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Watch on demand: Stephen Hough plays Mendelssohn

Stephen Hough on stage at the Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia Orchestra


Anna-Maria Helsing – conductor
Stephen Hough – piano


Jessie Montgomery Strum

Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1

Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4, Italian

Mendelssohn spent ten months travelling through Italy in his early twenties. The sunshine, the landscape, the cities and the people delighted him, and luckily for us he distilled all that youthful delight into his Italian Symphony. The music he once described as “blue sky in A major” evokes some of the scenes that made such an impression on him – bright expanses of countryside, dignified religious processions, and hurtling peasant dances.

“[S]ome things in the coronavirus age stay the same. One is the dependability of the Philharmonia Orchestra, guaranteed under any conductor to offer string playing with the velvet touch and characterful burblings from the winds.”

Geoff Brown, The Times

Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto was also written after his Italian trip, and he gave the first performance himself. In music full of fiery virtuosity, Mendelssohn makes the most of the latest developments in piano-building, showing off the increased volume and range of his instrument. Soloist Stephen Hough is a musician at the very summit of his profession, ‘a physical and intellectual pianistic powerhouse.’ (Glasgow Herald)

To open, Anna-Maria Helsing conducts an exuberant work for strings by New York composer Jessie Montgomery – “a handful of American folk melodies tossed into a strong wind, cascading and tumbling joyfully around one another” (Washington Post).

Need to know

Prices and discounts


Running time

75 minutes

Programme notes

Read the full programme notes here

How to book

Tickets are available via TicketCo. Full details on the Buy Access link above

How long is this available for?

This concert is available until May 2021. You have 28 days to watch after buying access

When was this broadcast?

This concert took place on Monday 30 November 2020 at Royal Festival Hall

Was it produced safely?

Yes. We work with independent health and safety experts and have robust risk assessment procedures in place drawing from Public Health England advice

More on this


Preview: MENDELSSOHN Piano Concerto No. 1 – I. Molto allegro con fuoco

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