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Sunday 15th September 2013 Print E-mail

Jubel Overture, Op. 54
Carl Maria von Weber (1786 - 1826)

Weber’s Jubel Overture was composed in 1818 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the ascension to the throne of the King of Saxony, Friedrich August I. After the premiere Weber wrote in his diary: “Festival day. At night grand court concert in the Opera House. My Jubilee Overture went finely.”

After a grand introduction, perhaps symbolizing honour and respect for the king, comes a driving presto of jubilant celebration, ending with a brilliant fortissimo. The full orchestra then plays a solemn and grand rendition of “Heil Dir im Siegerkranz” (God Save the King), which was the German national anthem until 1922.

Andante Festivo
Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957)

Late in 1922, Sibelius was commissioned to write a work in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Savnatsalo sawmill near his country home in Finland, and he responded with a short movement for string quartet, Andante festivo. Sibelius was always inspired by nature, and the work is one of broad chords and a hushed solemnity. It is not what one might think of as "festive," but most definitely "andante" (a moderately slow, walking pace).

Sibelius later arranged the work for string orchestra and timpani, to be broadcast on New Year’s Day 1939 as a greeting to the world at the World Exhibition in New York. During the recording session at the Helsinki radio station, Sibelius perhaps foresaw the gathering clouds of war, urging the performers to "Play with more humanity."

This five minute gem has an almost sacred gravity, and to this day it continues to be played in Finland during solemn state occasions, as it was during Sibelius’ own funeral, which was estimated to have been attended by over 70,000 people.

“Sigurd Jorsalfar” - Three pieces for orchestra Op. 56
 Edvard Grieg (1843 – 1907)

Grieg composed his incidental music for Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson's play Sigurd Jorsalfar (Sigurd the Crusader) in 1872, two years before he undertook his much better-known Peer Gynt music. The play itself is rarely staged, although its roots in the mystical world of Nordic folklore still remain compelling. The plot concerns the joint rulers of twelfth-century Norway, two brothers Sigurd and Øystein, and the beautiful Borghild, whose love for Øystein is unrequited but who is loved by Sigurd.

“In the King’s Hall” heralds a scene in which the brothers and their followers debate which of the two is to be the sole monarch.

“Borghild’s Dream” is a dramatic representation of the heroine’s inner turmoil and confusion.

In the “Homage March”, Sigurd is chosen by Borghild to lead his people, and is reconciled to Øystein. Grieg’s concert version is expanded from the original, with an introductory fanfare and broad central melody.

Symphony No. 3  in E flat (Op. 55)                          
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

1. Allegro con brio
2. Marcia funebre: Adagio assai
3. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
4. Allegro- Poco andante- Presto

It has often been said that that this symphony is one of the most important ever written. Sir George Grove called it Beethoven’s “first obviously revolutionary music.” Romain Rolland likened it to the discovery of the New World: “The Eroica is Columbus’ caravel, the first to reach an unknown continent.”

To begin with, one can point to the unusual length of the symphony; at around 50 minutes it is nearly half as long again as any other symphony to date. But more important than the mere length is the substance. In previous symphonies, including Beethoven’s own, the development section of the first movement is almost invariably substantially shorter than the exposition, but in the Eroica it is two thirds longer, and the coda, which was traditionally merely a short closing gesture, is here only a few bars shorter than the exposition. The length and proportions are not a case of padding, but rather an exhaustive working out of the material and a concentrated building of energy and power.

Beethoven probably conceived the idea of his new symphony in 1802, just after writing his heartbreaking “Heiligenstadt Testament”, where he despaired at the gradual loss of his hearing and even expressed thoughts of suicide. Yet, he soon wrote to his doctor, “I will seize fate by the throat.”

Beethoven planned to dedicate the symphony to Napoleon, whom Beethoven admired as a liberator and fellow revolutionary. It was not Bonaparte’s military prowess to which Beethoven was paying tribute, but rather his republicanism and rejection of the ancien régime. However, when Napoleon declared himself Emperor in 1804, Beethoven was infuriated and tore the dedication inscription from his the title page of his manuscript. The symphony then received a new title: “Sinfonia eroica – per festeggiar il suovenire d’un gran uomo” (Heroic symphony to celebrate the memory of a great man).

The monumental first movement is the grandest part of this work. After two mighty opening chords the principal theme is played by the cellos. Other significant melodic ideas are a three note falling fragment and a loud semiquaver string figure. As already mentioned, this movement is not only built on a vast scale, but it is also noted for its obsessive, often dissonant thrusts against the beat.

The massive slow movement is a Funeral March in c minor. The main theme is in two parts, the first distinguished by sharply dotted rhythms, and the second with a broad majestic lyricism. The movement carries great weight, and in its central fugato episode, a searing intensity of feeling beyond any previous symphonic writing.

In the energetic Scherzo Beethoven plays with metric ambiguities – is the movement in duple or triple time? One of the most striking innovations is the use of three horns in its Trio section. Another is the sudden change of time for four bars that occurs in the final statement of the descending motive near the end.

The Finale uses as its subject a favourite idea of Beethoven, as he had also used it in three earlier works. A tempestuous introductory flourish begins, followed by a series of variations of almost bewildering diversity, including march rhythm and fugato. The culmination is a spacious and extended slow variation distinguished by its elaborate wind writing and majestic beauty.

This ground-breaking and monumental symphony had its first public performance in 1805, conducted by Beethoven at the Theater an der Wien.

Again to quote Romain Rolland: “The Eroica is a miracle even among Beethoven’s works. If later he went further, never did he take so big a single stride."

 
Sunday 30th June 2013 Print E-mail

Overture in D, “in the Italian style”
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

In November 1816, a sort of “Italian invasion” of Vienna began with the staging of Rossini’s opera L’inganno felice, closely followed by his Tancredi and numerous others. Rossini’s racy new style, with its exaggerated expression, grew increasing popular with the Viennese public in the 1820s. The local composers, however, tended to consider it facile and superficial. Beethoven, for instance, while conceding that Rossini was “a talented and melodious composer”, thought his music was “merely in keeping with the frivolous spirit of the times.”

The less serious-minded Schubert (who was barely 20 at the time), however, enjoyed the new style and assimilated it into his own. In 1817 he wrote two overtures “in the Italian style,” the first of which we hear today. It opens with a slow lyrical introduction, punctuated by dramatic chords, which his compatriots would have certainly considered too “flowery.” Schubert liked it so much, however, that he used it again for the Rosamunde overture. It is followed by a brisk Allegro giusto, the middle section of which is based on a popular aria (Di tanti palpiti) from Tancredi. The quickening of tempo towards the end and frenetic conclusion are perhaps also influenced by Rossini.

(Adapted from Alfred Einstein, Schubert, The Man and his Music.) 

Bassoon Concerto in B flat, K.191 (1st mvt.)
W. A. Mozart (1756-1791)

Soloist: Vivian Wain

This concerto is probably one of three that Mozart reportedly wrote in 1774, at the age of 18, for an amateur bassoonist in Munich, Freiherr (Baron) Thaddäus von Dürnitz. We know it from two editions from 1801 and 1805; “like all the printed music of the period, they were corrected in a slovenly fashion.” The manuscript and the other two concertos, if they ever existed, are lost. It is one of the earliest surviving Mozart concertos, preceded only by the Piano Concerto in D, K. 175, of 1773.

Mozart’s biographer, Alfred Einstein, described it as “a real bassoon concerto, which could not be arranged for, say, violoncello....The solo portions are full of leaps, runs, and singing passages completely suited to the instrument. The work was written con amore from beginning to end, as is particularly evident in the lively participation of the orchestra.”

Von Dürnitz must have been an accomplished player, as he would have played this concerto on a primitive bassoon with three or four keys, and it is by no means easy on modern instruments.

Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, L. 98
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

Soloist: Samantha Gardiner

The saxophone, a hybrid instrument made of brass with a reed like a clarinet, was invented and patented by the Belgian instrument-maker Adolphe Sax in 1846. It was originally intended for use in military bands and, before the jazz age, was a rather obscure instrument with a limited repertoire. In 1903 Elisa Hall, President of the Boston Orchestral Club, who had taken it up to improve a respiratory condition, commissioned several prominent French composers for compositions. Debussy disliked composing to order, but eventually provided (and was paid for) an unfinished work. When Mrs. Hall arrived in Paris and asked about progress, Debussy wrote to a friend “the Americans are proverbially tenacious...The saxophone lady has arrived...I am desperately searching for new combinations to show off this aquatic instrument....I realise that I am behind with this...Its proceeds were eaten more than a year ago..."

When Debussy heard Hall perform, he said that it was ridiculous to see a woman in a pink frock playing such an ungainly instrument, and had no desire to perpetuate the spectacle. Not until 1911 did he resume work on the rhapsody, and sent Hall a rough draft of a few more staves. The work was finally completed by Jean Roger-Ducasse, shortly after Debussy’s death from cancer in 1918. It was first performed by Yves Mayeur on 11th May 1919, with the orchestra conducted by Debussy’s close friend André Caplet.  

(Acknowledgements to Wikipedia)

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C, Op. 15 (3rd mvt.)
Beethoven (1770-1827)

Soloist: Matthew Bohmer

Beethoven probably wrote the first version of this concerto in 1795, not long after his B flat concerto known as No. 2. He may have performed it in Vienna on 18th December, at a concert to mark Haydn’s return from London. Both concertos were revised and played in Prague in 1798, and the C major concerto, which he considered the better work, was also performed in Vienna on 2nd April 1800, together with the premiere of his first symphony.

The third movement is a sparkling rondo based on a catchy tune introduced by the soloist and repeated fortissimo by the orchestra. It reappears three times, interspersed with contrasting episodes. After the cadenza, a languid oboe solo is cut off by the abrupt conclusion.

(Acknowledgements to Dennis Matthews, The Master Musicians: Beethoven)

Symphony No. 4  in D minor (Op. 120)
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Before 1840, Schumann had composed only piano music, but after his marriage to the celebrated concert pianist Clara Wieck (famously opposed by her father), he expanded his output to include songs and then orchestral music.

Schumann began writing this symphony in Leipzig in May 1841, only two months after the first performance of his Symphony No. 1 (Spring), and had completed it for Clara’s birthday on 13th September. The first performance in the Gewandhaus hall in December was, however, overshadowed by “a frenzy of enthusiasm” for Liszt, who played two of his own works at the same concert. It was “virtually impossible for anyone else to survive on the same concert platform, or for any other music to be left ringing in the audience’s ears.” For the second work, a piano duet, Liszt was accompanied by Clara Schumann, who was also more famous than her husband. After its lukewarm première, Schumann put aside this symphony for ten years. In 1851, during his unhappy tenure as a conductor at Dusseldorf, be substantially revised and re-orchestrated it. The revised version, which we hear this afternoon, was first performed with more success at the annual Rhine Music Festival of May 1853. Within a year, however, Schumann suffered a complete mental breakdown and was confined to an asylum at his own request.

Certain common musical themes link the four movements, which Schumann intended to be played without breaks:

Ziemlich langsam-Lebhaft (Rather slow- Lively)

The slow but restless introduction has rather fancifully been likened to vegetation swaying to-and-fro beneath the sea. The ensuing Lebhaft begins with a semiquaver passage that dominates the rest of the movement, which ends in the brighter major key.

Romanze

A wistful oboe solo begins and ends this short movement; the “seaweed” returns in the middle section.

Lebhaft

A stomping, rollicking bucolic scherzo alternates with a limpid trio. Towards the end the trio slows and falters, leading into...  

Langsam – Lebhaft – Presto

A bridge passage, which has been likened to a prisoner groping his way from darkness to light, leads to the cheerful D major finale. The movement ends with an energetic Presto.

(Acknowledgements to S. Williams in R. Hill: The Symphony; R. Taylor: Schumann, His Life and Work):

Our Soloists

Vivian Wain has been playing the bassoon for five years and piano for seven. In year 7 he was encouraged by his musical parents to pick up the bassoon and has since been taught by TSO bassoonist, John Panckridge. Vivian is a member of the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra and has twice participated in the Australian Youth Orchestra Young Symphonists program. He is currently enrolled in music at Elizabeth College and is hoping to keep music open as an option for the future. You may see him around Hobart participating in Eisteddfods or busking with his double-bassist brother.

Samantha Gardiner started playing saxophone in college and is currently studying classical saxophone at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music with Jabra Latham. Samantha also plays with the Derwent Valley Concert Band.

Matthew Bohmer has been playing the piano since the age of eight and is currently studying with Jody Heald. He completed with distinction his eighth grade AMEB piano examination, and has just passed his A.Mus.A. diploma. He is also a first year student at UTas studying for a Bachelor of Science.

Matthew has received the TMTA (Tasmanian Music Teachers Association) award for the most promising pianist in the Clarence Eisteddfod in 2012, first prize in the Clarence Eisteddfod Senior Piano Recital championship (2012), first prize in the Brenda Hean Pianoforte Competition (2011) and the TMTA award for the best result in a seventh grade pianoforte AMEB examination (2009).

Matthew has also studied orchestral percussion since 2008. In 2011, he received the 'Just Percussion' award for the most promising percussionist at the Hobart Eisteddfod. Matthew was a member of the Tasmanian Youth Percussion Ensemble from 2008 to 2012. He has also been part of the orchestra for musical theatre productions, including the Hobart Theatre Summer School productions of “The Producers” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

Our Conductor: Jamie Allen

Having studied at The NSW Conservatorium of Music in Sydney and Newcastle, Jamie finished his studies in flute with High Distinction, beginning a freelance career as an orchestral player and teacher.

Jamie became attracted to singing and set about training as a tenor. An audition with Opera Australia was successful, and he was offered the roles of one of the apprentices in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and a permanent chorus position.

After winning the Australian Singing Competition and the Remy Martin Opera Award, Jamie was made a young artist with Opera Australia, where he performed roles such as Benedict in Beatrice and Benedict, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Max in Der Freischütz and Orpheus in Orpheus in the Underworld.

Overseas work has included the role of Nadir in The Pearlfishers in Sri Lanka and Steva in Jenufa for New Zealand Opera.

Concert work has also been a feature of Jamie’s musical life working with all of the Australian Symphony Orchestras, with repertoire ranging from Monteverdi through to the present time.

In 2010 Jamie participated in Symphony Australia’s conductor masterclasses, working with the TSO and Orchestra Victoria and receiving guidance with conductors Sebastien Lang-Lessing and Christopher Seamen.

Presently Jamie is Music Director of both St Mary’s Cathedral Choir and The Tasmanian Chorale.

 
Sunday 7th April 2013 Print E-mail

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) Overture
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

The first performance of Die Zauberflöte was at the end of September 1791, conducted by Mozart himself, just nine weeks before his death. By November 1792, the opera had reached its 100th performance. The popularity of the opera continued to grow and it remains one of the most frequently performed operas – you can see it in London and Dresden this month.

Die Zauberflöte is redolent with the symbolism of Freemasonry, in which the number three is highly significant. For example, there are three boy messengers from Sarastro and three girls from the Queen of Night. Tamino faces three trials in three temples. Even multiples of three are significant – Sarastro has exactly eighteen priestesses – sometimes a headache for amateur theatre!

The overture commences with three dramatic chords, which are with a solemn statement, echoing Sarastro and his priests. This is succeeded by a jollier allegro suggesting the cheerful world of Papageno and Papagena, but Mozart suddenly interrupts with more dramatic chords. This time there is no doubt of the Masonic character of the music – not just three chords, but three groups of three.  This is the "secret" knock used by a freemason to gain admission to an unfamiliar lodge – three groups of three raps on the door. The strings return with their cheerful allegro to complete the overture.

Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana
Pietro Mascagni


In July 1888, the Milanese music publisher Edoardo Sonzogno announced a competition open to all young Italian composers who had not yet had an opera performed on stage. They were invited to submit a one-act opera, of which three selected by a jury would be staged in Rome at Sonzogno's expense.

Mascagni heard about the competition only two months before the closing date and asked his friend Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti, a poet and professor of literature in the Italian Royal Naval Academy in Livorno, to provide a libretto. Targioni-Tozzetti chose Cavalleria rusticana, a popular short story (and play) by Giovanni Verga and, together with his colleague Guido Menasci, composed the libretto. Mascagni received it in fragments, sometimes only a few verses at a time on the back of a postcard. Cavalleria rusticana was finally submitted on the closing day of the competition. Out of 73 entries, the judges selected it, together with Niccola Spinelli's Labilia and Vincenzo Ferroni's Rudello. Cavalleria rusticana is considered one of the classic verismo ("realism") operas. It was premiered on 17th May 1890, at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. Since 1893, it has often been performed in a double-bill with Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

Although Cavalleria rusticana is a one-act opera, it is divided by a period in which the town square is empty and only the orchestra is heard, playing the now famous Intermezzo, the calm before the storm. It is a gentle piece, played mainly by strings, joined about halfway through by the oboes and harp, adding lyrical countermelodies and rhythmic chords respectively. Clarinets and flutes add high register support and colour to a final chord.

Concert piece for four horns and orchestra
Hübler

Soloists: Robert Stonestreet, Lance Cowled, Louise Pascal, Anite Green

Carl Heinrich Hübler (1822-1893) lived during the period of development of the fully chromatic valved horn. Prior to this, horns were limited to the notes of the harmonic series, requiring their players to utilize the upper harmonics and carry a set of crooks with them to allow changes of key. While it was possible to use the right hand to partially close the bell to fill in the gaps between harmonics, the notes sounded thereby were not equal in tone. It took much of the 19th century for the potential of the valved horn to be recognized, perhaps because the valves were not particularly reliable and as late as the turn of the 20th century the horn tutor Oscar Franz was still recommending that players learn hand stopping technique - in case the valves malfunctioned in a concert. It was during this period of development that the two concert pieces for four horns by Schumann and Hübler were written.

In October 1849, Schumann's concert piece for four horns was first performed in private with piano accompaniment in the apartment of Johann Rudolph Lewy in Dresden in the presence of the composer. One of the players was Carl Heinrich Hübler, then a member of the Dresden court orchestra. Hübler was a horn virtuoso of the period and Schumann's work inspired him to write his own concert piece for four horns. Schumann's work would have been nearly impossible to play on the valved horns of the period (it remains notoriously difficult on today's instruments), but Hübler, with his intimate knowledge of the horn, was able to make his concert piece far more accessible, although it remains less well known. Today's performance may even be a premiere, at least for Tasmania, if not Australia, unusual for 19th century music!

Hübler's concert piece, like Schumann's, is in three contrasting movements, Allegro Maestoso, Andante and Vivace. The horns enter with a three chord statement that Hübler soon varies with a modulation into minor key. Like Schumann, he gives the horns complex harmonies and revels in the possibility of faster chromatic passages. The slow movement commences with a lyrical theme, modulating into a minor key to provide a little romantic sturm and drang before relaxing back into the lyrical first theme. The final movement allows the horns to return to their joyful hunting horn origins, even calling for hand stopping during a slower passage where the solo first horn is joined by the other three. The first three chords return to conclude the piece.

Symphony No. 35 ('Haffner'), K. 385
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Allegro con spirit
Andante
Menuetto
Presto

Sigmund Haffner was born in Salzburg, as was Mozart, and in the same year. They were childhood friends, but while the Haffners were among Salzburg's wealthiest and most prominent families, the Mozarts were musicians, entertainers, confined to a lower social status. It is ironic that the fame of the Haffners today springs mainly from the music that Mozart wrote for them. When Haffner's sister married Franze Spath in July 1776, Mozart was commissioned to provide music for the wedding. Mozart produced the Haffner Serenade, performed on the eve of the wedding.

Six years later, Mozart had moved to Vienna and was, as he wrote to his father, "up to his eyes in work". Despite his workload Mozart accepted a commission to write music on the occasion of Sigmund Haffner's ennoblement. He was apparently unable to complete the work before Sigmund was ennobled on July 29; informing his father two days later that he was unable to "scribble off inferior stuff". The music was finally delivered by late August and might have remained in obscurity had Mozart not asked his father to return the score so he could present this new Haffner Serenade at a concert. By the time it arrived in February 1783, Mozart had forgotten the work, and was amazed at its quality, or so he wrote to his father. He revised the score that winter and the work had its premiere on the 23rd March, 1783. Evidently the work pleased the Emperor, who stayed for the whole concert (unusual, it appears!) and gave Mozart 25 ducats. The box office take for the evening was also impressive, contributing more than half Mozart's earnings for the year, according to his biographer, Maynard Solomon.

