Middle Eastern music of heart-wrenching beauty and hypnotic energy meets the western imagination of sensuality and drama along the ancient Silk Road.
Hassan is an unlikely hero – an unattractive Baghdad sweet merchant who is comically rebuffed by his would-be love. But the mood changes when he is accidentally taken into the court of the city’s all-powerful ruler, whose shocking brutality and corruption sickens him. Written 100 years ago, Delius’s richly evocative incidental music to James Elroy Flecker’s play is very rarely performed – here we experience it in a compelling adaptation for narrator and orchestra.
Virtuoso oud player Joseph Tawadros sets the scene first, performing a Vivaldi concerto and his own intoxicating music, before Britten Sinfonia is joined by conductor Jamie Phillips for Delius’ 1923 incidental music to a West End hit that year.