Beethoven and the 21st Century

NICO MUHLY (arr. strings) Part I from Drones & Violin
ERKKI-SVEN TÜÜR Action–Passion–Illusion
TIPPETT A Lament from Variations on an Elizabethan Theme
BRYCE DESSNER (arr. strings) Tenebre
SIBELIUS Rakastava
BEETHOVEN (arr. strings) String Quartet in F minor, Op.95 ‘Serioso’

Finnish violinist and long-time friend of the ACO, Pekka Kuusisto, takes up his position as ACO Collective Artistic Director for this season-opening salvo of far-reaching music. His fellow countryman Sibelius rewrote the soaring Rakastava for strings almost 20 years after originally conceiving it for voices, inspired by a local legend of lost love, a tryst conceived in shadow hours, doomed by dawn.

Bryce Dessner’s Tenebre, with the recorded voice of his friend Sufjan Stevens, also emerges from darkness. Dessner is known to many as a guitarist with The National, as well as for collaborations with such artists as Nico Muhly, Philip Glass, Bon Iver, Jonny Greenwood and Steve Reich. Muhly’s Drones & Violin opens the program, a capricious musical conversation, alongside Erkki-Sven Tüür’s transporting Action–Passion–Illusion and Sir Michael Tippett’s vivid Lament from Variations on an Elizabethan Theme, all highlighting the “wayward genius and extraordinary sound” (The Telegraph UK) of Pekka Kuusisto, and ACO Collective.

The intense precision and riveting immediacy of Beethoven’s Op.95 ‘Serioso’ is a vital path to his late string quartets,  celebrated by the ACO across this 2016 season.