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Kaija Saariaho “True Fire” (UK Premiere), BBC Symphony Orchestra

TchaikovskyFantasy Overture ‘Romeo and Juliet’ | Kaija Saariaho True Fire (BBC co-commission; UK premiere) | Prokofiev Symphony No 5 in B flat major

BBC Symphony Orchestra | Gerald Finley  baritone | Santtu-Matias Rouvali conductor

Prokofiev said that his Fifth Symphony depicted ‘the greatness of the human spirit’. It’s a gripping climax to a concert that begins with Tchaikovsky’s star-crossed romance, and features Kaija Saariaho’s ravishing True Fire, performed by its dedicatee.

Saariaho’s music combines intense emotion with a shimmering, visionary sonic beauty, and this setting of poetry by Emerson and Seamus Heaney was created with the intelligence and burnished tone of Finley’s singing very much in mind. The results are both surprising, and exquisitely lovely: ’This is a profound, important work‘, declared the LA Times at last year’s world premiere.

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