Friday 24 April saw the culmination of the Ravel & Rachmaninov Festival at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, as pianists Noriko Ogawa and Peter Donohoe joined forces with Martin Roscoe and Kathryn Stott for a stunning concert with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Andrew Gourlay.
Curated by Noriko, the Ravel & Rachmaninov Festival ran from 31 March to 24 April, with a range of talks, workshops and concerts from world-class pianists, exploring some of the most beautiful and difficult music ever written for the piano.
The festival kicked off with a recital by Peter Donohoe, featured live on BBC Radio 3, which included Ravel’s Miroirs and Rachmaninov’s 13 Preludes Op. 32.
This was followed by a series of performances by Noriko Ogawa, who is Associate Artist at Bridgewater Hall. On 17 April she performed a ‘Fairy Tales & Magical Stories’ concert for children and families, followed by a recital on 19 April which included a newly commissioned work modelled on Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin by six composers – including Steven Hough and Cecelia MsDowell. Noriko then gave a ‘Jamie’s Concert‘ on 22 April, designed for parents and carers of children with autism.
On Thursday 23 April Noriko joined Peter Donohoe for a joint lunchtime recital which included the two-piano version of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, presented by Manchester Mid-day concerts.
“We heard the varied evocations of [Ravel’s] music brought to life with delicacy, clarity and dazzling virtuosity… When it came to the Rachmaninov, I was struck by the maturity and masterly precision so audible in his playing now, alongside the brilliance and imagination that always were there in abundance.” Manchester Evening News on Peter’s recital on 31 March
“Each a wonderful soloist, together they are astounding, their telepathic unanimity night unbelievable.” Robert Beale on Noriko and Peter’s joint concert on 23 April
“Ogawa herself was first up, presenting a sinuous and delicate reading of Ravel’s G major Concerto in which the slow movement particularly seemed to weep and sing.” The Guardian on Noriko’s 24 April performance
“Peter Donohoe, as the most physically imposing of the four soloists, yet demonstrated the lightest touch: his gossamer treatment of the 18th variation of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was a pianistic lullaby.” The Guardian on Peter’s 24 April performance
“For lovers of the piano at its most brilliant, it was sheer heaven.” Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News on the 24th April concert