BSO Concert Hall 2 hours

Overview

A true national composer who opened new ways in development of modern symphonic music, Avet Terterian’s unique creative vision puts his name amongst the most outstanding artists of our time. He developed an obsession with the mystique of the single sound, and this took him to paradoxical thresholds where profound meaning almost tips into absurdity, where hyper-expressivity almost tips into pure noise. The Third Symphony begins with arresting thumps on the timpani, not heralding anything else, just there as a kind of ritual incantation. Other ingredients include inscrutable bass-register grunts accompanied by fragile-sounding bells, almost inaudible passages of drifting microtones, and piercing bagpipe-like noises with whooping hornsand fearful grimaces on brass – all delivered with venomous intensity.

Orient et Occident, subtitled ‘Grand March’, begins in the West with a rousing march melody that leads to a stirring, processional legato. The middle section is a nod to Turkish (what Saint-Saëns considered Eastern) janissary music, with melodies for oboes and bassoons and jangling percussion. We return to the West with a fugue on the original theme that leads to an exciting, accelerating finale. Saint-Saëns said that he had “given everything I was able to give” to his Third Symphony and it is true that with its virtuosic piano passages, brilliant orchestral writing and the audacious use of organ, the work truly does make a statement – there is simply nothing else quite like it.

Ticket Information

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School holiday

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