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    The GSO’s new season kicks off with the latest in our much-loved series of Family Concerts. Ditch the Quidditch and strap yourselves tight onto the Axminster for a whirlwind musical round-the-world trip. David Leonard (better known as the dastardly Miss Trunchbull from the West End production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda) narrates with genie-al ablomb, and maestro Darrell Davison brings his full kit of jokes, japes, and musical waggery. Guaranteed fun for children young and old, and a chance for instrumentalists to kindle their enthusiasm.


    Guildford Symphony Orchestra’s Russian themed concert embraces 19th century romance and the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution spanning the last years of the Tsars and the start of the Soviet era.


    The concert begins in full romantic mode with Tchaikovsky’s Overture from Romeo and Juliet, followed by Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 1, composed by the Russian virtuoso when he was just 18.


    The soloist is Franciso Vilar, a 21 year old Portuguese pianist who is already an internationally acclaimed prize-winning performer renowned for his fluid technique, refined musicianship and natural sense of projection. Expect a highly expressive performance of this concerto’s rich melodies and spectacular solo fireworks.


    Always a modernist, Shostakovich’s youthful idealism was given a sore trial as he watched so many of his friends become victims of Stalin’s madness. After a denunciation by the cultural ministry he was forced to rein in his more experimental inclinations, but managed to exploit his supreme gift for musical irony to subvert the dictats of the regime whilst apparently toeing the line. His 5th Symphony is from a more optimistic period where he wasn’t in perpetual fear of a knock at the door, and remains – unusually for a 20th Century work – a firm favourite of concert-goers.



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