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LIVE: Conductor Edward Gardner at the rostrum of London Philharmonic Orchestra

Monday, 30 January 2023 , ora 10.43

The London Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Edward Gardner are offering us British music in the concert that will take place on Wednesday, January 25th at the Royal Festival Hall in London, also broadcast live on our frequencies through the European Broadcasting Union. The choice of the repertoire is not surprising, considering the well-known endeavour of the English conductor to promote, both on the home stage and on European stages, the music composed by local composers. Specifically, the concert will begin with a piece that the London audience will listen to for the first time, the "Solemn Prelude" by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a black composer and conductor born in London in 1875, who was supported at the beginning of his career by Sir Edward Elgar and the critic and publisher August Johannes Jaeger, who considered him a genius. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor only lived for 37 years, he visited the United States of America three times,there he was received as a hero and called the African "Mahler". In his first tour, in 1904, he had the rare privilege for a mixed-race artist to be invited to the White House by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The evening's repertoire also includes Michael Tippett's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, completed in 1955, a piece with an extremely interesting background too. In 1950, in one of his rehearsals as a soloist of the Concerto no. 4 for piano and orchestra by Ludwig van Beethoven, the composer declared himself inspired by the pianist Walter Gieseking. Beethoven and his own musical work "The Midsummer Marriage" on which Michael Tippett worked in parallel, were the structural roots of this concerto, whose soloist will be Steven Osborne, one of the most valuable pianists of the moment in England. Of Scottish origin, Osborne became internationally known after winning the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in 1991. His artistic experience includes concerts and tours with prestigious orchestras on three continents, chamber recitals, over 30 albums released under the Hyperion label, as well as being awarded, by the London Royal Philharmonic Society, in 2013, the title of the instrumentalist of the year.

The last part of the concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London is dedicated to Sir Edward Elgar's Symphony No. 1 in A-flat major, according to the press comments of the time - "an immediate and phenomenal success". I am referring to the first performance of it on December 3rd, 1908, when Hans Richter conducted the Hallé Orchestra, followed four days later by the premiere in London, with the same Hans Richter, to whom Elgar dedicated this symphony, at the rostrum of the London Symphony Orchestra. It is an opus very often (I would say proudly) performed in concerts and equally often recorded on disc, a first album dating back to 1931, when the composer conducted the same London Symphony Orchestra. It immediately attracted the international attention as well, the symphony being immediately presented in New York, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Leipzig, Chicago, Boston and Toronto. The same persistence in promoting this Symphony by Edward Elgar appears from the 80s to the present day, with the most representative names of conductors offering versions often compared and adulated by the most discerning of music lovers. Edward Gardner joins this pleiad, (Bernard Haitink, André Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Constantin Silvestri, Leonard Slatkin, Daniel Barenboim), at the rostrum of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, in a surely unforgettable concert, broadcast live on Radio România Muzical, on Wednesday, January 25th, from 9.30 p.m.

Marina Nedelcu
Translated by Ecaterina Bucovanu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu