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Symphony Central Coast: From Russia with Love

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by Helen Belli (subscribe)
I am now living in Kariong on the Central Coast
Political interference produced angry responses from frustrated composers.

Central Coast Symphony Orchestra

The second in the series of four concerts performed in 2019 by the Central Coast Symphony Orchestra was aptly named 'From Russia with Love'. Three great Russian composers were represented.

Tchaikovsky, the best known and the most productive of the Russian composers, said of 'The Voyevoda' 'such rubbish should never have been written'

His first opera 'The Voyevoda' only lasted 5 performances and although the composer thought he had destroyed the score, it survived. Audiences can judge for themselves the worth of the work. This overture contains his typical style of bold orchestration and use of local folk melodies.

The Romeo and Juliet Suite, based on Shakespeare's play by Prokofiev, is well known and well-loved. The original version has a happy ending and contained much joyful music which Prokofiev loved to write. Without his permission due to political pressure, it was changed at the whim of conductors to a tragedy, they even dared to tamper with the score. The Communist Party came to power in 1917 and the leaders 'requested' all composers, under pain of death, to sing the praises of the revolution and the glorious leaders. He was named an enemy of the people. It is said the interference with his music was the reason Prokofiev became deranged. He died, a broken man on the same day as Stalin in 1953.

Foyer at the CCGS

Shostakovich vacillated between compliance with the Communist regime and rage against the limitations on artists. Criticism of his music range from 'original' to 'trashy, empty and second-hand'. Elegiac in tone [tragic and mournful], complex and personal are words that help to understand the neurotic nature of his music.
Shostakovich wrote his cello concerto no1 for his famous cellist and conductor friend Rostropovich. It was first performed in 1959. This is considered the most difficult of all cello concertos. It takes a cellist 28 minutes to tackle the complexities of the 4 movements of the concerto. The concerto features the cellist, two flutes, oboes and clarinets, bassoons, one horn, lots of timpani, piano and strings. All musicians played with gusto but all eyes were on the young cello player.

Sebastien Hibbard

This concerto is usually left to the seasoned player to master. Today that changed forever. A 17 year old student at the Central Coast Grammar School [CCGS] showed us he could do the almost impossible. He played his cello with passion and confidence. Sebastien Hibbard was awarded a scholarship in 2013 and is studying year 12 at CCGS. He is one of the star students at the Sydney Conservatorium. He received his LMUS for cello at age 14 and plays the piano also. Just a few of his achievements. Bravo, bravo Sebastien.

Ever smiling CWA

During the interval, the ladies of the Country Woman's Association served a wonderful afternoon tea. Wines to taste are aplenty from Tamburlaine organic winery. If you buy a case of wine when at the concert, they donate $50 to the Orchestra, great deal!

Hillary Day and Chris Hunt

The artists join the audience after the concert and happily stop for photos. Tired they might be but generous with smiles. Had a chance to catch up with Hillary Day, Assistant Principal Cello with the orchestra and Chris Hunt, Head of Music Department at CCGS and a yoga enthusiast.

Karina Moss-Hollands and husband Mark

The sparkles on Concert Master Karina Moss-Hollands black dress glistened in the spotlights, her ever-present smile encourages all. She is playing a solo in the upcoming concert, no 3, 'German Masters of Fate' featuring Schumann, Beethoven and Brahms.

Concert no 3 will be held at the CCGS performing arts centre on Sunday 22 September at 2.30

For info and bookings go to tel. 43658497

See you all there.
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When: 30 June, 2.30pm
Phone: 43658497
Where: Arundel Rd, Erina Heights NSW 2260
Cost: $40 with concessions
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