Schumann only completed one concerto for his own instrument the piano, but its fiery passions and confiding intimacies have made it a favourite, tonight framed by two conspicuously elevated works revelling in a sumptuous solemnity.
Wagner Prelude to Parsifal
Schumann Piano Concerto
Elgar Symphony No.1
Conductor Karl-Heinz Steffens
Piano Yulianna Avdeeva
Hallowed, hushed, the Prelude to Wagner’s Parsifal entwines ritual, remembrance and redemption in music that never fails to go straight to the heart. It shares with Elgar’s great symphonic embodiment of “life, love and a massive hope in the future” an all-pervasive underpinning nobility. Elgar called Schumann ‘my ideal’, and, first performed by his wife Clara, Schumann’s ‘ideal’ concerto rounds out our programme ‘con amore’.
When Principal Clarinettist Karl-Heinz Steffens took up the baton full time the Berliner Tagesspiegel reported “The Berlin Philharmonic has lost a prominent instrumentalist; the musical world has gained a go-ahead Maestro”. There’s been no stopping him. For the Schumann he teams up with the winner of the 2010 Chopin Competition, a pianist of “unparalleled energy and phenomenal technique” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) who “doesn’t just play the piano, she conquers emotional oceans” (Solinger Morgenpost).
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