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Let’s talk musical compositions

The seventh International Pharos Contemporary Music Festival will start the week off on Monday with a lecture by violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved at 7pm following by a screening of parts of the documentary Leaving Home at 9pm.

Skaerved – who is the dedicatee of over 400 works for violin and is a Viotti Lecturer at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he was elected Fellow in 2013 – will give a 90-minute lecture entitled Facing the Past/ Facing the Future.

On Tuesday he will give a concert with horn player Carly Lake and pianist Roderick Chadwick featuring the two great horn trios of Brahms and Ligeti.

Skaerved will explore some of the dialogues between these pieces (and others), the pasts they evoke and the futures they foresee.

After the lecture the festival will continue with a screening of part of the documentary Leaving Home, which was directed by Peter Wes, Barrie Gavin and Deborah May in 1996.

The BAFTA winning art documentary Leaving Home is a series of independent programmes forming a fascinating introduction to, and overview of, the music of the 20th century.

Written and presented by British conductor Sir Simon Rattle, the documentary focuses on a number of composers who searched for new creative responses to the world around them during the last century. Many of these composers made departures from the solid ‘home’ foundations of the music of the 18th and 19th centuries and many had to literally leave home displaced by political upheavals.

As a result, a remarkable diversity of expression developed. The programmes feature Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, leading viewers on an exhilarating journey through the music of our time and explaining the chief musical developments from Mahler to the present.

Pharos will screen two of these programmes – the first in the Series, Dancing on a Volcano, as well as the sixth episode, After the Wake.

Dancing on a Volcano describes a great musical culture in decline at the turn of 19th century Vienna. From that decline came a musical revolution whose reverberations have continued to this day. The names of Schoenberg, Webern and Berg still strike terror into the hearts of many concert-goers, but with Simon Rattle we hear in this music’s brooding power not only the collapse of the old Austro-German order and the rise of fascism, but also the portents of the music to come in the second half of the 20th century.

The episode includes excerpts from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Mahler’s Symphony No.7, R. Strauss’ Electra, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Five Orchestral Pieces Op.16, Berg’s Violin Concerto and Webern’s Five Pieces for Orchestra Op.10.

After the Wake looks both backwards and forwards. It considers the musical legacy of the two men who dominated the first part of the 20th century, Schoenberg and R Strauss, and also looks at the post-war generation of young Europeans such as Boulez and Stockhausen, who were determined to erase the recent past and build a completely new music for the new Europe.

The episode includes excerpts from R Strauss’ Four Last Songs, Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw, Britten’s Serenate for tenor, horn and strings, Stravinsky’s Agon, Stockhausen’s Gruppen and Boulez’ Marteau sans maitre.

Facing the Past/ Facing the Future
The Pharos Arts Foundation presents a lecture by Peter Sheppard. October 5. The Shoe Factory, Nicosia. 7pm. Free. In English. Tel: 22-663871

Leaving Home: Dancing on A Volcano and After the Wake
The Pharos Arts Foundation presents a screening of the documentary to do with the story of 20th century music. October 5. The Shoe Factory, Nicosia. 9pm. Free. In English. Tel: 22-663871

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