A mini music festival focusing on 20th century masterpieces this week showcases an era full of big changes.
With the theme, "Listen to the 20th Century," the festival features five concerts and four lectures at Shanghai Concert Hall through Sunday. Britain-based Aurora Orchestra, conducted by Rory MacDonald, will perform all the concerts. Lecturers include Gillian Moore, Southbank Center head of classical music; Sara Mohr-Pietsch, BBC Radio 3 broadcaster; and Julian Johnson, professor of Music at Royal Holloway.
The concerts will cover symphonic and chamber music masterpieces such as Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite," Shostakovich's "Cello Concerto No. 1," Ligeti's "Melodien" and Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" with the Oscar-winning animation played at the same time.
"Flower Drum Song from Fengyang" and "Love Song from Kang Ding," Chinese folk songs that have been adapted for orchestras, will also be played.
The concerts and lectures are arranged in a chronological sequence with music background, language and skills introduced to help audiences learn about music in the 20th century, according to Moore.
"The 20th century is a very complicated age with huge changes in our life," says Johnson, one of the lecturers. "Changes also happened to music at the time. Why is the music of the 20th century so different from the music before? Where did the change come from and how is it connected with the age? Understanding the history can help people understand the music better."
The Aurora Orchestra features soloists who have known each other for a long time, according to MacDonald, the conductor. Each musician has their own ideas about music, which contributes to the program's variety, adds MacDonald.