Majesty and melody open our return season at our Bedford residency as we welcome back conductor Xian Zhang with soloist Alina Ibragimova.
Opening our 21/22 season in spectacular fashion, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto is a joyous celebration of the instrument. The solo violin enters quietly, spinning a celestial melody high above the orchestra, growing ever more virtuosic as the music progresses. In the delicate second movement Beethoven showcases the violin’s unmatched emotional quality balanced against a subtle, lonely accompaniment – while the third movement springs to live with drama and fire. And who better to bring Beethoven’s showpiece work to life than the versatile violinist Alina Ibragimova: “Darkly meditative one moment, febrile with passion the next, she presses ahead with characteristic freshness and muscular force, and never disappoints” (The Times).
Making her return to Bedford, conductor Xian Zhang appears on the Corn Exchange stage for the first time since her acclaimed sold out concert of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in 2019. Tonight, she leads us in a performance of a piece that ranks among audience favourites across the world. Smetana’s vivid musical painting of the Moldau river, from bubbling flutes at the opening to the broad melody as the river sweeps through Prague, captures the imagination in the opening movement of Ma Vlást. Celebrating his homeland, the work is proudly filled with the sounds of Bohemia, whether in the legend of the heroic Czech warrior Šárka or the mystery of Blaník, the mountain where the stories tell of a sleeping army that waits to awaken only in Czechia’s gravest hour. Smetana’s irresistible optimism makes for the perfect finale to our comeback performance in Bedford – as we too look with optimism to a future of live concerts once more.
Need to know
Prices & Discounts
£14 – £38
Multi-buy offer available; under-16s and concession discounts available
1 hour 50 minutes, including 20-minute interval
Philharmonia box office: 0800 652 6717