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Sir Mark on The Rite of Spring

The Hallé’s Music Director, Sir Mark Elder, has identified Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring as his favourite piece of 20th-century music.

Speaking to The Guardian, Sir Mark explained what makes Stravinsky’s piece, written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company, so special,

“Stravinsky found a musical language that broke all the barriers in terms of what an orchestra can sound like.

“To me there are two overwhelming elements in the Rite's achievement: its use of rhythm and its astonishing orchestral colours.

“It's difficult to imagine the soundworlds of some of the later giants of the century – Harrison Birtwistle, Steve Reich, György Ligeti or Pierre Boulez – without the Rite's intense and courageous influence.”

Sir Mark was speaking ahead of The Rest Is Noise festival which begins in January 2013 at London's Southbank Centre and will see more than 100 concerts and 150 related events.

The Hallé will be taking part in the festival with a performance at the Royal Festival Hall, London on Saturday 2 February.

The Rest Is Noise festival takes its title from Alex Ross's award-winning book and will tell the story of 20th century music in a political, cultural and artistic context.

The festival opens with an all-Strauss programme on 19 January, and will conclude in December 2013 with John Adams' epic nativity oratorio El Niño, which premiered in Paris in 2000.

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Now in its 158th season, the Hallé ranks among the UK's top symphonic ensembles, with a distinguished history of acclaimed performances in this country and around the world; award-winning recordings, radio broadcasts and educational outreach programmes; and a visionary commitment to building audiences and developing orchestral repertoire.

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