Performing at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, the English Chamber Orchestra is the most recorded chamber orchestra in the world, its discography containing 860 recordings of over 1,500 works by more than 400 composers.
The ECO has also performed in more countries than any other orchestra, and played with many of the world’s greatest musicians. The American radio network CPRN has selected ECO as one of the world’s greatest ‘living’ orchestras. The illustrious history of the orchestra features many major musical figures. Benjamin Britten was the orchestra’s first Patron and a significant musical influence.
Haydn Symphony No. 92 in G major (‘Oxford’)
Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending
Beethoven Violin Romance No. 2 in F major, Op. 50
Beethoven Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
Jennifer Pike (violin)
José Serebrier (conductor)
The London Piano Festival is a brand new celebration of the piano created by Katya Apekisheva and Charles Owen. These two highly-acclaimed pianists have enjoyed extensive performing careers both as soloists, chamber musicians and as a widely-admired duo partnership. Their shared love of the instrument has led them to curate this weekend especially for the city’s many piano lovers.
With such an enormously diverse, endlessly-fascinating repertoire to choose from, the possibilities for exciting programming are endless. This wealth of choice will be reflected throughout the eight concerts that have been created for this, the inaugural festival. The music will range from Bach, Busoni and Rachmaninoff through to Messiaen and Piazzolla. A particular highlight will be the world premiere of a new two-piano work by the American composer Nico Muhly.
To present those works, Charles and Katya have brought together some of the world’s leading pianists. Artists will include the legendary Alfred Brendel lecturing on Liszt, Kathryn Stott performing her signature French repertoire, Noriko Ogawa bringing the joys of piano music to the younger generation, and Julian Joseph treating us to the best of contemporary jazz. At the heart of the festival, a wonderful group of players will explore the late nineteenth and twentieth century duo repertoire in a wide-ranging gala, including Stephen Kovacevich in his first Kings Place appearance.
Tonight’s concert brings together a wonderful group of pianist friends and colleagues to explore the riches, complexities and joys of music for two pianos.
The works chosen are almost exclusively from the 20th Century and include two French orchestral masterpieces in their initial, pianistically-revealing versions. A number of rarities are present including the extraordinary Fantasia Contrappuntistica by Busoni, a true homage to the works of JS Bach and a piece greatly admired and recorded by Alfred Brendel at the beginning of his career.
Rachmaninoff’s early Suite No. 1 is, by turns, hauntingly Russian, quasi Wagnerian and strikingly minimalist in its evocation of ecstatic passion, obsessional grief and the clangorous sounds of Orthodox Easter festivities.
The third part of the concert is designed to add a fun, extended encore-like atmosphere to the proceedings with Nico Muhly’s Fast Patterns, receiving its World Premiere. This will be followed by the Roaring Twenties excitement of Milhaud’s Le Boeuf sur le Toit, a selection of sultry Piazzola Tangos and will finish with the evergreen melodies of Gershwin’s opera Porgy & Bess recreated for two pianos by the Australian virtuoso Percy Grainger.
Busoni Fantasia contrappuntistica (O’Hora & Roscoe)
Debussy Lindaraja; Prélude à l’apres-midi d’un faune (Kovacevich & Owen)
Rachmaninoff Suite No. 1 (Owen & Apekisheva)
Ravel La Valse (O’Hora & Wass)
Nico Muhly Fast Patterns* (Owen & Apekisheva)
Milhaud Le Boeuf sur le Toit (Apekisheva & Wass)
Piazzolla Tangos (Stott & Wass)
Grainger Fantasy on Gershwin’s ‘Porgy & Bess’ (Stott & Roscoe)
Hailed as one of the finest pianists to emerge from this side of the Atlantic, Julian Joseph has performed extensively for over two decades, firmly establishing himself as a towering figure in the contemporary jazz world. Equally admired for his electrifying piano playing and extensive compositions, he is also a respected bandleader, inspirational collaborator and an engaging broadcaster; in essence a true champion of music.
Drawing inspiration from the classical as well as the rock and pop worlds, Julian Joseph considers all influences essential to his music making, His own challenging and innovative works are deeply rooted in the jazz tradition and reveal his unique voice combined with those of his predecessors.
For the London Piano Festival’s closing concert, Julian will create a unique mixture of pieces to include a selection of his own compositions linked with many well-loved jazz standards by Gershwin, Ellington and Porter. All of these will be announced from the stage.
‘The London pianist Julian Joseph’s music unfolds as a dramatic narrative with each twist and subplot marked by a stab, riff or unexpected change of key. The foundations are solid; clear melodies and strong harmonic structures’ Financial Times, February 2015
Peerless violist and the English Chamber Orchestra Charitable Trust’s new Artistic Director Lawrence Power opens the season with Biber’s La Battalia, an extraordinary depiction of war, redefining and inventing instrumental techniques that were truly groundbreaking. Lawrence is the soloist in Hartmann’s Concerto funèbre for violin and strings, composed during the outbreak of World War II, a heart-wrenching lament for a lost world. Written after the First World War, Kodály’s Serenade for two violins and viola is one of his most personal works, infused with the Hungarian folk music he’d collected with Bartók. After war, a hard-won peace, with Mozart’s seminal dialogue between equals, the Sinfonia concertante, with violinist Anthony Marwood.
Biber La Battalia 1673
Hartmann Concerto funebre 1939
Kodály Serenade for two violins and viola, Op. 12
Mozart Sinfonia concertante in E flat for violin, viola & orchestra, K364
Lawrence Power (viola/violin, director)
Anthony Marwood (violin)
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