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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.


 
Sunday 24th June 2012 Print E-mail
Overture to Don Pasquale
Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)

Donzietti was the son of a pawnshop caretaker in Bergamo, northern Italy. Although born into poverty, he was awarded a scholarship to study music, and in 1818 he launched his career as a prolific operatic composer. He achieved fame and popularity throughout Italy with works such as Anna Bolena, L'elisir d'amore, and Lucia di Lammermoor, but moved to Paris in 1838 after trouble with Italian censors. There the comic opera Don Pasquale, the 64th of his eventual 66 operas, was performed on 3rd January 1843 at the Salle Ventadour. At the time of its composition, Donzietti had just been appointed music director and composer to the court of Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. However, he was already showing symptoms of syphilis and bipolar disorder, and was admitted to a Parisian asylum in 1845. He died, insane and paralysed, back in Bergamo in 1848.

The first Australian performance of this comic masterpiece was in Sydney in October 1854 at the Royal Victoria Theatre.

The overture starts with an orchestral laugh, settles down to a lyrical section with the strings, followed by more melodrama, Viennese elegance and a brilliant finish.

Piano Concerto in A minor (Op. 16)
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

Soloist: Sonya Pigot

Grieg was born in Bergen, Norway, where his father was British consul. His musical talent was soon recognised and in 1858 at the age of fifteen he was sent abroad to study at the Leipzig Conservatory.

This early paino concerto, written on holiday in 1868 in Sollerud, Denmark, is Grieg's only full length orchestral work. It is stylistically similar to Schumann's piano concerto in the same key, which he had heard, played by Clara Schumann, in Leipzig in 1858. Today the two works are often coupled in recordings. In fact, Grieg's was the first piano concerto ever recorded, by Wilhelm Backhaus in 1909. Due to the shortcomings of the technology of the time, it was heavily abridged into a six minute "sound bite".

Although the work has a Norwegian flavour and uses rhythmic patterns characteristic of peasant dances, it was written before Grieg had come into close contact with Norwegian folk music. It was first performed on 3rd April 1869 in Copenhagen, with Edmund Neupert as solist - Grieg pulling out because of work commitments in Norway.

Although an immediate success and winning praise from Liszt, Grieg himself was dissatisfied with the work, and modified it in over 300 subtle ways over the course of his life, up to a few weeks before his death. Despite its enduring popularity, he decided that he was more at ease with short lyrical piano pieces and songs.

1. Allegro molto moderato

The famous opening drum-roll and a sharp orchestral chord lead to a flourish from the piano. Then the woodwind state a quirky theme, perhaps influenced by Norwegian folk music, which forms the basis for much of the movement. The brilliant piano cadenza near the end of the movement was written out in full by Grieg.

2. Adagio

Muted strings play one of Grieg's most elegiac melodies, later embellished by bassoon and horn. The piano enters with its own rippling theme, before it joins the orchestra with the main theme.

3. Allegro moderato molto e marcato - Quasi presto - Andante maestoso

The piano enters with the lilt of a halling, a frenetic Norwegian folk dance in duple time with strong accents, which is repeated with increasing vigour by soloist and orchestra. There is a long, more relaxed middle section, marked tranquillo, with a prominent flute part. Eventually the halling returns, followed by a theme in triple time reminiscent of a springdans, another Norwegian dance. Towards the end there is a sonorous rendition of the middle theme by full orchestra and soloist.

Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

This symphony was completed in May 1812, whilst Beethoven was recuperating at the Bohemian spa town of Teplice. However it was not performed until 8th December 1813, in Vienna at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanou. The orchestra included a host of famous musicians, including Spohr, Meyerbeer, Hummel, Salieri and the double bass virtuoso Dragonetti. Beethoven himself conducted in his higly eccentric manner, although it was obvious that he could not hear the pianissimo passages.

Although popular with the audience, critics were less kind. It was suggested that Beethoven must have been drunk when he wrote the outer movements. The symphony is notable for its almost obsessive rhythms - Wagner called it the "apotheosis of the dance" and is said to have actually done so while Liszt played it on the piano. It contains traced of Celtic folk melodies, which Beethoven was arranging for the Edinburgh publisher George Thomson at the time.

