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RNCM Symphony Orchestra ‘Genesis Suite’ at the RNCM, Manchester
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RNCM Symphony Orchestra ‘Genesis Suite’ at the RNCM, Manchester

6 March 2020Visit websiteBook tickets

‘The Genesis Suite is the most fascinating work you’ve never heard of...’ The Guardian

1945: the world is reeling from war and persecution on a scale never seen before. Nathaniel Shilkret, himself a second-generation Jewish immigrant, took a break from writing film scores to plan this collaborative seven-part work with two benevolent purposes – on one hand to galvanise American morale with a stirring musical work accompanying a narration of the Book of Genesis, on the other, to provide refugee composers with paid work. The result? A work of incredible ambition with political themes that still resonate today – stories of displaced peoples, broken promises and destruction.

The Genesis Suite displays an unsurprising mix of styles and influences, with Schoenberg’s evocative opening, nods to Hollywood and inspired flashes throughout. The RNCM will be working with students from MMU’s School of Art who’ll be creating original artwork as backdrops for each of the seven movements.

The programme also features Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony, the composer’s towering masterpiece and a work that heralded a new dawn for American music. The clue is in the subtitle, From the New World. It very much looks back, from the USA, to Dvořák’s native Bohemia, as if the composer is standing at the feet of the Statue of Liberty, desperately looking to see if he can make out his faraway homeland.
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