An orchestra is a potent narrator, its voice weaving stories and setting scenes in a way that words just can’t. Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s new piano concerto takes us to Bosnia and a bridge over the river Drina which stood as a silent witness to four centuries of turbulent history. At the music’s heart sit the lives, relations and destinies of the locals, their tales infused with native folk music. Between the Skies, the River and the Hills also pays homage to Haydn’s Piano Concerto in D major and its bounding final movement, fuelled by a Croatian folk tune.
Sibelius’ storytelling takes a different, but equally arresting, approach. His music for the stage conjures starlit skies, exotic processions and wistful solitude, drawing on folk music from earlier eras.