Saturday, 19 May 2012 - 7:30pm

This is a concert programme built around the works of one of the most popular Russian composers of the 20th century. Rachmaninov was considered to be one of the finest pianists of his time and his works for piano reflect his passion for the instrument as well as his extraordinary talent for expansive and romantic composition. Mentored in his youth by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov was deeply affected by his death and spent several years suffering from depression, composing very little.

Before composing his second piano concerto, he underwent autosuggestive therapy with psychologist Nikolai Dahl, to whom the concerto played tonight is dedicated. His writing for voice is equally impressive and audiences love both Vespers and The Bells, which feature in this performance.


Jeremy Backhouse conducts Vivace Chorus, Brandenburg Sinfonia with Francis Pott (piano).


Vespers (5 extracts)
Piano Concerto No. 2
The Bells
, Op 18

The setting of Guildford Cathedral is perfect for this programme of pure Rachmaninov, where you can lose yourself in the romance of the Piano Concerto No. 2 and in the beautiful choral tones of the Vespers and The Bells.

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View from the Podium

Gill Perkins talks to Jeremy Backhouse and Francis Pott about Rachmaninov's favourite choral pieces and his huge hands...

The soloists

We are privileged to have four superb soloists performing with us at the Rachmaninov concert.

The soloist for the 2nd Piano Concerto is Francis Pott.

For the Bells, we are joined by Sara Lian Owen, Gareth John (both sponsored by the Josephine Baker Trust) and Edward Hughes.

Rachmaninov - Review

An all Rachmaninov programme might seem over the top - cream on ice cream. But the programme was compiled to give us a good range of Rachmaninov’s work and – as the excellent pre-concert talk by Francis Pott pointed out – there is a great diversity in his oeuvre. There is much more than gloominess, and lyrical melancholy. Rachmaninov had good reason to eschew cheerfulness as a result of catastrophic reviews of some of his early works and the struggle to live outside Russia following the revolution. But he could find great fun in playing with his children.

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