LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

© Matthew Weinreb

© Matthew Weinreb

Thank you for joining us.

It is a real joy to see the London Symphony Orchestra return to concert performances at LSO St Luke's this autumn. A warm welcome to the numerous guest conductors and artists who will join the LSO in the Jerwood Hall over the coming months, and welcome back to our family of conductors: Sir Simon Rattle, Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth.

It is a pleasure to invite you to watch and listen today. I hope you enjoy the performance, and that you are able to join us again soon.

Kathryn McDowell CBE DL; Managing Director

Kathryn McDowell CBE DL; Managing Director

Wednesday 9 September
Knussen, Turnage & Britten

Knussen Songs and a Sea Interlude from ‘Where the Wild Things Are’
Mark-Anthony Turnage Last Song for Olly (world premiere, LSO commission)*
Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings

Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Lucy Crowe soprano
Allan Clayton tenor
Richard Watkins horn

* LSO commission generously supported by Susie Thomson

Visit our website for information on how we are ensuring activity at our venue LSO St Luke’s is COVID-19 secure.

The support of our audience has truly never been more important for the Orchestra and its world-class artistic programme. By supporting us now and in the months to come, you will help us to continue to adapt our music-making and activities to meet the challenges of these times, including sharing the gift of music with our local communities through our LSO Discovery programme.

The London Symphony Orchestra is hugely grateful to all the Patrons and Friends, Corporate Partners, Trusts and Foundations, and other supporters who make its work possible.

Arts Council England logo
City of London logo

The LSO’s return to work is supported by Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne.

Yamaha logo

This performance is generously supported by the Estate of the late Ms Denise Antenen and our Technical Partner, Yamaha Professional Audio.


Songs and a Sea Interlude from 'Where the Wild Things Are'


Lucy Crowe soprano

Scherzino and Humming Song
Arietta 1
Arietta 2
Sea Interlude
Night Song

Songs and a Sea Interlude is an orchestral song-cycle derived from the one-act opera Where the Wild Things Are, which Maurice Sendak and I wrote in 1979–82, based on his well-known children’s book of the same name.

The story centres around Max, a small boy dressed in a white wolf-suit, who misbehaves and is sent to bed without his supper. That night a forest grows in his room, an ocean appears and Max sails off 'through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are'. The appearance and antics of these fantastic monsters scares Max at first, but he tames them in short order, and is duly crowned King of all the Wild Things.

After sending the Wild Things to bed without their supper, however, Max becomes lonely and leaves, much to the monsters’ fury. When he reaches home the forest vanishes, and he finds supper waiting for him in his room – still hot.

Songs and a Sea Interlude, which lasts about 17 minutes, brings together the bulk of Max’s solo scenes in the opera to form a little character portrait, beginning with an external view of his naughty antics and gradually working inwards toward the final 'Night Song'. (The Wild Things themselves are represented by the brief but characteristically forceful appearance of the Sea Monster near the end of the sea interlude).

The music grows – in many directions – from the chords heard at the outset. These are derived from the Coronation Scene of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, and the musical language is in some ways an elaborate homage to Mussorgsky and Debussy (matchless composers of music about children); but equally to the fantasy, richness and directness of Maurice Sendak’s art. Songs and a Sea Interlude is dedicated to Jane Manning, who created the part of Max in the 1980 Brussels Opera production of the first version of Where The Wild Things Are.

Programme note by Oliver Knussen


1. Overture

2. Scherzino and Humming Song

Max, a small boy, cavorts around the hallway of his house, 'performing'.

