VANCOUVER – The sixteenth season of the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra (VMO) will commence with some of Tchaikovsky’s most passionate music. The season opening concert on September 9 (Sunday), 1:30pm, at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, UBC, will bring to you under the baton of Maestro Ken Hsieh Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5 and Piano Concerto No. 1, with renowned Vancouver pianist Libby Yu as soloist. And the concert will begin with the world premiere of a new work by Trevor Hoffmann, VMO’s composer-in-residence.
Particularly notable for his passionate romantic style, Tchaikovsky is one of the best known great composers in the history of Western music, and his three ballets, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, have become household names. With only four concertos to his credit, his Piano Concerto No. 1 and violin concerto are nevertheless considered classics in the genre. Of his six symphonies, the fourth and the fifth were separated by a decade; this might indicate that Symphony No. 5 was a work of much deliberation.
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, like Beethoven’s Fifth, revolves around a theme of “fate”. Beginning in E minor and ending in E major after undergoing a series of modulation, it is like the story of fate unfolding, leading to a triumphal end. His Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor begins with a sublime theme which is at the same time heart-rending and unforgettable, and the climaxes that come one after another are like a series of mythical stories that bring surprises at every turn.
The “story telling” elements in the concerto and the symphony are Tchaikovsky’s typical stylistic traits. In fact, his best known works often come with stories in the background: This is not only true of the three ballets mentioned above, but also works like the overture-fantasy Romeo and Juliet based on Shakespeare’s play, the symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini based on a love story in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and the Manfred Symphony based on a dramatic poem by Byron. Listening to the concerto and the symphony performed with fervour in VMO’s coming concert, you may gain an in-depth understanding of how Tchaikovsky endeavours to tell stories from deep inside his heart through music!
Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, 6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver, BC