Another classic concert this week. This time featuring the celebrated Russian conductor Rudolf Barshai, leading his Bournemouth Symphony in music of Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. He is joined by pianist Philip Fowke in Prokofiev’s Piano concerto Number 1.
Rudolf Barshai was a well-regarded and admired interpreter of the music of Shostakovich and Prokofiev. But he was also a highly talented Violist, who was a founding member of the legendary Borodin String Quartet in 1943 and stayed with the ensemble until 1953.
Barshai also founded the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and was with them until his defection to the West in 1977. It was during this time that his reputation as a conductor of considerable merit was discovered in the West. Prior to that, he was a well-kept secret by many collectors of Russian recordings, particularly those of the early Borodin String Quartet.
First becoming Artistic Director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Barshai then went to Canada where he became Chief Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony as well as Principle guest conductor of Orchestra National de France. In 1982 (a year before this concert was recorded), Barshai became Principle Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony and enjoyed a 6 year run with the orchestra.
In addition to his many appearances as guest conductor, Rudolf Barshai also enjoyed a healthy recording career, with a sizable number of European recordings which went on to received considerable praise from critics and popularity with audiences alike.
His is joined by British pianist Philip Fowke who made his debut in Wigmore Hall in 1974. Like Barshai, he has been a frequent guest artist with Orchestras all over the world as well as a celebrated solo career. Fowke was a close associate of the noted Russian Pianist Shura Cherkassky and has frequently given lectures about Cherkassky’s playing and technique. With a sizable recorded output, Philip Fowke, like Rudolf Barshai, has enjoyed high praise from critics and awards for his many recordings.
The concert consists of – Prokofiev’s Symphony Number 1 – followed by Piano Concerto Number 1 and ending with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Number 6 “Pathetique”.
All around highly recognizable Russian concert – still good to smooth out the jangled nerves. Trust me.