes full advantage of its "almost limitless ability to play a lot of notes very quickly and its capacity for articulating complex multi-layered textures (notated on up to six staves)". In the rest of the concert, master-pianolist Rex Lawson performs solos from some of the vast repertoire of original works and transcriptions for the instrument, and the BBC Singers continue the avation theme in flight-related works by Eric Whitacre and Matthew Orlovich.

Eric Whitacre: Leonardo dreams of his flying machine
Igor Stravinsky Etude for pianola
Percy Grainger: Shepherd's Hey
Matthew Orlovich: Aviation
Conlon Nancarrow: Study no 6
Gabriel Jackson: Airplane Cantata (BBC commission; world premiere)

- interval (20') -
During the interval, Rex Lawson chats to Catherine Bott about the history of the pianola, its (often misunderstood) nature as a musical instrument, and some of the composers inspired to write for it - right up to our own day.

Maurice Rosenthal: Papillons
Sergei Rachmaninov: Prelude in D major (op 23/4); Prelude in E flat major (op 23/6)
Johannes Brahms: Liebeslieder (op 52).

2 hours, 30 minutes

Music Played

  • BBC Singers

    • Eric Whitacre

      Leonardo dreams of his flying machine for chorus

      Performer: BBC Singers

    • Igor Stravinsky

      Study (Madrid) for pianola

      Performer: Rex LAWSON - Player piano

    • Percy Grainger

      Shepherd's hey

      Performer: Rex LAWSON - Player piano

    • Matthew Orlovich

      Aviation for chorus

      Performer: BBC Singers

    • Conlon Nancarrow

      Study no. 6 for player piano

      Performer: Rex LAWSON - Player piano

    • Gabriel Jackson

      Airplane Cantata for chorus and pianola

      Performer: Rex LAWSON - Player piano Performer: BBC Singers

  • Music Interval (with guest Rex Lawson)

  • Ignacy Jan Paderewski

    Humoresques de concert - book 1 Op.14`1-3 (a l'antique) for piano

    Performer: Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI - Player piano

  • Edvard Grieg

    Lyric pieces - book 3 Op.43 for piano

    Performer: Edvard GRIEG - Player piano

  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Ecossaise in E flat major WoO.86 for piano

    Performer: Carl Reineke - Player piano

  • Manuel de Falla

    4 Pieces espagnoles for piano

    Performer: Manuel de FALLA - Player piano

  • BBC Singers

    • Moriz Rosenthal

      Papillons for piano

      Performer: Rex LAWSON - Player piano

    • Sergey Rachmaninov

      10 Preludes Op.23 for piano (no.6 in E flat major)

      Performer: Rex LAWSON - Player piano

    • Sergey Rachmaninov

      10 Preludes Op.23 for piano (no.4 in D major)

      Performer: Rex LAWSON - Player piano

    • Johannes Brahms

      Liebeslieder - [18] waltzes Op.52

      Performer: Rex LAWSON - Player piano Performer: BBC Singers

Broadcast

New Music on Radio 3

New Music on Radio 3

A chance to listen to recent broadcasts of new music - including premieres - on Radio 3.