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MEET THE MUSIC
Wed 31 Jul 6.30pm Thu 1 Aug 6.30pm
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On behalf of the Australian Institute of Music (AIM), Silver Partner of the Sydney Symphony, I would like to extend our warmest welcome to Wagner Madness, the third program in the Meet the Music series.
In true Meet the Music spirit, you’ll hear an Australian conductor and an Australian soloist, as well as the Wagner-inspired music of Perth composer, James Ledger. The strength of musical talent in this country is inspiring and bodes well for the future of Australian music.
It’s a future in which AIM plays a part: fostering creativity, innovation, participation and personal growth, and recognising the importance of music within our community. For this reason, we are very pleased to be the Presenting Partner of Meet the Music and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
We hope you enjoy tonight’s concert – and the enlightening commentary that always accompanies the Meet the Music performances.
Prof. Ian Bofinger Executive Dean Australian Institute of Music
THE LEADING SCHOOL FOR TODAY’S MUSIC INDUSTRY
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THE LEADING SCHOOL FOR TODAY’S MUSIC INDUSTRY
2013 season meet the music presented by australian institute of music Wednesday 31 July | 6.30pm Thursday 1 August | 6.30pm Sydney Opera House Concert Hall
Wagner Madness Nicholas Carter CONDUCTOR Janet Webb FLUTE
Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) Symphony No. 96 in D (Miracle) Adagio – Allegro Andante Menuetto (Allegretto) Finale. Vivace (assai)
Lowell Liebermann (born 1961) Flute Concerto, Op.39 Moderato Molto adagio Presto
James Ledger (born 1966) The Madness and Death of King Ludwig
Richard Wagner (1813–1883) Highlights from Die Meistersinger arr. Hutschenruyter Prelude to Act III Dance of the Apprentices Procession of the Meistersinger
The Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre
This concert will be introduced by Andrew Ford, award-winning composer, writer and broadcaster, and presenter of The Music Show on ABC Radio National.
Thursday’s performance will be recorded for later broadcast by ABC Classic FM.
Pre-concert talk by Kim Waldock in conversation with James Ledger at 5.45pm in the Northern Foyer.
Estimated durations: 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 20-minute interval, 9 minutes, 13 minutes, 5 minutes The concert will conclude at approximately 8.25pm.
The Ride of the Valkryies by William T Maud (1865–1903) PRIVATE COLLECTION / © GAVIN GRAHAM GALLERY,
LONDON / THE BRIDGEMAN ART LIBRARY
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A Celebrity in London
JOSEPH HAYDN Austrian composer (1732–1809)
Symphony No.96 in D (Miracle)
Haydn arrived in London early in 1791 – he was 58 years old. Almost immediately, he was hard at work composing music for his fi rst season with the impresario Johann Peter Salomon. On his to do list: a pair of symphonies (Nos 96 and 95) and an opera, as well as many smaller works. He’d also brought with him two existing symphonies (Nos 90 and 92) as a standby; they would be new to London audiences. He accidentally left No.91 behind in Vienna and had to send for it.
Meanwhile, Haydn was swept up in a whirl of diplomatic, social and media commitments – he was the most famous composer in Europe.
Salomon’s subscription series was planned to launch in less than six weeks. Even Haydn could hardly have guaranteed his new Symphony No.96 in such circumstances. Two delays put off the opening until Friday 11 March, by which time Symphony No.96 was probably well and truly ready. It’s generally thought that this was the symphony played at that fi rst concert, although there is also circumstantial evidence suggesting that No.92 (the ‘Oxford’) was played.
The symphony calls for pairs of fl utes, oboes, bassoons, horns and trumpets as well as timpani and strings. One of its distinctive features was the powerful writing for the trumpets and drums, and Haydn deliberately positioned the drums on a raised central platform behind the rest of the orchestra, for maximum eff ect.
Heard with this pyramidal orchestral layout and with his highly accomplished 40-piece band in the 800-seat Hanover Square Room, there is little doubt that the impact of Haydn’s fi rst London Symphony would have made it a worthy salute from the world’s most acclaimed composer to the world’s greatest metropolis.
