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Songs of Love and Loss

Emotive Works from Skempton, Wagner and Elgar

  • Composer


  • Conductor

    Jac van Steen

  • Soloists

    Katherine Broderick

View Details

Event Details


04 October 2019 19:45


Ulster Hall - Belfast

Howard Skempton - Lento
Wagner - Wesendonck Leider 
Elgar - Symphony No.2 

In 1857, Richard Wagner and his then-wife Minna were living in a cottage in the grounds of property belonging to wealthy silk merchant Otto Wesendonck and his wife Mathilde. Wagner and Mathilde embarked on an affair which, while personally destructive, produced the beautiful Wesendonck Lieder, 5 songs for female voice. The literary and soulful Mathilde provided the texts, while the music shows Wagner at his most vulnerable, oscillating between exuberant euphoria and delusional distress.
Elgar’s second symphony was also written in a maelstrom of emotion. There was his relationship with his muse at the time, Alice Stuart-Wortley, to whom he wrote that he had "shewn my soul" in this music and the death of several close friends as well as King Edward VII, to whom the piece was dedicated. The resulting symphony demonstrates Elgar’s absolute mastery of orchestral colour as it combines his private dreams and doubts in a vast and beautiful work.
To open the concert, it is with enormous gratitude to the PRS Foundation’s Resonate programme that the Orchestra is able to perform Howard Skempton’s first major work for orchestra, Lento. This serenely beautiful work is based on several chorales and is hypnotic – fans of Barber’s Adagio for Strings are sure to fall for its enigmatic simplicity.

This concert is supported by

*Please note the change of soloist from earlier print publications. The original soloist, Christianne Stotijn, is unwell and unable to perform.




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