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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

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SOSL concert of romantic masterworks



 Edvard Grieg


 Sergei Rachmaninov

The Romantic Masterworks Concert by the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka will be at the Ladies College Hall on May 23 at 7pm. The conductor is Ananda Dabare, noted for his insightful and passionate interpretation of the works of the Russian masters.

The programme includes the Sri Lanka premiere of Tchaikovsky’s dramatic and superbly melodious Symphony No.4. Music lovers will also enjoy two enchanting excerpts from Grieg’s ever popular Peer Gynt Suites, and Rachmaninov’s richly lyrical first Piano Concerto.

Tchaikovsky is one of the most popular of all composers for audiences everywhere. His symphonies have been cornerstones of the orchestral repertoire for over a century. Their potent emotional charge, soaring melodies, superb orchestration and inspired tone painting appeal directly to the heart.

The Symphony No. 4 of 1877-78 was considered by Tchaikovsky to be his best symphony to that date and was composed when he had reached the height of his powers. He had just completed his first great opera Eugene Onegin, following on with his great balletic masterpiece Swan Lake. Of the Symphony he said, “ I adore terribly this child of mine.’

Edvard Grieg is Norway’s most celebrated composer and the country’s acknowledged musical voice. His world-wide recognition is due to his gifts of melody and impressionistic sound painting, and his creation of works of great atmosphere, poetry and passion. Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse about the adventures of the legendary hero, for which Grieg was asked by Ibsen in 1874 to compose incidental music. Its first staging two years later made Grieg a national figure. The enchanting excerpts, Morning and In the Hall of the Mountain King, are the most popular of all.

Sergei Rachmaninov’s richly chromatic, broadly lyrical and unashamedly nostalgic style has ensured his music’s popularity among audiences. The Piano Concerto No. 1 in F Sharp minor was his first major work, completed in 1890 when he was 18.

He performed the opening movement at the Moscow Conservatory three days before his nineteenth birthday. Finding it unsatisfactory as he matured, he subsequently revised it thoroughly in 1917 by when he had written both his Second and Third Piano Concertos and acquired a good deal of conducting experience. He proudly premiered the current version in 1919 - saying it still retained its ‘youthful freshness’. Some of his inspiration for the Concerto came from Grieg.

This is Rachmaninov’s only concert to begin with a flourish – a cascade of descending octaves and chords like the beginning of Grieg’s Piano Concerto which he admired. The slow movement is quasi-impressionistic and features chromatic writing of exceptional beauty. Whilst the finale is launched with a bang and the pianist competing with the orchestra in great leaps of joy.

The soloist in the Concerto will be the well known Sri Lankan pianist resident in the USA, Harsha Abeyaratne. Harsha is Pianist and Associate Professor of Music at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, and has an active career as a soloist, accompanist, chamber musician and teacher.

The Box Office is open at Titus Stores, Liberty Plaza.

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