Commissioned by Robin Boyle in memory composer Witold Lutosławski and of his wife Danuta, the piece was premiered at the BBC Proms in 2013 by Christianne and Simon. A clip from the performance is below.
In a review of the world premiere, Ivan Hewett described the inspiration for the work as “… a huge painted cloth that once hung in a church in Lübeck. It portrayed all the types and ranks of medieval humanity, from the Pope down to an infant. One by one they’re swept into a dance by the capering figure of Death, but not before a brief dialogue between the two, imagined in an accompanying poem.” He goes on to proclaim it “a cultural event of the first magnitude” ★★★★★ Telegraph, 18 July 2013
Between them, Christianne and Simon have sung the piece all over the world including with the LA Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony, RTE Symphony and Czech Philharmonic orchestras. Next season they will perform it with the Orchestre de Paris under Daniel Harding.
The concert on 22 April 2018 with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin will also feature Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, and Listz’s Totentanz für Klavier und Orchester with pianist Kirill Gerstein. For more information and tickets, see the Berlin Philharmonie website.