Vietnamese-French violinist to perform in Vietnam

by NDO28 November 2019 Last updated at 10:56 AM

Vietnamese-French violinist Pham Vinh will perform a concert named “Night of Tchaikovsky” held on November 30 at Ho Chi Minh City Opera House, according to the announcement of the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet, Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO).

The concert will be conducted by the HBSO’s Music Director, Meritorious Artist Tran Vuong Thach.

Music lovers will have a chance to enjoy the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s works, including Violin Concerto and a substantial suite from his famous ballet Swan Lake.

Tchaikovsky wrote his violin concerto in 1878, when he was 38. He was on a rest cure at the time in Switzerland, following a period of depression. Tchaikovsky played the piano, but not the violin. He was helped, however, by a young violinist who came to stay with him in Switzerland and studied the solo violin part with a view to its suitability for the instrument.

The work is in the usual three movements, but with the second and third movements linked. Critical reception initially was mixed, but in subsequent years it has become one of the great classics of the violin repertoire.

Born in Paris but of Vietnamese descent, artist Pham Vinh studied with the prominent English violinist Yehudi Menhuin, who said of him that he had “an instinct, a talent which allow him to express anything he wishes with emotion, a presence, a spontaneity and such easiness, all qualities which are as admirable as they are rare.”

After the interval, the audience will hear the Swan Lake Suite in several sections.

Swan Lake is one of Tchaikovsky’s three ballets, all famous. It was premiered a year before the violin concerto, in 1877.

In 1882 Tchaikovsky wrote: “The other day I thought about Swan Lake and I wanted very much to save this music from oblivion, since it contains some fine things. So I decided to make a suite from it.” But although he wasn’t to die for another 11 years, he never completed the suite. The music we now have was arranged by an unknown hand, based on Tchaikovsky’s ballet score.

The ballet’s history is complicated, with various early choreographers demanding changes to what they saw as an incomprehensible story-line. It was the first of Tchaikovsky’s three ballets, the other two being Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker.

The suite as we shall hear it in Saigon has eight movements. These include the Mazurka from Act 111, the Waltz from Act 1, three variations of the Dance of the Swans in Act 11, plus the Spanish Dance from Act 111.


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