Prelude from Pelléas et Mélisande, Op. 80
Gabriel Fauré


This suite is derived from incidental music written for Maurice Maeterlinck's play of the same name. Fauré was the first of four leading composers to write music inspired by Maurice Maeterlinck's drama. Debussy, Schoenberg and Sibelius followed in the first decade of the 20th century.

Fauré's music was written for the London production of Maeterlinck's play in 1898. To meet the tight deadline of the production, Fauré reused some earlier music from incomplete works and enlisted the help of his pupil Charles Koechlin, who orchestrated the music. Fauré later constructed a four-movement suite from the original theatre music, orchestrating the concert version himself.

The Prélude is based on two themes; the first is tightly restricted, with no large melodic intervals between successive notes. The critic Gerald Larner suggests that this theme reflects Mélisande's introverted personality. The second theme is introduced by a romantic solo cello with woodwind, and may, in Larner's view represent Mélisande as first seen by her future husband, Golaud. The horn calls near the end of this movement may suggest Golaud's discovery of Mélisande in the forest.

Text extracted from Wikipedia article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelléas_et_Mélisande_(Fauré)

Soirées musicales
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)


Between 1830 and 1835, Rossini composed a set of 12 songs, titled Soirées musicales. A century later, Benjamin Britten was commissioned to provide music for a documentary film, Men of the Alps. For this purpose, he selected five of Rossini's songs and orchestrated them, continuing a long tradition of recycling music when under pressure to meet a deadline! Three of the pieces are clearly from Rossini's own Soirées musicales. Britten's Soirées were followed by his Matinees Musicals, based on another five Rossini themes. The suites were combined for Balanchine's Divertimento, which toured South America in 1941, perhaps with the intention of improving relations with that continent during World War 2. Given that in South America at the start of World War 2 the best known North American was Micky Mouse, there was a lot of fence mending to do! No doubt Britten's clever orchestration of the music had at least as much to do with the popularity of the suites as the ballet.

The Soirées are divided into 5 parts:

1. March
Theme from the third act of William Tell, the ballet Pas de Soldats.

2. Canzonetta
From Rossini's original Soirées Musicale, the first song, entitled La Promessa.

3. Tirolese
Again from Rossini's original Soirées, this is derived from song number six, La Pastorella delle Alpi, and evokes the vision of dancing, along with yodeling, as suggested first by the trumpet, then by the other instruments.

4. Bolero
From Rossini's fifth song of his Soirées, L'Invito.

5. Tarantella
Here the music can be traced to Rossini's gentle song La Carita. Britten's version is played at a much faster tempo than the song, reputedly sung to the young Britten by his mother.
*****

About our soloists:

Robert Stonestreet

Whilst growing up on the family farm near Orange (NSW), Robert began studying the horn with Campbell Barnes. High school was followed by a Bachelor of Music degree in horn performance and Honours year at The University of Newcastle studying with Geoffrey O'Reilly, then a Masters of Music from Baylor University in Waco, Texas with Jeffrey Powers. He continues to perform regularly in solo, chamber and orchestral settings whilst working on a PhD at The University of Tasmania.

Lance Cowled

Lance received his initial musical training during the 1960s, playing tenor horn in the St Marys Brass Band in the western suburbs of Sydney. Changing to french horn in 1973, he studied with Jack Raines in Melbourne, and with Clarence Mellor on returning to Sydney in 1974-75. Now a retired Antarctic meteorologist, he has played with numerous groups in the Hobart area and is currently the musical director for Hobart Gang Show, a scouting and guiding theatrical group.  He joined the Derwent Symphony Orchestra as first horn in 1992 and is DSO's productive music librarian.

Louise Pascal

After graduating from The Victorian College of the Arts in 1980, Louise worked with the Victorian and Sydney State Orchestras and has played horn extensively with the Melbourne, Sydney and Tasmania Symphony Orchestras. While living in Sydney, Louise also played in the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and appeared with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

After coming to live in Tasmania and starting a family, Louise enjoys teaching horn and continues to play in a professional and semi-professional capacity in the vibrant Hobart community.

Anita Green

Anita started learning the horn by chance after discovering one in the cupboard at Taroona High School. She joined the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra in 1975, commenced lessons with Frits Harmsen and successfully auditioned for the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music, but instead decided to study medicine. Anita was an augmenting player with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra whilst at university and was a founding member of the Derwent Symphony Orchestra. After completing her medical degree, she moved to Darwin in 1988. For most of the next 22 years she was principal horn with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra, and still makes occasional trips back to play there. Since her return to Hobart with her family two years ago, she has played with the DSO, the Hobart Chamber Orchestra. In between work and running around the country with her two musical children, she also squeezes in the occasional gig with the Australian Doctors Orchestra and Corpus Medicorum.

*****

Our Conductor: Greg Stevens

Born in Sydney, Greg Stephens began piano studies at the age of five, and later also studied organ, trumpet, and voice. When he was seven he became a member of the Opera Australia Children's Chorus in Sydney. He completed the Bachelor of Music degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2001, studying horn with Campbell Barnes and Robert Johnson, and conducting with Henryk Pisarek. As a horn player Greg has performed with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Adelaide symphony orchestras, as well as the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He has also been principal horn of the Australian Youth Orchestra.

