The Great Romantic
Rachmaninoff 2: Triumph
12/09/2020
Michael Fowler Centre,
Wellington

Psathas’ most famous work was commissioned by percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. Psathas says, “This double concerto takes listeners on a journey through the world of Greek percussion styles and playing techniques. 

The first movement features an adapted transcription of improvised Greek violin music (by Stathis Koukoularis), the second movement is a tribute to my two children, and the third movement is a wild depiction of the legendary Mænads celebrating their god Dionysos with song, music and dance.”

View from Olympus
John PSATHAS
Michael Houstoun
Claire Edwardes

Rachmaninoff No. 2 is is the epitome of a Russian romantic symphony, filled with fire
and energy as well as tender melancholy and yearning. Rachmaninoff’s fabulous Russian melodies are enriched with the plangent wind writing and swooping string lines that are so characteristic of his writing. The music seems able to plumb the darkest depths while simultaneously soaring into the light. A dramatic and varied first movement is followed by a galloping scherzo with a slower interlude that is one of the most romantic ever written 
– though even that is outdone by the Adagio that follows, with its meltingly lovely clarinet solo.



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