1. Poco sostenuto - Vivace

A stately introduction with a prominent oboe part is followed by a joyous, boisterous allegro pervaded by the dotted triplet "amsterdam" rhythm. Toward the end comes the passage which caused Carl Maria von Weber to pronounce Beethoven "fit for a madhouse."

2. Allegretto

A slow thoughtful march is decorated by a wistful counter-melody. Later the clarinet and bassoon provide a beam of sunlight, and the march climaxes in a dramatic fugue. This movement was encored at the premiere and has remained popular ever since.

3. Presto-Assai meno presto

This delightful skipping scherzo is twice followed by a slightly slower trio, said to be based on an Austrian pilgrim's hymn.

4. Allegro con brio

"The acme of shapelessness" ... "this is delirium, in which there is no trace of harmony or melody, no single sound to fall gratefully on the ear" ... "this wild Bacchanale" ... "whirling dervishes" ... "this absurd untamed music" ...

*****

Sonya Pigot was born in 1996 and started playing piano at the age of 4 with Christine Kara and violin at the age of 8, at Mt Nelson School. She first played piano solo on stage when she was 5, at the concert organized by St. Cecilia School of Music, at the Tasmanian Conservatorium.

At the age of 13, Sonya commenced piano lessons with Shan Deng, Lecturer in Classical Piano, at the Conservatorium of Music, University of Tasmania.

Sonya played piano and violin solo in the Hobart and Clarence Eisteddfods won many prizes and was invited to play in the Eisteddfod Highlights

Sonya received AMEB Piano exam Awards, and was highly commended at the Sydney Eisteddfod Piano competition.  She also came second in the 15 years and under Piano competition of the Musical Society of Victoria and played in the Prize Winners Concert.

In 2011 Sonya was selected to play a Concerto in the second stage of the ABC Symphony Australia, Young Performer Awards and she played the Beethoven Piano Concerto Nr 2.  In the same year, Sonya was awarded the first prize in the Hobart Eisteddfod - Open Piano Concerto, and won the Lady Cross Trophy Senior and Junior.

Sonya was also selected to perform in the second stage of the 2012 ABC Symphony Australia, Young Performer Awards.  She played the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor and now she is thrilled to play this Concerto with the Derwent Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jamie Allen.

In parallel with her solo Piano performances, Sonya also leads the Collegiate Senior String Quartet and plays violin in the Collegiate Orchestra, the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra and the Derwent Symphony Orchestra.

In May 2011 Sonya played the first movement of the Bach Double Violin Concerto - violin solo, with the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra -at the Hobart Town Hall.

Sonya is currently in year 9 at Collegiate and her violin teacher is Nara Dennis.

*****

Having studied at The NSW Conservatorium of Music in Sydney and Newcastle, Jamie Allen 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 22nd April 2012 Print E-mail
Karelia Suite
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


In 1893 Sibelius was invited to write music for a patriotic historical pageant to be presented by students of Helsinki University in Viborg, Karelia. This province lies in the south-eastern corner of Finland, and was very dear to Sibelius. In earlier years he had found stimulus in its folk music, and later he was to spend his honeymoon there. From the pageant's incidental music he subsequently compiled a "Concert Suite" of three pieces:

Intermezzo

This movement depicts the Karelians passing in procession to pay tribute to a Lithuanian prince. Sibelius said of this movement "There is this sense of the "Ur-Wald" the primeval forest, the feeling of some elemental power, that one is dealing with something profound."

Ballade

This rather melancholy movement, originally a vocal piece, depicts the deposed fifteenth-century king, Charles Knutsson Bonde, sitting in his castle being entertained by a minstrel. The orchestra is reduced to oboes, clarinets, bassoons and strings, but a cor anglais is added and used to great effect.

Alla marcia

This exhilarating march, written for the full orchestra, was inspired by a call to battle issued by Pontus de la Gardie, a French-born, sixteenth-century soldier who became Swedish high commander in a war against Russia.

Aria O quante volte from I Capuleti e i Montecchi
Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)

Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet has inspired at least 24 operas, as well as overtures, ballets and other musical adaptations, by Berlioz, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Delius and Bernstein amongst others. In this aria (Oh how many times ...) from Bellini's 1830 operatic version, Giuletta sings of her longing for Romeo.

