Russian orchestra brings romance of Tchaikovsky to capital

April 25th, 2008 - 5:38 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) The conductor of a Russian orchestra said his group enjoyed playing a rich collection of Western classical works by famous composers like Pytor Tchaikovsky here since the Indian audience was “very good”. Thursday evening’s concert here by Moscow-based Academic Chamber Orchestra-Musica Viva began with a rendition of W.A. Mozart’s Divertimento D-major. It was followed by J. Haydn concerto for cello and orchestra C-major.

The second half took the listeners to the light mellifluous world of Russian composer Tchaikovsky, known for his ballet opera compositions “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker”. The concert ended with a high-energy recital of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Scherzo Opera 11 - the score anchored by violins and cellos.

It was Musica Viva’s second performance in India after Bangalore in February. The orchestra had performed in Taiwan and Japan before coming to India.

“This is the first time we are performing in India. It is altogether a different country - in no way similar to the Far East. The audience out here is very good, they are attentive to the music though Western classical music is not part of the Indian tradition,” cellist Sergei Roldugin told IANS.

Roldugin, a native of St. Petersburg, is the artistic director of St. Petersburg Music House and conducts cello workshops across the world. He now conducts several orchestras in Russia as a freelance conductor.

Musica Viva was formed in 1978 in the city of Vladimir by violinist-composer Victor Kornachev. Since 1988, the group had been led by Alexander Rudin, a leading cellist, pianist and conductor.

The 18-member group is known for its presentation of compositions by little known but talented composers and interpretations of music by famous composers. Rudin, however, was not present. The orchestra was conducted by Roldugin.

Classical music, according to Roldugin, is very popular in Russia.

“We mostly play music by West European and Russian composers. Patrons hire us to play at exclusive parties because the Russian elite does not like any other form of music other than Western classical. President Vladimir Putin loves classical music and his two daughters play the violin,” Roldugin said.

The Russian government, the cellist said, was doing everything possible to promote classical music at the high school level.

“The government has set up special grants for teachers of classical music in schools and helps the orchestras with money to purchase instruments and pay the musicians,” Roldugin said.

Russian classical music, different from the popular folk music of the villages, is similar to Italian compositions.

“We find it easy to play music by Italian composers because both are emotional, soft and full of passion. German music is a little tough because the tenor is different,” Roldugin said.

The history of modern classical music in Russia can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century when composers like Michael Ivanovich Glinka and Borodin started composing their own music incorporating elements from French and Italian classical music into the Russian traditional music of Church chants and folk songs.

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