Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique was the inspiration for Anna Clyne's Stride which opened the concert. She has taken fragments from each of Beethoven's three movements and developed them to give a thoroughly comfortable and satisfying work. The title Stride relates to the octave leaps in the first of Sonata Pathétique's movements.
The grand piano was brought forward for Nelson Goerner and Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. It was immediately clear that we were hearing a wise and mature pianist showing us how it is done. We watched the evening's conductor Anja Bihlmaier keep her eye on the pianist because it seeemed it was he who was making the measured pace.
Unusually, and with all credit to compère Ursula Heidecker Allen, both conductor and soloist were with us for the pre concert talk. Firstly Nelson Goerner talking about his youth in Argentina and the scholarship that took him to Geneva where he has lived ever since. Then Anja Bihlmaier on her roots in Southern Germany and this, her first experience of the RSNO. A fascinating twenty minutes.
We learned that Anja Bihlmaier, when asked to come and conduct, chose Dvorák's Eighth as the symphony to complete the concert. Her conducting style was impressive; I hope the Orchestra thought the same because it was an inspiring and uplifting performance. Not surprising it was such a hit when first performed in Prague in 1890.
Event: Friday 10th November 2023 at 7.30pm