Paganini Rhapsody

Tuesday 28 September 2010 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

Edward Gardner  conductor
Barry Douglas  piano

Rachmaninov: The Isle of the Dead 19′
Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini 23′
Lutoslawski: Variations on a theme by Paganini 10′
Lutoslawski: Concerto for Orchestra 26′

What’s in a tune? Rachmaninov took a devilish little theme by Paganini
and turned it into one of the all-time favourite romantic piano
showpieces. A few years later, in occupied Warsaw, the great Polish
composer Witold Lutoslawski had exactly the same idea. But whether
romantic or riotous, both composers knew how to entertain. Which is
best? You decide, as pianist Barry Douglas tackles both in one bumper
concert. But first, the acclaimed young British conductor Edward
Gardner shows us the darker side of Rachmaninov, before finishing in a
blaze of colour with Lutoslawski’s dazzling Concerto for Orchestra.
Twentieth-century music doesn’t get more exciting – or fun.

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

…”In The Isle of the Dead his fluent beat allowed all the music’s relentless progress to make its mark.

In Lutoslawski’s Concerto he empowered striking orchestral virtuosity from all departments, shaping the structure of what is really a wonderful, under-appreciated work.

And the Paganini pieces: Barry Douglas was the unassuming but communicative piano soloist in Rachmaninov’s famous Rhapsody and Lutoslawski’s silky Variations.” …

Russian Romantics

Wed 7 Oct 7:30pm at Symphony Hall

St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Dmitriev conductor
Barry Douglas piano

Tchaikovsky Excerpts from Sleeping Beauty
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1
Rachmaninov Symphony No 3

Three sumptuous Russian works performed by an orchestra which has this music firmly implanted in its DNA. Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable ballet music complements his First Piano Concerto, which opens with one of the world’s best-known melodies, whilst Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony is suffused with glowing autumnal colours and nostalgic passion.

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of tonight’s recommended concert: “Two giants of Russian Romanticism dominate proceedings tonight, neither afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto still packs out concert halls around the world.”

Encores:- Barry Douglas played Brahms Intermezzo

SPSOrchestra played two encores Schubert-“Moments Musicaux”, and “Spanish Dance” from Rosamunde