‘An Evening of Russian Masterpieces’: Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky take centrestage

Friday, 21 April 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Russian pianist Maxim Puryzhinskiy and Sri Lankan violinist Ananda Dabare and cellist Dushyanthi Perera

 On 2 May, the Lionel Wendt Theatre will be immersed in the spectacular music of two of Russia’s most famous composers, Sergei Rachmaninoff and P.I. Tchaikovsky when Russian pianist Maxim Puryzhinskiy and Sri Lankan violinist Ananda Dabare and cellist Dushyanthi Perera take on the complex yet impassioned nuances of Russian masterpieces. Discerning music lovers are promised an exhilarating evening that places the spotlight on the late romantic period that articulated Europe’s artistic and literary movement that spurred greater expression, energy and passion. 

Maxim Puryzhinskiy, whose last performance in Sri Lanka saw him blend his technical skills to present powerful and emotive renditions, will begin the evening showing his pianist’s dexterity to Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons Opus 37a No 5 ‘May’. Also known as Starlit Nights, which is occasionally known as White Nights, this poignant reverie is one of a dozen songs for piano that paints a vivid canvas of the 12 months in its changing seasons. He then continues with Rachmaninoff’s most famous composition, Prelude in C Sharp Minor Op 3 No 2, one of the 24 preludes composed for piano in all the major and minor keys. Dedicated to his harmony teacher Anton Arensky in a set of five pieces he called ‘Morceaux de fantaisie’, he later jokingly nicknamed it ‘Frankenstein’ given that its popularity took on a life of its own.

Puryzhinskiy will then accompany violinist Anande Dabare for Tchaikovsky’s Meditation in D Minor from ‘Souvenir d’un lieu cher’, Opus 42 No 1 which is the first of a set of three pieces in the Memory of a Dear Place. The melancholy flavour and probing melodies, inject a lyricism worthy of this distinguished composer. He accompanies Cellist Dushyanthi Perera next for Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, one of the series from ‘Fourteen Songs’ written prior to the composer leaving Russia. Originally written for voice and piano, Dushyanthi and Puryzhinskiy bring out the deeply moving nostalgic atmosphere of the melody which is best revealed with the stringed instrument supported by piano.

The three virtuosos then come together to perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor Opus 50, which continues to be hailed as one of the greatest compositions written for piano, violin and cello, the finest in the chamber genre. It is sumptuous, sensitive and intense, stretching the boundaries of the trio of instruments technically and in scope and content. Dedicated to Tchaikovsky’s friend Nikolai Rubinstein, the beautiful opening of the cello solo is a prelude to long interwoven melodic lines, striking harmonies, florid animation and impassioned showmanship which makes way for variations on a theme in the second movement and a finale that has all the elemental power and elation expected of Tchaikovsky, but which unexpectedly ends with the stark desolation of a funeral march.

An Evening of Russian Masterpieces is presented by the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka and is sponsored by the Earle de Fonseka Trust as one of the Trust’s Chamber Music Concert Series. Box plan and tickets are available at the Lionel Wendt and is priced at Rs. 2,000, Rs. 1,500, Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 750 (Reserved) and Balcony (Unreserved) is Rs. 500.