2019 Season
Pictures at an Exhibition
Michael Fowler Centre,
Works from Debussy, Barber, finishing with Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' with images supplied from the Te Papa National Collection.
L’Isle joyeuse
Claude Debussy

Cello Concerto
Samuel Barber

Alex Taylor/Simon Ingram

Pictures at an Exhibition
Modeste Mussorgsky

L’Isle Joyeuse first appeared as a piece for solo piano inspired by a painting which depicts lovers leaving the island of the goddess of Love. Like Debussy’s famous Afternoon of a Faun, L’Isle Joyeuse is sensuous music based on classical legends and the art they inspired.

With a full orchestra and custom-made painting robot, composer Alex Taylor and artist Simon Ingram will stage a collaborative performance exploring sound, image and movement. The work is a real-time experiment in composition, choreography, musicianship and painting where a chain of events is enacted from movement to score to sound to movement to image.

Light and graceful, Samuel Barber’s cello concerto is an understated work that invites the listener into a warm and gentle dialogue between orchestra and soloist. The transparently-scored orchestra responds to the cello with delightful snatches of melody.

Mussorgsky’s characterful sketches, brilliantly dressed in Ravel’s orchestrations, have been an audience favourite for years. Ten brightly-coloured episodes are linked by a stately “promenade” theme whose uneven metre suggests a gallery visitor who pauses and wanders from one painting to another. The range of topics is diverse, from children’s fairy tales to splendid vistas and tableaus drawn from history. Gnomes, oxen, children playing, a ballet of chicks twittering in their shells, the strange and cranky Hut of Baba Yaga on its chicken feet, a lively market, a castle, the creepy solemnity of ancient catacombs, and the tremendous Great Gate of Kiev - Mussorgsky’s music brings them all vividly to life.

Orchestra Wellington