Rachmaninov by Candlelight

BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL CONCERT SEASON 2011/12

Sun 2 Oct 6:00pm at Symphony Hall

Ex Cathedra
Jeffrey Skidmore director
Steven Osborne piano

Rachmaninov Vespers
Piano Preludes Op 23 Nos 6 in E flat, 10 in G flat, 3 in D minor, 4 in D, 7 in C minor
Op 32 Nos 5 in G, 7 in F, 9 in A, 1 in C

This concert has a running time of c. 2 hours including one interval.

The soaring voices of Ex Cathedra bring Rachmaninov’s choral masterpiece to life by candlelight. Glowing with radiant Russian Orthodox spirituality, the Vespers are interspersed with a selection of the composer’s much-loved piano preludes performed by Steven Osborne.

In the words of The Times, ‘the brilliant Scottish pianist… scales the preludes… with passion and authority… Sorrow and sunlight, death and life: all Rachmaninov is here’.

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of tonight’s recommended concert: “Rachmaninov’s Vespers is some of the Russian composer’s most profound and moving music; the All-Night Vigil remains one of the most atmospheric musical creations. On what’s likely to be a chilly, autumnal evening, Ex Cathedra will be bringing music to warm your very soul.” www.thsh.co.uk

Review by John Quinn, SeenandHeard -MusicWeb:

http://www.seenandheard-international.com/2011/10/05/rachmaninov-by-candlelight-an-enthralling-experience/

…     “Not for the first time – and surely not for the last – Jeffrey Skidmore had devised an imaginative and illuminating programme and he conducted the choir superbly, drawing from them singing that was, according to the demands of the music, exquisitely poised or powerfully sonorous and which always rang with conviction.

Experiencing Rachmaninov by candlelight in this way made for a memorable concert. It was one which, for me – and with apologies for the pun – shed new light on Rachmaninov’s music in two different genres.”

Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2011/10/07/review-rachmaninov-vespers-ex-cathedra-at-symphony-hall-65233-29543527/

…     “From first note to last this was a powerfully atmospheric and often hypnotic account, with Jeffrey Skidmore and his singers (Jeremy Budd and Martha McLorinan the gloriously idiomatic soloists) going beyond melody and harmony to explore a rich choral tapestry where inner-part textures and movements were of equal importance and, especially in the basses, awesomely sonorous.

In such a finely judged musical environment, Steven Osborne transcended the role of solo pianist to become an additional member of the ensemble.”    […] Rating * * * * *

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