Autumn 2020 Season

Strauss, Hannah Kendall
& Bartók

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall with a socially distanced orchestra

© Mark Allen

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall with a socially distanced orchestra

© Mark Allen

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

© Mark Allen

© Mark Allen

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 7 October
Strauss, Hannah Kendall & Bartók

Strauss Le bourgeois gentilhomme – Suite
Hannah Kendall The Spark Catchers
Bartók Dance Suite

Kerem Hasan conductor
London Symphony Orchestra

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 and DnaNudge.

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This performance is generously supported by our Technical Partner, Yamaha Professional Audio.

Richard Strauss 

Le bourgeois gentilhomme – Suite


1. Overture
2. Minuet
3. The Fencing Master
4. Entrance and Dance of the Tailors
5. The Minuet of Lully
6. Courante
7. Entrance of Cléonte
8. Prelude to Act II
9. The Dinner

Richard Strauss’ most successful partnership was with Hugo von Hofmannsthal – the man who wrote the words to Strauss’ best operas. That partnership was tested when Hofmannsthal insisted Strauss collaborate with him on an opera based on Molière’s play Le bourgeois gentilhomme, written for the court of Louis XIV in 1670. Hofmannsthal was fired up by the comic potential of the play, which lampooned Monsieur Jourdain – a middle-class man with aristocratic aspirations. But the opera never came. What emerged, in 1912, was a stilted play with incidental music by Strauss. It proved a flop.

All was not lost. The project led to one of Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s best operas, Ariadne auf Naxos, which was written as support to the play but later revised to stand on its own. In 1920, Strauss revisited all the music he’d written for various incarnations of the play, and plucked-out the best bits to form a suite.

The music is filled with the spirit of the 17th century, and some of its actual music: 'Minuet' and 'Entrance of Cléonte' reupholster music for Molière’s original production written by Louis XIV’s pet composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully.

Strauss reinvents 17th-century dance forms with very 20th-century harmonic and dramatic alterations. He makes the 'Courante' far more complicated than it needs to be – a reflection of Jourdain’s aspirations – and sends-up a ‘gavotte’ in 'Entrance and Dance of the Taylors'.

We hear Jourdain in the Overture – all pretentious and uptight on the trumpet – and in 'The Fencing Master' – prone to bombast on the trombone.

To finish, Strauss delivers a critique of the entire aristocratic class. 'The Dinner' originally accompanied a feast. It tosses quotes from musical history around like a dinner party bore. Among them is a morsel from Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s biggest hit: the opera Der Rosenkavalier.

Programme note by Andrew Mellor

Richard Strauss

Composer Antonín Dvořák

Richard Strauss was born in Munich in 1864, the son of Franz Strauss, a brilliant horn player in the Munich court orchestra; it is therefore perhaps not surprising that some of the composer’s most striking writing is for the French horn. Strauss had his first piano lessons when he was four, producing his first composition two years later, but he did not attend a music academy. His formal education ended at Munich University, although he continued with his musical training at the same time. Following the first public performances of his work, he received a commission from Hans von Bülow in 1882 and two years later was appointed Bülow’s Assistant Musical Director at the Meiningen Court Orchestra, the beginning of a career in which Strauss was to conduct many of the world’s great orchestras, in addition to holding positions at opera houses in Munich, Weimar, Berlin and Vienna. While at Munich, he married the singer Pauline de Ahna, for whom he wrote many of his greatest songs.

Strauss’ legacy is to be found in his operas and his magnificent symphonic poems. Scores such as Till Eulenspiegel, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Don Juan and Ein Heldenleben demonstrate his supreme mastery of orchestration; the thoroughly modern operas Salome and Elektra, with their Freudian themes and atonal scoring, are landmarks in the development of 20th-century music, and the neo-Classical Der Rosenkavalier has become one of the most popular operas of the century. Strauss spent his last years in self-imposed exile in Switzerland, waiting to be officially cleared of complicity in the Nazi regime. He died at Garmisch Partenkirchen in 1949, shortly after his widely celebrated 85th birthday.

Composer profile by Andrew Stewart

Hannah Kendall

The Spark Catchers


Where the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park now stands in London, there was once a factory owned by the match manufacturers Bryant & May. In celebration of the 2012 Olympics, Lemn Sissay wrote the poem The Spark Catchers. It reflects on the women who were employed to catch stray sparks – stopping them from setting the factory and its contents alight – imagining them as athletes.

