West Road Concert Hall
Sat 4 December
City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra

CCSO Concert with Aaron Kurz (piano)

Malcolm Arnold The Sound Barrier: Rhapsody; Prokofiev Piano concerto no.3; Ruth Gipps Symphony no.4

Malcolm Arnold used his music for ‘The Sound Barrier’ as the basis for the Rhapsody to be performed in this concert. The piece is archetypical Arnold: brilliant colours and orchestration, lots of drama, provoking thoughts about the triumphs of dare-devil pilots and the tragedy of those who lost their lives in a quest for ever-faster flight.

Serge Prokofiev was an outstanding pianist who premiered his six piano concertos himself, the third of which features in this programme. After a somewhat lukewarm reception at its premiere, the work has won increasing admiration and is now considered the favourite. A feature of all Prokofiev’s piano concertos is the virtuoso writing for the soloist. The soloist in this performance is Aaron Kurz, who gave a talk to a CCSO audience earlier this year on the topic of approaching the virtuoso piano repertoire. The music is peppered with fine solo moments for almost all departments of the orchestra, lending the work extra character and lustre.

Ruth Gipps was a multi-talented oboist, conductor and composer, who never let up in her battle with apparent prejudice against female composers. A pupil of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gordon Jacob, she developed a personal ‘voice’ that deserves our attention in what we hope is a more enlightened age. She regarded her four symphonies to be her major achievement. The fourth, which is now played more often than the others, is the treat that rounds off this concert. Gipps’s style is regarded as being particularly approachable: pastoral rather than avant garde but still gritty, expressive and purposeful. Her mastery of orchestration, form and compositional detail lends her symphonic writing delightful colour and subtlety.

Conductor Robert Hodge


Sat 4 December at 7:30pm


90 minutes


West Road Concert Hall


£18; £16 (concessions); £8 (students); £5 (children)


4 December 7:30pm – 9:00pm approx 7:30pm – 9:00pm approx Book now