Ringed by the Flat Horizon

Written by: Colin Anderson

George Benjamin has been composing intently and looks forward to conducting again – on Friday April 28 at LSO St Luke’s with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and including George’s own Ringed by the Flat Horizon. “It was my first orchestral piece, the first piece of mine played at the Proms and the first piece that got played internationally.” How does he now view it? “I’m prepared to be very harsh on my pieces, but although I write in many different ways now I still have affection for it.” When conducting his own music, does George rehearse differently? “I have to because I’m so close to it. I maintain more of a distance to aid clarity and usefulness for the musicians. I’ll try to be as helpful as I can.”

Also in the concert is the UK premiere of Marsyas, a trumpet and percussion concerto by “my good friend Wolfgang Rihm. It’s an impressive piece, very imaginative. It’s the plasticity of his music that I particularly admire and the spontaneity in the way that it flows and the risks he takes. We’ve got the lead trumpeter and percussionist of the Berlin Philharmonic playing the solo parts.” Ravel’s Rhapsodie espagnole closes the evening. “This is Ravel’s first orchestral hit, a terrific piece full of atmosphere and bravura. Quality of sound and blend of instruments is important to make the music elegant and radiant as it can be. Ravel never writes a note of place.”

  • Concert in Jerwood Hall, LSO St Luke’s on 28 April at 7.30
  • GSMD
  • The above article was published in “What’s On in London” on 27 April 2006 and is reproduced here with permission

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