Osborne opens music in Peebles and Kelso

Steven Osborne.
Steven Osborne.

One of Britain’s finest pianists, Steven Osborne, will perform two opening concerts for Borders music societies in January 2013, playing pieces by two of the greatest composers for the piano.

The first concert, for Music in Peebles, takes place in the Eastgate Theatre on Tuesday, at 7.30pm, and the second, for Kelso Music Society, is happening at Kelso High School on Sunday, January 13, at 2.30pm.

Osborne is one of Britain’s foremost musicians, renowned for his idiomatic approach to a wide variety of repertoire from the mainstream classical works of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms to the rarefied worlds of Messiaen, Tippett and Britten.

The Linlithgow-born pianist is well-known to Peebles audiences, having appeared in the MacFarlane Hall in 1995 and the Eastgate Theatre in 2010. To the wider world, he is known through his frequent appearances in major venues, and with top orchestras and conductors, around the globe, as well as for his many prize-winning recordings and regular radio broadcasts.

“To begin 2013 he once again shows his commitment to his native land by touring eight Scottish music clubs in 11 days,” explains Music in Peebles’ president John Fox, “and we are thrilled and honoured to be included in this tour.”

Well-known not only for his musicianship, but also his thoughtful programming, Osborne brings four masterworks completed between 1822 and 1827 by Schubert and Beethoven.

Schubert is represented by one of his Impromptus, written in the year before his death, and by his monumental Sonata No. 18 in G (D.894) from the year before, the last to be published in his lifetime, and a work in which the prevailing mood is one of serenity.

The all-Beethoven second half consists of two works from 1822, his set of 11 Bagatelles, followed by his final Piano Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111, regarded by many as one of the most profound pieces of music ever written.

“The violence of some of the first movement, and the staggering inventiveness of the second (at one point sounding like jazz, then soaring into otherworldliness) left early listeners baffled,” writes Mr Fox, “but today it is recognised that, as the great pianist Alfred Brendel put it, ‘perhaps nowhere else in piano literature does mystical experience feel so immediately close at hand’.”

A Daily Telegraph critic reviewing an Osborne concert adds: “You could have heard a pin drop. Steven Osborne’s power over the hall was absolute … the atmosphere was spellbound.”

Tickets for Music in Peebles cost £13 from the Eastgate Theatre box office (01721 725777) and admission is free for school students.

Details of all the concerts in the season can be found at www.musicinpeebles.org.uk, or you can pick up a leaflet at the Eastgate Theatre, libraries or other selected locations.

Osborne will also be playing for Kelso Music Society at Kelso High School at 2.30pm on Sunday, January 13. Tickets cost £12. Contact 01688 216550 for more information, and go to www.kelsomusicsociety.com