The London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Magnus Lindberg, will premiere Stef’s latest piece Calling the Night Gods on Wednesday 12th July, alongside works by Henry Purcell, James MacMillan and three other exciting young composers, Alex Paxton, Yvonne Eccles and Nathan Dearden.
The concert is part of the LPO ‘Debut Sounds’ series and takes place at St John’s Smith Square in London. The programme centres around Purcell’s Come, Ye Sons of Art, written in 1694 to celebrate the birthday of Queen Mary II of England, which was given as a creative springboard to inspire new works. Stef’s piece is a response to the evolution of ‘royal praise’ or regime-glorifying music throughout history. Fragments of Babylonian royal praise poems and ritual incantations form the backbone of the piece, casting the orchestra as a kind of shaman, calling on the ancient Mesopotamian gods, both to glorify their ruler, and to reveal to them the future. As the main incantation unfolds, it gives way to quotations from pieces of music that have been used throughout history to keep populations enthralled by their leaders; the quotations are fleeting at first and gradually become overwhelming, wrenching the piece towards its crushing conclusion. The future, from the perspective of the Babylonians, is indeed revealed, painting a bleak picture of the roll of music in propagandising on behalf of come of history’s most heinous tyrants.
Tickets are available now from the LPO website: BOOK ONLINE
You can also read a brief interview with Stef on the new piece here: READ NOW.