May 2018 Concert Series
Massey High School Saturday 19 May, 7.30pm Orewa - Arts & Events Centre Sunday 20 May, 4.30pm Ormiston Senior College Saturday 26 May, 2pm Auckland Town Hall Sunday 27 May 2.30pm
Wagner Rienzi Overture Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor Soloist Sara Lee Interval Elgar Enigma Variations
THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS /
Golden Supporters Lodge of the Liberal Arts Philip Galloway The Wallace Foundation
Special Supporters Margaret Leman & Derek Neutze and 2 anonymous Special Supporters
General Supporters Ajay Anomi Alex Bartlett Rosemarie & Alex Biland Anna Brooker Alison Buchanan & Eric Johnston Kerin Buttimore Nigel Chadwick Mark Close Glenys & Michael Daniell Marcia Dwyer Riemke Ensing Bruce Fergusson David Foster Diana Gash Janet Gibbs
Julie Goodyer Judith Gust Diane & Mark Hall Bob Kinnear Acer Lin Margaret Malaghan Andrea McCracken Janis & Peter Metcalfe John Rive Gordon Skinner Cameron Stuart Mike & Sara Sullivan Tony Sullivan Jane Torrie & Gerard Robertson Elizabeth Wilson
And 11 anonymous General Supporters
Please be respectful to fellow audience members and our players by switching all electronic devices OFF and by remaining seated during the performance. Please avoid interrupting noises during the performance, which is being recorded. No photography or recording of any kind is permitted without our prior consent.
THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS We thank the organisations below for their generous support:
ABOUT AYO Founded in 1948, the Auckland Youth Orchestra (AYO) is the premier regional youth orchestra in New Zealand and was the first youth orchestra established in the Southern Hemisphere, designed to bridge the gap between school orchestras and adult professional groups. AYO inspires young people to excel through their love of musical performance and provides them with a wide range of cultural experiences, thus shaping our leaders of tomorrow. AYO makes an important contribution to the cultural life of Auckland and NZ. AYO performs up to 12 concerts a year throughout the upper North Island region and has attracted full houses at their concerts in many locations. This endeavour requires large operating costs and the AYO relies heavily on the generosity of our Sponsors, Subscribers, and Supporters. All grants and donations are helpful and greatly appreciated. 2018 is a very special year for AYO – our 70th anniversary and Antun’s 20th as Music Director. To mark these milestones, the orchestra is undertaking a 2-week tour to Europe in August, visiting Vienna, Dobrna, Prague, Berlin, Tübingen and Bayreuth. Antun has been planning the tour carefully and we are confident this should be an extraordinary experience for the players – particularly the performance at Berlin’s famous Konzerthaus, at the invitation of the Young Euro Classic Festival organisers. The players are paying their own way – a significant cost for them. All donations will be gladly received to assist with the orchestra’s costs such as hiring timpani and other instruments in Europe.
MUSIC DIRECTOR Antun Poljanich Born in Croatia, Antun studied piano and theory at Dubrovnik School for Musical Education then studied conducting at the University of Ljubljana. Following postgraduate studies in Austria, he won a scholarship which took him to Leningrad for a three-year Master Course in Conducting at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory. He has since worked with the Leningrad State Symphony Orchestra, the Veneto Philharmonia, the Slovene and Croatian National Orchestras and other prominent orchestras in Russia and Europe. Antun is the Orchestra’s fourth Musical Director.
