Virtuoso pianist Benjamin Powell joins the Northern Chamber Orchestra for an exciting concert at The Stoller Hall, featuring Shostakovich, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Handel.
Since winning the British Contemporary Piano Competition in 2010, Benjamin Powell has enjoyed an illustrious career as a soloist, chamber musician, and song accompanist. In the past decade, he’s performed on some of the finest stages in Europe, where he’s built a reputation for wonderfully expressive and intelligent playing. In 2014, Powell was appointed pianist for Manchester’s leading contemporary music group, Psappha. With the Northern Chamber Orchestra, he’ll focus on more traditional repertoire, in a dazzling showcase of his interpretive flair.
A thrilling programme matched by a thrilling soloist
At the heart of this Stoller Hall programme is Shostakovich’s vivacious Concerto No. 1 for piano, trumpet and string orchestra. An experimentation with a neo-baroque combination of instruments, this light-hearted work is filled with irreverent humour. Each of its four movements has a distinctive colour and shape, switching instantly from one dramatic character to another. Much of the work’s wit lies in the piano’s parodistic passagework, which features a number of quotes and references – to Beethoven, to Haydn and to Shostakovich himself. Infectiously fun and full of pianistic display, we can’t wait for this at The Stoller Hall.
Bookending the concert will be two light and entertaining divertimentos by Mozart. First, we’ll hear Divertimento in F, an Italian-tinged work inspired by the composer’s time in Milan. It opens with a sparkling Allegro and closes with a wit-filled Presto. Its greatest treasure, though, is its middle movement: a gorgeous Andante. Later, we’ll hear Mozart’s Divertimento in D, a vibrant work which features the composer’s counterpoint at its inventive best. Placing plentiful virtuoso demands on its performers, this will be a real treat.
Also featuring in this exciting programme will be Tchaikovsky’s Elegy. Written in November 1884, this unconventionally beautiful work originated as a commission from the Moscow Society of Artists, who were honouring actor Ivan Samarin on the occasion of his fifty years of acting. Later, Tchaikovsky re-used it as the entr’acte to Act IV of his incidental music for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Finally, the orchestra will perform Handel’s last piece of chamber music: the beautiful Violin Sonata in D, arranged by NCO’s principal double bass player and resident composer, James Manson.
A thrilling programme matched by a thrilling soloist; don’t miss Benjamin Powell with the Northern Chamber Orchestra at The Stoller Hall.