Speranza is Turnage’s most important orchestral score to date, as close to a symphony as any in his output. The four movements are titled by the Arabic, German, Gaelic and Hebrew words for ‘hope’, yet this optimism appears to be hard-won as if through a century of conflict. The work grew from reflections on the post-Holocaust poetry of Paul Celan, and the music is coloured by lamenting melodies – Palestinian, Jewish and Israeli – supplemented by the use of the Armenian dudak and Eastern European cimbalom. Other than the scherzo-like Irish-themed third movement the mood is brooding with a sequence of processions and variations illuminated by shafts of orchestral light. Full orchestra materials available on hire. Suitable for advanced standard performers.
"Mark-Anthony Turnage's monumental Speranza is an act of prayer which goes straight to the heart...The very act of creation, for these resplendent forces, is an expression of hope, even if the tale it tells is tragic...The final Jewish melody blossoms into a majestic surge, pulling motifs from the work together."
BBC Music Magazine
"...a work gorgeously streaked with searing melodies simply stated then draped in rainbow polyphony."
"The sound world of Speranza is as contemporary as a virtual cityscape. Yet the four movements are also based on sharply memorable motifs, which develop in ways that not only satisfy intellectually, but at best form an emotional narrative as gripping as Shostakovich."
BBC Music Magazine on the LSO Live recording