I’m Max! M-A-X the Wolf! Watch out!
A King! The wild Wolf-king of everything!
Hooray! (he looks furtively around the toys)
Sshh! He Bites, M-A-X!
Watch out for the wild Wolf-king!
Hooray! (he pounces on a toy)
He got ya! The Wolf got ya! I got ya!
Hooray! This wild wolf-place is mine!
I’m Max!
(Max’s Wolf-howl)
(to the assaulted toy)
I got you quick, I got you dead!
So bad! So bad!
See what happens when I get mad?
See what happens when you don’t listen?
So listen!
I’m coming now so don’t look round … sshh!!
Stay still! Wait … here I am! I got you!
Eat! Eat! Feh! – no meat,
Nothing to eat! Nothing nothing nothing …

3. Battaglia

Max is chased off to his room by his mother’s vacuum cleaner.

4. Arietta 1

In the wildest woods
Where the world’s all vines
The Wolf-king hides in the darkest cave
And waits all night for the milky light
When Wild Things spring at the full fat moon
All roaring: I want! I want!
And catch it and cook it and keep it hot …

5. Transformation

Max's bedroom is transformed into a forest.

6. Arietta 2

I jump and I bump and rumpus up the night
To scare the Mama Wolf away
And bite her even though she tastes so fat
And howls and hugs and hollers
The wolf must hide and slide inside the night
To wait for the sailing staring moon
And stalk as still as shadow till she forgets and sinks
Then pounce and claw and catch her quick!
The Wolf bites, the Wolf creeps,
The Wolf watches … and never sleeps!

7. Sea Interlude

Max alone at sea in his boat, on his journey to the Wild Things’ island. A pageant of different lights and times of day is projected behind the slow rocking of the boat.
Ultimately dawn appears, and with it a huge sea-monster Wild Thing.

8. Night Song

Max, sitting by his tent among the sleeping Wild Things, longs for home.

I dreamed that once I flew to where
I stayed away a while.
I flew so high it scared me so –
Don’t birds fall down and die?
Till Mama said ‘I’ve got you tight’
And it was good for just that night.
My Wild Things dream that Max is hungry
And wants to be where someone cooks
And keeps him company.
I’ll climb inside that Wild Things dream
And catch my boat back home
Where I fly so high
That Mama’s eyes go crazy
I’ll say ‘Now stop’ and she’ll catch me
She’ll catch me and she’ll cook my favourite soup
With tomatoes and the tiniest of onions
Mixed with the sour cabbage.
Good night Wild Things, old sweety-pies,
And dream me with my Mama.

Texts by Maurice Sendak, printed with permission of Faber Music, London

Mark-Anthony Turnage

Last Song for Olly

2020 (world premiere, LSO commission)

‘Death’, said Mark-Anthony Turnage in a recent interview, ‘is part of life and what makes us human’. Elegies and memorial pieces play a key role in his output, and Last Song for Olly belongs to a long tradition of musical laments on the deaths of friends and colleagues, stretching from Josquin des Prez’s Déploration on the death of Ockeghem to Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, composed in memory of Debussy.

Turnage’s new piece is a tribute to a beloved friend and mentor, Oliver Knussen, who died two years ago at the age of only 66. A commanding and influential presence in British music as both composer and conductor, Knussen – known affectionately to his friends as ‘Olly’, or ‘Big Owl’ – generously promoted the careers of many younger colleagues, including Turnage, one of his most distinguished students. The LSO was embedded in Knussen’s life from the start – his father Stuart was its Principal Double Bass – and the Orchestra gave the premieres of several important Knussen works, from his precocious First Symphony to the complete score of the opera Higglety Piggelty Pop. Sir Simon Rattle’s inaugural concert as the LSO’s Music Director included a performance of Knussen’s Third Symphony.

Turnage has said that his recent work often experiments with ‘short, self-contained sections which establish character quickly, providing strong contrasts’. Last Song for Olly follows this model. It opens with a sparkling ‘Dance’ – a tribute to the light-hearted, childlike traits in Knussen’s personality – which gives way to the first of two chorale-like sections for the ‘Big Owl’, a whispered chordal theme with three variations, the third of which features upper woodwind, muted trombones and vibraphone over softly rumbling double basses. Another playful, lightly-scored Dance follows, growing in intensity, and leading into a restatement of Dance I.

