classical music

Denis Matsuev: Liszt's Great Gamechanger

Part of Classical Season 2020/21

This major recital from the latest in a distinguished line of Russian virtuosos showcases Liszt’s thundering, rule-breaking B minor sonata.

When Franz Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor first appeared in 1853, it was condemned as an abomination.

Gone was Liszt’s trademark ‘story in music,’ overtly inspired by literature or myth. In its place was a straight, abstract sonata – the very thing the composer had preached against.

But Liszt had tricked everyone. His B minor sonata is both abstract and narrative, diligent and dramatic.

Some say it tells the story of Faust. Others suggest that it contains, in its thundering themes and endless transformations, Liszt’s own spiritual autobiography.

Whatever lies underneath the notes, those notes are among the most imposing ever conceived for a keyboard.

Liszt’s pulsating, super-charged sonata is the most important piano work of the 19th century.

It progresses almost like a dream, through shape-shifting motifs, tricks of perception and endless transformations in mood.

Matsuev paves the way for this monumental work with Schumann’s tender reflections on childhood in Kinderszenen.

If Liszt’s B minor Sonata is one of the landmarks of the piano repertory, Tchaikovsky’s solo piano music is still a well-kept secret.

Dumka is one of the composer’s most substantial piano works. Based on a melancholic Ukrainian song, the piece musters strength out of its own weariness and culminates in a bravura cadenza.

Matsuev, whose interpretations of Russian repertoire have prompted discussion around the world, ends with Tchaikovsky’s unjustly neglected Grande Sonata.

Infused with the composer’s creative genius, the unusually beautiful melodic material and emotional content is just waiting to be expressed.

As thrillingly precise as one might ever hope to hear
New York Times

Performers

Denis Matsuev piano

Repertoire

Schumann: Kinderszenen, Op.15
Liszt: Sonata in B minor
Interval
Tchaikovsky: Dumka (Russian rustic scene) in C minor, Op.59; Sonata in G, Op.37

Dates & times

9 Jun 2021
Approximate run time: 125 mins
Run times may vary, find out more

where

Royal Festival Hall

Pricing

£15 - £55
Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)

Multi-buy discount

£15, £22, £30, £40, £55

Multi-buy discount
Book 3 to 4 events in the International Piano Series and save 10% on tickets, or book 5 or more events and save 20%. This discount is not available on Premium seats and only applies to multiple concerts bought in the same series, not across two or more series.

Concessions

25% off (limited availability)
Find out more about our Concessions policy

need to know

Ticketing
Book 3 to 4 events in the International Piano Series and save 10% on tickets, or book 5 or more events and save 20%. This discount is not available on Premium seats and only applies to multiple concerts bought in the same series, not across two or more series.

Southbank Centre takes a strong view on secondary ticketing. We require the lead booker to attend (photo ID may be requested). Tickets can only be resold by Southbank Centre or one of its authorised agents.

Discounted student tickets are available from Student Pulse in the month before this concert. Some of these seats may be on the stage.

Download the Student Pulse app or register online.