LSO Discovery

Lunchtime Concert: Relaxed performance
Friday 26 November 2021 12.30pm

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LSO Discovery Lunchtime Concert
Friday 26 November 2021, 12.30 to 1.15pm

Cheryl Frances-Hoad Invocation
Rachel Stott Magical Thinking (world premiere)
Ester Mägi Cantus
Nadia Boulanger Three Pieces for cello and piano
Florence Price Adoration

Rebecca Gilliver cello
Sophia Rahman piano

Rachel Leach presenter
Angie Newman BSL interpreter

This performance is broadcast live on Available to watch for free after broadcast.

Captions courtesy of StageText.

StageText logo

Makaton symbols are used with the kind permission of The Makaton Charity, all rights reserved.
© The Makaton Charity 2020. Makaton is a registered Trade Mark and Service Mark of TMC.

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

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Cheryl Frances-Hoad (b 1980)


✒️ 2010 | ⏰3 minutes

British composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad began composing at just eight years of age before studying at the Yehudi Menuhin School and Cambridge University. Invocation started its life as a movement within a larger piano trio written in 1999. The trio is inspired by an Edvard Munch painting depicting the artist looking out to the sea under a foreboding sky. Cheryl states that after writing for large combinations of instruments in this piece she was keen to ‘convey a great deal of emotion with only those notes that were absolutely necessary’. The resulting piece is a long line of melody with deep sadness at its core.

Note by Rachel Leach

Rachel Stott (b 1958)

Magical Thinking
(world premiere)

✒️ 2015 | ⏰6 minutes

'Many years ago, I discovered a collection of Claes Andersson’s poems, What Became Words, translated by Rika Lesser, in a second-hand book shop. The wise, gentle voice I heard in Andersson’s poetry haunted me and I returned to the poems many times before eventually responding with pieces of instrumental music for various instruments. These pieces are not settings of the poems so much as musical meditations on the thoughts they express, and an attempt to capture in sound the atmospheres which Andersson’s words convey.

Many of the poems in What Became Words are list poems, while others are tusslings with the meanings of words or the mysterious logic behind the darker emotions of mankind. Magical Thinking is a meditation on a short untitled poem which takes the form of a syllogism (two premises followed by a conclusion) but offers an additional, reassuring conclusion. The four lines are simple statements about the human response to bereavement.'

Note by Rachel Stott

Ester Mägi (1922 to 2021 )


✒️ 1987 | ⏰6 minutes

When Ester Magi died earlier this year aged 99 many obituaries referred to her as the ‘grand old lady of Estonian music’. Magi was born in Laulasmaa and spent many of her summers there composing prolifically in all genres. She was constantly inspired by its beautiful natural landscape and said ‘look out of any window and it is like looking at a painting’. This short piece written originally for cello and guitar is from the 1980s and, like much of her music, is mostly gentle and intimate. But there is more than a flash of passion towards the middle as the music briefly becomes a dance.

Note by Rachel Leach

Nadia Boulanger (1887 to 1979 )

Three pieces for cello and piano

✒️ 1914 | ⏰ 8 minutes

Nadia Boulanger is now most famous for teaching almost every important male American composer of the first half of the 20th century. But before she began teaching her daily lessons at the French Music School for Americans, she was a composition student at the Paris Conservatoire, studying under Gabriel Fauré, and was desperate to be the first woman to win the prestigious Prix de Rome. Her efforts were in vain. Her younger sister actually achieved the honour in 1913 and soon after Nadia gave up composing forever stating, ‘I wrote useless music’. These short pieces from 1914 prove otherwise. The first is dreamy, floaty and reminiscent of Debussy, the second has a folk-song feel and the third is lively and energetic with melodies continuously passed from piano to cello and back again.