The second Chorale for ‘Big Owl’, in contrast to the hushed first, employs the full orchestra, dying away only at the end to introduce ‘Song for Olly’. This lyrical elegy opens on woodwind, strings, harp, and quartet of horns, gradually adding other instruments, with outbursts briefly puncturing the predominantly muted dynamic, before the ‘Big Owl’ finally takes noiseless flight.

LSO commission generously supported by Susie Thomson

Note by Wendy Thompson

Mark-Anthony Turnage
b 1960

Composer Mark-Anthony Turnage

© Philip Gatward

© Philip Gatward

When Mark-Anthony Turnage emerged among the front rank of British composers in the 1980s, he did so by swimming against a strong tide of specialisation and stylistic concentration in contemporary composition. A graduate of the Royal College of Music (where he is now Professor of Composition), his eclectic style and diverse range of influences – from Stravinsky, Britten and Henze (all notably eclectic figures themselves), from other musical genres such as jazz, rock and, more recently, R&B, and from a wide range of literary interests – set him apart as a figure in tune with both the serious and popular culture of his time and singularly unafraid to plough his own furrow.

While Turnage’s operas have been among his most high-profile successes, the backbone of his career has really been his extensive catalogue of music for orchestra (often in combination with voices), born of a mixture of a deep understanding of the orchestra and a child-like fascination for its power and sonic possibilities. One of his longest-standing champions has been Sir Simon Rattle, who invited Turnage to become composer-in-residence at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1989 and who has continued to programme and commission works.

As with his operas, Turnage’s orchestral output admits a wide range of musical, literary and artistic influences ranging from Beyoncé to Francis Bacon. In doing so, it resists a strong tendency to abstraction and worldly withdrawal in western music. A melting pot of the personal and political dimensions of existence, Turnage’s music has always been about fully immersing in the everyday, life in all its brightness, brashness and, as often as not, loneliness.

Profile by Guy Dammann


Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings


Allan Clayton tenor
Richard Watkins horn


The Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings has always been one of Britten’s best-loved and most frequently performed pieces. It was written in 1943, a year after Britten and his lover, colleague and muse, the tenor Peter Pears, had returned to wartime Britain from a three-year sojourn in the USA. They were granted exemption from military service on condition that they gave concerts throughout the country.

In the autumn of 1942, Britten met the 21-year-old Dennis Brain, the most phenomenally talented horn player of his generation, who was then Principal Horn in the RAF Orchestra. Brain asked Britten for a piece, and the result – combining the talents of Brain and Peter Pears – was the Serenade, settings of six evocative English poems about night, moonlight and sleep, framed by a Prologue and Epilogue for solo horn.  

Brain suggested to Britten that the Prologue and Epilogue should use only the instrument’s natural harmonics, three notes of which will sound eerily 'off-key' – slightly too flat or too sharp. The first song, Pastoral, sets a poem by the 17th-century writer Charles Cotton. 'The day’s grown old' is a beautiful evocation of sunset, describing how the low sun and lengthening shadows distort perspective, turning ants into elephants, and a shepherd boy into a giant. A horn cadence leads into a boldly extravagant setting of Tennyson’s 'The splendour falls on castle walls', full of rich imagery, in which the 'horns of Elfland' and a command to 'Blow, bugle, blow … Set the wild echoes flying' evoke a passionate response from both voice and horn, in which the interval of a major third predominates.

