Femmes de Legende (Legendary Women) - Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Femmes de Legende (Legendary Women)

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Femmes de Legende (Legendary Women) Posted Mon 4 March 2024

Femmes de Legende (Legendary Women)

During the 2023:24 Concert Season, we are delighted to continue our commitment to celebrating the works of women composers – works that are often overlooked but deserve to be heard. This is certainly the case with our upcoming concert, coinciding with International Women’s Day, where we bring Mel Bonis’ Femmes de Legende, Three Pieces for Orchestra to concert halls in Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow (7, 8, 9 March 2024). Each piece by the French composer takes its title and inspiration from noteworthy female figures in mythology and fiction – Salome, Ophelia and Cleopatra. A noteworthy woman herself, Bonis composed 300 musical works during her lifetime, which featured great stylistic variety. We are grateful to the ABO Trust’s Sirens programme – a ten-year initiative to support the performance and promotion of music by historical women composers – for making this performance possible.

You can book tickets for the concert here.

Following our performance of Mel Bonis’ piece, the RSNO and our Partnership Ensemble, Dunedin Consort are looking forward to playing more work by woman composers. In this blog, members of the RSNO & SCO Youth Assembly highlight some of the pieces and the women that created them. Read on to discover more.

Sinfonia by Linda Catlin Smith and a new concerto for guitar by Cassandra Miller

Performed by RSNO Partnership Ensemble, Dunedin Consort

Article written by Rachel Sunter

In the Youth Assembly, we are currently exploring the relationship between traditional music making and performance with contemporary works and audiences. The upcoming concert from Dunedin Consort with guitarist Sean Shibe is celebrating the timeless qualities of music from Renaissance and Baroque composers, Purcell and Dowland to contemporary works by Sir James MacMillan, Linda Catlin Smith and Cassandra Miller. Sinfonia by Linda Catlin Smith is a contemporary piece of music for baroque instruments. Smith’s compositions use the sustain and expression of stringed instruments to create beautiful and unnerving soundscapes.

This concert also features a brand-new guitar concerto from award-winning Canadian composer Cassandra Miller. Miller also takes inspiration from Baroque strings, in particular her album Just So, which features several works for string quartet inspired by Bach.

We look forward to this concert of collaboration and are particularly excited to hear Miller’s brand-new guitar concerto on 13 April 2024 in the stunning New Auditorium in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Book tickets here

Violin Concerto (UK premiere) by Errollyn Wallen

Performed by the RSNO

Article written by Rachel Sunter

The RSNO is excited to present the UK premiere of Errollyn Wallen’s new Violin Concerto, co-commissioned by the Orchestra. Errollyn Wallen is a British composer, musician and founder of Orchestra X, whose motto is “We don’t break down barriers in music… we don’t see any”. Wallen takes inspiration from African American spirituals and her music often explores themes of slavery and freedom. In her words, “there should be room for everything, everyone, and every kind of expression” in music. One of her works, Mighty River, is a testament to her and all she believes – it clearly evokes the strength, rhythm and freedom of a rushing river and the power of nature. The opening horn solo of Amazing Grace sets a scene of serenity before the strings overtake with a repetitive description of the ever-flowing water. The accompanying brass and percussion add to this evocative and powerful description of nature. In describing Mighty River, Wallen says, “It is an innate human instinct to be free, just as it is a law of nature that the river should rush headlong to the sea. That is in the concept behind Mighty River”.

We are excited to hear the themes of Wallen’s new work for solo violin and orchestra, performed with violinist Philippe Quint on the 26 and 27 April 2024 in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Book tickets here

Niobe for Oboe and Tape by Thea Musgrave

Performed by the RSNO Woodwind Ensemble

Article written by Hazel Sharp

Storytelling and innovation have always been in the spotlight for us at the Youth Assembly. We love how brilliantly Niobe for Oboe and Tape, by Scottish composer Thea Musgrave encapsulates both aspects. The seamless blend of electronic tape and oboe tells the Greek mythological tale of Niobe’s grief with great imagination and such a magical atmosphere.

We can’t wait to experience this on 28 April in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s New Auditorium.

Book tickets here

Entr’acte by Caroline Shaw

Performed by the RSNO

Article written by Ailsa Thompson

Creativity and the bringing together of new ideas is one of the aims of the Youth Assembly. That’s something we really feel that Caroline Shaw achieves in all of her works. One example of this is in Entr’acte, which breaks the boundaries of how a string quartet ‘should sound’. It meshes some beautiful tonal harmonies and melodies with lots of amazing dissonance and chromaticism. We love the use of plucking and harmonics in the piece, used so wonderfully to create a new atmosphere and ambience.

We look forward to experiencing this piece, conducted by Stephanie Childress, on 23 May at Dundee’s Caird Hall.

Book tickets here  

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