As part of their 40th Anniversary programme, the Queens Hall curated a classical evening of entertainment from Scottish pianist, Steven Osborne and world-renowned cellist, Alban Gerhardt, as they performed work from the likes of Brahms, Debussy and Ravel. On the 6th June, 1979, HM Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the venue and to commemorate they brought these two talented artists together to remind the audience about the vision the Queen’s Hall has always held.
Encouraging musicians from a young age to perform, the Queen’s Hall sees its role for nurturing and educating just as significant as entertaining crowds, and by fusing these two artists together, from differing backgrounds, the Queen’s Hall reminds us of their learning capacity. There is really nothing better than collaborating with artists from different disciplines, as it challenges methods, and processes, encouraging development.
Alban Gerhardt has, for twenty-five years, made an intense impact on audiences worldwide with his compelling stage presence. His ability to shed fresh light on familiar scores, along with his appetite for investigating new repertoire from centuries past and present, truly set him apart from his peers. Highlights of the 2018/19 season include the premiere of a new concerto by Brett Dean with Sydney Symphony Orchestra (David Robertson) and Berliner Philharmoniker (Sakari Oramo), and concerts with Hong Kong Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, and WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln under Jukka-Pekka Saraste, with whom he will record both Shostakovich concertos.
Steven Osborne is not only treasured here in Scotland but is in fact one of Britain’s most esteemed musicians, whose insightful interpretations of diverse repertoire show an immense musical depth. His awards include The Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year (2013) and two Gramophone Awards. His residences at London’s Wigmore Hall, Antwerp’s deSingel, the Bath International Music Festival and most recently with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra are indicative of the respect he has gained in his field. It’s more than evident that Gerhardt and Osborne are both renowned in their game, but working collaboratively offer an interestingly unique take on their work.
The performance started simple but fluidly evolved into performances of complex evocative compositions. Clearly well-rehearsed, the two appear to gel immensely for two with such dominating instruments. There was a variety to style also, the cellist occasionally plucking his strings like we’re in some jazz bar. Occasionally listening to wavering passionately emotive, solo piano Steven’s playing is so sublime. Simply witnessing the fluid flow of his hands, as he performs with grace, makes the night more pleasing, deceptively alluding us to believe piano-playing is rather simple. And with a second half more delicate and tender in performance than the rigorous first, there is a showcasing of quality this evening almost impossible to miss.