Jun 07, 2016
New slant to Queen classic as Hull Philharmonic plays the greatest rhapsodies

It’s a Beelzebub of an anthem that has astonished, amused, perplexed and rocked the socks off music fans for more than four decades.

Now Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is to take its bow as a completely different type of classic at Hull City Hall.

The grandiose, operatic 1975 best-seller, written by lead singer Freddie Mercury, will be the climax of Rhapsody, Hull Philharmonic Orchestra’s spring concert on May 14, 7.30pm.

But there will be a plenty for the audience to savour first – especially the return to Hull for the third time of the brilliant Italian pianist Alessandro Taverna for Gershwin’s sultry Rhapsody in Blue, Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2.

Venice-born Taverna hopes to continue where he left off after winning huge ovations for his performances with the Hull Philharmonic in 2013 and 2014.

Comprising seven different rhapsodies, the programme also includes Chabrier’s Espana Rhapsody and Ravel’s earliest published work for a full orchestra, Rapsodie Espagnole.

Hull Philharmonic musical director Andrew Penny hopes for a large audience for this showcase of one of classical music’s most popular forms.

“Rhapsodies are by their nature free-flowing pieces, offering a huge range of tones and colours,” he said.

“Bohemian Rhapsody has these qualities in spades and music lovers appreciate this whether they are fans of Queen or Rachmaninov.

“We will be playing the Royal Philharmonic Orcestra’s special arrangement of the piece by Mike Townend which features on their CD of Rock Classics.

“In planning the concert, we had a lot to choose from. Around 130 years separate Lizst’s No.2, his most famous rhapsody, and Queen’s Bohemian and in the interests of achieving a balanced programme we couldn’t really leave either out.

“Our audience will be equally looking forward to Alessandro Taverna’s return. He is a charismatic young pianist who has an affinity with this part of the world after his previous visits to Yorkshire, which have included his success in the Leeds International Piano Competition that gave impetus to his solo career.”

Ticker-holders can find out more about Alessandro in a free pre-concert Meet the Artist event starting at 6.30pm when he will be in conversation with Andrew Penny.

The concert is also an opportunity to hear Yorkshire born Frederick Delius’ Dance Rhapsody No2 which was written 100 years ago.

Hull Philharmonic Orchestra will give a second performance of Rhapsody the next day at The Garden Rooms, Tennants, Leyburn on May 15 at 3pm. Both events are sponsored by Newton’s Solicitors who have offices in both Beverley and Leyburn.


Advance bookings– Hull, £8 to £27 (discounts available) from Hull City Hall box office, 01482 300300, or online athullphilharmonic.org

Leyburn, £15 to £20 on 01969 621146 or online at hullphilharmonic.org.