The core of the Serenade is a setting of Blake’s elegy 'O rose, thou art sick', in which the 'invisible worm that flies in the night' is eloquently conjured by the horn slithering down a semitone. The terrors of night, with its association with death, are conjured in Britten’s setting of the medieval 'Lyke Wake Dirge', based on an obsessive ground bass. Against this background, the voice repeats a six-bar, ostinato-like phrase, mostly in an unearthly wail at the top of its register, while the strings, led by the basses, begin an independent fugato based on a four-bar theme, in which they are eventually joined by the horn, fortissimo. The fifth setting is Ben Jonson’s hymn to Diana, goddess of the moon – 'Queen and huntress, chaste and fair', and here voice and horn vie in an exhilarating headlong dash through the moonlit woods, with the horn exploiting to the full its long association with hunting motifs. The final setting is of Keats’ exquisite sonnet 'O soft embalmer of the still midnight', a plea to the healing power of sleep to 'Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards/And seal the hushed casket of my Soul'. Finally, the far-off echoes of the horn’s Epilogue bring this masterpiece to a hushed close.

Note by Wendy Thompson


1. Pastoral 

The day's grown old; the fainting sun
Has but a little way to run,
And yet his steeds, with all his skill,
Scarce lug the chariot down the hill.

The shadows now so long do grow,
That brambles like tall cedars show;
Mole hills seem mountains, and the ant
Appears a monstrous elephant.

A very little, little flock
Shades thrice the ground that it would stock;
Whilst the small stripling following them
Appears a mighty Polypheme.

And now on benches all are sat,
In the cool air to sit and chat,
Till Phoebus, dipping in the West,
Shall lead the world the way to rest.

2. Nocturne

The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long night shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory:
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Bugle, blow; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
Bugle, blow; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul
And grow for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Bugle, blow; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

3. Elegy

O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

4. Dirge

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleete and candle-lighte,
And Christe receive thy saule.

When thou from hence away art past,
Every nighte and alle,
To Whinnymuir thou com'st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If ever thou gav'st hos'n and shoon,
Every nighte and alle,
Sit thee down and put them on;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If hos'n and shoon thou ne'er gav'st nane,
Every nighte and alle,
The winnies shall prick thee to the bare bane;
And Christe receive thy saule.

From Whinnymuir when thou may'st pass,
Every nighte and alle,
To Brig o' Dread thou com'st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

From Brig o' Dread when thou may'st pass,
Every nighte and alle,
To Purgatory fire thou com'st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If ever thou gav'st meat or drink,
Every nighte and alle,
The fire shall never make thee shrink;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If meat or drink thou ne'er gav'st nane,
Every nighte and alle,
The fire will burn thee to the bare bane;
And Christe receive thy saule.

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleete and candle-lighte,
And Christe receive thy saule.

5. Hymn

Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep:
Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright.

Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia's shining orb was made
Heav'n to clear when day did close;
Bless us then with wishèd sight,
Goddess excellently bright.

Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short so-ever:
Thou that mak'st a day of night,
Goddess excellently bright.

6. Sonnet

O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, embower'd from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the 'Amen' ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passèd day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes, –
Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
And seal the hushèd Casket of my Soul.

Artist Biographies

Sir Simon Rattle
LSO Music Director

Conductor Sir Simon Rattle

© Oliver Helbig

© Oliver Helbig

Sir Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. In September 2002 Sir Simon became Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker, where he remained until June 2018. In September 2017, Simon took up the position of Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra.

For some years Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, in 1980 he became Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, stepping up to Music Director from September 1990 until August 1998.  He is also Founding Patron of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and since the early 1990s, has been a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Read Sir Simon Rattle's full biography on his agents' website

Lucy Crowe

Soprano Lucy Crowe

© Victoria Cadisch

© Victoria Cadisch

Born in Staffordshire, Lucy Crowe studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where she is now a Fellow.

With repertoire ranging from Purcell, Handel and Mozart to Donizetti’s Adina (L'elisir d'amore) and Verdi’s Gilda (Rigoletto), she has sung with opera companies and orchestras throughout the world, including the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival, English National Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bavarian State Opera, Metropolitan Opera New York, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Emmanuelle Haïm, Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons, the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic under Nelsons, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Richard Egarr, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Monteverdi Orchestra under Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with Sir Antonio Pappano.

