Christ Church Cathedral
At the Fireside, Carnival and Autumn Song from The Seasons, Op. 37a
Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, ‘Appassionata’
Pictures at an Exhibition
As the author of one of the best-known keyboard concertos in existence, it’s surprising that so little of Tchaikovsky’s output for solo piano finds its way onto concert programmes. But something that does occasionally surface is his suite of character pieces The Seasons, with a movement for each month of the year. Three of the months feature in this concert by Barry Douglas, an artist of towering stature who has been associated with Russia since his never-to-be forgotten Gold Medal in the 1986 Tchaikovsky Competition. For good measure, his programme includes another illustrative Russian classic: the wide-ranging depictions of playful children, clucking hens and man-eating hags that enliven Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. As a centrepiece he plays Beethoven’s mighty Opus 57 sonata, labelled the ‘Appassionata’ by a publisher who did so after the composer’s death, but justifiably. Few works in the piano repertoire are so tumultuous, tempestuous or passionate: three qualities that Douglas can be guaranteed not to short-change in this performance.
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