Soloist: Carmen Young

Duet Bei Männern from The Magic Flute
W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the fabled musical child prodigy, began his musical career playing for emperors and ended it with a fitful illness and the unfinished Requiem. One of his most famous operas is Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). Composed in 1791, it is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue. Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen is a duet from the end of Act 2. Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, has just discovered that the prince Tamino is in love with her. Her companion at the time, the bird catcher Papageno, longs for a wife that he can love. Together they sing Bei Männern, an ode to love.

Soloists: Michael Lampard and Carmen Young

March Slav
P. I. Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

In June 1876, Tchaikovsky was commissioned by the Russian Musical Society to compose an orchestral work in recognition of the Serbian soldiers who had fought against the Ottoman Empire. He completed the work in just five days and referred to it as a "Serbo-Russian March." It was premiered in Moscow on 17 November 1876.

This highly programmatic work opens with a doleful melody reflecting the oppression of the Serbs by the Turks. In this opening melody Tchaikovsky makes use of two Serbian folk tunes Sunce jarko, ne sijaš jednako (Bright sun, you do not shine equally), and Rado ide Srbin u vojnike (Gladly does the Serb become a soldier). Later, God Save the Tsar appears twice, first in the middle section and again near the conclusion. Toward the end, a few refrains from the 1812 Overture can be heard.

All those present at its premiere felt the great patriotism encapsulated in March Slav. An unnamed member of the audience recorded, "The whole audience rose to its feet, many jumped up upon their seats: cries of 'bravo' and 'hurrah' were mingled together. The march had to be repeated, after which the same storm broke out afresh... It was one of the most stirring moments of 1876.

Overture to Nabucco
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

Nabucco, first performed in 1842, was Verdi's first great operatic success. Between 1838 and 1840 he had suffered great tragedy with the death of his wife and children and the failure of his second opera, Un Giorno di Regno. Had Nabucco also been a failure, Verdi would have given up composing all together. Nabucco retells the biblical story of the slavery and eventual exile of the Jews under the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. In spite of the dark story, the score is full of memorable melodies. In fact, one of Verdi's biggest hits is the Act III chorus, Va pensiero, in which the Hebrew slaves sing wistfully of their lost homeland.

Like most of Verdi's overtures, Nabucco is a mélange of themes, mostly taken from the opera. After a stately introduction in the brass and a more sinister transition, Verdi spins a gentle variation on Va pensiero. The faster music that follows juxtaposes different themes associated with the Hebrew slaves and their Babylonian captors, and neatly foreshadows the opera's central conflict.

Yeletsky's aria from The Queen of Spades
Tchaikovsky

The opera The Queen of Spades, composed in 1889, is based on a short story by Alexander Pushkin. This fantastic tragedy moves in the aristocratic salons of 18th-century St Petersburg. Yeletsky is betrothed to Liza, who chooses to leave him for Herman, the reckless kleptomaniac. In this aria, Yeletsky voices his sadness and frustration at seeing Liza slowly slip away from him.

Soloist: Michael Lampard

Duet La ci darem la mano from Don Giovanni
Mozart

In 1787, during his Viennese period, Mozart composed Don Giovanni, an opera detailing Don Giovanni's conquests of women. In Act I, the insatiable Giovanni attempts to trick the affianced servant girl Zerlina in the duet La ci darem la mano. Don Giovanni opens the duet singing "There we'll be hand in hand, dear, there you will say, 'I do.' Look, it is right at hand, dear; Let's go from here, me and you." Poor Zerlina is confused and uncertain. She is, after all, betrothed to Masetto but the handsome Don Giovanni lures her. With Zerlina's doubts dispelled, they conclude the duet together "Let's go, my love, let's go, to heal the pain and woe, of love that's innocent."

Soloists: Michael Lampard and Carmen Young

Pomp and Circumstance March No.4
Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

Pomp and Circumstance is a set of five military marches, which reflect the regal flair and ceremonial grandeur of British pageantry. Elgar's great love for England is reflected in his compositions, which have become synonymous with the English patriotic spirit. The rousing British song Land of Hope and Glory is taken from the trio section of Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.

