RSNO Great Concertos: Beethoven Piano Concerto No 4 Review
Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) collected thousands of his native Hungarian folk songs and music. His Dances from Galanta come from the town where he spent many happy childhood years.
Kodály’s comic opera was first performed in 1926 and was an instant success to be heard widely across Europe in the following years. It tells the tale of a mythical soldier who spun many a tall story of his exploits to the point where he claimed to have defeated Napoleon’s army single-handed.
Almost immediately Kodály brought together in The Suite six episodes from the opera. Memorable was the Viennese Musical Clock movement, John Harrington’s viola opening the Intermezzo and the playing of Hungary’s national instrument, the cimbalom, by Chris Bradley. The Suite ended with the climax of the Entrance of the Emperor and his Court.
The Hungarian theme was furthered with the conductor of the night, Gilbert Varga. He showed his energetic and original style of controlling the Orchestra.
Marc-André Hamelin was the pianist for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4, one of the five Beethoven composed. The pianist’s mastery of his piano was clear and he gave us a confident and delightful performance. Much applause allowed him an encore of an early étude by Scriabin.
Listening to Haydn’s Symphony No 70 one could imagine being in Count Esterhazy’s Court. Haydn was responsible for its busy musical life and was expected to produce a constant flow of new works. This Symphony was written shortly after the fire that destroyed the opera house and first performed at the opening of its grander replacement.
Event: Friday 8 April 2011 6.45pm (talk), 7.30 pm (concert)