August and September 2019 with the MSO

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Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall white



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THE MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Your MSO Guest musicians SAINT-SAËNS’ CELLO CONCERTO Wednesday 21 August / 11am Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall

SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE Thursday 22 August / 7.30pm Saturday 24 August / 2pm Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall Friday 23 August / 7.30pm Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University

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SIBELIUS’ VIOLIN CONCERTO Friday 30 August / 7.30pm Saturday 31 August / 7.30pm Monday 2 September / 6.30pm Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall

MOZART 40 Friday 13 September / 7.30pm Melbourne Town Hall

AN EVENING WITH THE MSO Saturday 14 September / 7pm West Gippsland Performing Arts Centre

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Our Artistic Family

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is a leading cultural figure in the Australian arts landscape, bringing the best in orchestral music and passionate performance to a diverse audience across Victoria, the nation and around the world. Each year the MSO engages with more than 5 million people through live concerts, TV, radio and online broadcasts, international tours, recordings and education programs. Under the spirited leadership of Chief Conductor, Sir Andrew Davis, the MSO is a vital presence, both onstage and in the community, in cultivating classical music in Australia. The nation’s first professional orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has been the sound of the city of Melbourne since 1906.

The MSO regularly attracts great artists from around the globe including Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lang Lang, Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson, while bringing Melbourne’s finest musicians to the world through tours to China, Europe and the United States. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Land on which we perform and would like to pay our respects to their Elders and Community both past and present.


Your MSO

Your MSO

Sir Andrew Davis Chief Conductor

Benjamin Northey Associate Conductor

Tianyi Lu

Cybec Assistant Conductor

Hiroyuki Iwaki

Conductor Laureate (1974–2006)

FIRST VIOLINS Dale Barltrop Concertmaster

Sophie Rowell

Concertmaster The Ullmer Family Foundation#

Tair Khisambeev

Assistant Concertmaster

Peter Edwards

Assistant Principal

Kirsty Bremner Sarah Curro

Michael Aquilina#

Peter Fellin Deborah Goodall Lorraine Hook Anne-Marie Johnson Kirstin Kenny Eleanor Mancini Mark Mogilevski Michelle Ruffolo Kathryn Taylor Michael Aquilina




Matthew Tomkins

David Berlin

Robert Macindoe

Rachael Tobin

Monica Curro

Nicholas Bochner

Principal The Gross Foundation# Associate Principal

Assistant Principal Danny Gorog and Lindy Susskind#

Mary Allison Isin Cakmakcioglu Tiffany Cheng Freya Franzen Cong Gu Andrew Hall Isy Wasserman Philippa West Patrick Wong Roger Young VIOLAS Christopher Moore Principal Di Jameson#

Principal MS Newman Family# Associate Principal Assistant Principal Anonymous*

Miranda Brockman

Geelong Friends of the MSO#

Rohan de Korte

Andrew Dudgeon#

Keith Johnson

Barbara Bell, in memory of Elsa Bell#

Sarah Morse Maria Solà#

Angela Sargeant Maria Solà#

Michelle Wood

Michael Aquilina#

DOUBLE BASSES Steve Reeves Principal

Lauren Brigden Katharine Brockman Christopher Cartlidge Michael Aquilina


Anthony Chataway

Dr Elizabeth E Lewis AM#

Sylvia Hosking

Assistant Principal

Damien Eckersley Benjamin Hanlon Suzanne Lee Stephen Newton

Gabrielle Halloran

Sophie Galaise and Clarence Fraser#

Trevor Jones


Maria Solà# Anne Neil#

Fiona Sargeant

Prudence Davis

Maria Solà

Principal Anonymous#

Cindy Watkin

Wendy Clarke


Associate Principal

Sarah Beggs

Sophia Yong-Tang#


Your MSO

PICCOLO Andrew Macleod



Nicolas Fleury

Robert Clarke

Saul Lewis

John Arcaro

Principal John McKay and Lois McKay#



Principal Third The Hon Michael Watt QC and Cecilie Hall#

Jeffrey Crellin


Thomas Hutchinson Associate Principal

Ann Blackburn

The Rosemary Norman Foundation#

COR ANGLAIS Michael Pisani


Abbey Edlin

Nereda Hanlon and Michael Hanlon AM#

Trinette McClimont Rachel Shaw

BASS CLARINET Jon Craven Principal

BASSOONS Jack Schiller


Elise Millman

Associate Principal

Yinuo Mu Principal

Shane Hooton William Evans Rosie Turner

Craig Hill



David Thomas

Associate Principal

Drs Rhyll Wade and Clem Gruen#


Associate Principal

Philip Arkinstall

Tim and Lyn Edward#

Robert Cossom

Owen Morris



John and Diana Frew#

TROMBONES Richard Shirley

Tim and Lyn Edward#

Mike Szabo

Principal Bass Trombone

TUBA Timothy Buzbee



Natasha Thomas

Dr Martin Tymms and Patricia Nilsson#



# Position supported by ** Timpani Chair position supported by Lady Potter AC CMRI


Guest Musicians

Guest Musicians SAINT-SAËNS’ CELLO CONCERTO | 21 August Aaron Barnden

Zoe Knighton

Christopher Haycroft^

Jenny Khafagi

Anna Pokorny

Sydney Braunfeld*

Michael Loftus-Hills

Kylie Davies

Jessica Buzbee

Nicholas Waters

Vivian Qu Siyuan

Brent Miller

William Clark

Esther Toh

Isabel Morse

Lauren Gorman^

violin violin violin violin viola viola

cello cello

double bass double bass


associate principal horn principal trombone timpani

double bass flute

SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE | 22–24 August Aaron Barnden

Lauren Jennings^

Christopher Haycroft^

Jenny Khafagi

Zoe Knighton

Sydney Braunfeld*

Michael Loftus-Hills

Anna Pokorny

Jessica Buzbee

Miranda Matheson

Kylie Davies

Alex Jeantou

Nicholas Waters

Robert Nicholls

Brent Miller

William Clark

Vivian Qu Siyuan

Robert Allan

Molly Collier-O’Boyle

Esther Toh

Lara Wilson

Ceridwen Davies

Lauren Gorman^

Melina van Leeuwen

Isabel Morse

Emmanuel Cassimatis

violin violin violin violin violin viola viola viola viola

cello cello cello

double bass double bass double bass double bass flute


* Appears courtesy of Orchestra Victoria ⁑ Appears courtesy of Sydney Symphony Orchestra ^ Melbourne University Masters of Music student 8

Information correct as of 7 August 2019.


associate principal horn principal trombone tuba


percussion percussion harp

Oksana Thompson

Esther Toh

Zoe Black

William Clark

David Reichelt

Jacqueline Edwards

Isabel Morse

Peter Luff

Jenny Khafagi

Caitlin Bass

Scott Kinmont⁑

Michael Loftus-Hills

Vivian Qu Siyuan

Christine Turpin

violin violin violin violin violin

violin viola viola

double bass double bass

double bass

Guest Musicians

SIBELIUS’ VIOLIN CONCERTO | 30 August – 2 September Aaron Barnden


associate principal horn principal trombone timpani

MOZART 40 / AN EVENING WITH THE MSO | 13–14 September Aaron Barnden

William Clark

Esther Toh

Madeleine Jevons

Isabel Morse

Christine Turpin

Jenny Khafagi

Lauren Jennings^

Nicholas Waters

Vivian Qu Siyuan

violin violin violin violin

viola viola

double bass timpani


double bass


Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto 21 August 2019 | 11am Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider conductor Jian Wang cello WAGNER Tannhäuser: Overture


SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto No.1


MENDELSSOHN Excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream [15']

Running time: approximately one hour with no interval. Timings listed are approximate. Biographies of Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider and Jian Wang are available on page 15. MSO Mornings is supported by Ryman Healthcare.



Tannhäuser: Overture (Dresden version, 1845) Tannhäuser dates from Wagner’s time as Second Kapellmeister in Dresden (1843-49). In his previous opera, The Flying Dutchman, Wagner had already established Redemption as one of his lifelong themes. Tannhäuser continues the idea of a woman sacrificing herself for the man she loves. Love and death may be opera’s two defining poles. Tannhäuser depicts furthermore a tussle between carnality and spiritual love. The curtain rises on the minstrel Tannhäuser in the Venusberg, the legendary haunt of the goddess of love. Sated with the Venusberg’s delights, he wants to return to the everyday world. Once there, he rediscovers his former love, Elisabeth, and tries to win her back in a song contest. He is expected, however, to seek repentance for his sins but is refused forgiveness by the Pope. But

all is not lost. At the last, Elisabeth dies and in dying intercedes for him. News is brought of the Pope’s staff in Rome bursting into leaf, signifying Tannhäuser’s salvation. When he began Tannhäuser, Wagner had not yet conceived his revolutionary theory of music drama. The version of Tannhäuser premiered in Dresden was still basically a traditional ‘number opera’ with discrete arias, ensembles, and choruses. Its overture was in a closed form and could stand alone as a musical item. Wagner revised Tannhäuser for Paris in 1861. By that time he had composed the highly chromatic and anguished Tristan und Isolde, and the ‘Paris’ version benefits from Wagner’s advanced harmonic language. It is as if he was being lured to evermore sensual depictions of love.


Program Notes

Gordon Kalton Williams © 2012 The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra first performed the Overture from Tannhäuser on 14 May 1938 under conductor George Szell, and most recently in February 2014 with Andrew Gourlay.

Program notes for Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No.1 and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream can be found on pages 16 and 17.


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All the musicians looked so happy – the program was so rhythmic and uplifting and just glorious – thank you – it beats working in the sheep yards in 29° heat! – Hamilton concertgoer

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Symphonie Fantastique 22 August 2019 | 7.30pm 24 August 2019 | 2pm Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall

23 August 2019 | 7.30pm Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider conductor Jian Wang cello MENDELSSOHN Excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream


SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto No.1


— INTERVAL — BERLIOZ Symphonie Fantastique [49']

Running time: approximately two hours including a 20-minute interval. Timings listed are approximate. Pre-concert talk: 22 August at 6.15pm & 24 August at 12.45pm, Hamer Hall / 23 August at 6.30pm, Robert Blackwood Hall balcony foyer. Learn more about the performance at a pre-concert presentation with composer, conductor and writer, Vincent Plush.

Jian Wang

Copenhagen-born Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider won first prize at the Carl Neilsen International Music Competition in 1992. In 1997 he became a First prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels. He is now president of the Carl Neilsen competition.

While a student at the Shanghai Conservatorium Jian Wang was featured in the documentary film From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China. In 1985 he entered the Yale School of Music.


As soloist Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider has recently performed in North America with the Brussels Philharmonic and Stéphane Denève, and played Elgar’s concerto with Denève and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has a particularly strong relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra as conductor and soloist. He has recorded the complete Mozart violin concertos, directed from the violin, with the LSO. As a conductor, Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider is Music Director-Designate (from 2020) of the Orchestre national de Lyon. He has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Mariinsky Orchestra and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He conducts the LSO Chamber Orchestra in wind concertos of Mozart in October and will lead Der Rosenkavalier at Dresden’s Semperoper that month.



Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider

Jian Wang has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, London Symphony, Orchestre de Paris and NHK Symphony. Amongst his concerts in China, he has played for the President and opened the season for the China Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony and Macau Symphony Orchestras. Recordings include the Bach Cello Suites and Brahms’ Double Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic, Claudio Abbado and Gil Shaham. In recent concerts, Jian Wang has performed Zhou Tian’s concerto Flowing Sleeves with Jessica Cottis and the Singapore Symphony, and appeared with Joshua Bell and others in Dvořák’s String Sextet, Op.48 at Switzerland’s Verbier Festival. His instrument is graciously loaned to him by the family of the late Mr. Sau-Wing Lam.





Excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Incidental Music, Op.61 Intermezzo Nocturne Wedding March Shakespeare fell out of favour in the 18th century as the Enlightenment had little use for a poet of verbal ambiguity, supernatural visitations and occasionally unhappy endings. But with the rise of Romanticism in the 19th century, the Bard was back, combining as he does the ‘gothic’ world of King Lear, Macbeth or Hamlet, the only momentarily requited passion of Romeo and Juliet, the magical realms of A Midsummer Night’s Dream or The Tempest. In the 1820s, German poets Schlegel and Tieck began translating Shakespeare into German – a decade after the brothers Grimm had reignited interest in fairy tales – and their version of the ‘Dream’ inspired Mendelssohn to write his celebrated Overture in 1826. Many years later one of the translators, Ludwig Tieck, suggested that the King of Prussia ask Mendelssohn to add incidental music for a production of the play at Potsdam in 1843. These days in concert we most commonly hear the Overture and four substantial extracts from Mendelssohn’s incidental music (the Scherzo, Intermezzo, Nocturne and Wedding March), the last three of which are performed this evening.


The play begins in Athens (the seat of reason) where Theseus and Hippolyta are preparing for their wedding, and where four young nobles are caught up in various unrequited relationships. Hermia and Lysander elope to a nearby wood followed by Demetrius, who

loves Hermia, and Helena who loves Demetrius. Here Oberon, aided by the mischievous goblin Puck, is preparing revenge on Titania who won’t give up her boy, and the fortuitous arrival of both the lovers and a bunch of tradesmen (‘rude mechanicals’) who are rehearsing a play for the ducal wedding sets off the subsequent comedy of magic and errors. This is ultimately resolved by the noble couples finally being wed in Athens, where they watch the mechanicals’ play, and, as they depart for bed, are blessed by the reunited Oberon and Titania. The Intermezzo, at the end of Act II, depicts the human lovers lost in the wood, and the arrival of the mechanicals in another part of the forest. The lovely Nocturne represents Titania’s fond solicitude for Bottom whom she has enticed to her bower. Like Benjamin Britten, in his opera of the ‘Dream’, Mendelssohn adds pathos to the scene by investing it with real sensuous beauty. We return to the Athenian palace for a triple wedding and what is perhaps Mendelssohn’s most famous and frequently performed piece, the much-loved Wedding March. Adapted from a note by Gordon Kerry © 2011 The first performance of any of Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the MSO was of the Overture, on 21 May 1938 under conductor Georg Szell. The Orchestra performed it most recently in June 2018 with Kolja Blacher.


Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor, Op.33 Allegro non troppo – Allegretto con moto – Tempo primo This concerto reveals many of SaintSaëns’ most endearing qualities as a composer. It is a modestly engaging, unpretentiously beguiling work, its most important musical qualities being the tight construction (three movements sounding as if rolled into one) and the subtle orchestration which, with its discreet accompaniment, neatly solves the inherent problems of balancing the solo cello against a symphony orchestra. Composition of this concerto was one of the activities Saint-Saëns threw himself into following the death of his beloved great-aunt in January 1872. At the same time he began writing a regular newspaper column, under the pseudonym Phémius, which promoted French music (composers such as Rameau, Gounod and Bizet) – part of the polemical struggle to bolster French national pride after the demoralising loss to Prussia in the recent Franco-Prussian War. The A minor Concerto was first performed on 19 January 1873 by the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra with its principal cellist Auguste Tolbecque as soloist. Much later, the work became a particular favourite of the cellist Pablo Casals who played it at his London debut in 1905. And no wonder – as Saint-Saëns’ biographer James Harding says, it ‘gives the instrument an excellent opportunity to display its resources without straining after needless virtuosity’. The work begins with one sharp chord from the orchestra, immediately ushering in a swirling theme from the solo cello, which will form the main thematic material for the movement. This material is repeated, varied, played on the

woodwinds behind long notes on the solo cello and extended. Eventually the cello plays an attractive romantic melody that is dovetailed into cadential material by the swirling theme in the accompaniment. A new sequence continues to work on the swirling figure, first making use of the half-tone rise and fall of its tailpiece. A developmental extension of the romantic melody leads us imperceptibly into the minuet-like second movement. Saint-Saëns’ structural fluency has been revealed by the clever way in which this movement was introduced, almost as if it were merely another phase of the first movement. A dance-like figure for woodwinds is transformed into an accompaniment for a ruminative cello melody. There is a slightly darker, more lilting middle section, followed by cadenza-like runs in the cello solo which lead to a reprise of the dancing figure over a cello trill.



The movement winds down, and then the cello line forms the link to the final, and longest, movement. The oboe retrieves the first movement’s swirling figure, now more swiftly modulating and more intense with other woodwind interjections. After a dramatic development, the cello finally takes back the swirling figure. The cello now introduces a new aria-like theme, built on the rise-and-fall idea of the opening melody. Now, at last, the cello part begins to become more virtuosic, and in the slower section ends up in the instrumental stratosphere, with high harmonics. The music resumes speed after a reprise of the aria-like melody, and with an exciting pick-up, the movement and the concerto come to a close. G.K. Williams Symphony Australia © 1997 The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra first performed this concerto in August 1944 with conductor Percy Code and soloist Lauri Kennedy, and most recently in April 2016 with Sir Andrew Davis and Laura van der Heijden.





Symphonie fantastique, Op.14 Dreams, Passions (Largo – Allegro agitato e appassionato assai) A Ball (Valse: Allegro non troppo) Scene in the Fields (Adagio) March to the Scaffold (Allegretto non troppo) Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath (Larghetto – Allegro) The first performance of the Symphonie fantastique on 5 December 1830 marked a turning-point in Berlioz’s career. It was through this work that he first became known; his extensive influence on 19th century composers dates from it. For those in the audience it was also a significant event, which opened a new era in music. For despite its apparent deference to classical procedures, this music sounded like no music ever heard before. The actual music of the Symphonie fantastique is surrounded by a thick hedge of literary and biographical associations. Berlioz himself is largely responsible for this. Firstly there is the tale of Harriet Smithson, a hapless English actress whose portrayal of Ophelia had captured Berlioz’s imagination. In 1830 he wrote to a friend that the Symphonie was to depict the development of his ‘infernal passion’ for Miss Smithson. Twenty years and two disastrous marriages later, he wrote in his Memoirs that the work had been written under the influence of Goethe’s Faust. But the early association stuck well. If there is one thing everyone knows about Berlioz and the Symphonie fantastique, it is the sad tale of his relationship with Harriet Smithson!


A more imposing literary obstacle is the elaborate program which Berlioz himself devised, and which he originally

directed should accompany the Symphonie whenever it was played. The program bristles with literary allusions: to Chateaubriand, to Shakespeare, Goethe, Hoffmann, De Quincey. In brief, it deals with a young musician, in the toils of a desperate passion for a woman who embodies his romantic ideal. The vagaries of feeling occasioned by his passion are the subject of the first movement. In the following movements we see him in various situations: at a ball, in the midst of nature in the country, in the grip of an opium dream witnessing his own execution, and partaking in a Witches’ Sabbath, where his beloved appears transformed into a demon’s harlot. The program is of considerable interest in itself as an index of artistic preoccupations at that time: the discovery of the unconscious (the opium dream), the interest in the demoniac, the fascination with the monstrous and bizarre – the ‘fantastic’ of the work’s title. In actual fact, the label ‘fantastic’ only applies directly to the last two movements, and it is worth noticing that trombones and tubas are silent until these last two movements, where their entry reinforces the change of atmosphere. Despite its inherent literary interest, much debate has centred on the relevance of the program to the actual music of the Symphonie. There is no doubt that Berlioz captured the contemporary imagination very well with it, and, more practically, that it helped the audience to accept more readily the strangeness of the music in those early performances. But is the program anything more than a ‘promotional aid’? Does it add to, or distract from, our appreciation of the music of the Symphonie? Berlioz revised the program no less than four times, modifying it quite

The true originality of the Symphonie fantastique lies in the music itself. The many novelties of its melody, harmony and orchestration strike our ears even today. Most significantly, however, the work embodies an entirely new conception of dramatic instrumental music. In formulating this new dramatic ideal, Berlioz drew equally on the examples of Beethoven and Shakespeare – seen in the light of his own beliefs about the expressive capabilities of instrumental music. In realising the new dramatic ideal in his music, Berlioz significantly modified classical symphonic practices in several respects: the number and grouping of the movements, the character of the individual movements and the treatment of the main theme. The ‘hero’ of Berlioz’s symphonic drama is not the musician of the program, but the first theme of the Allegro (Passions) section of the first movement. This theme is the subject and source of action in the whole work. Notice that it reappears – like an actor in a play, but unlike the theme of a Classical symphony – in each of the subsequent scenes of the drama. Berlioz uses solo instruments to complete the identity of the theme, to ‘characterise’ it. After the first movement, it appears most often on solo clarinet, though flute and oboe are also used in the Waltz and particularly in the pastoral third movement.

Development of the theme is projected into five specific ‘situations’ – another unusual feature, and one which again has more in common with drama than with classical symphonic practice. Time and place are suggested by the movement titles. But the situations are evoked by the music itself, in the introduction that precedes each movement. The movements are grouped symmetrically on either side of the central movement, the Scene in the Fields. The drama develops in an arc. It rises to its point of crisis with the appearance of the allegro theme in the Adagio third movement. From there it descends to the catastrophe in the last movement, the Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath, where the original identity of the allegro theme is destroyed by the forces of parody that are so potent in this movement. The most important dramatic events occur in the first, third and fifth movements. The other two movements, A Ball and March to the Scaffold, complement each other as episodes, or interludes, between the main movements.


significantly in the process. He also modified his view of its usefulness, finally directing that, whenever the Symphonie is played alone, without its stage sequel Lélio, the program was not to be distributed. However, as in Harold in Italy, the titles of the movements must be retained. The composer sensed rightly that the music was coherent and comprehensible in its own terms, and did not need any added literary explanation.

Berlioz continued to develop his dramatic symphonic ideal in Harold in Italy – with its solo viola ‘hero’ – and in Roméo et Juliette, where symphonic form is further enlarged to embrace a play by Shakespeare. But perhaps he never again succeeded as perfectly as he does here in the Symphonie fantastique. © Kay Dreyfus The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra first performed Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique on 7 September 1945 under the direction of Sir Malcolm Sargent, and most recently in April 2016 with Sir Andrew Davis.



Patron, Ken Ong OAM

The MSO is Melbourne’s world class orchestra. Performances are inspirational and bring out the stories of the great composers. Beethoven and Tchaikovsky are my favourite composers but my most memorable MSO concerts include Markus Stenz conducting Mahler’s Symphony No.3 at the Hamer Hall re-opening and Star Trek Live in Concert. The MSO’s broad programs bring new audiences to the Orchestra, which is an important part of its continuous growth. The MSO’s Education and Community Engagement programs are outstanding, in particular the way they include access for disadvantaged kids. For my part, I would like to see the arts engage more with Melbourne’s culturally diverse communities. An example is the East Meets West concert series which has been a great step. Ken Ong, for 8 years a City of Melbourne councillor, is a hands-on boss at Temple Brewing Company. His passion for helping has seen him spend the bulk of his free time volunteering for communities and not for profits. 20

SATURDAY 26 OCTOBER / 11.30am Pre-concert activities from 9.30am Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall





Make 2020 a year of inspiring experiences with the MSO. Much-loved repertoire, some rarities and a surprise or two.

S U B S C R I B E AT M S O.C O M . AU/2020 22

Dale Barltrop and Sophie Rowell Concertmasters


Sibelius’ Violin Concerto 30 August 2019 | 7.30pm 31 August 2019 | 7.30pm 2 September 2019 | 6.30pm Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall Melbourne Symphony Orchestra James Gaffigan conductor Viktoria Mullova violin JANÁČEK Jealousy [6'] SIBELIUS Violin Concerto

[32'] — INTERVAL —

DVOŘÁK Symphony No.8


Running time: approximately one hour and 50 minutes including a 20-minute interval. Timings listed are approximate. Pre-concert talk: 30 & 31 August at 6.15pm, Hamer Hall Learn more about the performance at a pre-concert presentation with composer and ABC Classic producer, Andrew Aronowicz. Post-concert conversation: 2 September following performance, Hamer Hall Stalls Foyer Join composer and ABC Classic producer, Andrew Aronowicz, for a conversation about the performance.

Viktoria Mullova

Hailed for the natural ease of his conducting and the compelling insight of his musicianship, James Gaffigan continues to attract international attention and is one of the most outstanding American conductors working today.

Viktoria Mullova studied at the Central Music School of Moscow and the Moscow Conservatoire. She won first prize at the 1980 Sibelius Competition, Helsinki and the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition (1982) which was followed, in 1983, by her defection to the West. She has since appeared with most of the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors and at the major international festivals.


James Gaffigan is currently Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. His contract with Lucerne Symphony Orchestra has been extended until 2022 in recognition of his significant impact on its national and international profile through highly successful tours and recordings. James is in high demand working with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. The 2019/20 season features re-invitations to the Chicago, San Francisco and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, Orchestre National de France and Czech Philharmonic, as well as debuts with Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He undertakes four major opera productions in the United States including La Cenerentola at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Ernani at San Francisco Opera, Don Giovanni at Lyric Opera Chicago and Tristan and Isolde at Santa Fe Opera.


SIBELIUS’ VIOLIN CONCERTO | 30 August – 2 September

James Gaffigan

Possessing a broad repertoire, Viktoria Mullova has worked with period instrument bands such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique. Her ventures into creative contemporary music began in 2000 with her album Through the Looking Glass. Recent appearances have included the Sibelius concerto with Paavo Järvo and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Recordings include a 2018 release of music by Arvo Pärt with Paavo Järvi and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. Viktoria either plays on her ‘Jules Falk’ 1723 Stradivarius or a Guadagnini violin.


SIBELIUS’ VIOLIN CONCERTO | 30 August – 2 September 26

Program Notes LEOŠ JANÁČEK


Žárlivost (Jealousy) – Overture, JWVI/10 Janáček is proof that life – or at least a richly creative life – starts at 50. Born in the Czech province of Moravia, he grew up in modest circumstances but with excellent training in music, and studied at conservatories in Prague, Leipzig and Vienna before returning to Brno. There he taught and composed, edited a journal of music criticism, and collected folk music. Around 1896 he became ardently pro-Russian, seeing Russia’s as a model for authentically Slavic culture. His first opera was shelved, but his second, Počátek románu (The Beginning of a Romance) was based on a work by playwright Gabriela Preissová. Preissová had also written the play Její pastorkyňa (Her Stepdaughter), whose heroine is in love with someone she is unable to marry, and is physically disfigured by her other suitor. She bears her beloved’s child only to have it murdered by her stepmother in the interests of avoiding shame. In a stroke which is at once melodramatic and profoundly affecting, the baby’s body is discovered months later in the thawing river on the day that the heroine is to marry the man who disfigured her. That became the opera Jenůfa, on which Janáček worked for some years before its premiere in 1904, and which marks the beginning of his maturity as a composer. Like much of Janáček’s work, Jenůfa is an anatomy of repression played out in a claustrophobic community. The composer underlines this by referring to a Moravian folksong, of which he made a setting some years before for male-voice chorus, called Žárlivec (The Jealous Man) that expresses the charming sentiment ‘I would rather cut off your head than let another love you when I am gone’.

Janáček had composed an overture to Jenůfa based in part on the ‘Jealous Man’ song, but ultimately his instinct was to begin in medias res. The overture survived (remarkably, as Janáček was known to burn scores) as the standalone work Jealousy which premiered in Prague two years after the opera. The song provides characteristic motifs, with the distinctive intervallic patterns of Slavic folksong, rather than a simple melody and accompaniment, and the work as a whole has Janáček’s characteristic energy. There is a roiling opening with insistent two-note motifs sounded in the brass, that become increasingly obsessed with the falling minor third. Through his trademark of repeated motifs suddenly doubling in speed, Janáček creates rising tension that is unexpectedly supplanted by a brief calm, with solo oboe and flute trills, before another sudden and shortlived burst of dance rhythm. The piece continues in this mosaic-like fashion, cutting between contrasting sounds and materials and ending with a peremptory gesture drawn from the opening. Gordon Kerry © 2019 This is the first performance of this work by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.



Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.47 Allegro moderato – Allegro molto Adagio di molto Allegro ma non tanto By nature, Sibelius was not the sort one would expect to compose a concerto. The conception of a concerto as a ‘showoff’ work for the soloist was anathema to Sibelius, who increasingly sought to employ the purest, most unselfconscious forms of musical expression, eventually resulting in the astonishing economy of utterance and organic structure of the last two symphonies (Nos 6 and 7).

Instead, Sibelius had to content himself with improvisation sessions as he sat on a rock overlooking a lake, and occasional appearances as a second violinist in a string quartet at the Helsinki Conservatory. But his frustrated ambitions must have been compensated at least in part by the composition of his only concerto of any kind, the Violin Concerto, which is now acknowledged alongside the Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky concertos as indisputably one of the greatest works ever written in the form. Written between the second and third symphonies, the Violin Concerto demonstrates just how successfully Sibelius managed to adapt the virtuoso vehicle to his own expressive needs. For the listener, the concerto is not so much the demonstration of the fiendish virtuosity which it is for the performer, but rather an organic musical whole in which every note contributes to the overall expressive intent. In other words, its technical demands emerge from its artistic purpose. Nevertheless the Violin Concerto endured rather traumatic beginnings. On his return from Berlin in 1902, and after years of travelling, Sibelius began to ‘settle down’ in his personal life. Always given to excess during his youth, Sibelius was cajoled by his brother Christian, a doctor, into giving up alcohol. The composer protested, however: When I am standing in front of an orchestra and have drunk half a bottle of champagne, then I conduct like a young god. Otherwise I am nervous

and tremble, feel unsure of myself, and then everything is lost. The same is true of my visits to the bank manager. His battle with the bottle notwithstanding, Sibelius completed the fiendishly difficult first version of the Violin Concerto in 1903 and in the following year, as he began to revise the work into its present form, he settled into the log cabin in Järvenpää, where he was to remain for the rest of his life. Undoubtedly the concerto was inspired by Willy Burmester, former leader of the Helsinki Orchestra and a long-time admirer of Sibelius’ music. As early as 1902 Burmester had been enquiring by letter as to the concerto’s progress, and made various offers of technical assistance and advice. In September 1903 Sibelius sent Burmester a short score, to which Burmester replied, ‘I can only say one thing: Wonderful! Masterly! Only once before have I spoken in such terms to a composer, and that was when Tchaikovsky showed me his concerto.’

SIBELIUS’ VIOLIN CONCERTO | 30 August – 2 September

And yet for all that reluctance to indulge in merely ‘gestural’ instrumental effects, Sibelius maintained a love of the violin. As a young man he harboured ambitions of becoming a virtuoso violinist himself, but a late start to his training, together with a slightly dodgy technique, meant this career option was not viable.

But when Sibelius finished the work, his anxiety to arrange a first performance as soon as possible, and Burmester’s unavailability, meant that Sibelius offered the first performance to Viktor Nováček, an unexceptional musician who was so slow to learn it that the concert had to be delayed. When on 8 February 1904 the flushed and perspiring Nováčèk premiered the work with Sibelius conducting, it was not a success, despite some favourable reviews. ‘The public here is shallow and full of bile,’ wrote Sibelius soon afterwards, and he threatened to withdraw the work. With Burmester still offering to perform the concerto, Sibelius set about revising it, completely rewriting the first movement and making significant alterations to the slow movement. The new version was completed in June 1905, and again Burmester was passed over as


SIBELIUS’ VIOLIN CONCERTO | 30 August – 2 September 28

soloist, despite his availability and desire to perform it. Instead, the new version was premiered in Berlin by Karel Halíř, with Richard Strauss conducting. Amidst the wrangling and bitterness, Burmester vowed never to perform the concerto, while Joseph Joachim, on hearing the Berlin premiere, damned it. ‘Joachim seems no longer in tune with the spirit of our time,’ wrote Sibelius in response. Fortunately the Berlin press was more enthusiastic than Joachim, but even so, the work didn’t establish itself in the repertoire until the 1930s, when Jascha Heifetz began to perform it. Since then it has been regarded as a yardstick by which violinists are measured. The opening is one of the most unmistakable in all music. Over the murmur of muted violins, the soloist enters immediately with an unforgettable, intense and brooding first subject, soon echoed and developed in the woodwind. This theme is set against a series of fragmentary figures which form a kind of second subject emerging out of the depths of the cellos and bassoons. The movement itself doesn’t sit well with standard sonata principles, however. The development and recapitulation are actually combined, and the cadenza precedes them both. Yet there is a clear organic structure within the movement, with the soloist dominating and the rhythm driving on through a series of orchestral climaxes. The mood of the Adagio is more restrained, but the characteristic intensity remains, as does the poignancy and sense of regret. The soloist’s entry is prefaced by the woodwinds weaving a series of instrumental lines in thirds, and the strongly accented second subject also derives from this opening idea. After an agitated middle section, the movement ends with a return of the main thematic material, intensified now and with an apparent reluctance to conclude the proceedings.

The finale is a bravura showpiece for the soloist. Sibelius noted, ‘It must be played with absolute mastery. Fast, of course, but no faster than it can be played perfectly.’ It begins with a stamping figure low down in the timpani and strings and the solo part then shoots up heavenwards, with amazingly difficult passages of thirds, harmonics, arpeggios, double-stops – indeed all the pyrotechnics available to the soloist, but without any sense of self-indulgence. The wild dance gathers momentum until a series of majestic flourishes from the violin leads to the final decisive chords from the orchestra. Martin Buzacott © Symphony Australia The MSO first performed this concerto on 11 September 1948 with conductor Eugene Goossens and soloist Ginette Neveu, and most recently in November 2014 with Osmo Vänskä and Frank Peter Zimmermann.



Symphony No.8 in G major, Op.88 B.163 Allegro con brio Adagio Allegretto grazioso Allegro ma non troppo The success that Dvořák enjoyed, thanks to Brahms’ advocacy in the late 1870s, made his name beyond Vienna and Prague, and in 1884 he made the first of nine visits to England where his music became extremely popular. In 1890, Dvořák arrived with the score of his Eighth Symphony (published originally as No.4), which had recently premiered in Prague but which was colloquially known as the ‘English Symphony’. In fact, the piece has an especially Bohemian accent; its popularity with the British perhaps has more to do with its relaxed attitude to the formal rigours of Germanic symphonism, and

too much that’s fragmentary, incidental, loiters about in the piece. Everything fine, musically captivating and beautiful – but no main points! When one says of Dvořák that he fails to achieve anything great and comprehensive with his pure, individual ideas, this is correct. Not so with Bruckner, all the same he offers so little. In fact, the formal freedom and melodic richness are precisely what makes this work special. According his biographer Otakar Šourek, Dvořák aimed ‘to write something different from his other symphonies and shape the musical content of his ideas in a new manner’. He did so not by piling up beautiful incidents, though; as he told his student, Josef Michl: ‘To have a beautiful idea is nothing special. The idea comes from itself and if it is beautiful and great, man can take no credit for that. But to develop the idea well and make something great from it, that is the most difficult, that is – art!’ While the Symphony is a work of absolute music, it was composed in close proximity to a series of concert overtures originally known as Nature, Life and Love – the more customary titles In Nature’s Realm, Carnival and Othello came later. This triptych shows Dvořák’s Romanticism in his adherence to the cult of Nature and his delight in celebrating his ethnic musical roots, and in similar musical language to that of the Eighth Symphony. The first movement is in G major and marked Allegro con brio, but Dvořák disguises both speed and tonality by beginning with a slow-moving minormode melody in the cellos, richly

doubled by horn, clarinet and bassoon. When the music makes it to the home key of G major it is with a chirping melody for the flute. In a breathtaking display of orchestration that ranges from translucent shimmering to the richness of divided violas and cellos, Dvořák elaborates his themes through a series of key changes; the conventional recapitulation is here a shining G major chord with the flute melody given to a more introspective cor anglais. The Adagio, in C minor, is brightened with falling major scales like pealing bells, and has an impassioned central section. The scherzo begins with a lyrical dance contrasting with a more buoyant trio and fast coda. The finale is a set of variations on the bright fanfare announced by the trumpet.

SIBELIUS’ VIOLIN CONCERTO | 30 August – 2 September

an abundance of memorable, folkinflected melody. For Brahms, normally a great supporter, this was a major flaw. He argued (offering a backhanded compliment to his rival Bruckner) that

What Brahms failed to hear in this music is how the varying episodes, across the movements, are unified by pervasive rhythmic cells. The long-short-short figure with which the work opens also dominates the slow movement’s main theme. Groups of four repeated even notes appear at structural points; groups of triplets can appear as distant drum taps, or the opening gesture of an important melody (like that of the Adagio), and be transformed into the up-beat of the third movement; the dotted rhythm of the third movement’s trio is transmuted in the rhythm of the fourth movement’s fanfare, and when stated by the orchestra is revealed to be related to the flute’s theme from the first movement. This almost subliminal motivic manipulation gives coherence to some of Dvořák’s most expansive and poetic music. Gordon Kerry © 2013 The MSO first performed this symphony on 4 August 1938 under the direction of Sir Malcolm Sargent, and most recently in February 2015 with Gergely Madaras.


Mozart 40 13 September 2019 | 7.30pm Melbourne Town Hall

An Evening with the MSO 14 September 2019 | 7pm

West Gippsland Performing Arts Centre Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Benjamin Northey conductor Thomas Hutchinson oboe PROKOFIEV Symphony No.1 Classical [15'] R. STRAUSS Oboe Concerto

[26'] — INTERVAL —

MOZART Symphony No.40


Running time: approximately two hours including a 20-minute interval. Timings listed are approximate. Organ Recital: 13 September at 6.30pm, Melbourne Town Hall Calvin Bowman presents a free 30-minute recital on the mighty Grand Organ. Pre-concert conversation: 14 September at 6pm, West Gippsland Arts Centre Learn more about the performance at a pre-concert talk with MSO Second Violin Andrew Hall.

Thomas Hutchinson

Benjamin Northey is Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

New Zealand-born oboist Thomas Hutchinson studied in Auckland with Martin Lee and Alison Jepson before moving to Melbourne to study at the Australian National Academy of Music with Jeffrey Crellin, during which time he won the concerto competition and the most outstanding recital prize.


Winner of the 2019 Limelight Magazine Australian Artist of the Year award, Northey appears regularly as guest conductor with all major Australian and New Zealand symphony orchestras, Opera Australia, New Zealand Opera and State Opera South Australia. His international appearances include concerts with London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hong Kong, Tokyo and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestras, the National Orchestra of Colombia and the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg. A strong advocate for music by Australian composers, his progressive approach to repertoire includes collaborations with a broad range of artists including Pinchas Zukerman, Maxim Vengerov and Anne-Sofie von Otter, as well as KD Lang, Tim Minchin and James Morrison. His awards include the 2001 Symphony Australia Young Conductor of the Year, the prestigious 2010 Melbourne Prize Outstanding Musician’s Award and multiple awards for his many recordings with ABC Music.


MOZART 40 / AN EVENING WITH THE MSO | 13–14 September

Benjamin Northey

Following the advice of his teachers, he then moved to Paris to study at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Jacques Tys, David Walter and Frédéric Tardy, where he graduated with mention très bien à l’unanimité, avec les felicitations du jury. As soloist he has made numerous appearances including concerti with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Youth Orchestra, Bach Musica NZ, Orchestra Victoria, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra. In 2015 he successfully auditioned as associate principal oboe of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.


MOZART 40 / AN EVENING WITH THE MSO | 13–14 September



Symphony No.1 in D, Op.25, Classical Allegro Larghetto Gavotte (Non troppo allegro) Finale (Molto vivace) In its early days the symphony was basically a collection of reasonably short contrasting movements; sometimes three, sometimes four. Musicologist Richard Taruskin has described the 18th century symphony as ‘aristocratic party music’; in other words, diversionary music that wasn’t designed to place huge demands upon the listener. In Haydn’s and Mozart’s hands the symphony became longer and weightier but it remained essentially music for entertainment. But in the hands of Beethoven, beginning with his Eroica Symphony, in 1805, the symphony became much longer and much more intense. It became not so much a piece of music that was listened to as a piece of music that was experienced. That is to say, the symphony became invested with ideas (‘universal brotherhood’ in the case of Beethoven’s Ninth), stories (‘an episode in the life of an artist’ in Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique), places (Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony), and highly charged emotions (Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony). Mahler famously commented to fellow composer Sibelius that ‘a symphony must be like the world; it must embrace everything.’ But in his Symphony No.1, Classical, Prokofiev deliberately shuns the deep and meaningful baggage that the symphony accumulated in the 19th century and reverts to the simpler world of the 18th century symphony – specifically, the


symphony of the ‘Classical period’. The Classical Symphony largely replicates the dimensions of the 18th century orchestra and the general shape and durations of the 18th century symphony (the entire work lasts for approximately 15 minutes, which is less than the opening movement alone of Beethoven’s four-movement Eroica). But this is not to suggest that Prokofiev’s Symphony No.1 is an exercise in stylistic fakery. Prokofiev’s aim was not so much to write faux Haydn as to write the kind of symphony that Haydn might have composed had he lived in the first quarter of the 20th century. The opening movement, Allegro, for example, adheres to the conventions of Classical sonata form but it is spiced up with sudden shifts in tonality and metre. This is unquestionably 20th century music. The slow movement, Larghetto, is gently understated, and with its delicate violins and graceful lilt evokes the Russian ballet-music tradition (Prokofiev would go on to compose some of the most significant ballets of the 20th century, notably Romeo and Juliet). The brief third movement, Gavotte, offers dance music of a different kind while the spirited Finale brings a return to the breathlessness of the first movement and recalls the rollicking good humour of Haydn’s finales. Prokofiev was in his mid-20s when he composed the Symphony No.1. It was premiered in Petrograd (i.e. St. Petersburg) in April 1918 under the baton of the composer. Prokofiev left Russia for the United States some months later (travelling via Tokyo, where he gave some concerts) and introduced the work to American audiences in December that year when he conducted it at Carnegie Hall. Astonishingly, respected critic Henry Krehbiel dismissed it as ‘puerile’. Presumably, for him, the symphony as a genre ought to plumb

© Robert Gibson 2014 The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra first performed this symphony on 4 May 1940 under conductor Antal Doráti, and most recently in February 2017 with Nicholas Carter.



Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra Allegro moderato – Andante – Vivace As the Allied forces gained control of Germany in 1945, a group of American GIs entered the Bavarian town of Garmisch and began requisitioning villas to accommodate the troops. A US officer, Milton Weiss, knocked on one door and was greeted with the famous line, ‘I am the composer of Der Rosenkavalier and Salome. Leave me alone.’ Weiss responded by placing Strauss’ house off-limits to the troops, and even went so far as to provide the household with a number of staples that had been in short supply. Other visitors at this time were less respectful. A German-speaking journalist, Mr Brown (who turned out to be Klaus Mann, son of the novelist Thomas Mann), wrote an article for the American press which accused Strauss of ongoing complicity with the Nazis. In fact, Strauss had fallen from favour years before, when his covert attempts to work with the exiled Jewish playwright Stefan Zweig were discovered; it has been suggested that only Strauss’ international eminence saved him and his family (which included his Jewish daughter-in-law) from a fate worse than disgrace. Among Milton Weiss’ GIs, however, there was one man with whom Strauss became

friendly. In peacetime John de Lancie was solo oboist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and later became Principal Oboe with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Director of the Curtis Institute. De Lancie asked whether Strauss might compose a concerto for him, to be met with a curt refusal. But, as Strauss’ biographer Michael Kennedy puts it, ‘a seed had been sown.’ Strauss began sketching his oboe concerto not long after. He completed the first draft shortly before he left Garmisch to spend the winter in the relative comfort of Switzerland, and in February 1946 the piece was premiered in Zurich with Marcel Saillet as soloist. John de Lancie, as Norman Del Mar reports, ‘had to be content with a nice letter giving him permission to perform the work in America whenever he liked…before it was published’. The concerto was written in the same period as Strauss’ Metamorphosen, in which a fragment from Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony becomes the protagonist in a heart-rending drama of dissolution. The concerto, by contrast, in some respects revisits a mythical Mozartean world (and it was the works of Classical masters which had the first profound influence on the young Strauss). The work is worlds away from the real or imagined bombast of Strauss’ tone-poems. Laid out in the three conventional movements, it has a Classical poise and economically uses the resources of the small orchestra. But it’s not easy: the oboe is required to play for 56 bars straight in the first movement, and is often included in the tutti passages. The slow movement reminds us of Strauss the song writer – though, interestingly, a supremely lyrical passage then becomes the basis for the first cadenza, which in turn takes the music immediately into the rondo-style finale, dominated by a terse two-note figure and running semiquavers.

MOZART 40 / AN EVENING WITH THE MSO | 13–14 September

the depths and scale the heights. In the Classical Symphony Prokofiev simply wished to entertain.


MOZART 40 / AN EVENING WITH THE MSO | 13–14 September

Behind the apparent serenity of this work its composer was old, ill and depressed. Kennedy quotes from a letter Strauss wrote to his grandsons a few months after the premiere of the Oboe Concerto. ‘Art,’ he says, ‘is the finest gift of God that exalts over all earthly suffering and our beloved music is the most delightful.’ Gordon Kerry © 2004 The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra first performed this concerto in May 1949 with conductor Sir Bernard Heinze and soloist Tamara Coates, and most recently in October 2013 with Nicholas Carter and Diana Doherty.



Symphony No.40 in G minor, K550 Molto allegro Andante Menuetto (Allegretto) – Trio – Menuetto Allegro assai


Producing over 50 symphonies (the official number 41 notwithstanding) in the space of 23 years, Mozart can truly be said to have enjoyed a ‘symphonic career’, much as did his older friend Joseph Haydn (100 symphonies in 38 years). And as symphonic careers go, it was, like Haydn’s, successful from first to last. Mozart composed his Symphony No.1 – perhaps with a little help from his sister and father – in the London suburb of Chelsea in summer 1764. Generically and stylistically, it dots all the ‘i’s and crosses the ‘t’s, almost as convincingly as do the symphonies of one of his London mentors, Johann Christian Bach, works indeed said to have ‘influenced’ the eight-year-old’s first attempt. Between 15 and 18, he produced all of what now count as his ‘middle period’ symphonies (Nos 14-30, and at least 5 unnumbered). These works soak up influences almost promiscuously; No.25 (the other G minor) seems to

ventriloquise the ‘storm and stress’ of Gluck and mid-period Haydn, whilst No.29 (A major) displays a blend of the elegant and eloquent and skittishly agitated (a Mozart personality trait) that would soon morph into a distinctive trademark. After relocating from Salzburg to Vienna in 1781, however, piano concertos took over as Mozart’s preferred orchestral vehicle, better for charming fickle metropolitan audiences than the more esoteric symphony. As he wrote to his father of his first Viennese offerings, they struck ‘a happy medium between the too easy and the too difficult; brilliant, pleasing, natural without being vapid; appealing to connoisseurs and the uninitiated alike’, a formula that still served, a dozen concertos later, when he presented the last of his regular subscription concerts in the preChristmas season of 1786. New symphonies were not entirely absent from his Vienna concerts, but all of them from these years were, in the first instance, out-of-town commissions: No.35 for the Haffner family in Salzburg in 1782; No.36 and the so-called No.37 (most of it actually by Michael Haydn) for a concert in Linz in 1783; and No.38 for Prague in 1787, during the season there of his opera The Marriage of Figaro. On 24 February 1788, only months before starting on the next three symphonies, he finished his Piano Concerto No.26 (‘Coronation’). Then in May, the imperial theatre in Vienna unveiled for hometown audiences his latest Italian opera, Don Giovanni (or the Libertine Punished), premiered in Prague the previous October. The tepid reception it received perhaps explains why Mozart devoted much of the sultry Viennese summer that year to composing three new symphonies, Nos 39-41, works that, like their immediate predecessors, were unlikely to appeal greatly to the Viennese. By then, Austria was at war

Here again, Mozart was probably emulating Joseph Haydn. In December 1787, the Vienna firm Artaria published Haydn’s new set of six ‘Paris’ Symphonies, issued in two sets of three. The first set contained symphonies in C major (No.82), G minor (No.83) and E flat (No.84). Given the rarity of G minor symphonies, it can hardly be mere coincidence that Mozart chose exactly the same three keys for his new trilogy. Clearly, if Haydn could publish symphonies, presumably with hope of financial return, Mozart too, then saddled with debts, might as well try. He had, after all, successfully undertaken a similar copycat project a few years earlier when, following on from Artaria’s 1782 first edition of Haydn’s Op.33 string quartets, he composed a set of his own (since referred to, fittingly, as Mozart’s ‘Haydn’ quartets). Minor keys are natural phenomena in the music of Beethoven. In Mozart’s overwhelmingly sunny output, however, they seem like unseasonal intrusions, requiring some explanation from outside of the composer’s usual circumstances. Yet if minor keys signify depression or fatalism, causes are easy enough to find leading up to the Fortieth’s completion on 25 July. Not only did Don Giovanni flop, but tragically, at the end of June, Mozart’s six-month-old daughter, Theresia, died. Perhaps this explains why the G minor symphony’s first movement is saturated with Mozart’s most unusual and haunting theme.

The other three movements are far less familiar to most people, and so can still surprise. After Mozart’s death, Haydn quoted a phrase from the luminous second movement in his oratorio The Seasons, memorialising his young friend. Since the Andante is also the symphony’s only major-key movement, the Viennese had by then come to prefer it too. What the Romantics thought of as the high-minded angst of minor keys was all too often anathema to Viennese audiences, as Beethoven later discovered. But at least they had more staying power than the average audience today. When played with all its repeats, as Mozart intended (but which most conductors do not bother with today), it is almost twice as long as the opening movement. The third movement, a minuet in G minor again, is not a well-balanced, copybook example of the dance. This one is energetic and eventful, with dissonant notes and syncopated rhythms – as unusual, in its small way, as the opening movement. The fourth movement is an orchestral tour de force, designed by Mozart to sweep his audience along in a state of increasing nervous excitement. Its inexorable forward motion is interrupted only by the weirdness of a couple of audibly disconcerting moments, when Mozart perversely avoids any clear sense of key for rather longer than is comfortable.

MOZART 40 / AN EVENING WITH THE MSO | 13–14 September

with Ottoman Turkey. Accordingly, most of his patrons were also feeling the economic pinch, and Mozart’s plans to give another concert series, at which the new symphonies might have been performed, came to nothing. However, it may well have been with one eye to possible publication and performances in England, France and Germany that he completed the trilogy in quick succession between June and August.

Abridged from a note by Graeme Skinner © 2013 The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra first performed this symphony on 6 July 1940 under conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, and most recently in July 2017 with Richard Egarr.



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ASSOCIATE PATRONS $2,500+ Marlyn and Peter Bancroft OAM Dandolo Partners Will and Dorothy Bailey Bequest Anne Bowden Bill Bowness Julia and Jim Breen Patricia Brockman Roger and Coll Buckle Jill and Christopher Buckley Lynne Burgess Oliver Carton Richard and Janet Chauvel Ann Darby, in memory of Leslie J. Darby Natasha Davies, for the Trikojus Education Fund Merrowyn Deacon Sandra Dent Peter and Leila Doyle Duxton Vineyards Lisa Dwyer and Dr Ian Dickson AM Dr Helen M Ferguson


Supporters 38

Elizabeth Foster Barry Fradkin OAM and Dr Pam Fradkin Alex and Liz Furman Dina and Ron Goldschlager Louise Gourlay OAM Susan and Gary Hearst Jenkins Family Foundation John Jones Andrew Johnston George and Grace Kass Dr Rosemary Ayton and Dr Sam Ricketson Irene Kearsey and Michael Ridley Merv Keehn and Sue Harlow The Ilma Kelson Music Foundation Bryan Lawrence John and Margaret Mason H E McKenzie Allan and Evelyn McLaren Wayne and Penny Morgan Bruce Parncutt AO Alan and Dorothy Pattison Sue and Barry Peake Mrs W Peart Christine Peirson and the late Graham Peirson Julie and Ian Reid Ralph and Ruth Renard Peter and Carolyn Rendit S M Richards AM and M R Richards Joan P Robinson and Christopher Robinson Tom and Elizabeth Romanowski Mark and Jan Schapper Dr Michael Soon Jennifer Steinicke Peter J Stirling Jenny Tatchell Frank Tisher OAM and Dr Miriam Tisher Richard Ye Anonymous (5)

PLAYER PATRONS $1,000+ David and Cindy Abbey Dr Sally Adams Mary Armour Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society Robbie Barker Adrienne Basser Janice Bate and the late Prof Weston Bate Janet H Bell David Blackwell OAM John and Sally Bourne Michael F Boyt Dr John Brookes Stuart Brown Suzie Brown OAM and Harvey Brown Shane Buggle Dr Lynda Campbell John Carroll Andrew Crockett AM and Pamela Crockett Panch Das and Laurel Young-Das Mary and Frederick Davidson AM Caroline Davies W and A Deane Rick and Sue Deering John and Anne Duncan Andrew and Theresa Dyer Jane Edmanson OAM Doug Evans Grant Fisher and Helen Bird Applebay Pty Ltd David Frenkiel and Esther Frenkiel OAM David Gibbs and Susie O’Neill Janette Gill Mary and Don Glue Greta Goldblatt and the late Merwyn Goldblatt George Golvan QC and Naomi Golvan Dr Marged Goode Prof Denise Grocke AO Jennifer Gross Max Gulbin Dr Sandra Hacker AO and Mr Ian Kennedy AM Jean Hadges Paula Hansky OAM Tilda and Brian Haughney

Lady Southey AC Geoff and Judy Steinicke Dr Peter Strickland Pamela Swansson Stephanie Tanuwidjaja Tara, Tessa, Melinda and Terence Ann and Larry Turner David Valentine Mary Valentine AO The Hon. Rosemary Varty Leon and Sandra Velik Sue Walker AM Elaine Walters OAM and Gregory Walters Edward and Paddy White Nic and Ann Willcock Marian and Terry Wills Cooke OAM Richard Withers Lorraine Woolley Jeffrey and Shirley Zajac Anonymous (19)


Anna and John Holdsworth Penelope Hughes Basil and Rita Jenkins Christian and Jinah Johnston Dorothy Karpin Dr Anne Kennedy Julie and Simon Kessel KCL Law Kerry Landman Diedrie Lazarus Dr Anne Lierse Gaelle Lindrea Dr Susan Linton Andrew Lockwood Elizabeth H Loftus Chris and Anna Long The Hon Ian Macphee AO and Mrs Julie Macphee Eleanor & Phillip Mancini Annette Maluish In memory of Leigh Masel Wayne McDonald Ruth Maxwell Don and Anne Meadows new U Mildura Anne Neil Patricia Nilsson Sir Gustav Nossal AC CBE and Lady Nossal Laurence O’Keefe and Christopher James Kerryn Pratchett Peter Priest Treena Quarin Eli Raskin Raspin Family Trust Tony and Elizabeth Rayward Cathy and Peter Rogers Andrew and Judy Rogers Peter Rose and Christopher Menz Liliane Rusek Elisabeth and Doug Scott Martin and Susan Shirley Penny Shore John E Smith Dr Sam Smorgon AO and Mrs Minnie Smorgon Dr Norman and Dr Sue Sonenberg

MSO PATRON COMMISSIONS Snare Drum Award test piece 2019 Commissioned by Tim and Lyn Edward

CONDUCTOR’S CIRCLE Current Conductor’s Circle Members Jenny Anderson David Angelovich G C Bawden and L de Kievit Lesley Bawden Joyce Bown Mrs Jenny Brukner and the late Mr John Brukner Ken Bullen Peter A Caldwell Luci and Ron Chambers Beryl Dean Sandra Dent Lyn Edward Alan Egan JP Gunta Eglite Mr Derek Grantham Marguerite Garnon-Williams Drs Clem Gruen and Rhyl Wade 39


Louis Hamon OAM Carol Hay Rod Home Tony Howe Laurence O’Keefe and Christopher James Audrey M Jenkins John Jones George and Grace Kass Mrs Sylvia Lavelle Pauline and David Lawton Cameron Mowat David Orr Matthew O’Sullivan Rosia Pasteur Elizabeth Proust AO Penny Rawlins Joan P Robinson Neil Roussac Anne Roussac-Hoyne Suzette Sherazee Michael Ryan and Wendy Mead Anne Kieni-Serpell and Andrew Serpell Jennifer Shepherd Profs. Gabriela and George Stephenson Pamela Swansson Lillian Tarry Dr Cherilyn Tillman Mr and Mrs R P Trebilcock

Michael Ullmer AO The Hon. Rosemary Varty Mr Tam Vu Marian and Terry Wills Cooke OAM Mark Young Anonymous (27) The MSO gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Estates: Angela Beagley Neilma Gantner The Hon Dr Alan Goldberg AO QC Gwen Hunt Audrey Jenkins Joan Jones Pauline Marie Johnston C P Kemp Peter Forbes MacLaren Joan Winsome Maslen Lorraine Maxine Meldrum Prof Andrew McCredie Miss Sheila Scotter AM MBE Marion A I H M Spence Molly Stephens Jennifer May Teague Albert Henry Ullin Jean Tweedie Herta and Fred B Vogel Dorothy Wood


Gall Family Foundation, The Archie & Hilda Graham Foundation, The Gross Foundation, Ern Hartley Foundation, The A.L. Lane Foundation, Gwen & Edna Jones Foundation, Sidney Myer MSO Trust Fund, MS Newman Family Foundation, The Thomas O’Toole Foundation, The Ray & Joyce Uebergang Foundation, The Ullmer Family Foundation



Life Members Marc Besen AC and Eva Besen AO John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel AC Sir Elton John CBE Harold Mitchell AC Lady Potter AC CMRI Mrs Jeanne Pratt AC

Chairman Michael Ullmer AO

Artistic Ambassador Tan Dun Artistic Ambassador Geoffrey Rush AC The MSO honours the memory of John Brockman OAM Life Member The Honourable Alan Goldberg AO QC Life Member Roger Riordan AM Life Member Ila Vanrenen Life Member



Deputy Chairman David Li AM Managing Director Sophie Galaise Board Directors Andrew Dudgeon AM Danny Gorog Lorraine Hook Margaret Jackson AC Di Jameson David Krasnostein AM Hyon-Ju Newman Glenn Sedgwick Helen Silver AO Company Secretary Oliver Carton

The MSO relies on your ongoing philanthropic support to sustain our artists, and support access, education, community engagement and more. We invite our suporters to get close to the MSO through a range of special events. The MSO welcomes your support at any level. Donations of $2 and over are tax deductible, and supporters are recognised as follows: $1,000+ (Player) $2,500+ (Associate) $5,000+ (Principal) $10,000+ (Maestro)

$20,000+ (Impresario) $50,000+ (Virtuoso) $100,000+ (Platinum)

The MSO Conductor’s Circle is our bequest program for members who have notified of a planned gift in their Will. Enquiries P (03) 8646 1551 | E 41



15 September

19 & 20 September 25 September

Pianos and Percussion

Mozart and Elgar

Iwaki Auditorium, ABC Southbank Centre

Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall and Costa Hall, Geelong

Jams for Fams: Meeting Mendelssohn Melbourne Recital Centre

26 & 27 September 26 October

26 October

Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto

MSO Chorus: Brahms’ Requiem

Melbourne Recital Centre and Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University

Fairytale Ball Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall

Melbourne Recital Centre

Tickets at

Thank you to our Partners Principal Partner

Government Partners

Premier Partners

Premier Education and Research Partner

Major Partners

Venue Partner

Program Development Partner

Education Partners

Supporting Partners

Quest Southbank

The CEO Institute

Ernst & Young

Bows for Strings

The Observership Program

Easts meets West Program Partners Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Melbourne

LRR Family Trust

Media and Broadcast Partners

Mr Chu Wanghua and Dr Shirley Chu

Associate Professor Douglas Gin and Susan Gin

BEST SEAT in the house

As Principal Partner of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, we know the importance of delighting an audience. That’s why when you’re in Emirates First, you’ll enjoy the ultimate flying experience with fine dining at any time in your own private suite.

*Emirates First Class Private Suite pictured. For more information visit, call 1300 303 777, or contact your local travel agent.

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