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Russian Foreign Ministry: It is sad UK top diplomat didn't like concert in Palmyra

May 06, 2016, 14:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Philip Hammond described the performance by the Mariinsky theater symphony orchestra as an attempt to distract attention from the ongoing suffering of millions of Syrians

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© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 6 /TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry is upset that British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond did not like the Russian music concert in Palmyra, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

Philip Hammond described the performance as an attempt to distract attention from the ongoing suffering of millions of Syrians.

"As for Mr. Hammond, it is certainly sad that he did not like it. We ran off our legs to please him. We did everything for that, and not because he is knowledgeable in music - now we know that he does not know a good thing about it all - but because everybody is interested in what he said about the concert. His other comments are of no interest to anybody," the Russian diplomat said.

The Mariinsky theater symphony orchestra under the baton of maestro Valery Gergiyev gave a concert in the famous Roman theater in Palmyra on Thursday. Cellist Sergei Roldugin, the artistic director of the St. Petersburg House of Music, and violinist Pavel Milyukov, a Tchaikovsky music concert laureate, took part in the performance.

Gergiyev calls concert in Palmyra a call for peace, concord

According to maestro Valery Gergiyev, the Mariinsky artistic director and the conductor of the orchestra, Thursday's concert signalled a call for peace and concord and an appeal to all peoples in the world to pool their efforts in the fighting with the evil of terrorism.

The music included in the concert "mirrors our heartache, indignation and protest against barbarism and violence, against the savage monsters who destroyed the invaluable monuments of world culture and organized mass executions here."

Along with it some items on the programme "express a feeling of huge optimism and hope".

Among these Gergiyev named 'Cotillion' by Rodion Schedrin that was performed by cellist Sergei Roldugin, Serge Prokofiyev's Symphony No. 1 in the rendition of the Mariinsky orchestra and Bach's Ciaccona as performed by Pavel Milyukov, who opened the concert. "This work emblematizes the power of human spirit and suits today's event in the best possible way."

Prokofiyev's classical symphony is full of optimism and delight with samples of refined classical art "something we've seen right in front of our eyes in this great place."

The customary concert decorations gave way to the columns and porticos of the Roman theater build in the 2nd century AD. Archeologists rediscovered the theater covered up with sand in the second half of the 20th century. It reacquired its original look after a restoration.

By a lucky chance, the theater stayed undamaged after an almost year-long rein of militants of the Islamic State terrorist grouping in the city.

A portrait of the Syrian archeologist Khaled Asaad who held the position of the chief supervisor of antiquities in Palmyra until August 18, 2015, when the terrorists beheaded publicly. The execution of this life-long Palmyran resident made the global community of museum workers indignant.

The audiences that included many adolescents brought flowers to the concert and thanked the musicians with intensive applause between items f the programme.

"We size this concert up as a act of human compassion and solidarity with those whom we can call brothers and sisters," Gergiyev told Rossiya I TV channel after the concert.

He also said a decision to perform in Palmyra had been taken virtually two days before the concert and the orchestra musicians agreed to come here without any hesitation.

"I'm really thankful to the Mariinsky theater musicians who gave consent (to performing in Palmyra) without any afterthoughts," he said. "We spoke literally the day before yesterday for the first time about an opportunity to play here in the country shocked by human deaths."

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