Alexander Shelley & Herbert Schuch (piano)
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Ein Sommernachtstraum, op. 21, (Scherzo ; Nocturne ; Hochzeitsmarsch)
Robert Schumann, Konzert für Klavier und Orchester in a-moll, op. 54
Dmitry Shostakovich, Hamlet Incidental Music, op. 32 (1932)
Richard Strauss, Macbeth, TrV 163, op. 23
Of Direst Cruelty - Shakespeare in concert
The scampering feet of impatient fairies can be heard in the Overture of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When Mendelssohn first read Shakespeare’s play, the seventeen-year-old composer was so enthusiastic that he wrote a concert overture full of the most fantastic effects.
Dreams deteriorate into nightmares. The evil that lurks in all of us awakens. A wandering castle ghost reveals to Hamlet his father's murderer. The young prince is intent on revenge. In 1932 a young Shostakovich was asked to compose the music to a staged version of Hamlet. The theatre debut of Nikolaj Akimov, in which Ophelia appeared on stage as a drunk prostitute and Hamlet was portrayed as an exuberant bon vivant, developed into a national scandal. Although critics' opinions varied significantly, they all agreed on one thing: Shostakovich’s music was by far the best thing about it.
Macbeth is the least frequently performed of Strauss’ symphonic poems. Craving power, General Macbeth - heavily influenced by his wife - causes a bloodbath in order to achieve his ambitions. Lady Macbeth: “Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe topful / Of direst cruelty!” Shakespeare’s direst cruelties are in good hands with piano virtuoso Herbert Schuch - winner of the London International Piano Competition -and maestro Alexander Shelley.
The pianist Herbert Schuch has gained a reputation as being among the most interesting musicians of his generation with his strikingly conceived concert programmes and CD