The 2014 Festival opens with a concert of three opulent masterpieces. They are performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under composer and conductor Oliver Knussen, one of the most respected figures in British music, famed for his brilliant insights into 20th-century repertoire.
Schoenberg's explosive Five Orchestral Pieces are in many ways as revolutionary as Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, exploring troubled inner worlds in music of exquisite, kaleidoscopic colours. Award-winning Russian-born pianist Kirill Gerstein is the soloist in Scriabin's mystical Prometheus, which depicts nothing less than mankind's quest for enlightenment in music of tremendous power.
After the interval, Debussy seems to prophesy the fallen of the Great War in his oratorio Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien, a collaboration with Italian war veteran Gabriele D'Annunzio, which evokes a world of pitiful self-sacrifice, exotic spiritualism and repressed desire.
Oliver Knussen Conductor
Kirill Gerstein Piano
Claire Booth Soprano
Edinburgh Festival Chorus
Christopher Bell Chorus Master
Schoenberg Five Orchestral Pieces Op 16 (original version)
Scriabin Prometheus – The Poem of Fire
Debussy Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien