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Shostakovich Festive Overture
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.3
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Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition

When Russian composers celebrate, they really celebrate, and Shostakovich’s Festive Overture is the musical equivalent of a double-shot of vodka, downed in one. It’s a fabulously tuneful way to light the blue touchpaper on a whole evening of Russian fireworks from the Moscow Philharmonic – the great Russian orchestra that premiered several of Shostakovich’s symphonies.

But tonight it’s all about colour: as the Philharmonic’s celebrated music director Yuri Simonov conjures the dancing chickens, glowing skulls and flying witches of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Russian music simply doesn’t get any more brilliant or more entertaining – unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to witness a top-flight pianist in Rachmaninoff’s sweeping Third Piano Concerto.

It’s said that this Everest of romantic piano concertos demands a pianist with hands of steel and a heart of gold: and former BBC Young Musician of the Year Freddy Kempf has both.

Pre-concert Talk: Woods-Scawen Room 6.15pm £2.50 Subscribers £1.50
In conversation with Freddy Kempf

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