Christopher Weston and Alisdair Hogarth

The Weston-Hogarth Piano Duo. Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, Holst: The Planet Suite.

Wednesday 27th June, 7.30pm, St Mary's Church, Maldon

The idea for The Planets was suggested to Holst (1874-1934) by the playwright, Clifford Bax, who introduced him to astrology when the two were part of a small group of English artists holidaying in Majorca in the spring of 1913; Holst became quite a devotee of the subject, and would cast his friends’ horoscopes.
Holst initially scored the work for four hands, two pianos (except for Neptune, which was scored for a single organ, as Holst believed that the sound of the piano was too percussive for a world as mysterious and distant as Neptune). It is in this version that we hear the suite during this year’s festival. Holst went on to score the suite for a large orchestra, in which form it became his most successful composition (though the composer didn’t regard it as such himself).

Igor Stravinski (1882-1971) also composed the Rite of Spring in 1913. Like The Planets, it was also originally composed for piano duet. It’s dynamic rhythmic drive was groundbreaking and led to riots at its first performance at Diaghilev’s Ballets Rousse in Paris. Though it is better known in its orchestrated version, this piano duet version is almost more shocking; more primaeval; in its percussive violence.

Both Christopher Weston and Alisdair Hogarth have become firm favourites as piano soloists with Maldon Festival audiences over the years. This is the first chance we’ve had to welcome them as duettists since 2013.

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