April 2013. Ludwig in Russia

Tragicomic masks

Little Theatre, Lower Hutt.  Saturday, 6th April, 7:30.

Summary

This concert was at the Little Theatre, just a hop and a skip from our usual venue of St James Church. We like the acoustics at St James, but the Little Theatre has a piano. When the focal piece of the evening is Ludwig Treviranus playing Rachmaninov, on a piano, well, ummm, we moved.

The theme for the evening was Russian music. No requirement that it be composed in Russia. The Rachmaninov piece was composed in Switzerland and premiered in Baltimore. Rachmaninov lived in Russia until aged 45, and only left because of the 1918 revolution. Other pieces played were by Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.

The Concert

The concert opened with Prokofiev – March from the opera, The Love of Three Oranges.  This is the most well known piece from the opera. It was the theme for "The FBI in Peace and War". Some unknown in CBS appreciated the irony of quoting a comic opera in which the leading lady is a giant rat. Next was Tchaikovsky, and the famous horn solo from his 5th Symphony.

Ludwig then introduced the Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini. It is a set of 24 variations, and playing it even worried the composer at the premiere. (He used Creme de Menthe, whereas our pianist settled for PowerAid.) Ludwig dedicated the performance in memory of his nana, who had recently died.

After the break, the orchestra played Shostakovich, the second Waltz from a Suite for Variety Orchestra. Then after an introduction to Romeo & Juliet by Brent, in which he highlighted some basic Health and Safety considerations no modern teacher would be unaware of. (Check Juliet for a pulse.) That Fantasy Overture ended the concert.

Photos

Stage door Timpani in You may have seen orchestral members arriving with instruments and scurrying around backstage, with a violin or flute clutched under-arm.
Larger instruments like the harp have to use the stage door. Getting close to the back entrance is a problem. Follow the arrow, and leave the under-tree hobbits alone.

Audience Ludwig Treviranus
Ludwig is a very popular performer. He gave a moving introduction to the Rhapsody, and followed it with a superb performance. Now that he has settled in back in the Hutt, we are likely to see more of him in a concerto setting.
Audience Violinists Ludwig Treviranus
This final trio of pictures show: Ludwig talking about the Rachmaninov, a shot of strings, and Brent explaining a piece. Brent looks rather earnest there, so that was probably not the moment when he he belatedly gave a spoiler alert for Romeo & Juliet.
 Higher resolution photos (10) are available on-line in a Picasa Album.