Note by Rachel Leach

Florence Price (1887 to 1953)


✒️ 1951 | ⏰3 minutes

Florence Price was born in Little Rock Arkansas into a well-respected mixed-race family. Her father was a dentist and her mother was a music teacher. She began piano lessons with her mother aged four, and composed her first pieces at eleven. After moving with her husband to Chicago to escape the difficult racial situation of the Deep South, she became the first African American composer to have a piece played by a major US symphony orchestra.

Florence Price was a true pioneer. She was not only an African American working during a time of segregation, but she was also a woman, working within the male-dominated area of orchestral music. Luckily, she had a supportive family and came across very good teachers. Price often incorporated African American spirituals into her works thus honoring her own history, and she does so beautifully in Adoration.

Note by Rachel Leach

Artist Biographies

Rebecca Gilliver
LSO Principal Cello

Photo of cellist Rebecca Gilliver

Rebecca Gilliver studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and Royal Northern College of Music where her teachers included Melissa Phelps, Moray Welsh and Ralph Kirshbaum. She also spent a year studying mostly contemporary music in Basel with Thomas Demenga. Originally joining the LSO as Co-Principal in 2001, Rebecca became Principal in 2009. She has played as Guest Principal with orchestras all over the world, including with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, New Sinfonietta Amsterdam and the World Orchestra for Peace.

Rebecca has played extensively as a recitalist including at the Wigmore and Carnegie Weill Hall. As a chamber musician Rebecca has played and recorded with major artists such as the Nash Ensemble and is a regular participant at the renowned IMS Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music, (playing in their Wigmore Hall concert to a socially distanced audience this October!) A professor at the Guildhall, Rebecca has also given classes at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College amongst others. She runs her own cello course, The Dorset Cello Classes, and is a regular coach at Alpinekammermusik and the Aboyne Cello Festival.

Sophia Rahman

Photo of pianist Sophia Rahman.

© Mait Jüriado

© Mait Jüriado

Sophia Rahman made the first UK recording of Florence Price’s Piano Concerto with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, broadcast on BBC Radio 3. She has recorded Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto Op 35 with the Scottish Ensemble for Linn Records, and more than 35 chamber music discs for a host of international labels. She has appeared in recital with Steven Isserlis, Augustin Hadelich, Alex Klein, Karl Leister and Mark Padmore, as well as working frequently with her partner the violinist, violist and conductor Andres Kaljuste.

Sophia has coached junior chamber music at the Sibelius Academy, Finland and Lilla Akademien, Sweden, and on a course she specially designed at the Arvo Pärt Centre for young Estonian chamber musicians. She is also known for her work as a class pianist at IMS/Prussia Cove.

Sophia studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and has a first-class honours degree in English from King’s College, London. She completed her piano studies at the Royal Academy of Music with Alexander Kelly and Malcolm Martineau. She was the winner of the Royal Over-Seas League’s Accompanist Award and the Liza Fuchsova Memorial Prize for a chamber music pianist in consecutive years. Sophia is the Artistic Director of the Whittington Festival in Shropshire.

Angie Newman
BSL interpreter

Photo of Angie Newman.

Angie Newman has worked extensively across music and deaf education for many years. Her knowledge and expertise in these areas, combined with her skills as both a British Sign Language interpreter and a musician, enable her to make music more accessible to young deaf people and adults, bridging the worlds of deafness and music, something she feels passionate about.

She has worked for six successive years with the BBC interpreting family Proms, including CBeebies Proms. She works with a variety of leading orchestras in the UK, including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and many others, interpreting for their education and community programmes. Angie loves to relax by walking, cycling, playing the piano and violin, and practising yoga. 

In today's concert, Angie will be adapting her British Sign Language interpretation to include more visual and gestural elements.

© Neil Wilkinson

© Neil Wilkinson

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Forthcoming Lunchtime Concerts

Friday 12 January 12.30pm
Friday 18 February 12.30pm
Friday 1 April 12.30pm (relaxed performance)
Friday 8 April 12.30pm

Rachel Leach presenter

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.

The LSO's return to work is generously supported by DnaNudge.