Portrait of The Composer - Chopin in Glasgow
- Carol Main
- 17 February 2011
Chopin retrospective includes recital of pieces from composer's 1848 tour of Scotland
As part of Svend Brown’s remarkable vision in his first season as artistic director of Glasgow’s Concert Halls, the Portrait of the Composer series is one that stands out. Throwing fresh light on the work and lives of some of Europe’s greatest composers, the series has so far provided fascinating insights into Bach and James Dillon and now turns to Chopin in the 200th anniversary year of his birth. ‘Basically, we want to give audiences options,’ says Brown. ‘You can just come along to the concerts to hear some of the finest pianists in the world perform wonderful music, but if you want more, there’s also a chance to learn about Chopin’s personal experience of performing.’
Chopin was one of the early 19th century’s virtuoso stars, performing in Glasgow and Edinburgh as part of a foggy, damp tour of Scotland in 1848, the year before he died. Following in his footsteps over 160 years later are pianists Elizabeth Leonskaja (pictured), an Edinburgh Festival favourite, Boris Giltburg and Aleksandar Madzar plus Louis Lortie in the same recital. ‘We have four of the world’s finest Chopinistes playing the widest range of repertoire to represent his work,’ says Brown. ‘Without any fear of hyperbole I can put my hand on my heart and say that they are all highlights. Leonskaja is a particularly mesmerising musician. There’s no messing, no glitz and showbiz – she just sits down, plays and an hour has passed.’
In terms of repertoire, there’s the full range of waltzes, ballades, preludes and etudes with all their ‘sheer beauty, passion, sorrow, love, death, dance and suffering. Nothing is missing,’ says Brown. Apart from the concerts, the series also features writer Janice Galloway In Conversation, an exploration of the Romantic age of great 19th century pianists.
Various venues, Glasgow, Thu 9–Sun 12 Dec