Music Director Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra continue their Journey of Discovery on 8 February exploring “Ecstasy”. The concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall includes Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet: Suites (Excerpts), Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G (with Javier Perianes as soloist), Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod and Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy.

The RPO writes:

“A programme that celebrates music as the supreme language of longing and ecstasy.

“These are works that operate at the edges of our experience: where fantasy meets myth, the soul escapes its earthly bounds, and where the passion of young love consumes all before it.

“To capture such ecstatic states requires a special gift. Few composers can stretch a languorous melody over endlessly twisting chords like Wagner or Prokofiev, or suspend time like Ravel, or summon up a trippy universe like Scriabin.

“Prokofiev and Wagner give new life to the tales of star-crossed lovers, whether Romeo and Juliet or Tristan and Isolde.  Scriabin then takes Wagner’s theme of transfiguration to the point of full orchestral explosion in his Poem of Ecstasy. ‘Like a bath of ice, cocaine and rainbows’ was how Henry Miller described it.

“Ravel offers a moment to step back from the emotional fray with his piano concerto, capturing the innocent excitement and wonder of a child. The simple allure of the music belies much sophistication.  In the case of the slow movement, where time seems to stop, the exquisite balancing of parts brought the composer ‘to the edge of despair’. He persevered, and the result was perfection.”

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Cover image: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra