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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Beethoven masterpieces to grace Saigon stage

By Bradley Winterton

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HCMC – HBSO has had to change its program for its Beethoven concerts. Instead of the two celebrating his five piano concertos there will be just one concert on February 18 in the Saigon Opera House, beginning at 8:00 p.m.

The program will consist of the Piano Concerto number 5, the Symphony number 5, and the Coriolan Overture.

The conductor will be the former music director of HBSO, Tran Vuong Thach, and the solo pianist will be Liao Hsin-Chiao.

All three works are masterpieces. The 5th piano concerto is the greatest of the five, the Coriolan Overtture is famous for its vigor and dynamism, while the 5th symphony, though not equal to the titanic and unsurpassed 9th, was from the beginning recognized as ground-breaking and intensely memorable.

Tran Vuong Thach was made a Vietnamese “Meritorious Artist” in 2007. After his retirement, he continues to conduct stupendous concerts.

Liao Hsin-Chiao was born in Taiwan but later moved to Hanoi. She has established herself as a star soloist all over the world.

The Coriolan Overture, based on a play that reworked Shakespeare’s tragedy Coriolanus, confronts a military hero who has enemies on all sides.

The 5th piano concerto is supremely beautiful as well as being forceful in the Beethoven manner. Liao Hsin-Chiao must have its music engraved on her very soul.

The 5th symphony was epitomized by the UK novelist E.M. Forster in Howard’s End as a battle between demons and angels.

Beethoven’s style is a combination of high-energy dynamics and a tender lyricism. This was to go on to be the formula for Romanticism in general. Beethoven was the father of European Romanticism.

Roll Over Beethoven sang Chuck Berry, presumably to make room for rock ‘n roll musicians. But in the higher echelons of any art there really is no competition.

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