BPO 91st concert season preview

Stephen Hough High Res 2 credit Sim Canetty-ClarkePianist, composer and painter, Stephen Hough is something of a renaissance man, and without doubt one of the most interesting musicians around. He says he enjoys the ‘extras in life’, and his unfailingly interesting blog for the Daily Telegraph confirms this by covering everything from theology, hats, tea, perfume – and, of course, music.

Stephen is the guest of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra for the first concert of their new season at the Dome this Sunday. With his ‘virtuoso technique and poetic eloquence’ (Sunday Times), he is at home in more pianistic styles than just about anyone, and on Sunday he will bring his prodigious talent to Beethoven’s much loved Piano Concerto No. 1.

Later in the season the Orchestra will be joined by two other outstanding pianists. Melvyn Tan will be the soloist in Chopin’s meltingly beautiful Second Piano Concerto, and Howard Shelley will direct the Orchestra from the piano in another Second Concerto, this one by Shostakovich, one of his most light-hearted and popular works.

Conductor Laureate Barry Wordsworth will wield his baton in six of this season’s eight concerts, which features such orchestral masterpieces as Schubert’s ‘Great’ C major Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 (Scottish), the exotic orchestral showpiece that is Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and many other well-known favourites from the repertoire of great orchestral music. The Brighton Festival Chorus will join the Orchestra for one of the season’s highlights, a performance of Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 1, A Sea Symphony.

The Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s reputation for producing fine and outstanding performances of great orchestral works is well deserved. Along with more familiar fare, this season will also introduce audiences to some lesser-known works by Bruckner, Bernstein and William Alwyn. For lovers of good music can there be a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Brighton?

Peter Back

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