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Sunday, June 16, 2024

A night of romantic music from HBSO

By Bradley Winterton

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HCMC – Surprise, surprise. Seeing a heading “A Night of Romantic Music”, albeit with “Romantic” in inverted commas, one would surely expect Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms and perhaps Mahler. Instead, on 26 May at the Saigon Opera House, we will hear Hummel, a rare Mendelssohn, Saint-Saens and Bruckner. No Beethoven and no Brahms at all.

Maybe the organisers planned to go from an early Romantic, Hummel, to a very late one, Bruckner.

Hummel is widely seen as a bridge figure between Classical and Romantic. He never wrote a symphony, specialised in the piano, both as composer and performer, and had a highly unusual interest in the guitar. Many people have never heard of him.

The work by Hummel we will hear is his Fantasy for Viola and Piano (Opus 94).

Following the Hummel is an item by Mendelssohn, his Concert Piece No. 1 for clarinet and viola.

Next comes Saens-Saens, ever a popular composer with HBSO, perhaps because he once visited here. His Tarantella was written when he was very young and, as a joke, claimed by Rossini.

Bruckner was a late Romantic, largely self-taught, looked down on by academic specialists such as Brahms, and a soulful Catholic from the south. Due to be played is his Fourth Symphony. This went through many versions, but nonetheless is one of his most popular.

The concert sees the welcome return to the podium of HBSO’s former music director, Tran Vuong Thach.

Tickets range from VND400,000 to VND750,000. The event begins at 8 p.m.

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