In the early post-First World War years, after the experiments and multiple and divergent avant-garde aesthetics that blew apart the European musical landscape, many composers felt the need to turn back to classicism, a sort of Golden Age in which the paths of musical art might still appear simple and secure.
This movement back to the past is not a 'conservative revolution' or a retrograde and sterile movement.
On the contrary, it is a re-examination by creators of their own presuppositions and a rethinking of the principles of their art through which they hope to revive their imagination thanks to this stimulating confrontation.
Thus, as early as 1910, the British composer Vaughan Williams drew his inspiration from the ancient English music in order to create a more contemporary expression. His Fantasy takes its theme from a melody that Thomas Tallis wrote in 1567 for a psalter on the words When, rising from the bed of Death. Vaughan Williams sets it in an exceptional score, written for an innovative string ensemble featuring a quartet and two string orchestras, in a sophisticated polyphony evoking magnificent cathedral sounds.
Seven years later, the very modernist Prokofiev chose with his First Symphony to pay homage to the birth of the genre: Haydn's classical symphony, of which it adopts both the usual orchestral size and the general structure and character. A penchant for lyricism and clarity that the composer would further develop in a beautiful violin concerto.
Opéra national de Lorraine Orchestra
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Fantasy on a theme by Thomas Tallis
Violin Concerto n°2 in G minor, Op. 63
Symphony n°1 in D major, known as the Classical Symphony, Op. 25
€ 5 - 38