Russian flavour for St Albans Abbey concert

PUBLISHED: 09:44 18 June 2011

Bjorn Bantock with the Great Gate of Kiev

Bjorn Bantock with the Great Gate of Kiev


ROMANTIC Russian music comes to St Albans Abbey next Saturday, June 25, with performances of some of the most colourful and passionate scores ever composed for orchestra.

But St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO), which is performing the concert under conductor Bjorn Bantock, has a sting in the tale of its next concert – neither of the major works featured are as Russian as they seem.

Pictures at an Exhibition was composed for the piano by Mussorgsky in 1874 but the suite’s enduring popularity is largely due to the orchestration of the work that the French composer Ravel made in the 1920s – not least its stirring finale depicting The Great Gate of Kiev.

Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony, which takes listeners on a journey from brooding melancholy to a lyrical slow movement and triumphant finale, was actually written in Germany during a period the composer spent in self-imposed exile.

Completing SASO’s Festival programme is The Enchanted Lake, a tone poem by a third Russian Liadov. Although never able to fulfil his potential as a composer, his short musical account of a misty and moonlit lake is highly atmospheric.

The concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £20, £16 and £12 reserved, £10 unreserved, £1 for accompanied children and £5 students, available from the SASO ticket secretary on 01727 857422, from the Abbey box office on 01727 860780 or from

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