The press found it to be the ‘most wonderful’ composition, praised for its ‘grandeur of subject’ and ‘rich variety of air and passion’.
ABOUT THE MUSIC
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Navigating the symphonyThe fi rst movement begins with a solemn and dramatic introduction (Adagio). A brief solo for the oboe signals the transition into the main Allegro. This is perfectly formed in two balanced sections, each repeated. The fi rst section creates expectation, its single theme presented with elegance and spirit. The second gives satisfaction, as Haydn expands on and digresses from his musical material. Then Haydn- the-wit takes the stage: suspending play for two whole bars before returning to the opening material, and then, just ten bars before the end, he plunges into the minor mode, fortissimo! Knowing the London audience would delight in being startled a second time, Haydn makes a rare repeat of the second half of the movement.
In the delicate slow movement (Andante), two solo violins (one of whom would have been Salomon – concertmaster as well as impresario) take centre stage and the woodwinds are highlighted. This would have appealed to the English taste for concertos with multiple soloists.
The minuet is thoroughly Austrian, with an attractive oboe solo in the central trio section, which is accompanied in strict waltz rhythm. The trumpets and drums again make an appearance.
The Finale is a brilliant and technically demanding sonata-rondo movement in the style of a perpetuum mobile in which Haydn sought ‘the softest piano and a very quick tempo’.
We’re not absolutely sure if No.96 was the fi rst Haydn symphony to be heard in London. But it was defi nitely not the work that so entranced the audience, pressing forward for a better view of the great composer, that, by a ‘miracle’ they all escaped a falling chandelier. That event happened at the premiere of Symphony No.102 four-and-a-half years later and in a diff erent hall. But Haydn’s biographer Albert Christoph Dies got mixed up and so tradition has applied the label to the wrong symphony. Not that No.96 isn’t a musical ‘miracle’ in its own right, or a work of impressive grandeur and majesty.
Not the ‘miracle’
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One of Lowell Liebermann’s most popular and frequently performed compositions is his Flute Sonata, which was premiered by Paula Robison and Jean-Yves Thibaudet at the 1988 Spoleto Festival. Soon after, James Galway added the Flute Sonata to his repertoire and on the strength of Liebermann’s writing for fl ute, commissioned him to write the Flute Concerto. Galway gave the premiere in 1992 with Leonard Slatkin conducting the St Louis Symphony Orchestra. Not stopping there, Galway then commissioned the Flute and Harp Concerto (1995) and a trio for fl ute, cello and piano (2002). Together with the sonata, the concerto quickly entered the fl ute repertoire as a major (and much- loved) work of the late 20th century.
Liebermann claims that he normally doesn’t adapt his musical style for any particular soloist, instead always writing ‘for my imagined ideal performer’. But James Galway proved an exception, with Liebermann saying: ‘he has such an incredible sound and such incredible low notes that I did emphasise a lot of that… He can do anything on the instrument, so I wasn’t afraid to write anything.’
The Flute Concerto is in three movements, following the traditional pattern of fast – slow – fast.
The fi rst movement (Moderato) is the longest of the three and follows an arc-like form, all of whose components are variations on the harmonic progression of its principal theme. The repetitive ‘tick-tock’ motif heard in the strings at the beginning forms the basis of the movement, an example of Liebermann’s preference to develop large forms from the ‘smallest idea or seed’.
The central section of this movement is a chaconne: an explicit set of variations on a repeating chorale-like version of this progression. The movement off ers an opportunity to explore the various qualities of the fl ute sound through increasingly elaborate variations.
LOWELL LIEBERMANN American composer (born 1961)
The Man with the Golden Flute
Composing for Galway
Navigating the concerto
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About the composer
The second movement (Adagio molto – very slow) presents a wistful, lyrical melody that is spun out over a pulsating, syncopated ostinato, which persists through the entire movement.
The fi nale (Presto – as fast as possible!) is a virtuoso work- out for the soloist. It follows a rondo-like form that closes with a coda marked Prestissimo (even faster!).
Lowell Liebermann was born in New York City. He began studying piano when he was eight and composition when he was 14. Thes