CLASSICAL MUSIC BBC Premieres Royal Festival Hall

The debut of a new orchestral work implies continuing strength both in contemporary music and in those who commission it. With the privatisation of Radio 3 a likely target for any future Tory government, (from which the BBC Orchestras would not be unaffected), it's good to report that in the past three weeks the BBC Symphony Orchestra gave two world premieres and the welcome revival of another recent piece. As vital to our cultural life as the National Gallery, the orchestra merits all the plaudits it can get.

Fifty this year like Radio 3 itself, Colin Matthews topped and tailed two pre-existing works with a brief Intrada and thoughtful choral finale to make Renewal, conducted by Oliver Knussen on 29 September at a Festival Hall celebration of the actual anniversary. In true Third Programme style, the last movement, "Metamorphosis", set apposite words from Ovid on the teachings of Pythagoras: "Nothing in the whole world endures unchanged ... everything is renewed". There was much to admire in this setting, from the background sonority of tolling pedal Cs with their lack of rhetoric to the tactful ending of quiet optimism. Set in its place beside the scherzo Broken Symmetry and Threnody, fashioned from an earlier memorial piece for Toru Takemitsu, it also showed the composer's skill at working on the largest scale. For Matthews, Renewal and his recent Cello Concerto mark three decades of notable achievement. His next move will be all the more intriguing.

Judith Weir's Moon and Stars, slotted into the orchestra's Walton series at the same venue last Wednesday, was shorter and quieter, though turning, like Renewal, to the medium of words for its conclusion. "For all the contrasts of style between these pieces - muscular, brass-dominated discords versus sensuous stellar harmonies - their choice of texts shared a common quest for a transcendental vision minus the trappings of religion. That Weir chose a striking view of nature from the work of Emily Dickinson was very much part of the original commission. Searching for an astronomical image for a piece to be played in the Royal Albert Hall, she found in this favourite poem a suitably awesome idea: that the universe is as large as we can imagine it, with extra bits attached.

Stepping in to replace an indisposed Andrew Davis, Vernon Handley coped splendidly at short notice. For Naresh Sohal's Lila, of which Davis is the dedicatee, Martyn Brabbins took the baton at the Festival Hall on Sunday to conduct an ambitious symphonic poem that explored another universe: the inner world of meditation. A composer of sparing yet always compelling production, Sohal offered a powerful antidote to the putative view of yoga as passive dreaming. Six paragraphs of his Lila, each prefaced by an arresting image of double bass and timpani pulsations, depicted the mental turbulence that this discipline seeks to pacify, before the seventh sent Sarah Leonard to the upper heights of the soprano voice to depict the cosmic union. Like the mind itself, Lila was a boiling cauldron of ideas that had nothing in common with the cliched image of "meditation" music. There were striking roles for saxophone, wind machine and tuned percussion. Play it again, BBC, as soon as possible.

Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
artSistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady are returning for The Apprentice series 10

TV
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder star in 'Girl, Interrupted'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas Pynchon in 1955, left, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of his novel, Inherent Vice

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Nicole Scherzinger will join the cast of Cats

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence