George Benjamin conducts Spain-themed works in which the sun rises several times. As well as Benjamin's own Dream of the Song the music of Maurice Ravel, Blai Soler, and a world premiere of work by the young Dutchman Christiaan Richter will be performed. A richly hued ode to the dawn indeed.
Ravel's origins on the Iberian peninsula are expressed in many of the Frenchman's compositions. The sunrise in Alborada del Gracioso is in the style of a Spanish jester, as found in the comedies of Calderón or Cervantes, and with Sol the Catalan Blai Soler wrote a piece that in its duality reflects the night/morning contrast; as well as meaning 'sun' sol is also referring to the ever-present g note. In George Benjamin's impressive Dream of the Song, written for the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2015, countertenor Bejun Mehta and the ladies of the Netherlands Chamber Choir perform the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca and of two medieval Spanish-Jewish poets.
As day progresses, the morning light brightens and activity increases, as it does in Ravel's Bolero, the world famous popular 'experiment in orchestration' inspired by the exuberant Spanish dance.