Exotic, sensual and above all sophisticated: the concert presented by the National Youth Orchestra of Germany under the direction of Howard Griffiths is in a class of its own! While it is a truism that East and West have cultivated a lively exchange for centuries, seldom has that tradition of cross-fertilisation been so brightly spotlighted.
How many in Germany know the Turkish composer Ahmed Adnan Saygun, whose music is so obviously influenced by French Impressionism? Or the Moroccan-born French composer Maurice Ohana, whose Livre des Prodiges (Book of Marvels) provides us with something of a motto for this striking concert bridging the Christian and Muslim cultures. In any case, there is an abundance of musical marvels to be discovered in this programme. Let’s pause for a moment in Morocco: that the music of North Africa has inspired numerous composers with Spanish legacy is evident in the performance of familiar works by Manuel de Falla and Maurice Ravel.
Yet the next generation’s elite orchestral musicians aren’t satisfied merely with tracing East-West musical connections of the past. For its interpretation of the overture to Mozart’s Entführung aus dem Serail the German Youth Orchestra has come up with something quite special. The ensemble will be joined by percussion and frame drum virtuoso Murat Coşkun.