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REMS & Sheherazade

Tales and dreams in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's season opening concert. Experience the world premiere of Jacob Mühlrad's orchestral work REMS (rapid eye movement sleep) and then let yourself be swept away by Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade, a suite based on the fairy tale collection One Thousand and One Nights. Conductor is Pablo Heras-Casado.

Jacob Mühlrad is one of Sweden’s most acclaimed composers, including internationally. In 2020, a multi-year collaboration began between the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Jacob Mühlrad that includes the commission of two larger orchestral works. Featured here is the world premiere of the first one: REMS (rapid eye movement sleep).

Jacob Mühlrad says the following of REMS:

“The music conveys different aspects of the mystery and energy associated with our unconscious dream states. Some of these ‘sound images’ come from dreams, but I’ve also been inspired by sleep as conceptualised in the Jewish faith – that body and soul are two separate parts. Regardless of culture, sleep has always been strongly charged with symbolism. In REMS, I’ve created a dreamy, musical fabric of sound with underlying adornments, some of which come from lullabies. When the dreams subside, we hear breathing – in and out.”

To hear Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic Sheherazade suite is to be transported to another world through music. Rimsky-Korsakov was fascinated by the far east and this music is based on the collection of stories called One Thousand and One Nights. In the first movement, “The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship”, we hear the theme of the dominant sultan, which soon transitions to Sheherazade, portrayed by the beautiful violin solo (here performed by concert master Joakim Svenheden). The final movement, “The Festival at Baghdad; The Sea; Shipwreck on a Rock; Conclusion”, begins with the contrasts between the sultan and Scheherazade. In between, we hear the Kalendar Prince, and the Young Prince and the Young Princess.

In recent years, Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado has become an extremely popular guest with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. He regularly appears with orchestras such as the Berlin, Vienna and Los Angeles philharmonics, and the London Symphony Orchestra, and is Principal Guest Conductor of Teatro Real in Madrid.

  • The music

  • Jacob Mühlrad REMS (rapid eye movement sleep)
  • Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov Sheherazade
  • Participants

  • Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Pablo Heras-Casado conductor
  • Linus Fellbom lighting design
  • Published online 19 September 2021. 
  • Filmed 16 September 2021.
  • The video is approximately one hour and 20 minutes.
  • Subtitles in English and Swedish is activated by using the CC control in the video player.