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Orchestra Wellington Saves Best for Last

Orchestra Wellington Saves Best for Last

Orchestra Wellington’s 2017 season goes out with a bang, in a concert combining two of the greatest pieces of music ever written.

First, Beethoven’s mighty Eroica Symphony features on Saturday 2nd December at the Michael Fowler Centre. At the other end of the concert, the orchestra is performing the one work which can top Beethoven’s in terms of its impact, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

“I’m extraordinarily excited to present the defining works of the 19th and 20th century for our grand finale concert,” says Music Director Marc Taddei.

“Music would never be the same after the Eroica and The Rite of Spring. The sense of drive, power and rhythmic impulse connect these two monuments of Western civilisation.”

Beethoven’s Eroica caused a sensation when it was first performed in 1803, a hundred years later, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring started a riot.

Beethoven demanded the orchestra play a series of discords so shocking to audiences, many of them thought he had gone mad. No longer was music just for aristocrats, or the church, with the Eroica symphony, Beethoven created something to take on the world.

The crowning work of his triad of ballet masterpieces, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, about a girl chosen to dance herself to death in a pagan sacrifice, sounds as fresh now, as it did a century ago.

Paris audiences knew to expect the unexpected from Diagilev’s Ballets Russes, but the Rite was beyond anything they had imagined.

With exotically primitive melodies, irregular rhythms and brutal harmonies, the orchestra is pushed to its technical limits. And despite the modern rhythms and harmonies, audiences find Stravinky’s music irresistible.

The tentative, questioning woodwind fragments that open the work, the brutal asymmetric stomping rhythms of the first dance, the deep, grinding harmonies that seemed to come from the earth itself, and the virtuosic sacrificial dance at the end: all combine to make a music more carnal, primitive and instinctive than any ballet before.

Now the Rite of Spring is one of the most popular ballets ever, and always a sensation whenever it is performed.

This is Orchestra Wellington’s biggest concert of the year, and it also marks the full launch of its 2018 season. Music Director Marc Taddei has hinted at the programmes for next year, but at this concert, all will be revealed.


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