Thursday 30 January 2014 at 7.30pm
Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Kazuki Yamada conductor
Francesco Piemontesi piano
Stephen Farr organ
Fauré: Pelleas and Melisande – Suite 19′
Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini 24′
Widor: Toccata 6′
Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 (Organ) 35′
Listen on Spotify Watch on YouTube
Francesco Piemontesi’s encore –
Debussy – La Cathédrale engloutie
You might have heard it in the film Babe, but trust us – when the Symphony Hall organ crashes in at the end of Saint-Saëns’ mighty Organ Symphony you won’t be thinking about talking pigs! It’s a long way from the gentle perfumes of Fauré’s lovely Pelleas and Melisande suite – though when Kazuki Yamada joins forces with the award-winning pianist Francesco Piemontesi in Rachmaninov’s superromantic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, there’ll be fireworks aplenty amidst the poetry.
If you like this concert, you might also like:
Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto, Thursday 6th March
Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony, Wednesday 12th March
Andris and Håkan in Concert, Wednesday 28th May
Review by DPM, WeekendNotes:
Click here for full review
… “And under the baton of conductor Kazuki Yamada, the Organ Symphony was confident and majestic, sweeping all before it.
Farr was also able to reveal his talents with Widor’s Toccata from his Organ Symphony No 5, a rich and colourful piece which really allows any organist the chance to revel in his, or her, skills.
When it comes to dexterity, pianist Francesco Piemontesi had it at his fingertips as he masterfully handled Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. One moment he was playing lightly with the orchestra, passing the musical baton back and forth, the next he was duelling with them, taking control of Rachmaninov’s delightful variations.
Beginning the programme was Fauré’s Pelleas and Melisande Suite in which the composer takes us on a journey through the doomed romance of the famous lovers.
Yamada had an easy rapport with the CBSO, clearly comfortable with all of the pieces of music and enjoying the experience of working with the orchestra. And the performance met with rapturous applause from a packed Symphony Hall.”
Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:
Click here for full review (disagree with almost entire review – rare!)
… “CBSO woodwind soloists can never fail to be eloquent, nor the strings (even if reduced by one desk each) deep-toned and agile, but the total effect was disappointing.
Similarly workmanlike was Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, another of the CBSO’s calling-cards. Yamada’s opening was crisp, he ensured a smooth flow throughout the sequence of variations, and he secured a warm empathy between the elegant orchestra and the well-weighted pianism of soloist Francesco Piemontesi.” …
Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:
Click here for full review
… “In this performance, conducted by Kazuki Yamada, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra was so enthusiastic it risked drowning out the actual organ – which is no mean feat.
At the hands of Stephen Farr, the organ just about won out, but it was a hard-pitched battle. As the orchestra reached its triumphant conclusion even the audience felt a little exhausted by the energy.
Farr did have his moment in the sun with Widor’s Toccata from his Organ Symphony No 5, a rich and colourful piece which really allows any organist the chance to revel in his, or her, skills.
When it comes to dexterity, pianist Francesco Piemontesi had it at his fingertips as he masterfully handled Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. One moment he was playing lightly with the orchestra, passing the musical baton back and forth, the next he was duelling with them, taking control of Rachmaninov’s delightful variations.” …