Hallé Orchestra Concerts - Manchester

2018/19 Season

In March I looked forward to hearing the winner of the Leed's playing Beethoven's piano concerto No.1, but instead he played Chopin's piano concerto No1. I was not disappointed because this extremely talented 20 year old (also winner of the American Chopin Foundation) played with such delicacy, grace and finesse. As an encore he played a Schubert impromptu, which I used to love playing in the past, but not anywhere near as well as Eric Lu of course:-)

The Valentine's Day concert in February was a very Spanish affair! The opening piece was el Amor brujo, which I first heard in Gstaad quite a few years ago. Sergio Castelló López played Mozart´s clarinet concerto in A. The last piece was Beethovens´s 7th.

Just attended my first Hallé concert of 2019, which opened with Glinka's Rusian and Ludmilla Overture, which sounded very Russian. Then onto the stage came a young Italian American violinist, Francesca Dego and she played Tschaikovsky's violin concerto in D major, opus 35 with such emotion and virtuosity. The audience was spellbound. After the interval came Rachmaninov's third Symphony in A minor.

Andrew Manze, the English conductor and violinist, conducted the Vaughan Williams' London Symphony in the Proms this summer and he returned to Manchester in October 2018 to conduct the Hallé Orchestra. It was nice because Mamze spoke to the audience for a few minutes at the start of the evening to talk about the programme, which began with his own arrangement of Purcell Fantasian upon one note. Jian Wang then performed Dvorák's Cello Concerto and Williams' London Symphony followed the interval. A wonderfully enjoyable evening.


In May I went to the final Opus One Concert for 2017/18, which was conducted by Sir Mark Elder.It began with Schubert's "unfinished symphony" No 8 and then we were treated to a fine performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 18, K456 by the accomplished Chinese pianist Hong Xu. After the interval was Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony, No. 3.

The Opus One concert in April 2018 was very good. It opened with the Prelude to Wagner's Die Meistersinger, but I particularly enjoyed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto played by dazzling virtuoso Augustin Haderlich (born in italy to German parents). The second part of the concert was Brahm's Symphony No.1 which was brought to life by the horns in the first movement. The best part was the violin solo by the leader at the end of the second movement, Andante sostenuto.

Evgeny Kissin - Salzburg 

On 2 August I was lucky enough to be part of the famous Salzburg Festival and attended a fantastic piano recital by Evgeny Kissin in the Großes Festspielhaus.

He played three Nocturnes by Chopin, Schuman’s piano sonata No. 3 in F minor, eight preludes by Debussy and Scriabin’s piano sonata No. 4 in F#.

The nocturnes were played very expressively and romantically but were not stamped with his own personal emotive feelings, as is the case with many pianists. The Schumann was again played in a controlled manner but was intensively fiery, fast and explosive at the same time.

Kissin didn’t play the contrasting Debussy Preludes in a dreamy impressionistic style but having visited Rouen cathedral in April I was particularly curious to hear La Cathédrale Engloutie, which was also one of the pieces I played for my music A Level aural exam. The opening chords were beautifully struck and you could imagine the cathedral submerged underwater and then slowly rising from the sea. The entire range of the piano is used and Kissin carefully chose how each note should be played just as Monet chose how each brush stroke from his colour palette should be applied for his paintings of Rouen cathedral.