March No. 4 was completed on 7th June 1907, and was performed on 24th August in the Queen's Hall, London, with Elgar himself conducting. It is similar to No. 1 in that it is energetic and follows the same structure, having a central trio section that contains a robust, grand melody. In World War II, No. 4 also acquired words: a patriotic poem by A. P. Herbert with the refrain beginning "All men must be free" was used as a "Song of Liberty."

American Salute
Morton Gould (1913-1996)

Gould was an American composer, conductor, arranger and pianist. His output, often featuring well-known American folk tunes, consists of more than 1000 works for radio, television, films, the stage and concert hall. His best-known work, American Salute, was written for a national radio broadcast on the Mutual Radio Network on Lincoln's birthday, 1942. Composed for orchestra, it is a theme and variations based on the Civil War song When Johnny Comes Marching Home. American Salute displays Gould's amazing skill in thematic development, as he takes a familiar tune and transforms it into an orchestral work. It was later arranged for bands and wind ensembles, and has become a program favourite.

*****

Michael Lampard is one of Australia's most exciting young operatic talents. He has performed in opera, oratorio, recital and musical theatre in Australia, Europe, USA and Asia. He has a Masters degree from UTas, an A.T.C.L. from Trinity Guildhall in London and an L. Mus. from the AMEB. Michael is also an experienced composer and conductor. He has worked with many leading companies including SSO, TSO, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, The Rome Opera Festival, Orchestre Pasdeloup, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, More Than Opera, Melbourne Opera, IHOS Opera and most of Tasmania's orchestras, choirs and theatre companies. In 2008 Michael launched "Hip-Pocket Opera", a chamber opera company based in Hobart.

Michael is making a number of appearances in Tasmania during 2012. These include Schubert's Schwanengesang with Philippa Moyes (Hobart 2012), Schumann's Dichterliebe with David Bollard (Hobart 2012), as well as several recitals across Tasmania in metropolitan and regional centres. Operatic engagements include roles in John Blow's Venus and Adonis (Hip-Pocket Opera, Hobart 2012) and the workshop premiere of Scott McIntyre's opera Fire on the Snow (University of Tasmania, Hobart 2012). In other parts of the globe Michael will be performing Winterreise with Rhodri Clarke (Lieder Society of Victoria, Melbourne 2012), a recital in Gloucestershire, UK (Ivor Gurney Society, May 2012), a world premiere in Cincinnati, USA (2012) and recitals in Sydney, Canberra (ArtSong Canberra, 2013) and Adelaide (2014).

For more information visit http://www.michaellampard.com/

*****

Carmen Young commenced classical singing at the age of nine, studying with Suzanne Ortuso. Since then Carmen has won numerous awards in competitions including the Joshua Cooper Memorial Award, The Clem Clifford Award and the Arnold Robinson Memorial Award for the 'singer showing most promise'.

In 2003, she performed her first operatic leading role as Widow Grumble in the Australian premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' opera Cinderella as part of the Tasmanian Ten Days on the Island Festival. In 2005 Carmen gained first place in the oratorio, art song and recital 16, 18 years and open categories at the Hobart Eisteddfod. She also competed in the McDonalds Performing Arts Challenge in Sydney winning the Art Song, French Song, Italian Song, and opera aria and was awarded the Joan Sutherland Vocal Scholarship.

Carmen recently competed in the heats, semi-final and final of the Australian Singing Competition (Mathy) and is the youngest contestant ever to reach the Finals. She won the David Harper Award, The Alliance Francais award, and the Opera Australia award. Following the Australian Singing Competition, Carmen was invited by the Joan Sutherland Society to appear as a guest artist for Dame Joan Sutherland's eightieth birthday celebration concert.

 
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Next Concert

Sunday 6th September 2015
2.30pm


Strauss
Frühlingsstimmenwalzer
(Voices of Spring)

Delius
Two pieces for small orchestra
On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Summer Night on the River

Kay
River Views
Soloist: David Scaife

Schumann
Symphony No. 1, "Spring"

Conductor: Simon Reade

The Farrall Centre
The Friends' School
Tickets at door $25 $20(conc)

 
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