5. Sinfoniekonzert: Zweisamkeit

Works by George Benjamin and Maurice Ravel

1 hour 40 minutes, one intermission

For adults and young people from age 12

Dates and tickets

Unfortunately, no further dates are planned for this production.

George Benjamin (*1960)
Dance figures

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Piano Concerto for the Left Hand for Piano and Orchestra

George Benjamin
Duet for Piano and Orchestra

Maurice Ravel
Daphnis und Chloë. Excerpts from the Ballet Music

Dance and sound, together or against one another, in unison or in dialogue: The works presented in this concert probe the appealing nuances between harmony and dispute. Protagonists, sounds, movements and, in the end, the composers combined by the programming converge into togetherness.

Two large-scale and impressive ballet scores frame the concert: Dance figures by the British composer George Benjamin, winner of the 2023 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, opens the programme. Its nine short movements are structured into two parts and explore the sound capabilities of the large orchestra both in the minute and the great whole. The concert’s conclusion is crowned by excerpts from Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé, written between 1909 and 1912 for the famous Ballets Russes and described as a “choreographic symphony” by the composer. This ballet music recreates the ancient love story set in the popular shepherd’s milieu and was particularly successful in concert halls, doubtlessly because of its abundant sound colours and monumental character.

Two piano works face each other at the concert’s centre: Firstly, there is Maurice Ravel’s famous concert for the left hand, composed for pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who was injured during the First World War. This piece’s dark atmosphere – unusual for Ravel’s work – can be explained by the events and losses he experienced due to the war. As the second piano work, George Benjamin’s Duet looks for ways of overcoming the temperamental differences between solo piano and orchestra and to merge both tonal individualities with each other.

The soloist and duet partner of the State Orchestra of Lower Saxony in this double performance is an expert on the music of George Benjamin and a fellow winner of the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize: Pierre-Laurent Aimard. His artistic association with conductor Stephan Zilias is of long standing, beginning with Aimard’s teaching of the then 14 year-old Zilias many years ago.