On 25 May Francisco Coll conducts the Orquesta de València at the Palau de la Música in the world premiere of Lilith, a 10½-minute work for orchestra. The concert also sees the Spanish premiere of Coll’s 18-minute Turia in a version for guitar and chamber orchestra. Jacob Kellerman, who premiered the piece in 2017, will be the soloist; Christian Karlsen conducts.
Lilith was commissioned by Orquesta de València as part of Francisco Coll’s period as Composer in Residence there. In his programme note for the piece, musicologist and composer Jesús Castañer has called Lilith “one of the most provocative, enigmatic and symbolism-laden compositions that Coll has written to date".
The title evokes the mythological figure of Biblical history, Adam’s first wife, who, in some versions of the story, was banished from the Garden of Eden for refusing to obey his commands; she is an archetype for depictions of the femme fatale and seducer, and cipher for the patriarchal character of some religious traditions.
Coll has long been fascinated by Lilith, who is also a preoccupation of his artistic hero Anselm Kiefer. In the piece’s dense and dark orchestral textures, voices appear and then are lost in the chaos. Familiar forms and shapes are glimpsed but always appear diffuse, blurred, and are never revealed in their entirety. Like so much of his music, Lilith traverses extremes of registration and dynamics. A brooding soundscape is flecked with an array of tuned percussion and two pianos, tuned a quarter-tone apart.
This new version of 2017’s Turia expanded the accompaniment to chamber orchestra size; it received its premiere from Kellerman and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and Christian Karlsen in October 2021 at the Uppsala International Guitar Festival in Sweden. The Times described Kellerman’s recording of the 2017 version as “broodingly dark and brilliantly earthy, flamenco fire one minute, funk-stomping the next…a work of continually arresting changing moods”.
The premiere of Lilith comes weeks after Coll's conducting debut with the Luxembourg Philharmonic In November he will conduct the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in the world premiere of his Cello Concerto for Sol Gabetta. Coll’s disc Plaisirs Illuminés (Alpha Classics, 2021) won the concerto prize at the 2022 BBC Music Magazine Awards at the end of April.