SOLOIST Sara Lee
Photo: Gloria Tian
South Korean-born Sara Lee began her piano studies at the age of six and studied for several years with Soo Jung Shin. She performed in Accademia Pianistica Siciliana concerts in 2016 and reached the semi-finals of the Wallace National Piano Competition in 2016 and 2017. Sara is studying at the University of Auckland with Rae de Lisle and Stephen De Pledge. In 2017 she won the university’s Graduation Gala Concerto Competition. Sara was a participant in the 2018 Taiwan Maestro Piano Festival. She has been awarded a 2018 APO Haydn Staples Scholarship and was a semi-finalist in the recent 4th Asia-Pacific International Chopin Piano Competition in Korea. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PROGRAMME NOTES Overture to Rienzi Richard Wagner (1813-1883) In a corner of Devonport, one of Auckland’s oldest suburbs, there lies a cluster of streets named after famous British writers, household names in their time, but who are little read today. So there is a Bulwer Street and a Lytton Street, named after the prolific and enormously popular Victorian novelist, politician and friend of Dickens, Edward BulwerLytton. His novel Rienzi, The Last of the Tribunes, made such an impression on the young Richard Wagner that he turned it into a libretto for an opera on the grandest scale, lasting over six hours in performance and needing the resources of a major opera house for any effective production. The circumstances behind the creation of the work make this all the more astonishing. In 1839 Wagner and his wife had fled from Riga, where he held the position of music director at the local theatre, in order to escape his creditors, leaving behind a mountain of unpaid debts. In Paris, which at that time was the centre of European artistic life, and where Wagner hoped to make his name, they lived a hand to mouth existence,
subsisting on the hackwork Wagner obtained from publishers for arranging numbers from the current popular operas and ballets for instruments such as the cornet. The most successful operatic composer in Paris at the time was Meyerbeer, famous for his grand five act operas, full of spectacle, and resplendent with magnificent choruses and ballets. With his astonishing self-belief, Wagner clearly thought he could outdo Meyerbeer by writing the grandest of grand operas. However, as a totally unknown composer with no connections, and with no record of any previously successful works to his credit, how could he possibly expect it to be produced? It was his third attempt at writing an opera: the first, Die Feen (The Fairies) had never received a performance, and the second Das Liebesverbot (The Ban on Love) which he managed to have produced at the opera house in Magdeburg where he was music director, had been withdrawn before the end of the second performance, as the theatre had gone bankrupt. Paradoxically it was Meyerbeer himself who gave Wagner the opportunity he was looking for. At a chance meeting in Bologne Wagner read him the first three acts of Rienzi and later, after having seen the full score, Meyerbeer wrote to the Director of the Opera in Dresden that he found the opera “rich in fantasy and of great dramatic effect”, and recommended a staging of the work. Rienzi was an immediate success and it remained the most frequently performed of all Wagner’s operas until the early 20th century, when it suddenly dropped out of the repertoire along with the operas of Meyerbeer himself. Curiously Wagner later repudiated the work, finding it an embarrassment, and it was not produced at Bayreuth until 2013 on the bi-centenary of his birth. Wagner never showed any gratitude to Meyerbeer for the help he obtained from him when he was poor and unknown, even though it was the staging of Rienzi which was the foundation of his reputation. Though the opera is very rarely performed today, the wonderfully stirring and brilliant overture has retained its appeal. It is clearly influenced by the romantic German operas of Weber and Spohr but Wagner’s original genius is unmistakeable, with characteristically effective writing for the brass section, and though he later rejected the opera as a whole, he continued to conduct the overture on occasions throughout his career.
Piano Concerto in A Minor Op. 16 1.
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
Allegro molto moderato 2. Adagio 3. Allegro moderato molto e marcato
Grieg’s mother was a music teacher in Bergen, and it was from her that he received his first piano lessons which he began at the age of six, soon showing himself to be exceptionally gifted, composing little pieces when he was only nine years old. He was a sensitive child, and as is unfortunately sometimes the case in provincial communities, his artistic aspirations were ridiculed by his schoolmates and teachers, something he remembered all his life. At the age of fifteen his musical talent was so apparent that he was sent to study in Leipzig, where he received the finest training available anywhere in Europe. His ambition was to become a concert pianist, but this was dealt a severe blow when in 1860 at the age of 17 he contracted pleurisy and tuberculosis which destroyed one of his lungs, leaving him with ill health for the rest of his life.
On graduating from the Leipzig conservatorium in 1862 he did not immediately return to Norway, settling for three years in Copenhagen and continuing his studies with Niels Gade, Denmark’s foremost composer. Grieg was determined to write distinctive Norwegian music and made a study of Norwegian folk music and dance, incorporating their idioms into his own compositions. While in Denmark he fell in love with his first cousin Nina Hagerup, a soprano who was also living there, and they were secretly engaged. Both sets of parents were opposed to the union, Nina’s father telling her that “he is nothing, has nothing, and writes music no-one will listen to”. Despite this opposition they were married in 1867, and a year later Grieg completed the first draft of the piano concerto, the premiere taking place in 1869. Tragically the success of the work was marred by the death in the same year of the young couple’s only child, who died of meningitis at only one year of age. The concerto was the foundation of Grieg’s growing fame, and as a result of its success in Norway he was awarded a travelling scholarship by the Norwegian government. In 1870 he visited Liszt in Weimar, who to Grieg’s astonishment played through the concerto, complete with orchestral parts, at sight. He went on to suggest improvements to the orchestration which Grieg accepted at the time, but later removed towards the end of his life. In fact he revised the work no less than seven times, making more than three hundred changes in all. It has become one of the most popular and frequently played of all piano concertos and Tchaikovsky has described it beautifully in these words: “What charm of passion in his melodic phrases, what telling vitality in his harmony, what originality and beauty in the turn of his piquant and ingenious modulations and rhythms, in the rest what interest, novelty and independence.”
