Skip to main content

NSO: Debussy, McNeff, Rachmaninov

NSO: Debussy, McNeff, Rachmaninov

NSO Season

NSO: Debussy, McNeff, Rachmaninov

National Symphony Orchestra
Lina Gonzáles-Granados conductor
Gavan Ring tenor 

Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’une faune
Stephen McNeff The Celestial Stranger [Irish Premiere]
NSO co-commission with BBC National Orchestra of Wales. 
Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2

Melodies pour out of Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony, one of the great orchestral love songs. Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’une faune is a spellbinding portrait of a faun on a blissful Spring afternoon. Stephen McNeff’s song cycle The Celestial Stranger, composed for Gavan Ring, conjures in its Irish premiere a 17th-century mystic’s vision of aliens visiting Earth and falling under the spell of ‘this little star, so wide and full of mysteries’, only to realise that dangerous shadows are falling across the fragile blue planet.

Did you know?

Debussy was just 10-years-old when he began studies at the prestigious Paris Conservatoire.

Stephen McNeff was born in Belfast but grew up in South Wales. He came to attention for his music for theatre and opera in the UK and Canada.

The Celestial Stranger was inspired by the discovery of forgotten texts by the 17th-century cleric and mystic, Thomas Traherne, and draws on texts by Walt Whitman, Dylan Thomas and other poets. 

The stranger is ‘a person from another world’ smitten by his discovery of the Earth: ‘this little star, so wide and so full of mysteries’.

Various performing versions of Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony can last around 60 or as few as 35 minutes.

Listen out for…

The hypnotic flute theme that opens Debussy’s Prélude and how woodwinds and strings spin it into gossamer-delicate textures.

The low strings and violins introducing the recurring motto that casts and colours the emotional mood of Rachmaninov’s symphony.

The swooning strings that usher in solo horn, violin and lengthy clarinet passages, the latter framed by rich harmonic accompaniment from the orchestra.

How the symphony’s themes are woven into a bustling conclusion topped by triumphant brass over ecstatic strings in its finale.

Presented by NCH

Book Now
Friday 31 Jan 2025
Main Stage
€15, €25, €29, €34.50, €39

Discount Multi-Buy Packages Available Here

Pre-Concert Talk: 6.15pm – 7pm

Share this event
Facebook twitter