Allan Clayton

Tenor Allan Clayton

© Sim Canetty Clarke

© Sim Canetty Clarke

Allan Clayton is established as one of the most sought after singers of his generation. An Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and former BBC New Generation Artist from 2007–09, his awards include The Queen’s Commendation for Excellence, a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, the 2018 Whatsonstage Award for Excellence in Opera, and the 2018 Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award.

Allan garnered huge praise as the lead role in Brett Dean’s Hamlet, which had its world premiere at Glyndebourne in June 2017. In 2019 he made his role debut as Faust in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust at Glyndebourne.

Allan gave the world premiere of Gerald Barry’s new work, Canada, at the 2017 BBC Proms, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. He also sang the War Requiem at the 2018 BBC Proms, and then with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

A regular performer at London’s Wigmore Hall, Allan was a major part of a Britten Series for some of the 2019/20 season, celebrating the composer’s works with artists such as James Baillieu, Ailish Tynan, Sean Shibe and timothy Ridout.

Richard Watkins

Richard Watkins, horn

Richard Watkins is one of the most sought-after horn players of his generation. He was Principal Horn of the Philharmonia Orchestra for twelve years, and is currently a member of the Nash Ensemble and a founder member of London Winds.

Richard has a long association with Aldeburgh Music, first performing Britten’s Serenade with Sir Peter Pears in 1983. Since then he has appeared regularly as soloist and recitalist, performing concertos by Colin Matthews and Oliver Knussen, as well as performances of Britten’s works for solo horn, the Serenade and Canticles. He has been actively involved with the Britten-Pears School, coaching and giving masterclasses. He has also recorded Britten’s Serenade with Allan Clayton and Aldeburgh Strings and recently directed the inaugural Britten-Pears Brass Week.

Closely associated with promoting contemporary music for the horn, Richard has given premieres of concertos by Mark-Anthony Turnage, Maxwell-Davies, Nigel Osborne, Magnus Lindberg, Dominic Muldowney, Nicola LeFanu, Tansy Davies, Colin Matthews and David Matthews. Richard Watkins holds the Dennis Brain Chair of Horn Playing at the Royal Academy of Music, where he is also a Fellow.

London Symphony Orchestra

On Stage:

Players of the London Symphony Orchestra

© Ranald Mackechnie

© Ranald Mackechnie

Carmine Lauri

First Violins
Clare Duckworth
Ginette Decuyper
Laura Dixon
Maxine Kwok
Claire Parfitt
Laurent Quenelle
Harriet Rayfield
Sylvain Vasseur
David Ballesteros
Naoko Keatley
Sarah Quinn

Second Violins
Julián Gil Rodríguez
Thomas Norris
Miya Väisänen
Matthew Gardner
Alix Lagasse
Belinda McFarlane
Iwona Muszynska
Csilla Pogany
Andrew Pollock
Paul Robson

Edward Vanderspar
Malcolm Johnston
Anna Bastow
Stephen Doman
Carol Ella
Robert Turner

David Cohen
Alastair Blayden
Noel Bradshaw
Daniel Gardner
Amanda Truelove

Double Basses
Colin Paris
Patrick Laurence
Matthew Gibson
Thomas Goodman

Gareth Davies
Patricia Moynihan

Sharon Williams

Juliana Koch
Olivier Stankiewicz

Cor Anglais
Rosie Jenkins

Chris Richards
Chi-Yu Mo

Bass Clarinet
Katy Ayling

Rachel Gough
Shelly Organ

Contra Bassoon
Dominic Morgan

Timothy Jones
Angela Barnes
Alexander Edmundson
Flora Bain

James Fountain
Aaron Akugbo
Niall Keatley

Peter Moore
James Maynard

Bass Trombone
Paul Milner

Ben Thomson

Nigel Thomas

Neil Percy
David Jackson
Sam Walton
Tom Edwards

Bryn Lewis

Elizabeth Burley
Catherine Edwards

On Our Label: LSO Live

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© Neil Wilkinson

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LSO St Luke's exterior

© Neil Wilkinson

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