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Expect musical fireworks.

Byline: VAL JAVIN

EXPECT an epic concert with explosive performances as the Orchestra of Opera North signs off its current season in Huddersfield. "This is no 20-20 cricket match this is a full five day Test match," said Dougie Scarfe, concerts director for Opera North.

What he seems to be signalling is a delight in a powerful exciting and absorbing programme of music with which to end what has been another successful season for the orchestra in Huddersfield.

There will be powerful music by Brahms and Shostakovich from an orchestra in top form.

Add to that the presence of two star performers - conductor Richard Farnes and pianist Steven Osborne and the odds are on a memorable concert.

Charismatic conductor Richard Farnes is no stranger to the Orchestra of Opera North or to audiences in Huddersfield for whom he is something of a favourite. Richard has been music director of Opera North for six years and has quickly established himself as one of the UK's leading operatic conductors. Today he is much in demand to conduct the big name opera companies and orchestras across the country. That means the Royal Opera House, English National Opera and Scottish Opera.

Pianist Steven Osborne has performed with orchestras all over the world, including NHK Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic and Berlin Symphony.

Born in Scotland in 1971, Steven Osborne studied with Richard Beauchamp at St Mary's Music School in Edinburgh and Renna Kellaway at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

He won first prize at the Naumburg International Piano Competition (New York) and the Clara Haskil Competition.

Steven has received critical praise for his recordings and won many awards. This a much anticipated concert with top talents playing some of the most powerful pieces in the classical repertoire.

When he plays the Brahms Piano Concerto No 2 in B Steven will be following in the footsteps of the composer.

The first time that the piece was heard was when Brahms himself played it at a private concert in Meiningen in October 1881.

He was also the pianist for the public premiere, in Budapest, on November 9 of that same year.

This has long been a classical favourite with its four movements scored for a full orchestra.

Brahms is said to have dedicated the piece to his piano teacher, German pianist and composer Eduard Marxsen. The concert will also feature Shostakovich's monumental Tenth Symphony. This is a hugely emotional piece written in the Fifties by a composer who had lived and worked under the dictatorship of Stalin.

Shostakovich was one of many who fell foul of Stalin's ideas and had his work condemned by the regime.

But this great composer survived and his Symphony No.10 in A expressed not just some of the emotional intensity of living under dictatorship but offered notes of hope that a change in the political climate might be around the corner. Some say that Stalin himself is depicted by the ferocity of some of the music and that the triumphant finale is the composer, who died in 1975, expressing his own relief at having survived the Stalin era.

Powerful emotions then in what Kirklees Borough organist Dr Gordon Stewart, who is closely involved in shaping the concert series, describes as "one of my favourite pieces."

There will be the regular pre-concert discussion in the main hall at 6.40pm for concert-goers to gain an extra insight into the evening's performance. Tickets are pounds 7-pounds 21.50 (plus concessions) from Kirklees Booking Offices, ticket hotline: 01484 223200.

The concert is on Thursday May 20 and begins at 7.30pm.

Plans are being made for pre-season talks about next winter's concert series both in Huddersfield and Dewsbury and dates for those events are expected to be announced soon.

val.javin@examiner.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

* KEY PERFORMER: Award-winning classical pianist Steven Osborne helps provide the end of series musical fireworks at Huddersfield Town Hall later this month
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 7, 2010
Words:658
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