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HBSO to stage chamber concert on July 25
Monday,  7/6/2020, 11:06 

HBSO to stage chamber concert on July 25

By Bradley Winterton

Tang Thanh Nam will be one of the soloists at the HBSO's July 25 concert - PHOTO: COURTESY OF HBSO

HCMC - The HBSO is staging a concert of chamber music at the Saigon Opera House on July 25. The selection of items is remarkable and highly original, and they will be performed by eleven distinguished Vietnamese soloists.

First comes Gioachino Rossini. He is best known for his operas, but at the age of 12 he composed six sonatas for two violins, cello and double-bass. The first of these, his String Sonata Number 1 in G Major, opens the Saigon concert.

The inclusion of a double-bass was unusual in a quartet, but the young Rossini was influenced by the instrumentalists he had available, which included a double-bass player.

The work is in three movements, marked ‘moderato’ (of moderate speed), andante (slow) and allegro (fast). The entire composition lasts a mere 11 minutes.

Next comes the Duo Brilliant for flute, oboe and piano by Jules Demersseman and Felix Berthelemy, based on a theme from Rossini’s opera William Tell (Guillaume Tell). This will be a wonderful opportunity to hear this charming and under-appreciated work

Kaspar Kummer (1795-1870) was a professional flautist who also mastered almost every other instrument in the orchestra. His Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon is rare for this date (the early Romantic period) in combining these particular instruments.

Finally we will hear Brahms’s Piano Quintet in F Minor. This magnificent work has often been called the crown of Brahms’s chamber music, which is a significant claim considering what other masterpieces his chamber music contains.

He originally wrote it as a string quartet, then later changed it to a quintet for strings and two pianos. Finally he settled on the form we will hear at the Saigon Opera House, for piano and string quartet.

The work has all the hallmarks of a serious and ambitious composition. The last of its four movements, in particular, has been called “especially remarkable”, with “a consistently dark mood, at times anguished, at times … demonic, at times tragic.”

The first movement alternates between the stormy and the peaceful. The second movement is generally placid, while the third movement is in the usual form of a scherzo, a trio, then the scherzo again.

The entire work shows the influence of Schubert’s String Quintet, one of the most emotionally powerful works for strings ever written.

The combination of relatively light works such as Rossini’s youthful composition and a substantial, mature work such as Brahms’s Piano Quintet represents a masterful piece of programming, with something included to suit all tastes.

These varied works will be played by a range of Vietnamese soloists including Nguyen Tan Anh, Tang Thanh Nam, Le Minh Hien, Pham Khanh Toan, Pham Vu Thien Bao, A Tach, Nguyen Truong Hoang Yen, Ju Sun Young. Nguyen Nhat Chi Lan, Vo Minh Dong and Pham Quynh Trang. The HBSO String Orchestra will apparently also take part in this concert.

There is a special offer available for this event, with tickets priced at VND300,000 and VND450.000. This unique concert will begin at 8 p.m.

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