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Stephen Hough plays Beethoven | Philharmonia Orchestra

Thursday May 4, 2023 at 19:30
Royal Festival Hall, London
£15-£70; multi-buy offer available; under 18s and concessions discounts available; discounted tickets for students via Student Pulse (limited availability)
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  1. The Swan of Tuonela, from Legends, 'Lemminkainen Suite' Op 22 - Jean Sibelius
  2. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No 3 in C minor Op 37 - Ludwig van Beethoven
  3. Symphony No 4, 'The Inextinguishable' Op 29 - Carl Nielsen

Sir Stephen Hough plays Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, ahead of Nielsen’s glorious evocation of “the spirit of life”.

According to Stephen Hough, music is “not just the icing on the cake. It’s the cake itself. It’s human life.” Hough was knighted in 2022 for Services to Music. He’s a thoughtful musician, and a gifted communicator – qualities well suited to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 3. Its deeply felt slow movement is among Beethoven’s most moving creations.

Human life is the subject matter for Danish composer Carl Nielsen too. In his own programme note for his Fourth Symphony, premiered in 1916, he explains that it deals with nothing less than “the elemental will to live”. His music is full of life-affirming energy – not least the hair-raising timpani battle in the final movement. In The Guardian’s 50 Greatest Symphonies series, Tom Service writes: “A performance of the Inextinguishable should leave you battered yet uplifted, dazed but thrilled.”

Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road

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