CBSO Benevolent Fund Concert

Wednesday 11 September 2013 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Alexander Vedernikov  conductor

Elisabeth Leonskaja  piano

Glinka: Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila 5′

Grieg: Piano Concerto 30′

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 45′

Elisabeth Leonskaja’s encore – Chopin Nocturne – Op.27 No.2

The horns blast out a savage fanfare; the trumpets scream in reply… Hold tight, because this is Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, and you’re about to witness one of the most inspired composers of all time wrestling with his demons in music of overwhelming rawness and passion. It’s thrilling and, as the former music director of the Bolshoi, conductor Alexander Vedernikov has this music pounding through his veins. First, though, in this concert in aid of the CBSO Benevolent Fund*, he joins another living Russian legend, pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja, for the altogether gentler pleasures of Grieg’s irresistibly tuneful piano concerto. Great music, for a great cause.

*The CBSO Benevolent Fund, registered friendly society 735F, exists to support CBSO players and staff, past and present, at times of ill-health or other hardship. http://www.cbso.co.uk

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**Great music for a great cause!**

cbsobenfund.org.uk

*** Angie’s Story: CBSO Benevolent Fund – click here ***

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Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “Grieg’s Piano Concerto suffers by its popularity and accessibility to soloists of the third and fourth order. Here instead we relished the remarkable Elisabeth Leonskaja, her steely, well-wrought pianism poised and taut, accents crisply turned, her chording judiciously weighted and balanced, and virtuosity never obtruding itself. This was a reading mixing gesture and intimacy, and what a success it was in this collaboration with Vedernikov’s willing orchestra (flautist Marie-Christine Zupancic delivering evocative solos).

Encores are generally anathema to me, but in this instance Chopin’s D-flat Nocturne was perfect, allowing us to hang onto Leonskaja’s artistry just a little longer.”     …

*****

Leonskaja Plays Grieg

Saturday 3 November 2012 at 7.00pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0603

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Alexander Vedernikov conductor
Elisabeth Leonskaja piano

Sibelius: Karelia Suite 14′ Listen on Spotify
Grieg: Piano Concerto 30′
Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1 41′ Listen on Spotify

Elisabeth Leonskaja’s encore – Mozart’s piano Sonata no.12 KV 332 in F Major – Adagio

An angry snarl, an ominous chant, and a doom-laden fanfare – and that’s just the start! When the young Sergei Rachmaninov launched his First Symphony, he didn’t pull his punches. It’s an epic tragedy of fate and desire, poured out in music that burns with passion, and Russian guest conductor Alexander Vedernikov is sure to give it his all. Sibelius’s cheerful Karelia Suite is quite a contrast – and in the hands of the superb Elisabeth Leonskaja, Grieg’s ever-popular Piano Concerto should sparkle like new. www.cbso.co.uk

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Review by Katherine Dixson, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “She exuded an intriguing combination of business-like focus on the task in hand and passion for the music and her instrument. The result was a rare bell-like quality. Ms Leonskaja’s sensitive and masterful playing was complemented by a very watchable attitude that was completely at one with the music, including an endearing flourish of the arms at the end of fast passages, fists clenched, so powerful that it threatened to propel her into the front row.”     […]

[… ]    “Just when we thought the evening couldn’t get any more dramatic, guest conductor Alexander Vedernikov, formerly of the Bolshoi, demonstrated a remarkable affinity with compatriot Rachmaninov and directed the players through a blistering performance of his Symphony no. 1 in D minor. Vedernikov’s expressive arms seemed to reach for the roof and his over-the-collar hair bounced with vigour. The programme notes included the headings “A night in hell… From the ashes… Defying destiny… Grand passions”, and the music was correspondingly angst-ridden.”     …