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The story of the CBSO begins in 1920.
In the concert seasons leading up to our centenary in 2020, some concerts each year are programmed to reflect themes of that year's twentieth-century counterpart.

For the last ten years, we’ve been counting down to our centenary by following – year by year – the musical events of the decade 1910-1920. Now, after a journey that’s taken us through war, revolution, social struggles and some of the most astonishing music of the 20th century, we leave 1919 and finally arrive in 1920; the year that will see the foundation of the CBSO. Edward Elgar retreats to the woods of Sussex, and writes a Cello Concerto haunted by the scents of autumn (28 September). Gabriel Fauré conjures up an 18th century world of lost enchantment (2 April). Vaughan Williams mourns fallen friends, and rewrites his London Symphony for a sadder, wiser world (27 & 29 February). And the young Igor Stravinsky tips Baroque music into a cocktail shaker, gives it a twist, and pours out Pulcinella (2 April): the bright, irreverent sound of a century that has come of age.

Now we've reached 1918-19, and as the end of the Great War sees an exhausted Europe splintering and reforming into the nations we know today, composers including Janáček and Prokofiev confront strange new realities.

The CBSO’s 100th anniversary in 2020 draws another year nearer, and our ten-year journey through the music of the decade 1910-1920 reaches 1917-18. The Great War was at its most desperate, and the distant gleam of light in the darkness merely revealed a frighteningly unstable new world. Stravinsky used ritual to wrestle a way forward, Ravel escaped into a fairy-tale past and the doomed young French genius Lili Boulanger, fighting her own battle with illness, wrote sacred music of radiant affirmation. They all open a window onto those extraordinary, devastating years: join us at any of these concerts for an adventure in musical time travel. 

As the CBSO approaches its 100th anniversary in 2020, our ten-year journey through the music of the decade 1910 - 1920 reaches 1916-17.

While the First World War reached its brutal climax, Bax and Bartók explored dark passions, Ravel and Respighi retreated to happier times, and Prokofiev and Holst saw otherworldly visions. Some of these pieces – like Holst’s The Planets and Respighi’s The Fountains of Rome – helped define 20th century music. Others, like Elgar’s The Spirit of England, have been lost in time. But they all open a window onto those extraordinary, devastating years: join us at any of these concerts for an adventure in musical time travel.