Classical music: highlights of the week

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The Independent Culture
A Verdi Celebration Tue

The Royal Opera's mini-Verdi festival closes with a concert of operatic extracts conducted by Sir Edward Downes. Vladimir Chernnov, Julia Varady and Paula Delligatti are among the vocalists.

Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 (0171-960 4242) 7.30pm

Alfred Brendel Thur

The pianist gives a Harrods International Piano Series recital comprising sonatas by Haydn, Schubert and Mozart, plus the latter's Fantasia in C minor and Rondo in A minor.

Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 (0171-960 4242) 7.30pm

London Symphony Orchestra Thur

Bernard Haitink launches his Mozart/Strauss season with the former's Symphony No 25 and Piano Concerto No 21, with Andras Schiff as soloist, and the latter's tone poem Don Quixote.

Barbican, London EC2 (0171-638 8891) 7.30pm

Leopold String Quartet Thur

Having had rave reviews for their recent recordings of the Beethoven String Trios, the all-female Leopold String Trio end their recital with Beethoven's Op 9 No 1, after works by Reger, Klein and Borodin.

Wigmore Hall, London W1 (0171-935 2141) 7.30pm

St Petersburg Philharmonic Fri

The high-powered Russian outfit, under conductor Yuri Temirkanov, give fellow countryman Shostakovich's Symphony No 7 (Leningrad), preceded by Hours of the New Moon, a delicate, impressionistic piece by Nikolai Roslavets.

Barbican, London EC2 (0171-638 8891), 7.30pm

NEW RELEASES

Medtner Piano Concertos Nos 1&3

Moscow SO, Scherbakov, Ziva (Naxos)

Russian-born, though eventually settling in London, Nikolay Medtner's piano concertos evoke the worlds of Brahms and Rachmaninov in equal measure. Although these works offer soundworlds very much of their own, both also require virtuoso pianism to succeed fully. Konstantin Scherbakov has all the notes, though his phrasing comes unstuck. The MSO plays well enough, but the end impression is blurred. HHH

Bax Symphony No 2

RSNO, Lloyd-Jones (Naxos)

Sir Arnold Bax's star has been rising of late, at least on disc. His large Second Symphony dates from 1926 and receives a pristine reading by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, by turns sombre and dramatic. The various orchestral threads are sharply delineated, while the epic three-movement structure is ruggedly hewn. A considerable achievement, supplemented by the tone poem November Woods. HHHH

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