Enigma Variations, Op.36
Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Edward Elgar was an introspective and deeply emotional man, subject to wide mood swings and feelings of inadequacy. He was of humble origins in a world where class and connections were all important, and as a practising Roman Catholic and self-taught composer he must have often felt himself to be an outsider in the late Victorian society in which he grew up. After his failure to establish himself as a violinist in the cut throat world of professional music in London, it must have seemed to him that he was destined to spend his life as a provincial music teacher, with at best a local reputation as a composer. His ambition to study in Leipzig had been thwarted by his family’s financial constraints and he was acutely conscious of his lack of the academic qualifications expected of a serious composer. He did succeed in visiting Leipzig in 1882 when he was 25, and was impressed and inspired by the quality of the music making he heard. While there he also met a young English violin student, Helen Weaver. They fell in love and became engaged. A year later the engagement was broken off. No reason is known for this, but it was probably due to his lack of prospects. There is strong evidence to suggest that Variation 13, marked by Elgar, Romanza ***, which includes a quotation from Mendelssohn’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, refers to her sailing out of his life on a ship bound for New Zealand. She settled in Wanganui. When he was 29 he began teaching Caroline Roberts, the daughter of a senior British Army officer. They formed a close relationship and three years later married. She was immediately disinherited by her horrified family. She was an exceptionally practical and capable woman, and as his social secretary and business manager, set about promoting her husband’s career - and she had the social connections to do so.
The Enigma Variations were the turning point. The premiere in 1899, conducted by Hans Richter, led to subsequent performances in Europe. European recognition led to his greater appreciation by his own countrymen, and unprecedented success. His music seemed to embody the spirit of the new Edwardian Age, a golden period which lasted up until the First World War. He was showered in honours and knighted by the King. The humble Edward Elgar became Sir Edward Elgar, 1st Baronet OM GCVO and Master of the King’s Musick. With this success Elgar became what he was expected to be, developing a persona of the perfect English gentleman. After the war his music began to seem rather old fashioned and fell out of fashion, and after his wife’s death in 1920 he stopped writing. There was a revival and a new appreciation in the 1960s which has continued. There is no doubt that he somehow caught in his music the spirit of an England which still resonates to this day.
o o o o o o o o o o
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Variations on an Original Theme, Op 36 (Enigma) Elgar chose this title to describe an ‘enigma’ at the heart of this work. He stated that there is, underlying the theme a well-known melody, which he never disclosed, and therefore the various solutions put forward can never now be finally verified. In addition to this, each variation carries a set of initials of the names his friends, characteristics of whom are represented in the variations. Theme: Elgar described this as representing the loneliness of the artist (Elgar himself). Variation 1 C.A.E: Caroline Alice Elgar (Elgar’s wife, who gave him the inspiration for the work). Variation 2 H.D.S-P: Hew David Steuart-Powell (amateur pianist & chamber music player). Variation 3 R.B.T: Richard Baxter Townshend (Oxford Don and friend). Variation 4 W.M.B: William Meath Baker (Squire of Hasfield, Gloucestershire and step uncle of Dora Penny in variation 10). Variation 5 R.PA: (Richard Penrose Arnold, son of the poet Mathew Arnold). Variation 6 ‘Ysobel’: (Isabel Fitton, a viola pupil of Elgar). Variation 7 “Troyte”: Arthur Troyte Griffith (Malvern architect and one of Elgar’s firmest friends). Variation 8 W.N: Winifred Norbury (one of the secretaries of the Worcester Philharmonic Society). Variation 9 ‘Nimrod’: Augustus J. Jaegar (a close friend of Elgar and music editor of his publisher Novello & Co.). This is the most famous and moving of the variations and is often played on solemn occasions. It is thought the clue to the ‘enigma’, which gives the work its title, may be found in the theme of the second movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata, which Jaegar sang to Elgar as encouragement when he was at his most despondent and about to give up composition. ‘Jaegar’ is German for ‘hunter’ and ‘Nimrod’ is the famous hunter from the Bible – so Elgar is giving a clue here: that this is where the solution to the ‘enigma’ may be found, if you hunt for it. Variation 10 ‘Dorabella’: Dora Penny (a friend whose stutter is gently parodied in the woodwind). Variation 11 G.R.S: George Robertson Sinclair (a depiction of his bulldog falling into the river Wye, paddling upstream, and his joyful bark on landing). Variation 12 B.G.N: Basil George Nevison (an accomplished amateur cellist). Variation 13 Romanza ***: The name of a lady (Helen Weaver his former fiancée?). Variation 14 Finale E.D.U: (Elgar himself, nicknamed Edu by his wife - from the German, Eduard).
