Beyond Pictures – Master Series 4
Two swans wait to ferry us beyond life’s edge: Sibelius’ Swan of Tuonela glides slowly across the river to a mythological underworld, but Arvo Pärt’s Swansong looks upwards to “a holy rest, and peace at the last.”
Or make the crossing in a speedboat – Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody has Paganini’s whirling theme pursued throughout by a spectre of darkness. World-renowned pianist Stephen Hough guides his instrument nimbly through the dangerous waters, making time for Rachmaninov’s famous ‘big tune’ along the way.
Mussorgsky composed his tribute to Viktor Hartmann’s Pictures at an Exhibition in a frenzy of inspiration after his friend’s sudden death. Vladimir Ashkenazy has orchestrated the work in bold, dark colours reminiscent of a walk through a stunning art gallery.