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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Great melodies from HBSO take the stage

By Bradley Winterton

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HCMC – Melodiousness must be seen as lying at the heart of HBSO’s next concert, set to take place at the Saigon Opera House on April 20, beginning at 8 p.m.

Few works of classical music can be as melodious as Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, known as the “Pathetique.” Following this, Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Marches, the first of which opens the concert.

Making up the program is the suite accompanying the 1954 Russian film “Vietnam,” composed by the Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev, which will be receiving its Saigon premiere.

Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique symphony was his last. It is brimming over with sadness and even self-pity, and will appeal to almost every listener, whatever they thought of numbers 1 to 5.

Opinions vary as to the nature of this sadness. Tchaikovsky was gay, and many listeners hear this symphony as a lament for a lost lover, or even for his state of being a gay at all.

Whatever the truth of these rumours, the 6th symphony was premiered only days before Tchaikovsky’s death. And in spite of its melancholy, this work has always been immensely popular, with members of the audience even led to joining in and singing its greatest tunes out loud.

Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Marches were composed early in the second half of his life. Prior to that he had been a failure as a composer, languishing with his wife in either the English country town of Malvern, his childhood home, or in London, and shivering at the cold.

Then, in 1899, he came up with the Enigma Variations, a set of orchestral variations, each based on the character of one of his friends. It was an enormous and instant success, and Elgar was overnight promoted to the rank of a great English composer.

This Saigon concert will include the March Number 1, possibly the most famous of the five. The swelling melody it contains soon acquired the words “Land of Hope and Glory,” though Elgar himself did not like them. It has become a set-piece of London’s Last Night of the Proms (i.e. the Promenade Concerts, where many of the patrons stand or walk around the concert hall – hence the name).

The concert will be conducted by the eminent conductor Le Ha My.

Ticket prices for this special event range from VND400,000 to VND750,000, with a discounted price for bona-fide students of VND80,000.

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