In 2004 he moved to Germany, studying horn at the University of Music Karlsruhe with Prof. Will Sanders. In 2005 Greg took a position with the Essener Philharmoniker (Germany) and in 2006 joined the Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck (Austria). In 2008 he returned to Australia to take a position with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

In 2001 Greg studied with the renowned conducting professor Jorma Panula as part of the Symphony Australia conducting program, which included conducting the Sydney Symphony as part of the Young Conductor of the Year competition. Since then, as part of the Symphony Australia course, he has also conducted the Tasmanian, Adelaide, Queensland and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, with tutors such as Lutz Köhler, Christopher Seaman and Johannes Fritzsch. He has conducted the Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra Sinfonietta and the Hobart Chamber Orchestra, and teaches horn at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music.

 
Sunday 25th November 2012 Print E-mail
This concert is a celebration of light music composed between 1921 and 2008 by Australians, or those with firm Australian connections. Most pieces are from the 1920s, reflecting the European and English heritage of Australian music at that time.

Some of this music has not been performed for many years and deserves a second hearing. We can enjoy our heritage!

*****

William Garnet James (1892-1977) was born in Ballarat, and is known today for his Six Australian Bush Songs and Fifteen Australian Christmas Carols. He was a world-renowned concert pianist, and performed at "The Proms" under Sir Henry Wood. His compositions (mainly for piano, or voice and piano) were popular in the 1920s and 1930s. James was instrumental in setting up the ABC.

His four pieces performed today are typical of the 'light' music of the 1920s that was played throughout the Commonwealth. The songs were popular with such stars as Dame Nellie Melba and Peter Dawson. The first three pieces were orchestrated by the composer.

In the Gardens of England (1921), based on words by Violet Hoy:
In the gardens of England fair roses are waking,
Their petals unfolding 'neath blue skies of June;
Yet how swiftly they droop, ere they fall and they die, dear:
Summer in England is over so soon...
Madelina (1923), with words by Edward Lockton:
Press the roses to your lips, o'er the hills the red sun dips,
Day to night time softly slips, Madelina! Madelina!
Soon the gentle moon will rise, set her silver in your eyes
Sleep's long dream before you lies, Madelina! Madelina!...
King Billy’s Song (1922), from Six Australian Bush Songs, with words by Richard Baylis:
Him fella new chum down Yarra Yarra, Shook my lubra 'blong King Billy,
Shook my lubra, Burioboola, Take her 'way to Thargomindah...
Riding Home Again or The Stock-Rider's Song (1922), from Six Australian Bush Songs, has words by Richard Baylis. It is one of many works that were orchestrated by Lt. E. C. Stretton for small orchestras and bands.
We've been up Queensland way, with the cattle many a day,
O'er many a thirsty lonely plain,
But now we're heading back on the good old stoney track,
For we're riding, riding, riding home again!
With a yah, hah, holo! How we thunder as we go,
Never staying, never drawing rein, never drawing rein!
With the stock-whip in our hand, we're a merry, jolly, jolly band,
For we're riding, riding, riding, riding home again!...
*****

Dulcie Sybil Holland (1913-2000), born in Sydney, was a pianist, composer and music educator. Her extensive output can be found throughout the AMEB syllabus for keyboard and voice.

Her Symphony for Pleasure (1971) was written for the North Shore Symphony Orchestra and dedicated to its conductor, Dulcie's husband Alan Bellhouse. Its first performance took place on 13th September 1971. The symphony, in three movements, has a 'film music' quality to it.

*****

Miriam Beatrice Hyde (1913-2005) was born in Adelaide. Like Dulcie, Miriam is known for her work that remains in the AMEB syllabus. Her aural papers are still used for AMEB examination candidates. Her symphonic output is small and varied.

Village Fair (1943) was intended for, but never used as, a ballet. The original suggestion for this ballet came from Miss Joanne Priest of Adelaide. The score still contains all the stage directions, e.g. "Festive Scene- general activity on stage..."

As is obvious, the music is based on the traditional song Oh dear what can the matter be, Johnny's so late from the fair. Miriam's style is in keeping with the Romantic symphonists, and there are shades of Borodin and Peggy Glanville-Hicks.

*****

Edgar Leslie Bainton (1880-1956) was born in London, and is best known today for his famous church anthem And I saw a New Heaven. In 1934 he travelled to Australia to become director of the NSW Conservatorium in Sydney. This time coincided with the establishment of the ABC Sydney Symphony Orchestra, which he sometimes conducted, and for which he wrote several symphonies.

Pavane, Idyll & Bacchanal (1924) was written at a time when his choral work was being performed throughout England. It was written for an amateur orchestra, possibly for one of the orchestras accompanying his choral works at the Three Choirs Festival in June-July 1924. The beautiful Pavane is written for strings alone. The Idyll includes a solo flute, and is indeed idyllic. The Bacchanal is an energetic piece in 5/4 for strings and tambourine.

*****

Paul Paviour (1931-) was born in Birmingham but settled in Australia in 1969. He has written eight symphonies, but is best known for his choral works. His contribution to amateur and semi-professional musical organisations is considerable; over half of his output is written for, or commissioned by, amateur societies. He feels very strongly that the health of any musical culture lies not with the flagship companies but with the local choral societies and chamber instrumental groups.

