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Breathing new life into the symphony

The BBC Philharmonic celebrates its relationship with James MacMillan in his 60th year with his Fourth Symphony. Music by Tippett and Britten complete the programme.

Live from the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester
Presented by Andrew McGregor

For a decade James MacMillan worked with the BBC Philharmonic as their Composer/Conductor and tonight the orchestra celebrates his 60th year with a performance of his Fourth Symphony. Music as ritual - ritual of movement, exhortation, petition and joy provides the building blocks of the work which is also layered with allusions to the choral music of Scottish Renaissance composer Robert Carver. Closing the programme is Tippett's one movement Fourth Symphony; Tippett described the trajectory of this Symphony as "birth to death" and breathing forms part of the tapestry of sound in this work. This is a re-imagining of the Beethovenian symphony, driven by an inescapable and forceful energy. Soprano Sophie Bevan joins the orchestra for Britten's Les Illuminations; Britten's vocal writing in response to Rimbaud's poems, and his deft and extraordinarily powerful string writing create a unique world.

James MacMillan: Symphony No.4

8.15
Music Interval

Britten: Les Illuminations
Tippett: Symphony No.4

Sophie Bevan (soprano)
BBC Philharmonic
Martyn Brabbins (conductor)

2 hours, 28 minutes

Music Played

  • Sir James MacMillan

    Symphony No.4

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Martyn Brabbins.
  • Sir James MacMillan

    The Gallant Weaver

    Choir: BBC Singers. Conductor: Sir James MacMillan.
  • James MacMillan

    Mairi

    Choir: BBC Singers. Conductor: Richard Pearce.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Les Illuminations

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Martyn Brabbins.
  • Michael Tippett

    Symphony No.4

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Martyn Brabbins.
  • Michael Tippett

    Dance, clarion air

    Ensemble: The Sixteen. Conductor: Harry Christophers.
    • Poetry In Music.
    • CORO.
    • 2.

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