RENOWNED pianist Imogen Cooper returns to the concert hall in Reading in March, with a programme of works celebrating the life and loves of Schumann and his wife, Clara Wieck. The programme also includes works by Schubert and Brahms.
Recognised worldwide as a pianist of virtuosity and poetic poise, Imogen Cooper has established a reputation as one of the finest interpreters of the classical repertoire.
She said: “My selection of works in the first half of this programme stems from the closeness between Robert and Clara Schumann (née Wieck), and the loving influence that each had on the other.
“That each wrote a beautiful Romanze — no doubt with the other in mind — was irresistible. But so was finding the source of Robert’s material in the first movement of his great F# Minor Sonata, and this was none other than Clara’s imaginative Le Ballet des Revenants (translated as The Ballet of the Ghosts), a “scene fantastique” or fantastical scene from her early Quatre Pieces Caracteristiques.
“Note the element of the supernatural in the title. This, together with the idea of disguise, dreams, duality, madness, was Robert’s inner world, so richly portrayed in his greatest works.
“Brahms’ own arrangement of his String Sextet variations, made especially for Clara who loved the piece, is but a further link tying these three great 19th century musicians together and the fact that Schumann admired the deceased Schubert so much, at a time when Schubert’s star was not high, is in itself another loving tie between one great musician and another.”
The London-born pianist has a widespread international career and has appeared with the New York Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, among others. Cooper has also played with all the major British orchestras and has particularly close relationships with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia.
Her recital appearances have included performances in New York, Tokyo, Paris, Vienna, Prague and London.
* The concert takes place at Reading Concert Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading on Saturday, March 8. For tickets visit www.readingarts.com or call the box office on 0118 960 6060.