Mark Simpson: The Immortal returns at the BBC Proms
Mark Simpson's acclaimed oratorio The Immortal receives its London premiere at the BBC Proms on 27 July, with supernatural resonances likely to fill the Royal Albert Hall.
Mark Simpson’s oratorio exploring aspects of the afterlife, The Immortal, is heard at the BBC Proms on 27 July, following its successful premiere at the Manchester International Festival in 2015. The 30-minute score attracted critical plaudits with The Times hailing it as "the most thrilling new choral work I have heard for years" and The Guardian describing it as "a blazingly original oratorio". This first London performance features soloist Christopher Purves, massed choirs and the BBC Philharmonic under Juanjo Mena.
Melanie Challengers’s text for The Immortal delves into the Late Victorian world of séances. Messages from the beyond were reputedly received from the psychical researcher Frederic Myers, who was tortured by a secret love affair with tragic consequences. The composer writes that "the huge space of the Royal Albert Hall is a perfect setting for this larger than life oratorio. I’m looking forward to hearing the music echoing around the hall – the wave of voices, human and orchestral, should be enveloping and perhaps even supernatural."
This summer unveils Simpson’s new commission for the Gould Piano Trio, After Avedon, whose movements are responses to four portraits by the influential American photographer. The premiere in Hull on 2 July, within the PRS New Music Biennial, is followed by July performances at the Cheltenham Festival, Harrogate Festival, Royal Festival Hall, Petworth Festival, Fishguard Festival, Corbridge Chamber Music Festival and Lake District Summer Music with first Scottish, Irish and German performances planned for the Autumn.
Mark Simpson is currently working on a new cello concerto for Leonard Elschenbroich as part of his Composer in Association with the BBC Philharmonic.