The Israeli instrumentalist Pinchas Zukerman is both soloist and conductor at the opening concert on 7 February, playing Beethoven's exhilarating Violin Concerto in an all-Beethoven programme that ends with the composer's Symphony No 7. Beethoven himself considered the symphony one of his best, and in an unusually successful first performance in 1813, the second movement had to be encored to satisfy the audience.
Marin Alsop conducts the RPO on 27 February, when the ever-popular and lyrical Mendelssohn Violin Concerto features the French soloist Renaud Capuçon. The symphony is Shostakovich's mighty and defiant No 7, the Leningrad, in which the siege of the composer's own city by the Nazis and the heroism of its people was commemorated in music. First performed in 1942, it was relayed across the city by loudspeaker in defiance of the occupying troops. Subsequent performances since are invariably moving and impressive events.
Grieg's Piano Concerto, with the distinguished Elisabeth Leonskaja as soloist, is the familiar centrepiece of the concert on 7 March, when Charles Dutoit, celebrating his 80th birthday as the RPO celebrates its 70th, also conducts Prokofiev's jaunty Symphony No 5. The evening starts with the colourful overture to Berlioz's opera Benvenuto Cellini.
For Verdi's Requiem on 13 April, the orchestra is joined by soloists and the Bach Choir. Vasily Petrenko conducts the operatic work that was written in honour of the Italian composer's countrymen, the poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni, who died in 1873, and which was first performed a year later. It was not the composer's first attempt at a requiem – he had been involved with others in a project to write a requiem for the operatic composer Rossini, but that was abandoned at the 11th hour.
The Czech composer Antonin Dvorak was director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City for three years, and during his time in the United States he developed a great interest in the local music and affection for his adopted country. His Symphony No 9, From the New World, contains the essence of both his upbringing and his new land and is loved for its sweeping melodies. It is played by the RPO under Charles Dutoit on 19 April, when Vadim Repin is the soloist in Prokofiev's brilliant Violin Concerto No 2.
The RPO/RFH series ends on 6 June with Walton's sweeping Symphony No 1, first performed in 1934, and the dramatic Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 2, played by John Lill, Tadaaki Otaka conducting.
It's a great series and there are special deals for Friends of the RPO, whose support also underpins the orchestra's work in the community. Click here for more details.
|What||Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall|
|Where||Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX | MAP|
07 Feb 17 – 06 Jun 17, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|Price||£10 - £50|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|