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Nelson Freire: Songs of Farewell

Southbank Centre: Queen Elizabeth HallBelvedere Road, London, Greater London, SE1 8XX, United Kingdom
Dates/times in London time zone
Tuesday 09 February 202119:30
Nelson FreirePiano

Pianist’s pianist Nelson Freire takes us from Beethoven’s music of despair to Wagner’s declaration of invincible love

In this recital, the softly spoken virtuoso brings us resignation, tenderness, veiled drama and radiant beauty.

As Vienna was bombarded in 1809, Beethoven cowered in his cellar with a pillow clasped to his ears. He also wrote a piano sonata bidding farewell to his evacuated friend and patron, Archduke Rudolphe.

‘Written from the heart,’ scribbled Beethoven above the sonata’s sheet music. The work starts in despair, searches for resignation and imagines the elation of unification.

Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde presents the most startling image of union in all art. In her Liebestod, the heroine Isolde consummates her love for Tristan by dying with him.

The piano transcription of Isolde’s final moments, made by the composer’s son-in-law Franz Liszt, channels the overwhelming intensity of the opera and its expression of the transcendental power of love.

In between, Brahms specialist Freire steps into the atmospheric world of the composer’s introspective early Ballades, brings us the striking colours of Debussy’s Préludes and offers up the tender song, rising like incense, that characterizes the haunting Nocturne by Poland’s sometime Prime Minister, Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

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