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Sunday, December 4, 2022

HBSO to mount two Chopin concerts

By Bradley Winterton

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HCMC – There is absolutely no doubt that Polish composer Frederick Chopin is the emperor of piano music, and HBSO is presenting two concerts of his music on November 19 and 20 in the Saigon Opera House.

Guest artists will be two visiting Poles and a young Vietnamese pianist who, though born in Hanoi, now lives in Poland.

One of the concerts will mostly feature music for solo piano, shared by the two piano soloists, while the other will present Chopin’s two piano concertos, each played by one soloist.

These concertos will be accompanied by the Ho Chi Minh City Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Wojciech Czepiel.

Czepiel has had a very varied career, both as a conductor and as a composer. Much of his work has been centered on the southern Polish city of Krakow, but he has conducted concerts all over Europe.

Of the two piano soloists, Joanna Marcinkwska will play the first selection of solo pieces, and also the First Piano Concerto. Hanoi-born Nguyen Viet Trung will play after the intermission in both concerts, including the Second Piano Concerto.

Chopin wrote comparatively little orchestral music, so to hear his two piano concertos performed on the same evening will be a rare delight.

Chopin’s music generally is sometimes considered feminine in character, but more often these days as strongly original music in the Romantic tradition.

He only lived to 37 years of age, spending much time in Paris where he developed the concept of “salon” rather than concert performances. He preferred the intimacy of the former to the theatricality of the latter.

Many stories have been told, in film and elsewhere, of Chopin’s love life, including a rarely happy relationship with George Sand (a woman, not a man as the name may suggest).

But his music is everywhere intimate and introspective, and his reputation has increased as the decades pass.

These two concerts are the two faces of the same coin. It would be a pity to attend one and not the other.

These events are being staged with the cooperation of the Mickiewicz Institute and Warsaw Music Foundation, Poland.

Ticket prices range from VND400,000 to VND750,000, with a concession of VND80,000 for students. Both events begin at 8.00 p.m.

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