2017 /18 Sheffield International Concert Season – 2

Music by Delius puts in a relatively rare appearance when the Sheffield International Concert Season resumes at the City Hall after the holiday break on the 19th of January.

It’s all the more rare, as it is not entirely predictable – Walk to the Paradise Garden (which happens to be a pub!), for instance! – but, Paris: The Song of a Great City.

It could be described a tone poem, but Delius called it a Nocturne, a 20-odd minute work of impressions encountered while walking round the French capital at night and not always nocturnal in the accepted sense.

Elsewhere at the concert, exceptional American cellist Alisa Wellerstein is the soloist in Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No 1 and Sir Mark Elder leads the Hallé round Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in Ravel’s orchestration.

The same orchestra and conductor also end the season (25th of May) with Dvořák’s Symphony No 7 after the highly rated Chinese-born pianist Hong Xu has got his fingers round Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 18. The concert begins with Elgar’s Overture: In the South.

In between, the highlight is surely a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No 2, the Resurrection symphony (5th of May) from the Bruckner Orchestra of Linz, so named after Linz’s most famous son, Anton Bruckner, and the orchestra’s principal conductor Markus Poschner.

Choral forces involved are the combined Sheffield Philharmonic and Leeds Philharmonic choruses.

Another date to underline diaries is the 16th of March when the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra finds its way back to Sheffield with its fairly recently installed new music director Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla.

Ukrainian-born and a hot tip for a major career, the CSBO will be hoping it can hang on to her longer than it did fellow embryo baton genius Andris Nelsons a few years back!

A further attraction at the concert which begins and ends with Debussy: Children’s Corner and La Mer, is the renowned Rudolf Buchbinder performing Schumann’s Piano Concerto; Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Winds in its 1947 orchestration making up the proceedings.

An all-Russian programme is offered (3rd of March) by the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra under one Russia’s leading conductors, Valery Polyansky: Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No 1 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 4.

Alexander Sitkovetsky, no less, is the soloist in the Prokofiev and a young German virtuoso, Augustin Hadelich, plays a much better known violin concerto, by Mendelssohn at one of two further concerts (20th of April) from the Hallé.

Book-ending the Mendelssohn are Wagner’s Prelude to Act One of The Mastersingers and the Symphony No 1 by Brahms, with one the country’s brightest conducting talents, Nicholas Collon, on the podium.

Jonathon Hayward, Mark Elder’s assistant at Hallé, takes charge of the other (16th of February) at which the orchestra’s principal horn player Laurence Rogers is the soloist in the Horn Concerto No 1 by Richard Strauss.

A ‘selection’ from Grieg’s Peer Gynt and the Symphony No 2 by Sibelius make up the concert leaving one to be accounted for, from the Manchester Camerata and Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus taking in the popular and increasingly ubiquitous Mozart Requiem (3rd of February).

Before its solemn opening chords are heard, Mozart’s far more optimistic Linz Symphony (No 36) get an outing after Arvo Pärt’s Da Pacem Domine (Give Peace, Lord) in its version for voices and string orchestra. Jean-Claude Picard is the conductor.

Further information at www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk