Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade


Thursday 1st May 2014 at 2.15pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Rafael Payare  conductor
Jonathan Biss  piano

Brahms: Tragic Overture 13′
Schumann: Piano Concerto 31′
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade 45′
Listen on Spotify
Watch on YouTube

Schumann poured out his feelings for his beloved Clara. And Scheherazade just wanted to keep her head! But every one of them told an unforgettable musical story, and from Brahms’s epic drama to Rimsky-Korsakov’s fantastically tuneful musical fairytale on One Thousand and One Nights, Rafael Payare – the latest graduate of Venezuela’s legendary El Sistema – will make each one blaze with colour. Pianist Jonathan Biss finds poetry amidst the passion in this concert of much-loved classics.



Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

“The brilliance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestration for Scheherazade – he even makes the bassoon sound beguiling – means that it easily becomes a series of discrete beautiful moments. It’s to the credit of up-and-coming Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare that while the incidental orchestral felicities were all in place there also was a strong narrative thrust to this exotic fairytale suite.

While motifs metamorphosed and themes reappeared we never lost sight of a story being told. The first violin is our Scheherazade and in self-indulgent performances she’s a musical Houri who flutters her eyelashes and wears too much make-up.

The CBSO leader Laurence Jackson gave us a storyteller whose music was subtle, tender and seductive. Every featured play received deserved applause with a loud ovation for principal timpanist Peter Hill in his last concert, retiring after twenty-five years with the orchestra.”     …

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