Aurora Orchestra New Moves at LSO St Lukeâ€™s
Featuring Central St Martins College of Art and Design
Saturday 9 October 2010
George Gershwin (arr. Saul Chaplin /Johnny Green / Iain Farrington)
An American in Paris Aaron Copland Music for the Theatre Interval – 15 minutes
Nico Muhly Step Team Camille Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals
Scott Bradley The Cat Concerto
Nicholas Collon Conductor Tom Poster Piano Iain Farrington Piano Thomas Gould Leader Aurora Orchestra
New Moves Aurora’s New Moves series at LSO St Luke’s comprises nine concerts over three years, each featuring a different collaboration with, or commission from, an outstanding artist or ensemble operating outside the traditional limits of the classical music sphere. Enriched in its first season by partnerships with actors, animators, dancers and singers, the series aims to push the boundaries of the concert experience, and to offer new perspectives on a thrilling variety of repertoire. The 2010 New Moves season is supported by Arts Council England and the Ernest Cook Charitable Trust. Generous support is also provided by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation for this year’s cross-arts collaborations, or ‘Jerwood Commissions’.
Introduction Having travelled by way of experimental opera and capoeira ballet, this year’s eclectic New Moves season finishes with a film-inspired programme bookended by two of the most masterfully-conceived marriages of music and moving image ever created: MGM’s 1951 musical film An American in Paris, and the sparkling Tom and Jerry cartoon The Cat Concerto. Tonight’s concert offers a first-ever opportunity for a London audience to watch both films accompanied by live orchestra: a pleasure we owe on the one hand to Iain Farrington for having reconstructed the music for this performance (mostly by painstaking transcription from original soundtracks), and on the other to Nicholas Collon for the dizzying feat of synchronising music and picture for two fiendishly complex works. The influence of the silver screen also underpins the inclusion in tonight’s programme of the music of Nico Muhly, whose scores for films such as The Reader have helped to propel him to prominence as one of the world’s most talked-about young composers. Tonight’s performance of Step Team offers a foretaste of Aurora’s forthcoming recording of Muhly’s music for chamber orchestra, due for release on Decca Classics in 2011. This evening’s Jerwood Commission is likewise film-based, with students from the BA course in Moving Image at Central St Martins College having created a wonderfully inventive and varied series of shorts to accompany the Carnival of the Animals. As ever we are grateful to the Jerwood Charitable Foundation for enabling us to develop new partnerships with outstanding young artists operating in a different creative sphere, and delighted to announce that the Foundation has renewed its funding for the New Moves series for another two years. These are challenging times for the arts, with organisations across the UK bracing themselves for sweeping cuts to be announced later this month. Within this context the support of individuals becomes more crucial than ever, and if you like what you see tonight I urge you to consider joining Aurora as a Supporter or Friend of the orchestra, helping us ensure that this New Moves series continues to flourish and develop over the coming years. You can find out more about the scheme in the crypt cafe at the interval or after the concert. Aurora’s residency at LSO St Luke’s continues next spring: keep an eye on www.auroraorchestra.com for more details. In the meantime, enjoy the show...
John Harte General Manager
An American in Paris George Gershwin (1898–1937) arr. Saul Chaplin (1912–1997), Johnny Green (1908–1989) & Iain Farrington (b. 1978)
The dance sequence at the end of the 1951 MGM film An American in Paris is one of the most ambitious and successful scenes in Hollywood history. This seventeen-minute choreography of Gershwin’s score is a riot of colour and sound, and at $500,000 was the most expensive of its type to date. It summarises the plot of the film in an elaborate fantasy, as an ex-GI (Gene Kelly) sees, pursues, courts, and then loses a French girl, Lise (Leslie Caron). At the same time, he views Paris through the styles of some of its most famous painters. The musical team of Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green created a new version of Gershwin’s score to fit the dance, with a certain amount of the score freshly composed from Gershwin’s themes. When MGM encountered serious financial difficulties in the 1960s, much of its archive of sets, costumes and musical scores was sold and destroyed. As a result, there are very few surviving scores of the great film musicals of the period, the present one included. I have transcribed the score by ear, and arranged it for Aurora. Iain Farrington