Hannah Kendall’s piece of the same name was written for the 2017 BBC Proms. It doesn’t try to recreate the poem in sound. Instead, each of its four parts are inspired by specific lines from the poem to act as structural markers.

The vigorous, displaced rhythms of 'Sparks and Strikes’ set up the momentum that is carried into the darker atmosphere of ‘Molten Madness’, from which a soaring melody on horns and violins emerges. ‘Beneath the Stars/In the Silver Sheen’ is a crystalline nocturne of interweaving lines on high pitches.

‘The Matchgirls’ March’ then takes root, a strident dance, before a final section reprises music from all four sections, exploding in sparks of its own. 

Programme note by Andrew Mellor

Hannah Kendall
b 1984

Composer Michael Tippett

Described as ‘… intricately and skillfully wrought’ by The Sunday Times, Hannah’s music has attracted the attentions of some of the UK’s finest groups including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers and Philharmonia Orchestra, with performances at the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, The Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio Theatre, The Place, Westminster, Canterbury, Gloucester and St Paul’s Cathedrals, Westminster Abbey and Cheltenham Music Festival. Hannah's works have also been broadcast on BBC Radio, including 'Composer of the Week' in March 2015, and 'Hear and Now' in October 2016. In 2015, Hannah won the Women of the Future Award for Arts and Culture.

Born in London in 1984, Hannah graduated from the University of Exeter with First Class Honours in Music, having studied composition with Joe Duddell. Hannah also completed a Masters in Advanced Composition with Distinction from the Royal College of Music, studying with Kenneth Hesketh and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Royal College of Music Study Award and the RVW Trust. Hannah is currently based in New York City as a Doctoral Fellow in composition at Columbia University.


Dance Suite


1. Moderato
2. Allegro molto
3. Allegro vivace
4. Molto tranquillo
5. Commodo
6. Finale
7. Allegro

After decades researching and documenting Hungarian folk tunes, Béla Bartók started to let the shape, spirit and rhythms of those tunes infiltrate the music he wrote. He referred to the results as ‘invented peasant music.’

Bartók coined that phrase to describe his own Dance Suite. It was written in 1924 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the unification of Buda and Óbuda on the north side of the Danube with Pest on the south side – creating Budapest.

There were extra political complications in the 1920s. Since 1918, Hungary had itself been divided. Many of the territories from which Bartók had harvested his tunes now found themselves in different countries.

In reaction, Bartók conceived his Dance Suite as an act of unification. Its sections are linked by a recurring tune he described as ‘a true imitation of Hungarian folk tunes’.

The music then travels through specific geographical characters: Arabic (movements 1 and 4), Hungarian (movement 2), Hungarian and Romanian (movement 3) and ‘simple peasant’ (movement 5). In the sixth and final movement, each theme is recalled in an embracing cosmopolitan dance.

Programme note by Andrew Mellor

Béla Bartók

Béla Bartók’s family boasted how the boy was able to recognise different dance rhythms before he could speak. Born in 1881 in Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary (now Sinnicolau Mare, Romania), he began piano lessons with his mother at the age of five.

From 1899 to 1903 he studied piano and composition at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest, where he created a number of works that echoed the style of Brahms and Richard Strauss. After graduating he discovered Austro-Hungarian and Slavic folk music, travelling extensively with his friend Zoltán Kodály and recording countless ethnic songs and dances which began to influence his own compositions.

His music was also influenced by the works of Debussy, to which he was introduced by Kodály in 1907, the year in which he became Professor of Piano at the Budapest Conservatory. Bartók established his mature style with such scores as the ballets The Wooden Prince (1914–16, completed 1917) and The Miraculous Mandarin (1918–19, completed 1926–31), and his opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (1911, completed 1918). He revived his career as a concert pianist in 1927 when he gave the premiere of his First Piano Concerto in Mannheim.

Bartók detested the rise of fascism and in October 1940 he quit Budapest and travelled, via Lisbon, to the US. At first he concentrated on ethnomusicological researches, but eventually returned to composition and created a significant group of ‘American’ works, including the Concerto for Orchestra, his Third Piano Concerto and the draft of a Viola Concerto.

