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HBSO to present a Tchaikovsky night
By Bradley Winterton
Wednesday,  Nov 6, 2019,12:35 (GMT+7)

HBSO to present a Tchaikovsky night

By Bradley Winterton

The concert’s soloist will be violinist Vinh Pham - PHOTO: COURTESY OF HBSO

HCMC - The HCMC Ballet, Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO) will present a concert of music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky on Saturday November 30 at the Saigon Opera House. It will be conducted by the HBSO’s music director, Meritorious Artist Tran Vuong Thach.

There will be two items, the composer’s Violin Concerto and a substantial suite from his famous ballet Swan Lake.

Tchaikovsky wrote his violin concerto in 1878, when he was 38. He was on a rest cure at the time in Switzerland, following a period of depression.

Tchaikovsky played the piano, but not the violin. He was helped, however, by a young violinist who came to stay with him in Switzerland and studied the solo violin part with a view to its suitability for the instrument.

The work is in the usual three movements, but with the second and third movements linked. Critical reception initially was mixed, but in subsequent years it has become one of the great classics of the violin repertoire.

The soloist with the HBSO orchestra will be the celebrated artist Vinh Pham.                                                  

Vinh Pham is an outstanding violinist by any standards. Born in Paris, but of Vietnamese descent, he studied with, among others, the great English violinist Yehudi Menhuin, who said of him that he had “an instinct, a talent which allow him to express anything he wishes with emotion, a presence, a spontaneity and such easiness, all qualities which are as admirable as they are rare.”

The violin concerto lasts around 35 minutes and constitutes the first half of the program.

After the interval, the audience will hear Selections from the Swan Lake Suite, in several sections.

Swan Lake is one of Tchaikovsky’s three ballets, all famous. It was premiered a year before the violin concerto, in 1877. It tells the tale of a princess, Odette, who has been turned into a swan and is pursued by an admirer, Prince Siegfried.

In 1882 Tchaikovsky wrote “The other day I thought about Swan Lake and I wanted very much to save this music from oblivion, since it contains some fine things. So I decided to make a suite from it.”

But although he wasn’t to die for another 11 years, he never completed the suite. The music we now have was arranged by an unknown hand, based on Tchaikovsky’s ballet score.

The ballet’s history is complicated, with various early choreographers demanding changes to what they saw as an incomprehensible story-line. It was the first of Tchaikovsky’s three ballets, the other two being Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker.

The suite as we shall hear it in Saigon has eight movements. These include the Mazurka from Act 111, the Waltz from Act 1, three variations of the Dance of the Swans in Act 11, plus the Spanish Dance from Act 111.

Tickets for the event are from VND300,000 to VND650,000, with a special price of VND80,000 for students, on production of a student card.

The concert begins at 8 p.m.

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