Introduction & Allegro (2008), a beautiful set of two short pieces for chamber orchestra, is the most contemporary of the pieces played today. However, it is based on a melody by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757), and its link to the Baroque is clearly evident. The first piece is contrapuntal in style, and rich in Baroque harmony.

*****

William Lovelock (1899-1986) was born in London and moved to Queensland in 1954 to become director of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. He is known for his books on harmony as well as sonatas for nearly every instrument. Most of his composing was done in Australia.

Evening Landscape was written in Brisbane on 8th July 1964. It has television music type quality to it, and is similar to many of Lovelock's other compositions. It is clean and short in compositional style and harmony.

*****

Eugene Anysley Goossens (1893-1962) was born in London and moved to Australia in 1947 to become the head of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music and conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Before his infamous deportation in 1956 he was a champion of Australian composers, and was responsible for getting many Australian works recorded.

Variations on 'Cadet Rousselle' (Op. 40, 1919, orchestrated 1930). This set of variations came about as an encore for voice and piano. Edwin Evans, the well known critic, suggested that John Ireland, Arnold Bax, Frank Bridge and Eugene Goossens should write these variations and play them as a coherent work. In 1930 Goossens orchestrated the piano variations. The sequence of variations are played in the following order: Bridge, Bax, Bridge, Ireland, Bax, Bridge, Goossens, Bax.
Cadet Rousselle a trois maisons (bis)
Qui n'ont ni poutres ni chevrons (bis)
C'est pour loger les hirondelles
Que direz-vous d'Cadet Rousselle?
Ah! Ah! Ah! Oui, vraiment
Cadet Rousselle est bon enfant!
*****

Leonard Constant Lambert (1905-1951) was born in London. He described himself as "a francophile English composer-conductor, born to an Australian painter from St Petersburg"! He was a renowned pianist and ballet repetiteur. The majority of his compositions are filled with Jazz elements.

Aubade Héroïque (1942) was written for Ralph Vaughan-Williams on his seventieth birthday. The short piece was inspired by a daybreak during the invasion of Holland, the calm of the surrounding park contrasting with the distant mutterings of war. A haunting solo from the cor anglais begins and ends the piece.

*****

Katharine Parker (1886-1971), born at Longford, is the only Tasmanian composer represented today. She studied in Melbourne and later with Percy Grainger in London.

Down Longford Way (1928) started life as a piano piece. Grainger orchestrated it to promote her music, and out of affection for Australia. It is probably "Kitty" Parker's best known piece, and has been made popular in the USA by military symphonic bands.

*****

Our Conductor: David Harvey

David Harvey's association with the DSO began in the late 1980s when he was an undergraduate student at the Conservatorium of Music. Usually David appears with the DSO as an oboe or cor anglais player, and this is his first time conducting us.

David is grateful to have gained so much experience through amateur groups and ensembles, and feels that by teaching and playing with amateur and school ensembles that he can give back what he has gained. The experience and repertoire learned from amateur organisations is priceless, and puts one in good stead for later life whether it be professional or not.

David currently works at the University of Tasmania Library and in his spare time teaches, tries to maintain a playing standard, and enjoys gardening. Sometimes nothing to do with music is a bonus in life, but not a day goes past without music in some form.

David maintains an active amateur role in many ensembles, and has recently played with the Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra. He is passionate about Australian music.

 
Sunday 26th August 2012 Print E-mail
Egmont Overture
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Beethoven was a great admirer of Goethe, the German philosopher, poet and writer and in 1809 he embraced the opportunity to compose music for Goethe's play Egmont.

Egmont is based on an incident from 1567-68 when tyrannical Spaniards conquered the Netherlands. The play depicts the agony of the defeated Dutch, their growing defiance towards the Spanish rulers and their dreams of liberty. Count Egmont, a Catholic who was loyal to the Spanish, saw the injustice of their actions and pleaded with the Spanish King for mercy towards the people. For these views Egmont was arrested and sentenced to death. Yet on the eve of his execution he called for a revolution and his vision in the moments before his death were of eventual victory.

Two themes in Egmont captured Beethoven's attention. These were the martyrdom of a hero in a fight for freedom and the devotion of a woman who loves him. Beethoven's overture reflects these themes, depicting the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. Beethoven creates this through the use of minor tonalities that resolve to a major at a moment of victory, dark orchestral colours transform to bright sonorities and sinuous melodies are replaced by glorious fanfares.

Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major K216
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Soloist: Constantine Lavroff
1. Allegro
2. Adagio
3. Rondeau
Mozart was only 19 years old when he completed his third violin concerto on September 12, 1775. By the end of that year he had composed a further two violin concertos and together these works mark the beginning of his mature style. In these concertos Mozart created a perfect balance between virtuosic display and thematic content, and they remain among the great virtuosic violin repertoire to this day.

The concerto opens with a bright and vivacious theme performed by the orchestra. The soloist enters with the same lively tune and conversational motifs pass between the orchestra and soloist. The oboes and horns lend a special quality to the movement, providing warm tone colour and assist the orchestra in creating a rich accompaniment.

The Adagio resembles a sublime aria, with a floating melody above an elegant accompaniment of muted strings. The only time Mozart used flutes in a violin concerto is in this Adagio where the flutes replace the oboes, providing a lighter tone to this graceful movement.

