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Russian Masters

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Russian Masters


It’s strange to think that we can now comfortably enjoy as ‘favourites’, two works that were born of extreme mental anguish. The ‘Rach 2’ today allows the listener to luxuriate in the bitter sweetness of its tender lyrical moments or breathe in its sorrowful majesty, but it was written, with the aid of a therapist, by a composer struggling with profound depression.

Tchaikovsky’s spectacular Symphony No. 4 has long been a popular hit, but its calm moments are rare, and it seethes with the artist’s neurotic obsessions and catastrophic thinking. Even its thrilling, lightning-paced finale seems to border on the unhinged.

Pianist Po Goh, who wowed audiences when he won the 2018 Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music’s Concerto Competition, takes on the Rachmaninoff and the two titanic works are led by prodigiously gifted Australian conductor Jessica Cottis. A new commission by dynamic young Sydney composer Holly Harrison is an exciting bonus on the program. She knows a thing or two about mania as well: witness her piece Balderdash (repeatedly outed at the recent Melbourne International Chamber Music competition) which turns a string quartet into a crazy shredding electric guitar solo.

Jessica Cottis: 
Po Goh: Piano

Holly Harrison:
 Fizzin’ Fury
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.4 in F minor

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Earlier Event: 6 April
Russian Knights
Later Event: 5 May