Barbican Centre, London
Two symphonies written 50 years apart, and perfectly complementary, bookend two great French works for piano and orchestra played by a master.
César Franck’s once hugely popular Symphonic Variations are paired with Ravel’s inventive Concerto for the Left Hand, both works played by the award-winning Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, a pianist with an innate and wonderfully natural feeling for French music.
They form the heart of a programme that opens with Florent Schmitt’s last work, his Second Symphony of 1957, a piece of luxuriant orchestration with a battery of percussion – a captivating follow-up to last season’s performance of Schmitt’s incidental music for Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Sibelius’s Third makes a perfect complement to the Francophone tone of the programme, a work of almost classical poise and scale; another staging post in Sakari Oramo’s Sibelius symphony cycle.
Symphony no. 2, op. 137
Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
Symphony No 3 in C major
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo conductor
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet piano