|HBSO’s concert on May 8 will feature Hoang Ngoc Anh Quan as the clarinet soloist – PHOTO: COURTESY OF HBSO
German classical music can be divided into “heavy” and “light”. Heavy would be, among others, Wagner, Richard Strauss and Bruckner, whereas light would include Mendelssohn and Weber. The concert on May 8 will feature light classical, or “German Romantic”, music.
Following an overture, the main works will be Weber’s Second Clarinet Concerto and Mendelssohn’s Symphony Number 3.
The conductor will be Honna Tetsuji, while the clarinet soloist will be Hoang Ngoc Anh Quan.
Carl Maria von Weber wrote three works for clarinet and orchestra – two clarinet concertos and a one-movement concertino. All three were written in 1811, when Weber was 25.
The Second Clarinet Concerto displays all the qualities of the clarinet as an instrument – its wide range (from high to low), its sonority at the low end, and its ability to effortlessly leap from one pitch to another.
Weber achieved great fame ten years later with his opera Der Freischutz, which HBSO staged to great acclaim in 2018. The overture to this opera forms the opening item in this concert.
Hoang Ngoc Anh Quan will play the solo clarinet in Saigon’s concert. He began studying clarinet at the age of 12, and in 2015 went to study in Maastricht in the Netherlands where he was awarded top honors.
After an interval, we will hear Mendelssohn’s Symphony Number 3, the “Scottish”. Mendelssohn wrote five symphonies, though Symphony No. 2 was only given this number posthumously. All are distinguished for their melodic sweetness and musical good-nature.
Mendelssohn got his first idea for the symphony’s opening on a visit to Edinburgh. He later traveled to the Hebrides and visited Fingal’s Cave, which gave him the inspiration for a famous overture. Nevertheless, work on the symphony was continually delayed and it was many years before it was given its premier (in 1842, the last of his symphonies to be performed in public).
The symphony’s four movements are linked, and designed to be played without a break. Nevertheless they have distinct characteristics – the first somber and stormy, the second lively and happy, the third a slow movement, and the last movement using elements from Scottish folk dances. The work ends with an unexpected new melody expressing optimism and hope.
The concert will be conducted by Honna Tetsuji. Currently Music Director of the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra in Hanoi, he studied and conducted extensively in Europe, notably in Amsterdam, London and Budapest. He won first prize in a conducting competition in the last city.
He has led the Hanoi orchestra on several successful tours abroad, to the U.S., Italy, Russia and other countries.
Tickets for the concert are from VND400,000 to VND750,000, with a special concession for students on production of a valid student card of VND80,000. The event begins at 8 p.m.