SUNDAY 29 September 2019 3PM
Dvořák: Slavonic Dances, Op. 46 (1, 2 & 8)
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No 2
Shostakovich: Symphony No 1
Soloist: Howard Shelley (piano)
Conductor: Roderick Dunk
We start our 2019-2020 concert season with a Slavic-themed programme, opening with Antonín Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances, full of lively yet varied Czech folk dance rhythms. Originally written for piano duet, the composer later orchestrated them and we are playing three of these from his first set. Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto is one of the most well known and enduringly popular of all romantic concertos, becoming world famous after its use as background music in the wartime film ‘Brief Encounter’. The First Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich was a graduation work from his student years. Though not played today as often as his later symphonies it is unquestionably a masterpiece from such a young composer.
We start with Mozart’s overture to his late opera La Clemenza di Tito. Though not as well known as other Mozart overtures it is a noble and stirring work that deserves to be heard more often.
Our concert ends with Mendelssohn’s ever-popular Italian Symphony, brilliantly evoking the colour and atmosphere that inspired the composer during a trip to Italy.
Howard Shelley (piano)
As pianist, conductor and recording artist Howard Shelley has enjoyed a distinguished career since his highly acclaimed London debut in 1971, performing regularly with renowned orchestras at major venues around the world.
He has been closely associated with the music of Rachmaninov and has performed and recorded complete and award-winning cycles of that composer’s solo piano works, concertos and songs.
Most of his current work is in the combined role of conductor and soloist. This is reflected also in his discography which now exceeds 160 CDs, all highly praised.
He has appeared in several tv documentaries. As conductor he has worked with all the major London orchestras and many other orchestras in the UK and abroad. He has toured Australia for over thirty years, and performs as both conductor and soloist.
His long association with the London Mozart Players has been recognised by the title of Conductor Laureate. In 1994 HRH The Prince of Wales conferred on him an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Music and in 2009 he was awarded an OBE for services to classical music.