"Truly a remarkable pianist..."The Times
'truly a remarkable pianist...'The Times
International Concert Pianist & Recording Artist
Mark Bebbington has fast emerged as one of Britain’s most distinctive and innovative pianists. Internationally acclaimed for his performances and recordings, Mark has recently toured Europe with the Czech National Orchestra and Israel with the Israel Camerata. Mark also performs as a soloist in the US and UK with the Buffalo Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras.
—NEWS & REVIEWS—
On 23rd April, Mark will perform at the inaugural Harrow Music Festival hosted by St George’s, Headstone.
This new annual festival was suggested by Steinway artist Margaret Fingerhut following her concert in 2015 celebrating St George’s acquisition of the original main performance instrument at the City’s LSO St Luke’s. This exceptional Hamburg Steinway D concert grand has been played by many of the world’s leading pianists.
Mark’s concert programme will feature works by Robert Matthew-Walker, Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Ireland and Frederick Delius. Mark will also be joined in the concert by the pianist Irene Loh for a performance of Peter Warlock’s transcription of Delius’ ‘On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring’.
St George’s Day, 23 April, 7.30 pm, St George’s Church, HA1 4RJ.
Tickets are available here.
The piano concertos by Grieg and Delius recorded together on disc for the first time.
An evergreen masterpiece, an under-appreciated jewel and a great ‘what might have been’ – pianist Mark Bebbington and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jan Latham Koenig explore the personal and musical connections between Edvard Grieg and Frederick Delius for Somm Recordings.
Heard together on disc for the first time, the Piano Concertos by Grieg and Delius reveal the full extent of the composers’ friendship and mutual admiration. Their music seems to share and exalt in ideals of beauty and tone, scale and sentiment to produce a consummate and complementary coupling.
Composed in 1868, Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor has become one of the cornerstones of the repertoire. Its famous opening timpani roll heralds a ravishing display of virtuosity lit up by the melting melody at the heart of an immediately recognisable masterpiece.
Also in a minor key, Delius’s C minor Piano Concerto was inspired by a performance of Grieg’s Concerto in London in 1888. Grieg’s gifting of a copy of the score to Delius spurred him on to write his own Concerto. It was not easily realised, a first draft in 1897 was followed by two further revisions over the next decade before the final version heard here in a rare appearance on disc.
Grieg’s mooted Second Piano Concerto was never completed, but the 150 bars he did sketch hint at what might have been. Robert Matthew-Walker has fashioned the existing material – in various stages of completion and detail – into a coherent single movement to give, for the very first time, the clearest indication of what Grieg had in mind for a work left tantalisingly unfinished. Both this and the solo piano version – also arranged by Robert Matthew-Walker – receive their premiere recordings here.
Completing the disc are Delius’s Three Preludes for solo piano and Peter Warlock’s transcription for piano duet – with Bebbington joined by the young up-and-coming Malaysian pianist Irene Loh – of Delius’s most famous orchestralminiature, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring.
Bebbington said: ‘It is fascinating to see and hear what was in Grieg’s mind as he embarked on this second concerto; certainly the jaunty opening idea shares a similar character to the main Allegro theme of the A minor concerto’s Finale, but elsewhere there are simply tantalising glimpses of what might have been.’
Matthew-Walker said: ‘The sketches, when placed together in sequence, make a broadly coherent single movement, although it is very unlikely that Grieg intended other than a three-movement work. Nonetheless, in hearing those sketches, one after another, flowing as naturally as they do, the listener is at last able to hear just what was in Grieg’s mind at the time.’
The recording, which also includes Grieg’s A minor concerto, Delius’s piano concerto and Delius’s Three Preludes, will be released by SOMM Recordings on 30 March.
Upcoming concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
I’m delighted to be playing Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto with the RPO on December 28th; the Beethoven Piano Concertos are all unique masterpieces, but the blend of majestic orchestral and piano writing in the 5th, coupled with its sublime slow movement, make it an awe inspiring work….
Bebbington & Omordia Album
Mark’s recording with Rebeca Omordia, ‘The Piano Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams’, has enjoyed spectacular success this year peaking at No.3 in the specialist classical charts. The disc includes two world premiere recordings of his music, the Introduction and Fugue and Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis (as featured on Classic FM and the latest Gramophone Podcast).