Precision and sensitivity are vital for the delicate dance between
piano and orchestra that is Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. The piece
became something of the bookend to the composer’s performing career. At
the premiere, Beethoven was the soloist and years later, it would be his
final solo performance with orchestra. Since then, many of the world’s
greatest pianists have tackled it, including Beethoven specialist
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, his talents described as “powerfully assured”,
“phenomenal” and “blisteringly precise”.
Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances was his final composition,
and in many ways a summing up of his influences. Living in Long Island
in the summer of 1940, Rachmaninov returned to composing after a period
of relative quiet, he composed nothing at all between 1937-39. His Symphonic Dances is typically lush and rhythmically dynamic, and though slow to gain recognition, is much-admired on the concert platform today.
Please note that Fauré’s Pavane has been replaced with Barber’s Adagio for Strings, and as such the MSO Chorus will no longer feature in this performance.