Lars Vogt appears in Music in the Round’s spring season

Lars Vogt, a true giant among present day pianists, represents a highly prestigious catch by Music in the Round for its spring season of concerts in Sheffield.

His career took of like proverbial rocket after being awarded second prize in the 1990 Leeds International Piano Competition and, in more recent years, has also taken to conducting.

A regular concerto soloist with all the world’s major orchestra and a much in demand recitalist, his talents for directing orchestras was recognised in September 2015 with his first orchestral post, music director at the Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Be that as it may, it will be Vogt and piano at the Crucible Studio on the 6th of February performing three pieces by Brahms: Three Intermezzi Op 117, Four Klavierstücke Op 119 and Variations on a Theme by Paganini Op 35.

Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata officially ends proceedings after a rarity in this neck if the country, piano music by Janáček, his fabulous four-movement suite In the Mists from 1912.

Another top flight pianist still rising in stature appears in the season (16th of March), Yevgeny Sudbin, an Anglo-Russian who offers a fairly eclectic programme to say the least.

A selection of sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (plenty to go at, over 600!), Beethoven’s Bagatelles Op 126, Chopin’s Ballade No 3, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture, arr Sudbin, and Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre, arr Sudbin.

A third set of visitors to the Studio is the Piatti Quartet (21st of March) – returnees, actually! The distinguished foursome was here in 2013 and has gone from strength to strength since.

On this occasion, the Piattas precede Beethoven’ s second Rasumovsky quartet (Op 59 No 2) with performances of Mendelssohn’s last string quartet, Op 80, and Frank Bridge’s Three Idylls.

Once upon time, Roderick Williams was a visiting guest until the eminent baritone was installed as Music in the Round’s first singer-in-residence.

He has tended to challenge convention in the role and he is certainly doing that on the 28th of February with pianist Andrew West and a programme headed ‘Shifting Perspective’ at nearby Upper Chapel.

How he intends getting away with singing Schumann’s song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben – Woman’s Love and Life, with words clearly uttered by a woman only he knows – simply assume the guise of a woman? !

There are precedents. The words were written by a man and the first performance of the cycle was sung by a baritone!

Also being performed is a new work by Sheffield-born composer and conductor Ryan Wigglesworth, plus songs by Brahms, Clara Schumann, Howells and Sally Beamish.

The remaining concerts in MitR’s spring season are in the capable hands of members of the world class Ensemble 360 beginning (19th of January) with the three who constitute the outstanding Leonore Piano Trio as they reach concert 7 of 8 taking in the complete Beethoven violin sonatas, cello sonatas and piano trios.

Something of a rarity here, Piano Trio Op 121a Kakadu Variations, plus 7 Variations on Bei Männern from Mozart’s Magic Flute, violin Sonata Op 30 No 3 and Violin Sonata Op 96.

The undervalued Josef Suk gets an outing (23rd of March) with his Piano Quintet Op 8 followed by the second piano quintet by his son-in-law Dvořák, Op 81, Mozart’s Piano Trio K 496 being the ‘warm up’ piece.

Tim Horton continues his look at Schubert’s late piano sonatas (6th of April) with D 850 (No 17), preceding it with the composer’s Four Impromptus D899 and Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales.

The remaining three Ensemble 360 concerts are at Upper Chapel, Adrian Wilson and Tim Horton (25th of January, 12.45pm) offering Poulenc’s Oboe Sonata, Britten’s Temporal Variations, Elgar’s Soliloquy and Saint-Saëns’ Oboe Sonata.

Naomi Atherton joins them (14th of February) for Reineke’s Trio for oboe, horn and piano Op 188 (he was a prolific chap!), two Schumann pieces: Thee Romances for oboe and piano Op 94 and Adagio & Allegro for horn and piano Op 70, before the Leonore Trio take over for the Brahms Piano Trio Op 8.

Rounding off the classical concerts in the season are Benjamin Nabarro and Tim Horton (22nd of February, 12.45pm) with violin sonatas by Mozart: No 24, K376 and Schumann: No 2.
All concerts begin at 7.15pm, except the two noted at Upper Chapel.