Death, comfort and epic with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ in the next season of the BOS

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The Bilbao Symphony Orchestra will continue the celebration of its centenary with a premiere of Erkoreka and the concert-screening of the popular film with the soundtrack by Howard Shore

Caesar Coke

A reflection on death, a dose of consolation and another of epic, the color and aroma of the tropics, war and peace, love and utopia, dignity and struggle. And modernity. All this is present in the next season of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, in which the celebrations for the centenary of the formation will end.

The new symphonic cycle was presented this Friday by the Deputy for Culture, Lorea Bilbao; the regular, general and technical directors of the formation, Erik Nielsen, Ibon Arabarri and Borja Pujol; and the Director of Culture of the Bilbao City Council, Iñaki López de Aguileta. In it, as they have explained, there will be references to Ukraine through what is most valuable: culture. In this case, through Sergei Prokofiev, a composer who brings together in his person circumstances that speak of the absurdity of that war. Born in kyiv, the son of Germans and Poles, he was awarded numerous times by the Soviet Government, wrote the anthem of the city of Saint Petersburg, the center of the Russian empire, and is buried in the Moscow Novodevichi convent, along with all the great of the art and culture of that country.

The program is very different from those of the last seasons, although it maintains some constant successes, such as the baroque program. It also recovers the cinematographic projection with live music, in this case the first installment of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, a film that borders on three hours and is supported by the impressive (and almost Wagnerian) soundtrack written by Howard Shore.

Then the cycle presents a show with puppets (‘El retablo de maese Pedro’ by Falla); a string quartet as a solo group; a metal group that emerged from the Brass for Africa organization –including Wynton Marsalis and Alison Balsom, well known around here–; a concert with Brazilian music from today; various pieces by Basque composers, from Isasi to Erkoreka –the latter, a premiere–; a dose of Russian music, because a war should never lead to giving up the best of a country’s art; and to close two impressive requiems: those of Takemitsu and Mozart.

In the performers section, the harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet; guitarist and composer Yamandú Costa; the blind pianist – a circumstance that must be underlined to understand the extraordinary merit of his work – Nobuyuki Tsujii, who will play a work as demanding as Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 2; the txistulari Garikoitz Mendizabal; fellow pianists Alfonso Gómez and Garrick Ohlsson; the Casals Quartet; the concertmaster director Lorenza Borrani and the young soprano Jone Martínez. The Municipal Band will add its troops to those of the orchestra for the Christmas Concert.

Six programs not to miss

-Sierra: ‘Fandango’; Costa/Boundy:’Frontiera Concert’; Albéniz/Frühbeck: ‘Spanish Suite. Selection’; Castilians: ‘Santa Cruz de Capairugua’. Yamandu Costa, guitar. Erik Nielsen, director. Euskalduna Palace, October 13 and 14.

-‘The Lord of the rings. The Fellowship of the Ring’. Concert-projection. Music by Howard Shore. Bilbao Choral Society and Children’s Choir. December 15 and 16.

-Erkoreka: Concerto for piano and orchestra; Bruckner: Symphony No. 9. Alfonso Gómez, piano. Erik Nielsen, director. March 9 and 10, 2023.

-Farrenc: Symphony No. 3; Ravel: ‘Don Quichotte à Dulcinée’; Falla: ‘The altarpiece of Master Pedro’. Naroa Intxausti, Mikeldi Atxalandabaso, José Antonio López, soloists. Per Poc Puppet Company. Erik Nielsen, director. March 23 and 24, 2023.

-Prokofiev: ‘American overture’; Brass for Africa; Copland: Symphony No. 3. Soloists from Brass for Africa. Erik Nielsen, director. April 27 and 28, 2023.

-Takemitsu: ‘Requiem’; Mozart: ‘Requiem’. Jone Martinez, Benjamin Bruhns, Christian Imler, soloists. Pamplona Choir. Masaaki Suzuki, director. June 1 and 2, 2023.

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