This concert opens with a world premiere, Sophya Polevaya’s “Spellbound Tableaux” followed by Elgar’s “Cello Concerto”, in which the soloist will be Alisa Weilerstein. The LSC will make the choral contribution to the second half of the evening in Bartok’s one act ballet pantomime “The Miraculous Mandarin”, conducted by Francois-Xavier Roth.
After its premiere in Germany in 1926, it caused a scandal and was subsequently banned on moral grounds. It was generally performed during the rest of Bartok’s life in the form of a concert suite.
The orchestral scoring, of which the choir could be considered an instrument as it has no words, includes many colourful techniques, including fluttertonguing in the flutes, a cymbal roll a deux (a cymbal crash followed by scraping the plates together), a roll on the gong, rolled timpani glissandi and at one point, quarter-tones in the violins.
The music is some of Bartok’s most experimental.