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Dvořák and Beethoven

Roderick McGrath was once told he would never be a professional musician because he took up cello too late in life. This month, Darwin audiences are in for a treat as the celebrated principal cellist, from the WA Symphony Orchestra, joins Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) to present Dvořák and Beethoven, performing two of their biggest works.

By Kate Conway 

Widely regarded as one of the most technically difficult pieces of symphonic music, ever, Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto is both physically and musically demanding to play. But for McGrath, it’s so worth it.

“If you are a cellist, you know that the Dvořák is regarded as the most difficult, taxing of all the concertos – especially the big romantic ones – but it is so rewarding because it shows off every single aspect of the cello and the performer’s abilities,” he says.

“You have to have complete control of the instrument. There are some notoriously difficult passages in the repertoire, but at the same time, it is some of the most beautiful music written for a solo instrument. Many people regard it as one of, if not, the greatest romantic concertos written for any instrument.”

Equally exhilarating and dramatic, Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 7th Symphony features his famous, cinematic Allegretto second movement. DSO Artistic Director Jon Tooby says the fun, iconic piece was chosen with both the orchestra and audience in mind.

“The Beethoven symphony that we are doing is a complete joy,” he says.

“Beethoven is pretty much the grandfather of symphonic writing. He produced a very particular sound and style, and it’s just revered all over the world. We have chosen that symphony because it is super fun and powerful. It has got everything.”

According to McGrath, with the combination of virtuosic talent and spirited orchestral favourites, the evening is set to entertain whether or not you’re a classical music nut.

“They are two of the greatest and most popular pieces in the symphonic repertoire and, even if you have never been to a concert before, you will find something to love and enjoy in both. They are a great contrast but they both really show off a symphony orchestra and a cello in the best possible way.”

Darwin Symphony Orchestra - Dvořák and Beethoven
WHEN SAT 22 OCT | 7.30PM
COST $20-$60 | $130 FAM

Photo: Tim Nicol Photography

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