It is perhaps hardly surprising that stories and fairy tales have inspired music –essentially a method to tell stories without words – throughout the ages. It is with this in mind that the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Greek conductor Michalis Economou and with London Symphony Orchestra’s co-leader Carmine Lauri as guest orchestra leader, has chosen to tackle three of the most notable examples of such an inspiration.

Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, a symphonic retelling of Shakespeare’s timeless tale, endured a lukewarm reception and harsh criticism to become one of his most iconic works. Its famous “love theme” has since become ubiquitous – almost cliché – in film and TV.

The legendary heroine of One Thousand and One Nights inspired Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic suite Scheherazade, which was later adapted into a controversial ballet. The composer was key in helping develop a distinctly Russian style of music, which involved looking east for inspiration, and Scheherazade is a shining example of his efforts.

The concert will also feature an unusual composition: a concerto for accordion and orchestra. The accordion is a staple of folk music, but is rarely considered for classical orchestral music.

Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova is one of the key proponents of the accordion as a classical instrument in its own right. She will be joining the orchestra to perform Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla’s Concerto Aconcagua, which was written for the bandoneón, the concertina that is characteristic of tango music, but naturally easily adapted to the more versatile accordion.

This concert is supported by the Valletta 2018 Foundation.