Elliott Gyger’s title comes from a scene inThe Rite of Spring: ‘The Acquisition of the Earth by Dancing.’ The idea of acquiring the earth, with its sinister overtones, has given him a springboard for his latest orchestral work. There’s also something sinister to the story of Petrushka, Stravinsky’s ‘immortal and unhappy hero’ – a straw-filled puppet with a heart that can be broken. But Stravinsky’s music for this Russian fairground tale frames the tragedy with vibrant colour and a playful spirit.
Our concerto, inspired by Jiang Rong’s novel Wolf Totem, is for an uncommon soloist, showing off the rich, velvety and percussive qualities of the double bass. Its composer is Tan Dun, whose music made such a powerful impact in the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.