The 2021 Verbier Festival has some unmissable surprises in store as it approaches its closing days—including this world premiere of Gabriel Prokofiev’s innovative Pastoral Reflections for string sextet and electronic instruments!
In 2020, as the world celebrated Beethoven’s 250th birthday, the Pastoral Project was launched: on April 22 (Earth Day) and June 5 (World Environment Day), artists from all over the world were called to share their visions of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, a veritable love letter to the beauty of nature.
Gabriel Prokofiev had already composed a “symphonic remix” of Beethoven’s Ninth, and in Pastoral Reflections he turns to the Sixth. What does nature mean to Beethoven, he asks? And how would he have viewed our world today, when our attempts to tame or conquer nature seem certain to lead to catastrophe? Prokofiev follows the five-movement structure of the Sixth, employing a string sextet and electronic instruments (as well as sounds of nature recorded at Verbier) to play on the contrasts—and the unexpected resonances—between Beethoven’s time and our own.
In this ambitious project, Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of Sergei) seeks to encourage the audience to reflect on the preservation of our natural world, while also highlighting a new kind of contemporary classical concert outside of the traditional concert space. Joined by alumni of the stupendous Verbier Festival Academy and the Scale collective, who designed the eye-popping light show, the composer offers up a magical concert experience, totally new yet firmly anchored in the history that led to its creation.
Photo: Gabriel Prokofiev © HL Jones
Malandain Ballet Biarritz