Programme notes by Alexander Cowdell © 2018
AYO MEMBERS Governance Dame Catherine Tizard ONZ GCMG GCVO DBE QSO DStJ, Patron Michael McLellan, FTCL LRSM, President Alastair Clement, Vice-President Margaret Leman, Vice-President
Executive Committee Alexander Cowdell Anne-Marie Forsyth Mary Lin Helen Lewis
Chairman Secretary Manager Treasurer
Antun Poljanich Rachael Brand Gemma Nash Lachlan Grant Esther Hunter
Music Director Communications Player Representative Player Representative Player Representative
Administration Lynn Pettit Membership Secretary Alison Dunlop and Louise Roe Librarians
Honorary Members Alastair Clement Michael McLellan Anne Draffin
Cameron Stuart Margaret Leman
Barrie Ross Lois Westwood
Subscribing Members Clive Aucott Philippa Black Rachael Brand Bleau Bustenera Gillian & Harold Coop Alexander Cowdell Ian Cunningham Warren Drake
John Duder Anne-Marie Forsyth Judith Gust Diane & Mark Hall Helen Lewis Mary Lin Rod McLeay Mr T. McD. Morton
Grant Reay Mrs B Simmons Kevin & Jan Sutton Helen Taber Sarah Thompson And 3 anonymous Subscribers
AYO PLAYERS Violin I ‡ Jim Wu # Walter Xu Zosia Herlihy-O’Brien Aleena Griffiths Bryan Lin Mana Waiariki Kauri May Angeline Xiao Michael Luo Amber Edwards Violin II # Weihong Li + Kenny Li Tony Chen Gemma Nash Genevieve Tang Joanna Sang Isabella Healy Emily Kamimura Santiago Romano Kevin Guan Kelly Siew Reagan Luo Nikki Ng Viola # Jasper Anika Ong Lin + Hae Jean Byun Joy Xu Elise Ji Zahira Ali-Champion Elena Bloksberg Jennifer Chen Legend ‡ Concertmaster # Principal + Assistant Principal
Cello #Daniel Ng + Marcus Ho Vincent Chen Harrison Chau Phoebe Pierard Benjamin Piper Rana Cawley Anthony Shin Ella McIntosh Double Bass # John Moon Thomas Hall Flute # Jacob Webster Micah Sullivan Anna Zhang Esther Hunter
French Horn # Rangimakehu Hall Luca Basso Evan Metcalfe Jade Zhang Max Glazier Sean Tang
Trumpet # Jake Krishnamurti Benjamin Webster Caleb Probine Thomas Scott
Trombone # Mark Li Alexander Botha David Paligora Esther Simpson
Piccolo Anna Zhang Oboe # Noah Rudd +Akari Ouchi Clarinet # Emily Liston Clara Lui Vivian Chen Bassoon # Monica Dunn Charlotte Naden Ricky Shi Amanda Yong
Tuba # Lachlan Grant
Timpani # Donovan Kelso
Percussion # Naomi Kelly Esther Hunter
Organ Rebecca Lee
Contra-Bassoon Charlotte Naden
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Special thanks to Franco Viganoni who generously gives his time and professional expertise in digitally recording our concerts using state-of-the-art electronics and a unique system of microphones. These recordings, which can be found on the AYO website, are a real reference, totally true, in phase and free from any electronic manipulations and effects. For further information, please visit www.viganoni.com and www.audiopronz.com.
NEXT CONCERTS - SEPTEMBER
Europe Tour: 12-26 August Sat. 8 September, 7.30pm Sun. 9 September, 2.30pm
Papakura - Hawkins Theatre Auckland Town Hall
Cover art and programme design by Mary Lin ÂŠ 2018 Auckland Youth Orchestra | Here Plays the Future