The new season begins this weekend  at the Bridgewater Hall which connects music to the wonderful landscape.. 

The echoes of a Mountain song begins with Manchester Camerata, in a concert which includes poetry and readings, will play the rarely performed orchestral sketch Kinder Scout by English composer Patrick Hadley (1899-1973) who found solace on the moors of the Peak District.

 A performer with local roots, Jennifer Pike, plays that matchless evocation of the moorland landscape, The Lark Ascending, based on George Meredith’s pastoral poem. 

Frederick Delius was born in Bradford and loved high wild places. A Walk to The Paradise Garden is a blissful interlude set amidst Alpine scenery. While after the interval, Mendelssohn takes us on a tour of Scotland; a musical journey encompassing misty peaks, bagpipes and highland dancing.

The show is preceded in the afternoon with a talk by Em Marshall-Luck, author of Music in the Landscape and founder of the English Music Festival who explores how the northern uplands have inspired and influenced many of our country’s finest composers. 

The season runs right through until April. At the end of February, Sir Mark Elder conducts an attractive programme that begins with Stravinsky’s charming Four Norwegian Moods, a work that draws on genuine folk songs. Rachmaninov’s Three Russian Songs are also greatly influenced by folk song and express deep nostalgia for the composer’s homeland, from which he was by then in exile. In his Song of the High Hills, Bradford-born Delius expressed ‘the joy and rapture’ he experienced in the mountains of Norway, a wordless chorus adding to the effect. The concert ends with Tchaikovsky’s magnificent tone poem Francesca da Rimini.

Other highlights include a folk workshop as Cumbria-based folk-singer, musician and animateur, Bill Lloyd, explores the traditional culture and music of the North Country in a mix of live performance, lucid commentary and instruction and  

Award-winning poet and shepherd, Josephine Dickinson, reads from her latest work, The Spirit of Moss Flats. She is joined by children’s author and poet, Alison Prince who has written the libretto for the series’ community opera, Get Weaving and Bill Lloyd who reads from Simon Armitage’s Walking Home.

The Brass Band of the Royal Northern College of Music included three of the finest ‘landscape’ inspired works in the 20th century brass band repertoire. 

The title of A Moorside Suite (1928) stems from Gustav Holst’s love of bracing walks on the Yorkshire moors. Arthur Butterworth’s rugged Impressions, which include a brilliant portrait of a steam train crossing the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-upon-Tweed, are drawn from the early industrial landscape of Northumberland, and John McCabe’s evocative masterpiece of 1985 is inspired by his life-long love of the Cumbrian lakes and fells.

While on the day that marks both the exact 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the traditional date of his birth, The BBC Philharmonic perform excerpts from Prokofiev Romeo and Juilet.

BBC Radio 3 has commissioned five of the freshest young talents amongst Manchester composers each to write music for one of Shakespeare’s plays, Andrew Gourlay, one of our brightest young conductors, to give the world premieres on the same day.


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