Music for the Theatre Aaron Copland (1900–1990) Music for the Theatre was composed in 1925. The work was completed shortly after Copland’s return to America from Paris, following studies with Nadia Boulanger at the New American Conservatory, Fountainebleau. Arriving back in New York and determined to carve out his name as a composer and teacher, Copland fell in with the artistic circle of photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The willful and charismatic Stieglitz espoused that all American Art should reflect the ‘American democratic ideal’, advocating that the true American Artist must seek a language which both expresses and is accessible to all Americans. Copland’s Music for the Theatre was created in this spirit. Seeking to rid his music of its ‘too European’ quality, Music for the Theatre draws on the music of America’s glittering twenties and the jazz-sprung works of George Gershwin. The piece itself has no programmatic associations: as Copland stated, ‘the title simply implies that at times this music has a quality which is suggestive of the theatre.’ The Prologue opens with a clatter of drums, piano and brass. The crisp trumpet fanfare is eventually met by strings in a warm chorale, overlaid with winding solos in woodwind and brass. The music springs to a bustling up-tempo passage punctured by woodblock snaps, before the music stills with the return of the oboe, trumpet and clarinet, and the piano expels a last grumble. Dance is a darkly glittering homage to Gershwin, dodging between cartoon bluster and the sloping neon of a solo clarinet. The woodwind melodies of the Interlude carry hints of a darker, bluesy threat, accompanied in turn by strings, snippets of Debussy-like piano scoring, and glockenspiel twinkles. The Burlesque opens with a caustic bass-line. Brass and chirruping woodwind enter, and the music flits between stop-and-start bustle and grinding razzmatazz from the brass. A contemplative close to the work, the Epilogue begins with a still, solo clarinet, merging into a reprise of the smooth lines of the Prologue. Kate Wakeling
Step Team Nico Muhly (b.1981)â€¨ Stepping is a form of almost militaristic dancing involving the entire body as well as the voice. The routines are highly choreographed and precise but maintain an expressive freedom that comes out of the energy required to pull off the moves. In writing this piece for the Chicago Symphony MusicNOW, I wanted to avoid too much delicate, pointillistic writing and instead focused on making the nine players function as one team with a singular rhythmic agenda. Whenever the Chicago Symphony comes to New York, I am always impressed with the massive steakhouse-style proportions of the brass sound, so, this score features the bass trombone as a guide for the harmonic and lyrical material. At a certain point in the piece, the rhythmic unisons begin to break down, and individual players or groups of players start slowing down or speeding up against the pulse. The bass trombone works as a unifying element here, announcing the changes between sections. Some scattered pulses ensue, and the brass section continuously shepherds the other instruments back into line. Step Team ends with a duet between the bass trombone and the piano, with a series of ornaments from the other players. Nico Muhly
Carnival of the Animals Camille Saint-Saëns (1882–1971) Jerwood Commission
1 Introduction and royal march of the Lion
Alexandra Dashina / Julianna Lara Steingrimsdittir
2 Hens and Roosters
3 Wild Asses
5 The Elephant
Mts Jia Wang
8 People with long ears
9 The Cuckoo in the depths of the woods
Leo Man Hin Chan
Sang Boek Han
13 The Swan
Composed in 1886, the Carnival of the Animals came to be one of Saint-Saëns’ most celebrated works, if not in his lifetime. Created for a private performance, Saint-Saëns forbade any complete performances following its première and permitted only one movement, Le Cygne (The Swan), to be published, fearing that the work’s light touch would damage his reputation as a serious composer. Fortunately published posthumously, the suite of fourteen short movements is rich and varied in orchestral colour. From the twinkling rumbles of the Introduction to the smooth call of the Cuckoo and the clatter of the Fossils, each scene at the menagerie is depicted with a shrewd warmth, and indeed the odd wry twist: the tortoises enjoy a patient account of the can-can from Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, while the elephant retreads a less-than-fleet rendition of Berlioz’s Dance of the Sylphs. Kate Wakeling
Anna Fodorova, of Central St Martins, writes: The students of Moving Image at Central St Martins specialise in communicating ideas over time through images and sound: they can work in unison but also enhance and challenge each other. It was an adventure to work with Aurora Orchestra on the Carnival of the Animals. Each student took one section and developed an idea about how to visually interpret the music. They were given complete freedom in choosing their technique and approach. The result is fresh and surprising, hopefully adding an unexpected dimension to this well-known music. We are delighted to have been given this opportunity and we are looking forward to future collaborations with the orchestra.
The Cat Concerto Scott Bradley (1891–1977) arr. Iain Farrington
Produced by MGM studios and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbara, the one-reel cartoon The Cat Concerto won the Academy Award for best short film amid some controversy. Scott Bradley’s agile arrangement of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (here for piano and orchestra) was neither the first nor only homage to the composition in an animated picture: a Warner Brothers Bugs Bunny short (Rhapsody Rabbit) released in 1946 was also based on the Liszt and prompted a suitably-cartoonish legal chase between studios. MGM/Bradley’s cat and mouse warby-piano is, however, firmly established as the slickest and most imaginative rendition. Opening with a grandiose Tom-as-concert-pianist (furnished with tailcoat and solemnly-pouting lower lip), the cat embarks on his performance only to awaken Jerry, snoozing on the soundboard. A nimble bloodbath ensues, in which the mouse attempts to destroy, flatten and snip off Tom’s fingers, while Jerry himself is squashed, hammered and locked in the piano stool. Bradley skates across Liszt, mostly following the score to the note but with the odd acrobatic insertion or jazz excursion. Despite Tom’s noble eightfingered attempt at the piece, the finale is all Jerry’s, a deft sweep of the hammers claiming him a smart victory at the work’s close.
Aurora Orchestra Conductor Nicholas Collon Pianos Tom Poster Iain Farrington Leader Thomas Gould Aurora Orchestra Flute*
Thomas Gould Helena Roques
Florence Cooke Helena Nicholls
Mark Braithwaite Rebecca Jones
Oliver Coates Sarah McMahon
* A-Train-sponsored chair: see p.15 for details.
Central St Martins College of Art and Design Video technician Daniel Grieshofer Student filmmakers Leo Man Hin Chan Alexandra Dashina Daniel Grieshofer Sang Boek Han Thora Hilmarsdottir Caroline Kilduff Divina Kum-Jones-Alleyne Olga Lobanova Ronnie Mitchell Sebastian Schmidt Fabiana Serpa Julianna Lara Steingrimsdittir Varvara Volodina Mts Jia Wang Staff Anna Fodorova Esteban Gitton Ghin Liew
Since its creation in 2005, Aurora Orchestra has established itself as a uniquely dynamic, innovative and challenging force on the landscape of British classical music. Its projects seek to combine outstanding quality with inventive programming and an ambitious commitment to reaching new audiences. Bringing together some of the UK’s most exciting young soloists in a virtuosic and versatile ensemble, the orchestra has attracted particular praise for its cross-arts collaborations, most recently for the New Moves residency at LSO St Luke’s. Aurora champions the rich and varied music of the 20th and 21st centuries, with critically-acclaimed performances of repertoire including the chamber symphonies of John Adams, Schoenberg and Schreker, Mahler’s orchestral works in reduced arrangements, and Hindemith’s Kammermusik. In addition to highlighting neglected gems, the orchestra stages intimate performances of well-known masterpieces from the orchestral canon, and revealing reduced arrangements of large-scale symphonic works. Highlights of the current season have included a debut performance at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms, and appearances at the Snape Proms, the Wigmore Hall, and the Oundle and Cambridge Summer Music Festivals. The orchestra premières Alexander Goehr’s opera Promised End with English Touring Opera this autumn, and in 2011 contributes six concerts to the flagship ‘Mozart Unwrapped’ season at Kings Place, alongside guest artists including Sir Colin Davis and the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Aurora was shortlisted for the 2010 Royal Philharmonic Society Ensemble Award. www.auroraorchestra.com
Nicholas Collon Conductor
Nicholas Collon is establishing an enviable reputation as a commanding and inspirational interpreter in an exceptionally wide range of music. As Principal Conductor of Aurora Orchestra he has promoted imaginative programming that integrates challenging repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries with masterworks of the Classical and Romantic eras. In addition to his work with Aurora, he appears this season with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Manchester Camerata, Sinfonia Viva and Symphonie Orchester Vorarlberg. Equally at home in the world of opera, Nicholas has worked with Opera North, Bregenz Festspieler, Glyndebourne Festival, Opera Group and Mahogany Opera. He conducted the first ever opera in the Palestinian Occupied Territories (Magic Flute) in 2007 and a new opera by Julian Phillips at Glyndebourne in March 2010 (which recently featured in a BBC television documentary). In 2011 he will conduct a new opera by Luke Bedford, Seven Angels, for Opera Group/Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. In 2008 he won the Arts Foundation Fellowship for Conducting, from a nominated list of twenty-five British conductors. www.nicholascollon.co.uk
Performer biographies (cont.)
Tom Poster Piano
Tom Poster is internationally recognised as a pianist of outstanding artistry and extraordinary versatility, equally in demand as soloist and chamber musician across an unusually extensive repertoire. He won First Prize at the Scottish International Piano Competition 2007 and the keyboard sections of the Royal Over-Seas League and BBC Young Musician of the Year Competitions in 2000. He has performed concertos with the BBC Philharmonic/Yan Pascal Tortelier, BBC Scottish Symphony/James Loughran, Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Robin Ticciati, Southbank Sinfonia/Vladimir Ashkenazy, China National Symphony/En Shao, St Petersburg State Capella Philharmonic and European Union Chamber Orchestra. Tom features regularly on BBC Radio 3 and appeared at the BBC Proms in 2008 and 2009. He has given solo recitals at concert halls and festivals throughout the UK and Europe, and on several occasions at the Spoleto Festival, by invitation of the late Gian Carlo Menotti. As pianist of the Aronowitz Ensemble (BBC New Generation Artists 2006-2008), he has appeared at the Wigmore and Bridgewater Halls and the Aldeburgh, Bath and Cheltenham Festivals. He also enjoys recital partnerships with Alison Balsom, Guy Johnston and Jennifer Pike, and has collaborated with the Brodsky, Endellion, Medici, Sacconi and Skampa Quartets. Born in 1981, Tom studied with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and at Kingâ€™s College, Cambridge, where he gained a Double First in Music. www.tomposter.co.uk
Iain Farrington Piano
Iain Farrington has an exceptionally busy and diverse career as a pianist, organist, composer and arranger. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London and at Cambridge University. Iain has performed at all the major UK venues, including the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, the BBC Proms, Royal Opera House, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, and Birmingham Symphony Hall. Abroad, he has given concerts in Japan, South Africa, Malaysia, Iceland, and across Europe. He works with many of the countryâ€™s leading musicians, including John Mark Ainsley, Lesley Garrett, the Royal Ballet, Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Colin Davis, and regularly broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. Iain is also a prolific composer and arranger, and has made over 120 arrangements from operas to piano solos. His Elgar piano arrangements are published by Boosey & Hawkes and Novello, and his compositions have been performed and recorded worldwide. Iain is Aurora Orchestraâ€™s Arranger-in-Residence. www.iainfarrington.com
New Moves Participation and Learning: Listen Live! Aurora Orchestra continues to place a commitment to young people and the future of live music at the centre of every aspect of its work. Alongside the orchestra’s residency at LSO St Luke’s, Aurora has devised an innovative new outreach project entitled Listen Live!, in which schools workshops and related community performances accompany each of orchestra’s featured concerts, enabling young people to explore orchestral repertoire and crossarts collaborations alongside professional artists. For more details about Aurora’s broader Participation and Learning programme, including a longstanding partnership with leading music educators the Da Capo Foundation, please see www.auroraorchestra.com.
Aurora’s Friends & Patrons scheme was renamed The A-Train after Duke Ellington’s jazz classic Take the A-Train, played as the encore to the orchestra’s fifth birthday concert on 19 March 2010.
Patrons: Monica Bertoni GML International Ltd An Anonymous Foundation An Anonymous Donor An Anonymous Donor Graham & Jackie Brown The Paul Morgan Foundation Friends: Helen and Richard Sheldon Paul Barber Dominique Collon Alastair and Elisabeth Colquhoun Eleanor and David Harte Valli and Gregorio Kohon Richard Lee Irene Mackay Thomas Ponsonby Toni Griffiths and Peter Scott Clive Tulloch
Sponsoring: Principal Conductor Principal Oboe Principal Bassoon Principal Flute Principal Cello Principal Percussion Principal Second Violin Principal Trumpet Principal Piano Principal Clarinet Principal Viola
Supporters: Monika Pruetzel-Thomas Sebastian Scotney Mrs SE Watt
New Moves is supported by Arts Council England, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the Ernest Cook Charitable Trust, and the Michael Tippett Music Foundation. Subsidised rehearsal space for the series has been provided by the Jerwood Space. Aurora also gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following bodies: The Ironmongers Company The John Lyons Charitable Trust Kings Place Music Foundation The Radcliffe Trust The Robert Mayer Trust for Youth and Music The SFIA Educational Trust
Honorary Patron Sir Colin Davis Honorary Advisory Patron Dr Jill White Trustees Hannah Barry, Michael Collon, Jonathan Deakin, Sanjivan Kohli, Louis Watt Principal Conductor & Artistic Director Nicholas Collon Principal First Violin & Leader Thomas Gould General Manager John Harte Participation and Learning Manager Jane Mitchell Arranger-in-Residence Iain Farrington Stage Manager / Librarian Dinis Sousa Aurora Orchestra is a UK-registered charity, no. 1116352. Aurora Orchestra The Music Base Kings Place 90 York Way London N1 9AG UK +44 (0)20 7014 2834 firstname.lastname@example.org
Design The Partners (www.the-partners.com) Photography Aurora Orchestra image: email@example.com Nicholas Collon image: Ruth Crafer (www.ruthcrafer.co.uk)
CD 00289 478 2506
CD 00289 478 2570
available now deccaclassics.com deccaclassics.com/nicomuhly
Muhly_LSO St Lukes_AD2.indd 1
Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 9, 11, 14, 16 October 7.45pm
Book now: 020 7304 4000 or www.roh.org.uk/eto with
Also touring in October and November to Malvern, Bexhill, Exeter, Crawley, Cambridge and Snape. www.englishtouringopera.org.uk
Promised End was developed at the Dartington Space with support from the Arts at Dartington
Aurora Orchestra New Moves at LSO St Lukeâ€™s Twitter: #newmoves
Published on Oct 8, 2010
Published on Oct 8, 2010
The climax of Aurora's 2010 London season included screenings of the brilliant Tom and Jerry cartoon The Cat Concerto alongside Gene Kelly’s...