‘I needed unusual timbres’ - Premiere of the Month: Let there be light

Elena 1 pc Anastasia Tikhonova

Cello, chorus and orchestra join forces for a fantastical story

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How to mix the genres of concerto with opera, via the grandeur of a tone poem? Russian–British composer Elena Langer, best known for her operatic works, takes on the challenge with The Dong with a Luminous Nose for solo cello, orchestra and an 80-strong chorus. The 22-minute, one-movement work will be premiered by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir and the orchestra’s lead cellist and Langer’s long-time friend, Kristina Blaumane.

Based on Edward Lear’s poem, the ‘surreal and fantastical’ story is about a mythical creature, the Dong, who falls in love with a Jumbly girl. On her leaving, he devotes his life to finding her by wandering the earth with a luminous nose. Langer’s compositional process began with the chorus part, from which she drew material to write the cello part, and subsequently wrote a piano accompaniment that was then orchestrated…

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