2016-2017 Sheffield International Concert Season

A number of nuggets are sprinkled across the 2016-2017 Sheffield International Concert Season, which gets underway at the City Hall on the 30th of September.

You could say that a Hallé concert conducted by James Burton (4th November) contains four in one evening: Bax’s Tintagel, Elgar’s The Spirit of England, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and Vaughan Williams’s Toward the Unknown Region.

The outstandingly versatile Elizabeth Atherton is the soprano soloist in the Barber and Elgar pieces with the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus joining her for the latter before getting its collective thorax round the Vaughan Williams.

Preceded by Haydn’s Drum Roll Symphony, the Phil is again on duty (6th May) for Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time, directed by the Hallé’s principal guest conductor, Sheffield-born and brought-up Ryan Wigglesworth who is on the podium at two concerts in the season.

The other (17th March) sees the return of Elizabeth Watts to the city where she cut her singing teeth before going on to international stardom as the soprano soloist in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, as well as offering some unspecified orchestral songs by Richard Strauss after The Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss.

Sir Mark Elder, the Hallé’s music director, also conducts two concerts, including the opening one (30th September) taking in Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto with highly noted young British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor and Dvořák’s smashing symphonic tone poem The Golden Spinning Wheel.

The second (21st April) features Elgar’s First Symphony, the second performance of a symphony by Huw Watkins and a dramatised account of Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.

A sixth Hallé concert in the season (4th February) is conducted by a Spaniard, Pablo González and appropriately includes Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole with the young Spanish violin virtuoso Leticia Moreno, plus the Second Brahms Symphony and Ravel’s Pavane pour une infanta défuncte.

Two Moscow orchestras pay a visit. The Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra (formerly Radio Symphony Orchestra) performs the composer’s Pathetique Symphony and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances (21st October) with the Sibelius Violin Concerto from Jennifer Pike separating them.

The Moscow Philharmonic and its eminent music director Yuri Simonov end the season (26th May) with Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony after partnering Freddy Kempf in Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto and performing two orchestral pieces from Mussorgsky’s opera Khovanshchina.

The Bergen Philharmonic play a mainly English programme of Wagner’s Rienzi Overture, Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Walton’s First Symphony (19th January) under the direction of its English principal conductor Edward Gardner. The soloist in the Elgar is Norwegian, though – Truls Mørk, no less!

The English Chamber Orchestra and violinist Stephanie Gonley offer an audience-friendly affair (26th November) of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola, Barber’s Adagio for strings, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for strings and, less familiar, Haydn’s 49th Symphony, La Passione.

With Howard Shelley conductor and soloist, the London Mozart Players (24th February) are in similarly undemanding realms with Elgar’s Serenade for strings, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 17 and Symphony No 40, plus Britten’s Simple Symphony.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra return (8th April) with Sibelius: Karelia, Rachmaninov: First Piano Concerto played by Natasha Paremski, and Tchaikovsky: a Swan Lake Concert Suite, which should be straight up the street of Barry Wordsworth as the one-time music director, now principal guest conductor of the Royal Ballet.

Further information at www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk


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