Poignant reminder of Russian romanticism

Date published: 06 July 2012

THE great hall of Hulme Grammar School was the setting for an adventurous Oldham Symphony Orchestra concert of Russian music, led by Ann Heeks and conducted by Richard Waldock.

The Shostakovich Festive Overture, written in 1954, was played with great aplomb and acted as a suitable fanfare heralding the main item in the first half of the programme, Rachmaninov’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini.

For this standard repertory concerto piece the orchestra was joined by one of Hulme’s former pupils, Duncan Glenday. He gave a sparkling and refined piano performance, the orchestra playing its part splendidly in underlining Rachmaninov’s irrepressibly fertile melodic and harmonic imagination.

The second half began a little nervously with Anatoly Lyadov’s short fantasy piece Baba Yaga.

This lively and colourful music acted as a poignant reminder of the rich romanticism in Russian music, a factor that always underlies a forward-looking attitude that conjures striking images of distorted human life. And so it was that Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9, the most laconic of his symphonic enterprises, provided a delightful, fitting conclusion.


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