On 8 August 2019, BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales conducted by Tadaaki Otaka will give the world premiere of Huw Watkins’ new work The Moon at the BBC Proms. The work, which has been inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing on 20 July 1969, is the result of a major BBC Radio 3 commission for chorus and orchestra that will be further augmented by the Royal Albert Hall’s organ.
The piece tries to capture our experience of viewing the moon from Earth, and is also somehow about looking back at us here on Earth from above. – Huw Watkins
Rather than dealing with the moon landing directly, Watkins’ new work instead explores the collective experience of wonder, and sometimes unease, associated with the moon and space. The Moon is composed in a single movement spanning twenty minutes during which listeners are guiding through their journey by settings of poetry by Percy B. Shelley, Philip Larkin and Walt Whitman.
Huw Watkins: The Moon – Inspired by the moon landing
The Moon is Watkins’ third work composed for BBC NOW as Composer in Association with the orchestra. During his tenure, the orchestra has given performances of many of his existing orchestral and chamber works, as well as premiered the Cello Concerto (2016), written for his brother Paul Watkins and first performed at the BBC Proms under Thomas Søndergård, and Spring (2017) for orchestra.
Photo: © B Ealovega