His character was distinguished by a firm, almost stubborn refusal to compromise or be diverted from his musical instincts by money or position. Throughout his working life, Bartók collected, transcribed and annotated the folk songs of many countries, a commitment that brought little financial return or recognition but one which he regarded as his most important contribution to music. He also declined the security of a composition professorship during his final years in America, although he did accept the post of visiting assistant in music at Columbia University from March 1941 to the winter of 1942 until ill health forced his retirement.

Composer profile by Andrew Stewart

Artist Biographies

Kerem Hasan

Conductor Kerem Hasan

Kerem Hasan has been Chief Conductor of the Tiroler Symphonieorchester-Innsbruck since September 2019. In summer 2017, the young British conductor laid the foundations for a very promising international career by winning the Nestlé and Salzburg Young Conductors Award. Prior to this, he had already attracted attention as a finalist in the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition in London and as Associate Conductor of Welsh National Opera.

Kerem Hasan’s previous engagements have included opera performances in Glyndebourne (Mozart's The Magic Flute), with Welsh National Opera (Verdi's The Force of Destiny), and at the Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck (Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila, Verdi's Rigoletto). He has conducted concerts with the Concertgebouworkest, London Symphony Orchestra, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Filarmonica Teatro La Fenice, New Japan Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. On the invitation of his mentor Bernard Haitink, he assisted him with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Concertgebouworkest and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.

Kerem Hasan, born in London in 1992, studied piano and conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Later, he continued his education at the University of Music 'Franz Liszt' Weimar, and at the Zürich University of the Arts with Johannes Schlaefli.

London Symphony Orchestra

On Stage:

Players of the London Symphony Orchestra

© Ranald Mackechnie

© Ranald Mackechnie

Roman Simovic

First Violins
Clare Duckworth
Laurent Quenelle
Harriet Rayfield
William Melvin
Laura Dixon
Claire Parfitt
Maxine Kwok
Elizabeth Pigram
Gerald Gregory
Ginette Decuyper
Alix Lagasse

Second Violins
David Alberman
Sarah Quinn
Miya Vaisanen
Csilla Pogany
Naoko Keatley
Belinda McFarlane
Andrew Pollock
Matthew Gardner
Paul Robson
Iwona Muszynska

Edward Vanderspar
Gillianne Haddow
Stephen Doman
Robert Turner
Carol Ella
Anna Bastow

Rebecca Gilliver
Alastair Blayden
Eve-Marie Caravassilis
Laure Le Dantec
Noel Bradshaw

Double Basses
Colin Paris
Patrick Laurence
Joe Melvin
Jani Pensola

Gareth Davies
Patricia Moynihan

Sharon Williams

Olivier Stankiewicz
Rosie Jenkins

Cor Anglais
Maxwell Spiers

Chris Richards
Chi-Yu Mo

Bass Clarinet
Laurent Ben Slimane

Rachel Gough
Dominic Tyler

Contra Bassoon
Dominic Morgan

Timothy Jones
Angela Barnes
Alexander Edmundson
Jonathan Maloney

James Fountain
Niall Keatley

Peter Moore
James Maynard

Bass Trombone
Paul Milner

Ben Thomson

Nigel Thomas

Neil Percy
David Jackson
Sam Walton
Tom Edwards
Jeremy Cornes

Bryn Lewis

Elizabeth Burley

Philip Moore

On Our Label: LSO Live

Our Principal Guest Conductor François-Xavier Roth presents a new album of music by Debussy and Ravel. Released on 23 October, you can pre-order it now from the LSO Live store.

Debussy and Ravel on LSO Live

LSO St Luke's exterior

© Neil Wilkinson

LSO St Luke's exterior

© Neil Wilkinson

LSO St Luke's exterior

© Neil Wilkinson

© Neil Wilkinson

© Neil Wilkinson

© Neil Wilkinson

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Keep Exploring

What's next?

Today's concert will be available to watch for free on our YouTube channel at 7pm BST on
Sunday 18 October

BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert
Friday 16 October 1pm

Songs by Brahms, Gustav Mahler,
Alma Mahler and Korngold 

Kitty Whately mezzo-soprano
Timothy Ridout viola
Joseph Middleton piano