Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


NZSO dedicates concert to enduring classical favourites

NZSO dedicates concert to enduring classical favourites

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra extends another warm welcome to British maestro Mark Wigglesworth in a concert dedicated to all-time favourites.

Voted the most popular piece of classical music*, Ralph Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending paints a stunning landscape of the British wilderness. Inspired by the poem by English novelist and poet George Meredith, Vaughan Williams’ music, perhaps more than any other composer of his time, has a specifically English pastoral quality.

His teacher Ravel recognised this, describing him as “the only one of my pupils who does not write my music”. Passionate about past traditions, Vaughan Williams dedicated a significant part of his life to collecting English folk songs and hymns and as a result, his music often evokes an idealised British past. Completed after the First World War, The Lark Ascending takes a nostalgic look back to a simpler time.

With our Concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppänen as the solitary lark, lyrical melodies soar over a gentle body of sound in this popular romance. Bright ascending and cascading phrases pour fourth from the violin, as the lark soars higher and higher before a central melody is found, and the orchestra returns to create a supportive body of sound within which the soloist can wander.

In contrast, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 provides drama to stir you from your reverie. Its extended virtuosic passages offer ample opportunities for the acclaimed pianist Yevgeny Sudbin to dazzle. The young Russian, known for his scorching performances, is perfectly matched to this tempestuous concerto.

We return to England for Edward Elgar’s Symphony No. 1. Surprisingly, Elgar waited until his early fifties before composing a symphony, although it was widely known that he had been planning one for more than 10 years. The wait was worth it; his First Symphony, completed in 1908, is now one of the most beloved in the repertoire.

Unashamedly romantic, Elgar’s symphony is overwhelmingly majestic. From its opening bars a quiet theme grows, before marching rhythms emerge, transforming its humble beginning into an expansive, grand melody, recalling past glories. It is no surprise that within a year of its premiere, Elgar’s eagerly anticipated first symphony had been performed a hundred times worldwide.

Join the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra this May and hear three of the most memorable works in our popular national concert series The Lark Ascending.

Enjoy an evening of glorious music to stir the soul, in association with the New Zealand Listener.

*Radio New Zealand Concert 'Settling the Score', 2012 and Classic FM (UK) Hall of Fame, 2007-2010.

FUN FACTS:

· The Lark Ascending was voted number one in the popular UK radio station Classic FM’s annual Hall of Fame poll for four years running (from 2007-2010). It was selected over Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto, Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and another work of Vaughan Williams', the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

· Vaughan Williams reportedly sketched The Lark Ascending as he watched troop ships cross the English Channel at the outbreak of the First World War. But he was arrested by a police officer after a boy reported him to the police for “jotting down a secret code”.

· Originally, The Lark Ascending was a violin-piano arrangement composed in 1914. Edward Elgar’s pupil Marie Hall first performed this version in December 1920 before a violin and orchestral version was completed in 1920.

· Following its first orchestral performance in London on 14 June 1921, under conductor Adrian Boult, a critic from The Times quoted: "It showed supreme disregard for the ways of today or yesterday. It dreamed itself along". This “dream-like” meditative quality could perhaps be blamed on the solo violin cadenzas, which were written without bar lines.

· Beethoven did not hold his Piano Concerto No. 2 in much esteem, remarking that it was "not one of my best” to the publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister. But despite his initial remarks, this Concerto has become a gem in the piano repertoire and is as popular as ever.

· In order to establish himself as a virtuoso, a young Beethoven regularly performed his Piano Concerto No. 2. He was even the soloist at its premiere performance on 29 March 1795, at Vienna's Burgtheater.

· Beethoven uses one of trademark musical jokes in the third movement. Before the last appearance of the rondo theme, Beethoven brings the piano in in the "wrong" key of G major, before the orchestra "discovers" the discrepancy and returns to the correct tonic key.

· Edward Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 was an instant success. Within weeks of its premiere, on 3 December 1908 in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, it was performed in New York under Walter Damrosch, Vienna under Ferdinand Löwe, St. Petersburg under Alexander Siloti, and Leipzig under Artur Nikisch. Within a year, Elgar’s eagerly anticipated first symphony had been performed a hundred times worldwide.

· Dedicated "To Hans Richter, Mus. Doc. True Artist and true Friend”, Elgar’s first symphony was only one of two written by the popular composer.

· Unusually, Elgar’s symphony was composed in Ab and, according to the conductor Sir Adrian Boult, its equally unusual transition to the clashing key - D minor – in the opening theme, arose because someone made a bet with Elgar that he could not compose a symphony in two keys at once.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Ray Columbus: NZ Music Icon Passes Away

60s New Zealand music Icon Ray Columbus has passed away peacefully at his home north of Auckland... Ray Columbus enjoyed more than three decades at the top of NZ entertainment as a singer, songwriter, bandleader, music manager and TV star. More>>

Review: Bernard Herrmann's Scores For 'Vertigo' & 'Psycho'

Howard Davis: The NZSO's adventurousness was richly-rewarded, as the deeply appreciative Wellington audience was given the opportunity not only to see a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, but also to hear fine renditions of two of Bernard Herrmann's most accomplished film scores. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Leonard Cohen

If Bob Dylan owned the 1960s, Leonard Cohen was an inescapable presence during the early 1970s period, pre-disco and pre-punk. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Pick And Camera

Through the eyes of a miner – the photography of Joseph Divis: The occupations of miner and photographer are seldom combined. The conjunction must have been very rare indeed in the era before hand-held cameras, high-speed film and flashlights More>>


Howard Davis: Review - The Cosmic Dance Of 'String Theory'

Fly My Pretties sixth album is quite possibly their best yet - a concept album in the best sense, with superb arrangements, funky grooves, and some great vocalizing, all organized around the lyrical leitmotif of string theory. More>>

Non-Natural History: Dinosaur Eggs 'Discovered' At Auckland Gardens

Auckland Botanic Gardens plant curators have unearthed what are thought to be prehistoric dinosaur eggs in the Gondwana Forest section of the expansive garden in Manurewa... In fact, the “dinosaur eggs” are part of an innovative, larger-than-life dinosaur performance and display featuring a raptor, a crested therapod and a towering Tyrannosaurus Rex. More>>

For The Birds: Kōkako Crowned Bird Of The Year

The Kōkako has been crowned New Zealand's Bird of the Year after two weeks of close competition and heated campaigning. More>>

ALSO:

  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Culture
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news