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Watch on demand: Salonen conducts Ravel and Britten

Conductor Esa Pekka Salonen on stage during a concert


Esa-Pekka Salonen – conductor
Julia Bullock – soprano


Ravel Pavane pour une infante défunte

Britten Les illuminations

Ravel Mother Goose (complete ballet)


The 2020/21 season is Esa-Pekka Salonen’s last as Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia, a position he has held since 2008. For his first concert in this landmark season he invited outstanding American soprano Julia Bullock to make her Philharmonia and Royal Festival Hall debut.

At the heart of the programme is Britten’s Les Illuminations, a setting of nine poems by Rimbaud. Britten’s expressive writing for voice and strings, and Rimbaud’s vivid and fantastical texts, lure us into an unearthly, dreamlike world.

“★★★★★ Watching Salonen conduct up close was a revelation (…) always achieving exactly what he seeks (…) The connection between the corps and their leader is just that strong. Nothing but the highest standard all around.”

Cameron Kelsall, Bachtrack

To frame the Britten, Salonen chose two equally evocative pieces by Ravel. His Pavane imagines a princess of the Spanish Golden Age in a slow, graceful dance. And each exquisitely delicate movement of the 1912 ballet he created from his Mother Goose Suite paints a vivid fairytale scene.

Gentle flutes introduce Sleeping Beauty, sprightly percussion and woodwinds tell the story of the Empress of the Pagodas. Ravel’s unmatched talent for orchestration gives every member of the Philharmonia a chance to shine.

This concert is supported by Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Need to know

Prices and discounts


Running time

75 minutes

Programme notes

Read the full programme notes here

How to book

Tickets are available via TicketCo. Full details on the Buy Access link above

How long is this available for?

This concert is available until April 2021. You have 28 days to watch after buying access

When was this broadcast?

This concert took place on Thursday 29 October 2020 at Royal Festival Hall

Was it produced safely?

Yes. We work with independent health and safety experts and have robust risk assessment procedures in place drawing from Public Health England advice

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