Mozart concludes the concerto with a lively, dance-like Rondeau. The movement beginds with a little ditty that develops into a series of longer themes, incorporating a dainty serenade and a rustic rendering of a folk tune from Strasbourg. Mozart concludes the concerto with just the woodwinds, who play piano and give the impression of the music disappearing.

Violin Conerto in C Major
Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904-1987)
Soloist: Constantine Lavroff

Dmitri Borisovich Kabalevsky was one of Russia's greatest Soviet composers. He embraced the Soviet ideal that was prevalent throughout the 1940s and 1950s of composing tuneful music that could be embraced by all. He drew his inspiration from Russian folk melodies and his works reflect great national pride.

Kabalevsky's violin concerto embodies these Russian ideals. Composed in 1948, it was written specifically for the Soviet youth to perform, providing an advanced study piece for talented young musicians. It quickly became a popular concerto with professional violinists after David Oistrakh performed it in 1949.

The concerto is in three rather brief movements, but within these movements Kabalevsky has created a lively and charming work. The opening movement is characterized by its snappy rhythms and recurring hemiolas. The central Andante contrasts with its cantabile melody and the concerto concludes with a boisterous Vivace giocoso.

Borodin Symphony No. 2 in B Minor
Alexander Borodin (1834-1887)

Alexander Borodin was a member of the "Mighty Handful" or "Mighty Five" along with Mily Balakirev, Modest Mussorgsky, César Cui and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. Together these composers sought to further the pan-Slavic movement, composing music that displayed their Russian nationalism.

Borodin began work on his second symphony in 1869, but it was not completed until 1876. During these years he was also composing his great opera, Prince Igor. According to Borodin, some material that was discarded from Prince Igor was later put into this symphony. This has given rise to the thought that the symphony is a distillation of the spirit of Prince Igor.

The symphony opens with a powerful and rhythmically aggressive theme with the whole orchestra in unison. This theme reflected an assembly of the old Russian princes preparing for war.

The Scherzo is less programmatic and was considered by Borodin's friend Rimsky-Korsakov, to differ in character to the rest of the symphony. The trio at the centre of the movement, with its striking oboe solo provides some relief from the rapid themes surrounding it, and it conjures images of the wide-open skies of the Russian Steppe.

The third movement, Andante, opens with a captivating melody in the horns. Composed in the style of a psalteriï, this melody evokes an ancient style of Slavonic singing and reflects the romance between Igor's son and the Tartar maiden.

The third movement flows directly into the Finale, which is elaborate and depicts a scene of great celebration. Borodin uses Slavonic dance tunes in mixed triple and duple meter. The strong rhythmic drive in each of these tunes, and the use of syncopation creates an exuberant conclusion to the symphony.

*****

Our soloist: Constantine Lavroff

In 1951 the Lavroff family, 4 children and 3 adults, migrated to Australia where Constantine went to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. After receiving his diploma he went to Ernest Llewellyn (Concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra), and Robert Pikler (Principal Viola) to further his violin studies. In 1957-58 being a finalist in the Terry Dear radio show, Constantine was sent touring around NSW. In 1959 he joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra where he performed for 3 years.

In 1962 the Australian Broadcasting Commission transferred Constantine to Hobart as Concertmaster and principal violinist of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. He had the opportunity over many years to perform with the orchestra most of the major classical violin concertos. He also toured around Tasmania performing violin and piano recitals and had regular broadcast engagements with the ABC.

He was sent to play with the Melbourne Orchestra for the opening of the Sydney Opera House and he travelled to London to play with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for a short period of time.

In his retirement Constantine is very busy and happily occupied performing with local chamber groups and as concertmaster of the Derwent Symphony Orchestra.

*****

Our Conductor: Greg Stephens

Born in Sydney, Greg Stephens began piano studes at the age of five, and later also studied organ, trumpet, and voice. He completed the Bachelor of Music degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2001, studying horn with Campbell Barnes and Robert Johnson, and conducting with Henryk Pisarek. As a horn player Greg has performed with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Adelaide symphony orchestras, as well as the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He has also been principal horn of the Australian Youth Orchestra.

In 2004 he moved to Germany, studying horn at the University of Music Karlsruhe with Prof. Will Sanders. In 2005 he took a position with the Essener Philharmoniker (Germany) and in 2006 joined the Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck (Austria). Greg returned to Australia in 2008 to take a position with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Greg's conducting career commenced in 2001 when he commenced studies with the renowned conducting professor Jorma Panula as part of the Symphony Australia conducting program. This included conducting the Sydney Symphony as part of the Young Conductor of the Year competition. Since then, as part of the Symphony Australia course, Greg has also conducted the Tasmanian, Adelaide, Queensland and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, with tutors such as Lutz Köhler, Christopher Seaman and Johannes Fritzsch. He has conducted the Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra Sinfonietta and the Hobart Chamber Orchestra. He is also currently the organist for St. Mary's Cathedral in Hobart.


 
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Next Concert

Sunday 26th June 2016
2.30pm

Mendelssohn
Symphony No. 4 Op. 90 "Italian"

Saint-Saëns
Danse Macabre

Tchaikovsky
Capriccio Italian

Conductor TBA

Venue TBA
Tickets at door $25 $20(conc)

 
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