Save 50% on Benjamin Grosvenor concert at Royal Festival Hall

Rhapsody in Blue

Telegraph subscribers can save 50 per cent on tickets to see a true classical music sensation at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 7.30pm. Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor is only 24 but has quickly become one of Britain’s best-loved classical stars. Don’t miss your chance to see him perform George Gershwin’s electrifying favourite Rhapsody in Blue, bursting with melodies and restless jazzy rhythms. Joining Benjamin on stage is the Southbank Sinfonia, an orchestra that brings together some of the very finest graduate musicians in the world.

“Rhapsody in Blue has continued to inspire popular culture,” writes Telegraph culture editor Martin Chilton. “Woody Allen's film Manhattan opens with a montage of images of New York accompanied by the song. The first time Leonardo DiCaprio appears on screen in the 2013 Baz Luhrmann film The Great Gatsby, it is Rhapsody in Blue that is playing as the soundtrack. The song was also used at the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in LA. Gershwin composed countless classics with his brother Ira, and they are two of only five people to have ever been awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for songwriting.”

For Grosvenor, Rhapsody in Blue has become something of a signature showpiece, selling out concert halls whenever he performs it. Written at the height of the ‘roaring’ 1920a, it hardly seems a day old. Politics, economics and pop culture may have moved on, but our pace of life is just as frenetic. Grosvenor’s recording of the iconic work is regarded among the all-time greats, but nothing beats seeing and hearing it live. In the words of The Telegraph critic Ivan Hewett, “Tennis has Andy Murray, the piano has Benjamin Grosvenor.”

The programme also includes a great British masterpiece – William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast – in which the 100-strong orchestra is joined by 250 choristers. The year after Rhapsody in Blue was first performed, Walton met Gershwin in a flat on Pall Mall and was enchanted, eager to infuse his own classical music with the invigorating spirit of jazz. Written a few years later, Belshazzar’s Feast is grand and exhilarating, brimming with brilliant textures and startling sound effects.

Adding two brass bands to an already vast orchestra, it depicts the lavish excesses of ancient Babylon, and yet maybe it too has something to say about the material appetites of modern times. Completing the programme is a sizzling 10-minute opener from Mason Bates, one of the freshest new voices in classical music. Mothership fuses the orchestra with thrilling digital effects, paying homage to the exhilarating sci-fi scores of John Williams.

Since launching in 2002, the Southbank Sinfonia has been a much-valued springboard for young stars, helping them find their voice, putting them at the centre of countless distinct projects, and giving them a chance to shine. Most recently they have enjoyed great acclaim in the National Theatre’s hit production of Amadeus, described in The Telegraph’s five-star review as “note perfect”.

Joining the Southbank Sinfonia for the performance of Belshazzar’s Feast will be the Parliament Choir, the renowned Saint Michael’s Singers from Coventry Cathedral, and members of The Bach Choir, Bar Choral Society, London Concert Choir and St Albans Bach Choir.

 

Terms and conditions
1. Offer entitles Telegraph subscribers to a 50% discount on all available tickets originally priced at £31 and £25, a respective saving of £16.50 and £12.50 per ticket.  

2. No transaction fees for in-person bookings or Southbank Centre Members and Supporters Circles.

3. For other bookings transaction fees apply: £1.75 online; £2.75 over the phone. Booking fees apply