Written at a turbulent time in the composer’s life, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is a brilliant example of the tragic yet otherworldly genius that has come to be associated with Beethoven’s music. Napoleonic wars, unrequited love, financial difficulties combine to create a melting pot for the work that resulted. Its highlight comes in the second movement – the Allegretto – where this unrest seems to pour out in a slow, dark, searingly beautiful form.
Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was inspired by a primordial vision of an ancient ritual, the work evokes the exhilarating spectacle of a pagan ceremony, in which a young girl dances herself to death as a sacrifice to the God of Spring. This is just one of a number of performances celebrating 100-years since the work’s debut, which will see Maestro Salonen conduct the piece in numerous concert halls around the world.