Russian masterworks showcased by SOSL | Daily News

Russian masterworks showcased by SOSL

Russia’s masters Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Khatchaturian will come into the spotlight on November 5 at the Ladies College Hall when the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka under the baton of one of the brightest conductors of presence revisiting Sri Lanka this year, Ksenia Zharko presents a concert of Russian Masterworks.

The soloist for the concert, Russian pianist Maxim Puryzhinskiy will begin the programme with Sergei Rachmaninov’s towering piano masterpiece, Piano Concerto No 2 in C Minor Opus 18, a composition which is hailed as one of the greatest ever written. Puryzhinskiy, who has studied under some of the musical greats in Russia’s classical music and a laureate of numerous international competitions will play this concerto, which was described by one of its greatest contemporary exponents Stephen Hough as being written by a pianist for pianists allowing them to warm up as a prelude to the impact of the figure of (Mother) Russia standing up to her full height, this latter was conveyed by composer-pianist Nikolai Medtner. With its ability to bring audiences to tears, this Concerto deservedly holds top spot in the Ultimate Classic FM Hall of Fame.

Guest conductor for over 40 symphony orchestras and theatres in Russia and Ukraine, Zharko who is the Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Women’s Symphony Orchestra in addition to the Operetta-Land International Singing Contect in Moscow and the leading the Conductor for the Moscow Comic Opera Theatre, Conductor Fellow in the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia and formerly in the Bolshoi Theatre will also conduct the magical blend of toy-tunes and sparkling orchestration of the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s beloved composition The Nutcracker Suite. This is the only ballet, of Tchaikovsky’s three great ballets that he himself arranged as a suite, with the very first performance commissioned by the Russian Musical Society conducted by Tchaikovsky himself.

Then there’s the Georgian born Moscow Conservatory trained Armenian composer Aram Khatchaturian, one of the Titans of Soviet Music, whose two great ballets Spartacus and Gayane will take centerstage, with the Adagio from Spartacus and Sabre Dance from Gayane. Conjuring images of the wild and infectiously energetic Armenian wedding dance from the city of Gyumri, Sabre Dance from Gayane which was first performed in 1942, became a US jukebox hit in 1948 with jazz pianist Oscar Levant elevating it into the bestseller charts. It’s been featured in a number of film soundtracks including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, The Hudsucker Proxy and animated film Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. The Love Theme from Spartacus on the other hand, first staged in 1956 in Leningrad, has a poignancy and palpable emotion that’s luminously beautiful and evocatively melodious. This too has placed itself firmly in pop culture being featured in the movie Caligula and TV series the Onedin Line.

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