The concert will feature pianist Igor Chystokletov from Russia - PHOTO: COURTESY OF HBSO


It will take place at the Saigon Opera House, beginning at 8 p.m.

The main item will be Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Number 5. This will be preceded by Khachaturian’s Adagio from his ballet Spartacus, and Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

Aram Khachaturian, though born in Georgia, moved to Russia at a young age and is considered to be a Russian composer.

His ballet Spartacus was first performed in 1956 and deals with the slaves’ revolt, led by Spartacus, which took place in Ancient Rome.

The HCMC Symphony Orchestra will perform the “Adagio” (slow movement) from the ballet as the opening item of the concert.

Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is a set of 24 variations for piano and orchestra on the 24th (and last) Caprice from Paganini’s set for solo violin, of which the 24th is by far the most famous.

Rachmaninov is said to have thought, prior to its first performance, that his 24th and last variation was too difficult for even him to play. So he drank a glass of crème de menthe to settle his nerves.

The work has the unusual characteristic of the first of its 24 variations being played before the “theme” itself.

The work lasts around 25 minutes and is a popular concert piece. It can be divided in the listener’s mind into three sections, thus copying the three movements of a classical piano concerto. Variations one to ten represent the first movement, variations 11 to 18 the slow second movement, and 19 to 24 the final movement. But the work is played as a continuous whole, without a break.

The most famous variation in Number 18, the last of the “slow movement” section. In fact it is so popular that it is often played on its own.

The piano soloist in Saigon’s concert will be Igor Chystokletov.

Born Russia, Igor Chystokletov was a teacher of piano at the HCMC Conservatory of Music until 1999. He is an appropriate interpreter of a work by Rachmaninov, a Russian-born composer.

Tchaikovsky wrote his Symphony Number 5 in 1888, ten years after completing his Symphony Number 4.

The first performance was by the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, with Tchaikovsky himself conducting.

Before completing it, the composer was plagued by doubts. Had his talent run out? Could he ever write another symphony as good as his first four?

But the audiences loved it. Only some Russian critics found fault, several complaining that it contained three waltzes.

Tchaikovsky himself improved his opinion of the work after its early performances. Only once, in his diary, did he admit to a note of melancholy, even distress, in the first movement, making further remarks in coded form that may have been references to his own homosexuality.

The work’s second movement is its most famous. The concert will be conducted in Saigon by Tran Nhat Minh.

Tickets for the event are from VND300,000 to VND650,000, with a special price for students of VND80,000.

Bradley Winterton