Each performance begins with one of the great composer’s sumptuous overtures, before tracing his development through a piano concerto and a symphony. The first evening – the 18th of June – opens with the heroic Fidelio Overture (1814), which crackles with energy, before Kempf takes the lead in the tempestuous Piano Concerto No. 3 (1800-1). Then, the orchestra will play out with the Symphony No. 5 (1808). Beethoven’s first movement alone is arguably the most iconic piece of music ever written, but its grandeur and might is matched by the three that follow as the orchestra soar to a staggering climax.
On the 20th of June, the series continues with its most tender and contemplative installment. Not that you would know it from the opening Egmont Overture
(1810), which abounds with exhilarating force to open up a world of valour. Then comes the Piano Concerto No. 4 (1805-6), whose keening beauty admidst musical complexity saw it championed by Mendelssohn after Beethoven’s death. The Symphony No. 6, or the Pastoral (1808), will round out the night with its luscious depiction of nature. This is a different sort of grandeur from the thunderous 5th, but perhaps even more compelling, with a finale that soars with exuberant bliss.
For their third and final appearance, on the 22nd, the Dresden Phil will play three pieces of the highest splendour, showing Beethoven at his most opulent. The Prometheus Overture (1801), though less famed than the Fidelio and Egmont, is equally dramatic, and serves as the perfect introduction to the Piano Concerto No. 5 (1809-10). Frequently accorded the greatest example of its genre, this – dubbed the ‘Emperor’ by its first British publisher – is a concerto as epic as any symphony. And then, the season closes with the Symphony No. 7 (1813), which overflows with invention and sparkle with melodies. Richard Wagner called it the ‘apotheosis of the dance’, and its sprightly sense of momentum cannot fail to captivate. The often excerpted ‘Allegretto’, with its yearning main theme, is just the tip of its charms – the other three movements have a vitality and ebullience that seldom fails to sweep the listener away. If you have time to visit Cadogan Hall for only a single night, this might be the one to choose.
Freddy Kempf was marked out for musical stardom at an early age – he was tutored by Ronald Smith from four, and when eight dazzled the Royal Festival Hall by leading the Royal Philharmonic in Mozart. Little surprise that he went onto when the National Mozart Prize and the BBC Young Musician of the Year; his third place position in the International Tchaikovsky Competition outraged even the staunchly nationalist Russian press, who called for him to be awarded first. This media attention helped bolster his career, with sell-out concerts around the world. Kempf has a vast repertoire for a concert pianist, and is feted for his ability to match impeccable musicianship with an intensity perfect for Beethoven. With an orchestra to match his talents, he is not to be missed.
|What||Dresden Philharmonic and Freddy Kempf Play Beethoven|
|Where||Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London , SW1X 9DQ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Sloane Square (underground)|
On 18 Jun 15, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
On 20 Jun 15, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
On 22 Jun 15, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|Website||Click here to book via Cadogan Hall’s website|