The Beacon Project: Errollyn Wallen’s ‘Concerto Grosso’

The finale to our three digital performances as part of The Beacon Project, Errollyn Wallen’s ‘Concerto Grosso’ will be streamed for free on the Academy’s Facebook and YouTube pages from bank holiday Sunday 2nd January 2022, 7.30 pm.

The Beacon Project is a brand-new digital offering of free educational resources and performance films that shine a light on three beacons of contemporary music: Eleanor Alberga, former and first-ever Academy Composer in Residence Sally Beamish, and Errollyn Wallen. You can find accompanying KS1 educational resources here.

Recorded at St John’s Smith Square and Henry Wood Hall in London, filmed performances of the three works showcase the musicians from the Academy, from string octet to 13-part wind ensemble through to small-scale chamber orchestra. ‘Concerto Grosso’ is conducted by John Butt, who also conducted the piece in our online concert April 2021. He says: 

“Errollyn Wallen’s Concerto Grosso, very much following the Corellian footprint, provides a much newer take on the baroque concerto style, also reflecting something of the string sonorities of intermediate composers such as Elgar and Britten. The first movement reminds us of the perpetual motion of the baroque and also the quasi-symmetrical recurrence of themes. But it is also a dazzling rethinking of the concerto grosso, distorted but utterly new and compelling at the same time. The final movement takes us from aria to that most ubiquitous of baroque textures: the ground bass, heard at its most energetic, and strongly inflected by jazz and other contemporary idioms.”

Watch them discuss the piece in April 2021 here: