March 2022 | Concert Program

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M A R C H /A P R I L 2 0 2 2 BA R TÓ K A N D B E E T H OV E N BAC H A N D B E A M I S H


C O N V I C T S, C O N T R A S T S A N D K L E Z M E R


B R A H M S ’ S E C O N D P I A N O C O N C E R TO

. For the Future

At the MSO, we believe in building the future of our artform. As Australia’s oldest professional orchestra, we have done this for more than 100 years by supporting the next generation of musicians, artists, composers, and conductors, contributing to a culture of artistic excellence within the MSO and broader arts ecology. From mentorships and residencies, to structured learning and training organisations, our programs create a multi-disciplinary talent pipeline for the advancement of Australian orchestral music. But we can’t do this alone. Please help us continue to build the future of our artform by donating today.




THE MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Acknowledging Country Your MSO Guest Musicians

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These concerts may be recorded for future broadcast on MSO.LIVE. Please note audience members are strongly recommended to wear face masks where 1.5m distancing is not possible, however wearing a mask is no longer a requirement for entry. In consideration of your fellow patrons, the MSO thanks you for silencing and dimming the light on your phone.

(03) 9929 9600

Acknowledging Country In the first project of its kind in Australia, the MSO has developed a musical Acknowledgment of Country with music composed by Yorta Yorta composer Deborah Cheetham AO, featuring Indigenous languages from across Victoria. Generously supported by Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and the Commonwealth Government through the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, the MSO is working in partnership with Short Black Opera and Indigenous language custodians who are generously sharing their cultural knowledge. The Acknowledgement of Country allows us to pay our respects to the traditional owners of the land on which we perform in the language of that country and in the orchestral language of music. Australian National Commission for UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

About Long Time Living Here In all the world, only Australia can lay claim to the longest continuing cultures and we celebrate this more today than in any other time since our shared history began. We live each day drawing energy from a land which has been nurtured by the traditional owners for more than 2000 generations. When we acknowledge country we pay respect to the land and to the people in equal measure. As a composer I have specialised in coupling the beauty and diversity of our Indigenous languages with the power and intensity of classical music. In order to compose the music for this Acknowledgement of Country Project I have had the great privilege of working with no fewer than eleven ancient languages from the state of Victoria, including the language of my late Grandmother, Yorta Yorta woman Frances McGee. I pay my deepest respects to the elders and ancestors who are represented in these songs of acknowledgement and to the language custodians who have shared their knowledge and expertise in providing each text. I am so proud of the MSO for initiating this landmark project and grateful that they afforded me the opportunity to make this contribution to the ongoing quest of understanding our belonging in this land.


— Deborah Cheetham AO

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. 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 MSO has been the sound of the city of Melbourne since 1906. The MSO regularly attracts great artists from around the globe including AnneSophie Mutter, Lang Lang, Renée 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 respectfully acknowledges the people of the Eastern Kulin Nations, on whose un‑ceded lands we honour the continuation of the oldest music practice in the world.


Your MSO Jaime Martín

Chief Conductor Dr Marc Besen AC and the late Dr Eva Besen AO#

Xian Zhang

Principal Guest Conductor

Benjamin Northey Principal Conductor in Residence

Carlo Antonioli Cybec Assistant Conductor Fellow

Sir Andrew Davis Conductor Laureate

Hiroyuki Iwaki †

Conductor Laureate (1974–2006)


Concertmaster David Li AM and Angela Li#

Sophie Rowell

Concertmaster The Ullmer Family Foundation#


Matthew Tomkins

David Berlin

Robert Macindoe

Rachael Tobin

Monica Curro

Nicholas Bochner

Principal The Gross Foundation#

Principal Hyon Ju Newman#

Associate Principal

Associate Principal

Assistant Principal Danny Gorog and Lindy Susskind#

Assistant Principal

Miranda Brockman

Geelong Friends of the MSO#

Mary Allison Isin Cakmakcioglu Tiffany Cheng Freya Franzen Cong Gu Andrew Hall Isy Wasserman Philippa West Patrick Wong Roger Young

Rohan de Korte

Andrew Dudgeon AM#

Sarah Morse Angela Sargeant Michelle Wood

Andrew and Judy Rogers#

DOUBLE BASSES Benjamin Hanlon

Frank Mercurio and Di Jameson#

Suzanne Lee Stephen Newton


Sophie Galaise and Clarence Fraser#

Tair Khisambeev

Christopher Moore

Peter Edwards

Christopher Cartlidge

Kirsty Bremner Sarah Curro Peter Fellin Deborah Goodall Lorraine Hook Anne-Marie Johnson Kirstin Kenny Eleanor Mancini Mark Mogilevski Michelle Ruffolo Kathryn Taylor

Lauren Brigden Katharine Brockman Anthony Chataway

Assistant Concertmaster Di Jameson# Assistant Principal



Principal Di Jameson#

Associate Principal

FLUTES Prudence Davis Principal Anonymous#

Wendy Clarke

Dr Elizabeth E Lewis AM


Gabrielle Halloran Trevor Jones Anne Neil#

Fiona Sargeant Cindy Watkin

Learn more about our musicians on the MSO website.

Associate Principal

Sarah Beggs PICCOLO Andrew Macleod Principal

OBOES Thomas Hutchinson

Associate Principal

Ann Blackburn

The Rosemary Norman Foundation#

HORNS Nicolas Fleury

Principal Margaret Jackson AC#

Saul Lewis


Principal Third The Hon Michael Watt QC and Cecilie Hall#

Michael Pisani

Abbey Edlin


Trinette McClimont Rachel Shaw


David Thomas


Nereda Hanlon and Michael Hanlon AM#


Craig Hill

Owen Morris

BASS CLARINET Jon Craven Principal

BASSOONS Jack Schiller


Elise Millman

Associate Principal

Natasha Thomas

Dr Martin Tymms and Patricia Nilsson#


PERCUSSION John Arcaro Anonymous#

Robert Cossom

Drs Rhyl Wade and Clem Gruen#

HARP Yinuo Mu Principal

Gary McPherson#

Philip Arkinstall

Associate Principal



Shane Hooton

Associate Principal

William Evans Rosie Turner

John and Diana Frew#

TROMBONES Richard Shirley Mike Szabo

Principal Bass Trombone

TUBA Timothy Buzbee



# Position supported by


Guest musicians

Guest Musicians BARTÓK AND BEETHOVEN FIRST VIOLIN Karla Hanna SECOND VIOLIN Jenny Khafagi VIOLA Molly Collier-O’Boyle

Guest Associate Principal Viola

William Clark Isabel Morse CELLO Anna Pokorny Eliza Sdraulig Alexandra Partridge

DOUBLE BASS Caitlin Bass Rohan Dasika Hamilsh Gullick Nemanja Petkovic

FRENCH HORN Tim Allen-Ankins

OBOE Rachel Curkpatrick

TIMPANI Brent Miller

Guest Principal Cor Anglais

Shefali Pryor*

Guest Principal Oboe

CLARINET Thomas D’Arth


Guest Principal Trombone

Guest Principal Timpani

HARP Melina van Leeuwen


CELLO Svetlana Bogosavljevic Zoe Wallace


DOUBLE BASS Emma Sulivan Nemanja Petkovic

VIOLA Molly Collier-O’Boyle

Guest Associate Principal Viola

William Clark Isabel Morse Merewyn Bramble


OBOE Rachel Curkpatrick

Guest Principal Cor Anglais

Information correct as of 28 February 2022

FRENCH HORN Tim Allen-Ankins TRUMPET Joel Walmsley PERCUSSION Robert Allan Greg Sully Lara Wilson HARP Megan Reeve

Guest musicians


CELLO Eliza Sdraulig


Guest Associate Principal Viola

William Clark Ceridwen Davies Paul McMillan^ Isabel Morse Heidi von Bernewitz

CELLO Svetlana Bogosavljevic Elina Faskhitdinova Alexandra Partridge

FRENCH HORN Tim Allen-Ankins PIANO/CELESTE Louisa Breen

DOUBLE BASS Emma Sullivan Caitlin Bass OBOE Shefali Pryor*

Guest Principal Oboe

* Appears courtesy of Sydney Symphony Orchestra ^ Appears courtesy of Orchestra Victoria


Bartók and Beethoven Thursday 3 March / 7.30pm Friday 4 March / 7.30pm Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Jaime Martín conductor MARIA GRENFELL Fanfare for a City BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra BEETHOVEN Symphony No.7

A musical Acknowledgement of Country, Long Time Living Here by Deborah Cheetham AO, will be performed before the start of this concert. Running time: Approximately 1 hour 40 mins, inc. 20-min interval.


Jaime Martín conductor The Chief Conductor is supported by Dr Marc Besen AC and the late Dr Eva Besen AO.

Jaime Martín will begin his tenure as MSO Chief Conductor in 2022, investing the Orchestra with prodigious musical creativity and momentum. In September 2019 Jaime Martín became Chief Conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He has been Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Gävle Symphony Orchestra since 2013. He was recently announced as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España (Spanish National Orchestra) for the 22/23 season. Having spent many years as a highly regarded flautist, Jaime turned to conducting fulltime in 2013. In recent years Martín has conducted an impressive list of orchestras and has recorded various discs, both as a conductor and as a flautist. Martín is the Artistic Advisor and previous Artistic Director of the Santander Festival. He was also a founding member of the Orquestra de Cadaqués, where he was Chief Conductor from 2012 to 2019. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music, London, where he was a flute professor.




(born 1969)

Fanfare for a City The opening piece of an orchestral concert has traditionally been the ubiquitous “overture;” whether it be a concert piece of short duration, or a real overture belonging to a stage work. A “fanfare”, however, conjures up visions of red-coated trumpeters standing majestically in a row and playing as loudly as possible. An orchestral fanfare to open a concert is an unusual animal, somewhat akin to the “concerto for orchestra”, and can happily be left open to interpretation by the lucky composer who gets to write one. Fanfare for a City begins with a brief opening brass chorale hinting at things to come, a fanfare with a sense of excitement and jubilation culminating in a return to the opening chorale written in Bach style that would never have been written by Bach. Fanfare for a City was commissioned by the Symphony Australia for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s 2001 fanfare series, celebrating 100 years of Federation in Australia. © Maria Grenfell




Concerto for Orchestra Introduzione (Andante non troppo – Allegro vivace) Giuoco delle coppie (Allegro scherzando) Elegia (Andante non troppo) Intermezzo interrotto (Allegretto) Finale (Pesante – Presto) Bartók’s final years, spent in the US were a time of frustration, illness and poverty. However, while Bartók was in hospital in 1943, Serge Koussevitsky offered him $1,000 to write a work in memory of the conductor’s wife, Natalie. The idea for such a piece was probably already in Bartók’s mind, as his publisher Ralph Hawkes had suggested a series of concertos for various instruments or groups. Bartók began work on the piece in August 1943 in upstate New York, and completed it by 8 October. The first performance took place on 1 December 1944. In the Concerto for Orchestra the results of Bartók’s research into folk-song are combined with traditional Classical forms and synthesised with the most abstract methods of recent music. The Classical influence is identifiable in the casting of the first movement in sonata form. A mysterious slow introduction establishes the interval of a fourth as an important technical feature of the piece. The violins passionately take up a melody ushered in quietly by trumpets. The speed increases and we are in the sonata form proper. There are three main themes – a striving melody with uneven metre (introduced by the violins), an ungainly trombone theme, and a mesmerising melody on the oboe. These are all subjected to ingenious contrapuntal development.

The third movement is one of Bartók’s typical ‘night musics’, inspired by ephemeral nocturnal sounds. The fourth movement, described as an ‘interrupted intermezzo’, has two themes – a Slovak folk melody heard on oboe, and a melody, initiated by violas, based on Zsigmond Vincze’s song Hungary, how beautiful you are. A clarinet then introduces a tune similar to the march from Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony; the Concerto for Orchestra suddenly lurches into parody. Bartók was still smarting over the wartime prominence given to Shostakovich’s piece, which he had heard and found ludicrous. Horns introduce the perpetuum mobile of the last movement, a movement, in which, as the composer remarked, the strings are called upon for virtuosity. In Bartók’s words: ‘[The Concerto’s] general mood represents, apart from the jesting second movement, a gradual transition from the sternness of the first movement and the lugubrious death-song of the third to life assertion in the finale.’ Gordon Kalton Williams Symphony Australia © 1998



Symphony No.7 in A, Op.92 Poco sostenuto – Vivace Allegretto Presto – Assai meno presto Allegro con brio Wagner’s oft-quoted description of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony as the ‘apotheosis of the dance’ hits on one of the work’s vital characteristics – rhythm. Beethoven’s sketches for the symphony show that he was preoccupied from the outset with expression through rhythm. An insistent skipping rhythm almost totally pervades the main body of the first movement (Vivace); and a solemn march tread underpins the second. There are repeated rhythmic patterns also in both Scherzo and Trio, and heavy syncopation in the main theme of the finale.


The second movement showcases the wind and brass instruments in pairs. It is known as ‘Game of the pairs’ and here the ‘concerto for orchestra’ aspect – instruments and sections of the orchestra itself as concerto ‘soloists’ – is possibly most obvious.

Completed in the summer of 1812, the Symphony No. 7 helped to usher in a period in which Beethoven not only enjoyed great artistic success in the concert hall but also commensurate financial rewards. While the earliest sketches for the Seventh date from about 1809, the symphony probably did not begin to take shape till late 1811. Its completion came nearly four years after Nos 5 and 6. Compared to those earlier symphonies, the Seventh appears relatively conventional. Not only are there four normal, closed movements, but Beethoven reverts to an orchestra no larger than that used in his First Symphony more than a dozen years previously. There are no colourful special effects, and no hint of any sort of extramusical program to enthuse the commentators. Beethoven conducted the first performance of the Seventh in an extraordinary charity concert for wounded Austrian and Bavarian soldiers


CONCERT | 22–25 November

in the old University in Vienna, on 8 December 1813. Giving their services in the national cause and playing in the orchestra under Beethoven were numerous eminent musicians, including Salieri, Spohr, Mayseder and Schuppanzigh. The Allegretto of Beethoven’s new symphony was encored both in the first performance and in a repeat which had to be arranged four days later on the following Sunday afternoon. The two concerts netted more than 4000 gulden for the war veterans. The Seventh remains one of Beethoven’s compelling and exhilarating works, a celebration of physical vigour and spiritual delight. We may not attempt any links between the composer’s music and his state of mind, but Beethoven had been on close terms since at least 1810 with the Brentano family, one of whom, Antonie von Brentano, is now identified as the most likely object of his ‘Immortal Beloved’ letter. If this be so, the famous letter and the ecstasy it expresses must be dated within weeks – even days – of the date he signed off the Seventh Symphony. Abridged from Anthony Cane © 1998


M E L B O U R N E S Y M P H O N Y O R C H E S T R A & L I V E N AT I O N P R E S E N T












Song and Dance Thursday 17 March / 7.30pm Melbourne Town Hall

Friday 18 March / 7.30pm Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Peter Luff conductor Rachael Tobin cello BONIS Femmes de légende (legendary women): Three pieces for orchestra KODÁLY Dances of Galánta HAYDN Cello Concerto No.1 in C Major* RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Capriccio Espagnol *This piece has replaced Anna Clyne’s DANCE for Cello and Orchestra

The MSO’s International Women’s Day program is proudly presented by Equity Trustees A musical Acknowledgement of Country, Long Time Living Here by Deborah Cheetham AO, will be performed before the start of this concert. Running time: Approximately 1 hour 40 mins, inc. 20-min interval.

Rachael Tobin

West Australian born Peter Luff has a diverse conducting career encompassing Symphonic repertoire, Opera, Dance and Chamber music. He has directed many ensembles including the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Brass Ensemble, Opera Queensland Chorus, Expressions Dance Company, Australian National Academy of Music Brass Ensemble, Queensland Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Brisbane Philharmonic, Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Conservatorium Symphony and Opera Orchestras. As a professional horn player who has held and guested in principal positions throughout Australia and abroad, Peter has acquired a wealth of orchestral knowledge and experience serving to shape his informed conducting style.

Rachael is the Associate Principal Cellist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and completed a Masters’ degree at Mannes College of Music, New York. She has performed as a soloist at the Park Lane Group’s New Year Series (London) and concertos with The London Soloists’ Chamber Orchestra and the Mannes Symphony Orchestra.


Peter Luff is currently an Associate Professor at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University where he lectures in horn and regularly conducts the Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra. He is in great demand as a Horn teacher and pedagogue, with many of his Horn graduates securing permanent playing positions in national and international professional symphony orchestras.

SONG AND DANCE | 17–18 March

Peter Luff


Rachael has won the Macklin Bursary, the ABRSM international undergraduate scholarship, the Elder Scholarship, a Centenary Medal for service to The Arts, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Cello Fellowship. She was a member of the Estonian National Opera Orchestra and worked with Philharmonia (UK), the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. She is also a member of the Melbourne Ensemble – a group made up of colleagues from the MSO who regularly perform chamber music together.


SONG AND DANCE | 17–18 March



Femmes de légende (legendary women): Three pieces for orchestra

Translation: Xchange Language Services GmbH & Co. KG





Dances of Galánta (Galántai táncok)

Le Songs de Cleopatre Ophelia, the lover of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a loving victim and profoundly melancholy character, falls into madness after Hamlet’s departure and drowns under mysterious circumstances in a river. This impressionistic piece, with shimmering harmonies, with its delicate and icy beauty, with its moments of passion, is a hymn to life, love and death. Bonis’ portrayal of the biblical figure Salomé has a strongly oriental character. The introduction and finale, whose slow-five-beat rhythm is accentuated by the basses, are evocative of a caravan in the distance. The Modéré depicting the famous dance of the seven veils is initially slow and reserved in the oboe and then increasingly lively, with the colours of the flutes and the strings. The entire piece thrives on the alteration of atmosphere: slow syncopations are followed by light-footed glissandi; haunting and mysterious psalmodies accompany sensual passages; surprising changes in tempo make passion and destruction determine the musical form.


to lead the musical discourse several times to the highest heights expected in the greatest emotion.

The cycle Legendary Women, three pieces for orchestra, is completed with the complex and passionate Le Songs de Cleopatre. With the original and elegant harmonies, the longing rhythms, the sensuality and orientally coloured moments, this piece has all the characteristics of the great works of Bonis. She designs the image of a powerful and seductive Cleopatra in her splendid palace, using all the possibilities of a great orchestra. She takes her time

Lento – Andante maestoso Allegretto moderato – Andante maestoso Allegro con moto, grazioso – Andante maestoso Allegro Poco meno mosso Allegro vivace – Andante maestoso – Allegro molto vivace Along with his friend Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály collected over 3,500 folk tunes from throughout Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. These songs influenced both composers’ subsequent works. The Dances of Galánta were written for the 80th anniversary of the Budapest Philharmonic in 1933. Kodály took as his source a compendium of dances from the early 1800s, ‘gypsy dances from Galánta’, where he grew up. Based on the verbunko style (similar to the csárdás or ‘tavern’ tunes of Hungary and its surrounding regions) these dances have two moods: pensively slow and fiercely fast. Throughout the first ‘dance’ (Lento – Andante maestoso), and indeed throughout the suite, the clarinet receives special attention. Kodály maintains tension by clever use of rubato and rhythmic variation. The ‘gypsy scale’, found in so much of the folk music diligently collected by Kodály, is a prominent melodic feature. A solo flute and piccolo in dotted rhythm accompanied by pizzicato strings introduce the second dance (Allegretto moderato). An oboe introduces the third

Abridged from David Vivian Russell Symphony Australia © 2000



Cello Concerto in C, Hob.VIIb:1 Moderato Adagio Allegro molto Rachael Tobin cello Haydn almost certainly wrote his C major Cello Concerto during the first half of the 1760s, in his first few years of service for the Esterhazy princes, probably for cellist Joseph Weigl, for whom he also wrote splendid solos in several early symphonies, including the trilogy Le Matin, Le Midi and Le Soir (Nos 6-8). The young composer knew well that the way to his musicians’ hearts was to give them something to display their skill. There is any amount of florid display writing in the first movement, with horns

injecting a judicious element of pomp. The emphasis here is not on ‘traditional’ first-movement sonata form (a tradition which Haydn was himself to do much to create, but which at this time was still in its formative stages). Rather it is on a sequence of Baroque rondo-style appearances in which the main theme never returns twice in precisely the same guise. Oboes and horns sit silent throughout the slow movement, a rapt soliloquy in three-part ‘aria’ form for soloist against just the strings of the orchestra. The driving, impatient rhythms of the finale sweep up the soloist in a developing drama which appears to take on a life of its own. No longer is the soloist the work’s raison d’être: the music itself takes over.

SONG AND DANCE | 17–18 March

dance (Allegro con moto, grazioso). This melody seems to need reinforcement from the other woodwinds, brass and strings. It is eventually overwhelmed by the return of the melancholic first theme, which in turn is interrupted by a fierce syncopated dance (Allegro) with the whole orchestra in full cry. Two dances quickly follow, with melodies reminiscent of Kodaly’s Háry János. There are grace-noted bassoons, horns swinging across the bar line and a dotted rhythm returning in the clarinet (Poco meno mosso). This mildly comic excursion sets up a frantic finale, beginning with the muted insistence of the timpani (Allegro vivace). The first brooding melody returns in G sharp minor. Kodály is perhaps reminding the listener that behind all this exuberance lies darkness. But such introspection is thrust aside in the final bars where the dance is at an end: exhilarating, exhausting!

Strangely, for a work of such selfassurance and command of style, this concerto lay lost for the best part of two centuries until a set of parts came to light in 1961. Its rediscovery has obliged music scholars to reassess Haydn’s stature as a concerto composer, particularly in relation to Haydn’s somewhat less interesting, though much later and more famous, Cello Concerto in D: scholars for years had argued that Haydn in that instance must have taken advice from his soloist, Anton Kraft, on how to write for the cello. The rediscovered C major concerto demonstrates that such advice was hardly necessary. Adapted from a note by Anthony Cane © 1989/2003


SONG AND DANCE | 17–18 March



Capriccio Espagnol, Op.34 Alborada – Variations – Alborada – Scene and Gypsy Song – Fandango asturiano It is a curious feature of cultural history that Spain, which had a great musical heritage in the Renaissance, and a folk music of striking vitality, virtually disappeared from the musical map for more than two centuries. It was left to ‘foreign’ composers resident in Spain to provide the ‘Spanish’ music: the Italians Domenico Scarlatti and Luigi Boccherini being the most famous among them. In the 19th century, Romanticism attracted to Spain the traveller in search of the picturesque. Whether visiting Spain or merely travelling in the mind, Romantic composers made popular a certain musical view of Spain, drawing on the superficial features of rhythm, colour and expression in Spanish folk music-often urban street music. This is what Gilbert Chase has termed the ‘Spanish Idiom’. Its notable purveyors included Bizet in Carmen and Lalo in his Symphonie espagnole.


Russian composers had also been fascinated by Spain, beginning with Glinka. While in Spain he was enraptured by the dancing, singing and guitar playing, which he wrote into several compositions, including Jota aragonesa (Spanish Overture No.1). RimskyKorsakov, a great master of brilliant orchestral colour, heard Glinka’s piece at one of the first orchestral concerts he attended, and was dazzled by it. Later he cruised the Mediterranean as a naval officer, and later still, in 1887, he decided to emulate Glinka in making Spanish music the basis of a composition of his

own. It was to be a study in virtuoso orchestration, in which, the composer insisted, the instrumental colouring was ‘the very essence of the composition, not its mere dressing up’. The Capriccio espagnol was one of Rimsky-Korsakov’s greatest successes. The rehearsals were interrupted many times by the applause of the musicians. In five sections played without pause, it is unified by the Alborada, or morning song, which is treated to five variations, followed by the theme heard in a completely different scoring. A series of cadenzas for solo instruments form the Scene, which leads to the passionately elaborated melody of the Gypsy Song, followed by the orgy of the Fandango. At the climax the dance adopts the theme of the Alborada for a conclusion of wild abandon. David Garrett © 1988

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Bach and Beamish Wednesday 23 March / 6.30pm* Thursday 24 March / 7.30pm Melbourne Recital Centre

Friday 25 March / 7.30pm Costa Hall, Geelong Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Sophie Rowell director & violin James Crabb classical accordion BACH Orchestral Suite No.3 SALLY BEAMISH Seavaigers ELENA KATS-CHERNIN From Anna Magdalena’s Notebook BACH/BEAMISH Brandenburg Concerto No.3: I. Allegro, Adagio (Bach) II. Andante (Beamish) III. Allegro (Bach)

* Please note, Wednesday’s performance will comprise: BACH/BEAMISH Brandenburg Concerto No.3 SALLY BEAMISH Seavaigers

A musical Acknowledgement of Country, Long Time Living Here by Deborah Cheetham AO, will be performed before the start of this concert. Running time: Approximately 1 hour 40 mins, inc. 20-min interval.

James Crabb

Sophie Rowell’s position as MSO Concertmaster is supported by The Ullmer Family Foundation

Scottish born James Crabb is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading classical accordionists. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen with accordion pioneer Mogens Ellegaard and became professor there from 1995–2010. He also held a long-standing guest professorship at the University in Graz, Austria. James was awarded the Carl Nielsen Music Prize, Denmark in 1991 and critics internationally continually praise him for his breathtaking virtuosity and versatile musicianship.

director & violin

Recently appointed Co-Concertmaster with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, violinist Sophie Rowell has had an extensive performing career as a soloist, chamber musician and principal orchestral violinist both in Australia and abroad. After winning the ABC Young Performer’s Award in 2000 which resulted in solo performances with all major Australian symphony orchestras, Sophie founded the Tankstream Quartet which won string quartet competitions in Cremona and Osaka. Having studied in Germany with the Alban Berg Quartet the quartet moved back to Australia in 2006 when they were appointed to the Australian String Quartet. For 6 years she toured, recorded, participated in chamber music festivals and enjoyed performing that wonderful repertoire all over the globe. Special highlights included playing in the QuartetFest Bonn as part of the Beethoven Festival and giving performances for remote communities on Cape York in Far North Queensland. Since 2012 Sophie has traveled the world playing in principal violin positions with orchestras including the Scottish & Mahler Chamber Orchestras and the Vancouver, Sydney & Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, as well as participating in many chamber music festivals in Australia.

classical accordion

BACH AND BEAMISH | 23–25 March

Sophie Rowell

In 2019 James gave the World Premiere of Brett Dean’s accordion concerto The Players in Sweden, (recorded on the BIS label); featured in Co.3 Dance company’s In Line production in Perth; play/directed Sinfonia Cymru, Wales; performed the on-stage role in Dean’s Hamlet with Cologne Opera; and gave a recital at UKARIA. This year James returns to both the Australian Chamber Music and Canberra International Music Festivals, MSO, ANAM and UKARIA. A passionate and sought-after music educator and mentor, James was Artistic Director of the Four Winds Festival in Bermagui, NSW, from 2016–2020 during which time he curated both the Easter and Youth Festivals and developed the music education programs. 23

BACH AND BEAMISH | 23–25 March



Orchestral Suite No.3 in D, BWV1068 Ouverture Air Gavottes I & II Bourrée Gigue The Baroque era was a time of great flowering of the arts. Musicians travelled, not just to play in other cities, but to learn from other masters. And not only did composers (who usually doubled as virtuosos) journey to other cities, but ordinary people travelled to hear them. Although the basis of employment for most musicians was still the Church, or through wealthy patrons, the developing middle classes also had an appetite for attending opera and concerts, which were accessible and popular. At only 15, Johann Sebastian Bach walked 180 miles to take up a music scholarship in Lüneberg. From there he would sometimes walk to Hamburg – a city with a great organ heritage. Indeed, Bach was a man who would travel for the sake of his art, and famously once walked 200 miles to hear the great organist Buxtehude play. He himself is remembered as one of the world’s greatest organists.


In 1729, Bach, then Cantor of Leipzig, was appointed director of a Collegium Musicum ensemble. This organisation had been founded by his friend and contemporary Telemann in 1702, and was a voluntary association of professional musicians and university students who met in a coffeehouse on at least a weekly basis to give public concerts. It is not known whether Bach received extra income from this new position, which much have stretched

him on top of all his other duties, but he certainly gained some artistic freedom, and the opportunity to work with fine musicians–and to exercise his skills on secular music. Apart from the regular concerts, the group gave extraordinaire concerts on special occasions, engaging visiting artists and charging admission. It seems likely that the Suite No.3 in D was one of at least two of the four Orchestral Suites written for performance by the Collegium Musicum. The origin of Bach’s orchestral suites was certainly French – he called his ‘orchestral’ suites Ouvertüren, a form of shorthand which became common in Germany, and referred to a ‘French’ overture followed by a set of dances. This suite is the shortest of the four, and includes the grand overture, an Air, a pair of Gavottes, a Bourrée and a Gigue. The Air was made famous in a transcription by the 19th century violinist August Wilhelmj under the title Air on the G string. Justine Bashford © Symphony Australia 2004

Seavaigers I. Storm II. Lament III. Haven Sophie Rowell violin James Crabb accordion Seavaigers is a collaboration between its composer, Sally Beamish, and two of the foremost soloists in the Celtic tradition: Chris Stout and Catriona McKay. The score leaves space for much improvisation in the solo parts, and the piece was the result of many discussions and ideas from all three. The title means ‘Seafarers’ and refers both to the seafaring people of the North Sea, and to the two soloists. The stretch of water between these two Northerly pors has claimed countless lives over the centuries, but is also one of the most beautiful and romantic seascapes in the world – home to seabirds, whales, dolphins and endless changes of light and weather. Strong emotions are always connected to dangerous journeys, and this piece reflects the anticipation, fear, comradeship and adventure of sea voyaging. The first movement, Storm, begins with a shimmering dawn over the water before launching into a ‘reel’ which becomes increasingly unsettled and harmonically dark, before resolving into optimism. The Laments refers to many seafaring tragedies. The music consists of one very simple melody, which repeats and overlaps with varying ornamentation, written and improvised. The solo improvisations continue as the last movement begins – steering a final exhilarated course towards home. Just before the end, the opening music returns, as if land is in sight.

Seavaigers was commissioned by the Celtic Connections and the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, with funding from Creative Scotland. It was first performed by Chris Stout and Catriona McKay with the Scottish Ensemble, directed by Jonathan Morton, at Celtic Connections in the Fruitmarket. Glasgow, January 2012, and at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, April 2012. © Sally Beamish

BACH AND BEAMISH | 23–25 March


(born 1956)


(born 1957)

From Anna Magdalena’s Notebook From Anna Magalena’s Notebook (2006) was commissioned by the Australian String Quartet at the time when this great ensemble consisted of 4 very talented women players, with the current MSO concertmaster Sophie Rowell as a first violin. From this work and this unique ensemble, I felt compelled to pay tribute to the true “superwomen” of the J.S. Bach’s large household. Bach presented the famous notebook of miniatures/ character pieces (some of those dances), as a gift to his performing musician wife who was often Bach’s copyist, transcriber and assistant, as well as mother to his many children. Some of the pieces in the book are possibly not Bach’s own, they were sometimes arrangements of music by other composers. As a young piano student, I played most of those pieces and loved them as a child. The memory of them came back to me when I contemplated this commission. I felt attracted to the unsentimental style of the pieces in this “little notebook”. I chose my favourite ones to create six distinctive movements based on those little pieces. 25

BACH AND BEAMISH | 23–25 March

Polonaise in G minor received an almost “minimalist” treatment, with a repetitive figure at its base. The G minor key and the feeling of purpose give is a somewhat dramatic quality. Musette was my favourite piece to play on the piano when I was about seven. I wanted to bring in a syncopated crossmaterial and explore all the motives that are part of the original work. It turned out quite “spiky” and rhythmic and energetic. Aria is perhaps the one I took furthest from the original. There is only a glimpse of the “Du Bist Bei Mir” (which in itself is possibly attributed to another composer). I quote the fragment of the aria in cello towards the end of the Chorale-like movement. Menuet 1 has the sweet melody of the original theme “singing” by the violin solo over the established pattern of “sprinkled” plucked strings’ notes. Polonaise uses a canon, a tribute to Bach’s often employed technique. This movement is in two parts. There is a sudden shift of energy after 20 bars when it switches from canon to an emphatic, motoric, driving texture. Menuet 2 is in a “happy” key of G major. I had a lot of fun juxtaposing the two different time perceptions while using the same material in different instruments at different speeds. I wanted to give the original material a new flavour, yet keeping the main “broken chord” unashamedly joyful theme intact. © Elena Kats-Chernin November 2021 For today’s performance, Elena Kats-Chernin arranged this work for string orchestra.


JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Brandenburg Concerto No.3: Allegro I. Allegro III. Allegro These concertos were grouped together, dedicated and sent to the Margrave of Brandenburg by Bach in May 1721 – a carefully copied presentation manuscript headed ‘Six concertos with several instruments’. The concertos were written at different times when Bach was in the service of the court of Anhalt-Cöthen (1718–1721), and were suited to particular players available there. The great nineteenth century Bach scholar, Spitta, started referring to the six concertos in shorthand by the name of their dedicatee, and so they became known as the ‘Brandenburg concertos’. In No.3, although the strings are arranged in three groups of equal strength, the writing for each instrument is virtuosic at times. This is the most ‘symphonic’ of the Brandenburgs, but at the same time harks back to the traditions of consort music. The two Adagio chords linking the fast movements probably call for an improvised cadenza, but the practice of interpolating a movement from another of Bach’s works, say the Largo from the Sonata for violin and continuo in G, BWV 1021 is not uncommon. Adapted from a note © David Garret

Brandenburg “Slow movement” Sophie Rowell violin James Crabb accordion The peculiar thing about Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3 is the lack of a fully developed slow movement. Concerti movements usually follow a fast-slow-fast format, but here Bach differed from the norm, which is how Sally Beamish’s Brandenburg “Slow movement” came to be.

BACH AND BEAMISH | 23–25 March


The missing piece of the Brandenburg No.3 puzzle was commissioned by the Lautten Compagney, Berlin, to serve as the ‘missing’ slow movement for Bach’s third Brandenburg Concerto. In discussing the work, Beamish explains she wanted to “tie in this link which I’ve always felt between traditional music and baroque music and the approach, particularly to the fiddle, with the ornamentation and improvisation which would always have happened in Bach’s time.” It was first performed in Dornbirn, Austria in 2010, by the Rascher Saxophone Quartet, with Lautten Compagney directed by Wolfgang Katschner. Adapted by Stephanie Sheridan from notes by Sally Beamish ©


Convicts, Contrasts and Klezmer Sunday 27 March / 11am Deakin Edge, Federation Square Musicians of the MSO Jenny M. Thomas fiddle / vocals / piano JENNY M. THOMAS Ben Hall Sleeps TRADITIONAL Streets of Forbes* TRADITIONAL (arr. Danish String Quartet) Last Leaf (excerpts) SELETSKY Klezmer Fantasy: Concertino for Klezmer Clarinet and String Quartet TRADITIONAL Wild Colonial Boy* TRADITIONAL Waltzing Matilda* RAUTAVAARA The Fiddlers BARTÓK Contrasts TRADITIONAL Botany Bay* *arranged by and featuring Jenny M. Thomas, fiddle / vocals / piano

A musical Acknowledgement of Country, Long Time Living Here by Deborah Cheetham AO, will be performed before the start of this concert. Running time: Approximately 1 hour 10 mins, with no interval.


Jenny M. Thomas fiddle / vocals / piano After a childhood playing folk music around campfires, Jenny M Thomas took up intense study of classical viola and South Indian Carnatic violin before roaming the countryside of Finland and Ireland learning traditional fiddle styles. Jenny has composed music for ABC Classic FM, performed with Circus Oz, toured Europe as an improvising violinist, composed music for ABC TV plus performed as a Norwegian hardanger and Irish fiddle soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and The Sydney Symphony Orchestras. News just in; she has been awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award for 2022. Described by The Guardian as an ‘Edgy rising folk star’ she established post-modern bush band Bush Gothic and as band leader took their radical re-imaginings of traditional Australian folk songs to the world’s most happening festivals including Mona Foma, Festival No.6 (Wales), RIFF (India) and Shambala (UK). Bush Gothic’s music has been awarded 5 STARS by BBC Music Magazine, chosen by the 2020 Welsh National Eisteddfod to represent Australia and continues to change the way Australians listen to their own history.



Program Notes JENNY M. THOMAS

(born 1972)

Ben Hall Sleeps A lament for Ben Hall. Officially proclaimed as an outlaw, Ben Hall’s body was considered to be the property of the government. Upon killing him, the police dragged his body through his home town of Forbes to demonstrate to the folk what happens if you defy authority. His funeral was well attended for the memory of his reckless courage, courtesy to women and humour. A common belief for the Anglo-Celtic people of the 19th Century was that death bought freedom. The violin parts are semi-improvised with the solo violin enjoying complete freedom with no written part. The lower strings remain on a cyclical phrase echoing a funeral lament. © Jenny M. Thomas

TRADITIONAL Streets of Forbes, Wild Colonial Boy, Waltzing Matilda, Botany Bay Murder, sadistic commanders, crossdressing gold diggers, gay bush rangers and bizarre rituals. Australian history – boring? Not at all. H.G Wells based War of The Worlds upon our beautiful dangerous island.


Traditional Australian folk songs of the Anglo Celtic peoples were written by criminal women and desperate men from an era of transportation, adventure and gold. Abused by the brutality of the British Government, some of these people would then go on to commit atrocious crimes against the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The oppressed become the oppressors.

Folk music is not a genre, it is an oral history and these songs present class struggle, migration and the dank corners of convict history through the lens of the 19th Century. ‘This is about all of us. It’s not some concession to the Natives. It is about this nation coming to terms with it’s dark, desperate and miserable history. But yet being able to celebrate the British tradition, the multiculturalism and the Indigenous heritage and to intertwine that in a way that gives this civil state we call Australia a new identity, a new capacity to do things differently.’ Pat Dodson, Garma festival, 2016

TRADITIONAL Streets of Forbes A tragic and popular folk song, the words are thought to have been written by Ben Hall’s brother in law, John McGuire. Born in 1837 to ex-convict parents in NSW, Ben Hall was one of Australia’s most well organised and flamboyant bushrangers. He led a gang of men who were well armed and superbly mounted, often on stolen race-horses which easily outpaced the police. Some of their holdups seem designed only to defy the police which gave great joy to the common people and enraged the government. Under the Felons Apprehension Act of 1865, individuals could be proclaimed outlaws, whom any person was permitted to shoot without warning. Ben Hall had £1000 on his head when he was shot by police, legend has it, as he lay sleeping. Most of the bushrangers of these years came from selector families (usually Irish). Their songs were popular in the selector community and expressed a primitive rebellion that had much in common with Irish nationalist sentiment. © Jenny M. Thomas

Wild Colonial Boy When Jenny sang this song in Ireland people joined in, telling her of Jack Duggan who came from Castlemaine in Co.Kerry and was transported to Australia as a convict. Yet there are court records documenting the trial of 17 year old John Doolan who was born in Castlemaine Victoria. When the judge sentenced him to seventeen years hard labour for robbery under arms, Doolan’s mother became distraught and disrupted court proceedings with ‘a piercing lamentation’, crying repeatedly ‘my poor boy!’ Or is this a rebellious song about bush ranger Bold Jack Donahue? He was “flash” – he dressed neatly and had a sense of style that added to his romantic appeal. There were numerous songs written about him as he was a figure of fantasy to those bowed down by conformity. He also caught a changing mood in the penal colonies. Before that, convict ballads tended to stress the misfortune of the transported, without questioning the justice of their fate. They often contained a moral, warning others against missteps. Then the songs took on a more rebellious tone. As Robert Hughes puts it in The Fatal Shore “The earlier ones accept the system in the name of English values, while later ballads oppose it in the name of Irish values that become Australian.” © Jenny M. Thomas

TRADITIONAL Waltzing Matilda On the surface a simple narrative about a swagman, a sheep, a squatter, and a suicide, the story of its creation is one of industrial unrest and a mysterious death.

When Banjo Paterson was staying at Dagworth Station in Queensland, there was a dispute over the use of non-union labour during the shearing strikes of the 1890s. Their shearing shed was burnt down and the next morning the leader of the unionists, Samuel Hoffmeister, was found dead by a billabong. The official finding was suicide, but recent evidence suggests the ‘swagman’ may have been murdered by police or the station owner. At this time of his life Banjo Patterson sympathised with working-class Australians and so wrote Waltzing Matilda in a veiled response to the event. Melbournian Christina McPherson wrote the music which Jenny has further adapted by taking the Queensland version, condensing the lyrics, then setting the waltz to an alternative harmony.



© Jenny M. Thomas

TRADITIONAL Botany Bay Originally written for a musical in London, this is one of a genre of transportation folk songs called warning songs. The British Government was concerned that being transported to the penal colony of Australia was considered a lucrative option by many English people suffering from poverty or in need of anonymity. To discourage this purposeful committing of crimes the Government set up harsher prison camps and encouraged the writing of warning songs. The lyrics of the last verse are common in English folk songs that can be traced back hundreds of years, touching on loneliness and heartbreak. © Jenny M. Thomas



TRADITIONAL (arr. Danish String Quartet) Last Leaf (excerpts) Drømte Mig En Drøm The oldest known secular song in the Nordic countries. Drømte Mig En Drøm is notated on the last leaf of parchment in the Codex Runicus, a codex from the beginning of the 13th century, written in the runes. It contains the so-called Scanian Law – the oldest known provincial text in Scandinavia – and it chronicles the early Danish monarchs. The meaning of Drømte Mig En Drøm has been debated, but most scholars agree that it is a song about justice and fair play.

The award citation from the American Society of Jewish Music reads as follows: “Seletsky, a virtuoso clarinetist as well as composer, has written an extraordinary score that pulls out all the stops for the Klezmer player... and is an exciting addition to the growing number of works of this nature by composers.” © Robin Seletsky


Shine You No More


The inspiration for this tune came after listening to a song by English renaissance composer John Downland called Flow My Tears. John Downland was a composer at the Danish court under King Christian IV and in this song from 1596, he uses a very nice chord progression which became the foundation for the C part of Shine You No More.

The Fiddlers

© Rune, Frederik, Asbjørn & Fredrik (Danish Quartet)



Klezmer Fantasy: Concertino for Klezmer Clarinet and String Quartet


Klezmer Fantasy captures the essence of this Eastern European folk style while remaining within the boundaries of rigorous thematic development, complex harmonies, inventive counterpoint and contemporary instrumental techniques.

Composed in 1997, Klezmer Fantasy won first prize in the American Society of Jewish Music Competition. In many ways this work is the synthesis of Seletsky’s formal training in the Schoenberg school of composition, and of his love and lifelong experience with klezmer and Jewish music, both of which go back to his days as a clarinetist in the hotels of the Catskill Mountains (familiarly known as the Borscht Belt). From the opening doina to the wildly exuberant freylekh,

The Fiddlers are free fantasies based on dances written by a Finnish 18 th century fiddler, Samuel Rinda-Nickola. Närböläisten Braa Speli – the famous fiddlers from Narbo arrive, in a procession full of colour and rustic pomp. Kospin Jonas – in the strange light of the Nordic midsummernight Kospin Jonas plays for the forest, for himself. Klockar Samuel Dikström – Samuel the village organist “improvising” at a lonely moment of improvisation: he fills the little church with reminiscences of his daily Bach, of wedding tunes heard long ago. Pirun Polska – a melancholy devil sits on his rock, listening to the dark, mysterious Finnish forest. HYPYT– in a stamping, jumping dance they whirl, their broad faces are solemn as in the church, but a strange excitement lurks in their huge legs and hands. © Rautavaara

Contrasts for clarinet, violin and piano Verbunkos (Recruiting dance): Moderato, ben ritmato Pihenö (Relaxation): Lento Sebes (Fast dance): Allegro vivace By 1937, looming Nazi threat had forced many of Hungary’s Jewish musicians into uncertain exile, and even nonJewish anti-Fascists like Bartók to contemplate emigrating. With few safe havens offering, many turned temporarily to international touring. And after being welcomed in Australia in the southern winter, the Budapest String Quartet almost accepted the ABC’s offer to resettle them here as a permanent Australian ensemble. They decided not, only to be confined on arriving next in New York on Ellis Island. They were still only on tourist visas when, in April 1938, jazz clarinettist Benny Goodman hired them to record with him Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet. Goodman also wanted to record something ‘classical’ but modern, and on the Riviera in the European summer he teamed up with another nervous Hungarian, violinist Joseph Szigeti. Goodman agreed to put up $300 to commission Szigeti’s good friend Bartók (also open to high-profile American contact) to compose a two-movement dance rhapsody, lasting 6-7 minutes, that the three of them could record when Bartók next came, as seemed increasingly inevitable, to New York. But having eagerly accepted Szigeti’s go-ahead in August, Bartók ran overtime, composing two movements too long to fit one each side of a 78rpm disc. He sent them off on 5 September nevertheless, and Goodman and Szigeti played them live, with another touring Hungarian, pianist Endre Petri, in Carnegie Hall on 9 January 1939, under the title Rhapsody (Two Dances),

unaware that Bartók had by then compounded the timing problem by adding a short third piece to separate them. Later in 1939 Szigeti was granted US residency, and he and Goodman finally played all three movements, renamed Contrasts, with Bartók now at the piano, in New York in April 1940, before recording the whole work in May (on four sides, just short of 15 minutes, still available digitally remastered). At that point Bartók was only touring, but by year’s end he was back, an unwilling, but grateful, Hungarian American resident. Cadenzas in the outer movements, as requested by Goodman and Szigeti, set the opposite extremes in tone colours and modes of production (blowing and bowing) gestured to in the new title. Both extroverted outer dances also frame internal central episodes in contrasting tempo and mood; in that to the Verbunkos (a rowdy ‘Recruiting Dance’, originally performed by youths half-willingly press-ganged into the Habsburg military), Goodman’s clarinet takes on a wistfully ironic jazz swing, an idiom Bartók admitted he picked up second-hand from the ‘blues’ in Ravel’s 1927 Second Violin Sonata. Also languid and slow, the new ‘relaxed’ middle piece overlays Bartók’s magical ‘night music’ idiom with exotic recollections of the gamelan imitations in his piano piece From the Island of Bali (No.109 of Mikrokosmos). At the outset of the final fast dance, the violinist conjures dissonant open chords by un-tuning upper and lower strings. Thirty bars in, Szigeti was then advised to ‘pick up another violin, tuned as usual’, notionally restoring normality. Meanwhile the clarinet part revels in runs, arpeggios and leaps (Szigeti assured Bartók that Goodman could handle ‘anything physically possible’ on a clarinet), and also directs the use of two instruments, a clarinet tuned in A (as in Mozart’s






Quintet) in the first two movements and the middle of the third, and a marginally more brilliant B-flat clarinet in the finale’s outer parts (though, in case your performer decides to do so, please note that Bartók also sanctioned using a B-flat clarinet for the whole work!). Graeme Skinner © 2014



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Brahms and Korngold Thursday 31 March / 7.30pm Saturday 2 April / 7.30pm Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Benjamin Northey conductor Daniel de Borah piano BRAHMS Piano Concerto No.2 KORNGOLD Symphony in F-sharp

A musical Acknowledgement of Country, Long Time Living Here by Deborah Cheetham AO, will be performed before the start of this concert. Running time: Approximately 2 hours, inc. 20-min interval

Daniel de Borah

Since returning to Australia from Europe, Benjamin Northey has rapidly emerged as one of the nation’s leading musical figures. He is currently the Principal Resident Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in 2015.

Melbourne-born pianist Daniel de Borah has emerged in recent years as one of Australia’s foremost musicians, praised for the grace, finesse and imaginative intelligence of his performances. His wide-ranging performance schedule finds him equally at home as concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician.


His international appearances include concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, the Malaysian Philharmonic and the New Zealand Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia. He has conducted L’elisir d’amore, The Tales of Hoffmann and La sonnambula for SOSA and Turandot, Don Giovanni, Carmen and Cosi fan tutte for Opera Australia. Limelight Magazine named him Australian Artist of the Year in 2018. In 2021, he conducts the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Christchurch Symphony and all six Australian state symphony orchestras.


BRAHMS AND KORNGOLD | 31 March – 2 April

Benjamin Northey

Since his prize-winning appearances at the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition, Daniel has given recitals on four continents and toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom and Australia. As a concerto soloist he has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and Auckland Symphony Orchestras. During his studies Daniel won numerous awards including 3rd Prizes at the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition, the 2001 Tbilisi International Piano Competition and the 2000 Arthur Rubinstein in Memoriam Competition in Poland. In 2005 he was selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust, London. Daniel is also a past winner of the Australian National Piano Award and the Royal Overseas League Competition Piano Award in London. Daniel currently serves as the Head of Chamber Music at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.


BRAHMS AND KORNGOLD | 31 March – 2 April 38



Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat, Op.83 Allegro non troppo Allegro appassionato Andante Allegretto grazioso–Un poco più presto Daniel de Borah piano Brahms wrote the bulk of his Second Piano Concerto during visits to Italy in 1878 and 1881. While there is nothing essentially ‘Italian’ about this concerto, there is no doubt that when Brahms returned to Vienna with the completed score, he was still very much in holiday humour. To Elisabet von Herzogenberg he talked of ‘a little piano concerto with a teeny-weeny wisp of a scherzo’. To the public at large he presented the work as it truly was: an immense, quasi-symphonic, four-movement concerto filled with massive chords and wide stretches in the piano part and an orchestration filled with richness and variety. The contrasts between this work and the First Piano Concerto in D minor could not be stronger. The D minor was impassioned and youthful, while the B flat tends more toward reflection, nostalgia and lyricism. Given the failure of the First Piano Concerto at its premiere in Leipzig some 20 years earlier, Brahms might have felt some trepidation in writing a Second Piano Concerto. By this time, however, he had finally conquered the two major instrumental forms which had always given him trouble: the string quartet and symphony. With the Violin Concerto and German Requiem also behind him, it was time to revisit the piano concerto genre. While the four-movement form without cadenzas is clearly symphonic, the scherzo is actually based on a movement

intended originally for the Violin Concerto. And the instrumental textures sometimes have a chamber music feel to them. The Second Piano Concerto was written at the time when Brahms was forming an association with Hans von Bülow, who conducted the Meiningen Court Orchestra. Doubting his orchestra’s ability to do the work justice, Bülow asked Brahms to come to Meiningen to rehearse it. The public premiere, with Brahms himself as soloist, occurred in Budapest in November 1881, with further performances soon afterwards in Stuttgart and Meiningen. The concerto was dedicated to Eduard Marxsen, Brahms’ teacher-as if to indicate that only now did Brahms feel confident enough to honour his revered mentor. But he retained his characteristic self-doubt. Shortly before publication, he suggested to his publisher, Simrock, that the scherzo be dropped. It wasn’t. In fact, that scherzo in D minor is the only movement not in the tonic key-B flat, which Brahms called ‘this udder which has always yielded good milk before’, in reference to its employment in his Op.18 Sextet and Op.67 Quartet. The expansive first movement begins romantically with a horn call reminiscent of that in Weber’s Oberon Overture. The piano enters immediately, embroidering the melody and soon indulging in the closest thing to a cadenza to be found in the concerto. From here an orchestral tutti introduces the main thematic material. Rather than restating the main themes, the piano enters into a free, organicallydeveloping dialogue with the orchestra, often becoming impassioned and occasionally visiting distant keys like B minor. There is a particularly elaborate preparation for the recapitulation with one of the main themes being played by the orchestra while the piano weaves arpeggio figures around it: one of the more majestic moments in a memorable opening movement.

Martin Buzacott Symphony Australia © 2001



Korngold Symphony in F-sharp Moderato, ma energico Scherzo: Allegro molto Adagio: Lento Finale: Allegro It’s a feeling you may have known at some point in your life: being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes it’s a minor inconvenience, but in some cases it’s a personal or a professional catastrophe. In Korngold’s case it was both. It’s as is his life started as a fairy-tale but ended in tragedy. His biographer Brendan Carroll has described him as ‘the last prodigy’, and there’s no doubt that, as a child and then an adolescent, he was the most talented composer since Mendelssohn. Born into a Jewish family in Brno (then in Moravia, now in the Czech Republic), he was nine when Mahler called him ‘a genius’. He was 15 when musicologist Ernest Newman praised him as ‘the most amazing phenomenon in present-day music’, and 24 when Puccini described him as ‘the biggest hope for German music’.

BRAHMS AND KORNGOLD | 31 March – 2 April

As self-deprecating as ever, Brahms described the first movement as ‘innocuous’, which is why, he said, he took the bold step of inserting the fiery Allegro appassionato as the second of the four movements. Here the drama is increased still further in a D minor movement originally intended for the Violin Concerto, but also bearing some resemblance to the equivalent movement in the Op.11 Serenade. The ‘trio’ of the movement is in D major, featuring sotto voce octaves in the piano, and in typical Brahmsian fashion it serves more as a development section than a simple contrasting episode. The tonic key of B flat is re-established at the beginning of the slow movement, where a solo cello introduces one of Brahms’ most sublime melodies. The mood lightens in the final rondo, where the spirit of Mozart is invoked. At the opening, the tripping Hungarianstyle tune sets the prevailing mood, then in quick succession new ideas emerge: a more restrained melody on woodwinds and then strings, a stately theme for piano followed by clarinets, and a cheeky one for piano with pizzicato strings. There are no trumpets and drums in this movement, and the soloist is left to shine through some extraordinarily difficult and surprisingly elaborate passages, even, at the transition to the coda in a section marked Un poco più presto. Nothing can hold back the sway of the gypsy dance rhythms and the music drives on to its emphatic conclusion.

In a way, this was his tragedy, for he reached the peak of his influence before he was 30. In 1920, at the climax of his composing career, his opera Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) was taken into the repertoire of more than 80 opera houses in Europe and the U.S.A. Its luxuriant musical language was put at the service of a fantasy of death and regeneration, of the hope that a better life could arise from a politically volatile, war-weary present. It spoke powerfully to and of its time. His career as a screen composer was unforeseen and unplanned; he arrived in Hollywood on the coat-tails of the director, Max Reinhardt, to adapt


BRAHMS AND KORNGOLD | 31 March – 2 April

Mendelssohn’s music for Reinhardt’s movie production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Korngold found film a congenial new medium, and adapted to its demands with alacrity. As an Austrian, he did not feel in any immediate danger on returning home from his initial Hollywood assignments. But with the German annexation of his homeland in early 1938, his life was in danger. He and his family made a hairraising escape from Vienna, and with the Nazis cutting off all earnings from his existing work, music for the screen became his only source of income. By the mid-1940s, he had had grown weary of the studio ‘treadmill.’ When hostilities ended in 1945 and a return to Europe seemed possible, he began writing concert music again. In 1947 he would turn 50 and, as he put it: ‘Fifty is very old for a child prodigy. I feel I have to make a decision now if I don’t want to be a Hollywood composer for the rest of my life.’ His return to his homeland in 1949 was dispiriting in many other ways; in effect, he was returning to the Vienna of Carol Reed’s film The Third Man; at the sight of the burned-out Vienna Staatsoper he burst into tears. He and his wife Luzi decided to go back to the United States in 1951, and he completed this symphony there the following year. It was crucial to Korngold’s hoped-for return to concert life, but his new music made little headway in his adopted country and in the austere musical climate of post-war Europe he seemed to be persona non grata. His depression about the indifference to his work drained him of energy and confidence. He died believing he had been forgotten or, in his own words, ‘obliterated.’


If you listen to the any work Korngold created as a wunderkind, more than 30 years earlier – the String Sextet, for example – you hear a remarkable

consistency of voice, and a similarly exalted level of craft. But where the music of his gilded youth is optimistic and often joyous, the Symphony, for all its beauty and splendour, is essentially elegiac. Yet Korngold was adamant that the work had no extra-musical meaning. ‘The composer characterises his new symphony,’ he wrote in the third person, ‘as a work of pure, absolute music with no program whatsoever.’ How do we reconcile these words about the piece with the desolation which grips so much of the opening movement? After a sinister, syncopated introduction – the theme of which will subsequently cast a long shadow – the main theme unfurls on solo clarinet. This theme takes on several different guises as the movement progresses, from stately dance to purposeful march. A yearning second subject, introduced by the cellos, inspires some of the most delicate scoring in the symphony. In the final minutes, following further powerful statements of the introductory theme, the solo clarinet returns to take the movement to its haunting, plaintive conclusion. At first, you might think that the tarantella-like scherzo has banished this equivocal atmosphere. The bustling opening theme soon opens onto a wonderfully heroic, open-hearted tune given to the horns. But then, after a kaleidoscopic exploration of the first theme, we come to the spectral trio, a descending four-note idea which, in the words of Korngold biographer Brendan Carroll, ‘resembles a ghostly lullaby.’ A solo flute signals the return of the scherzo material; the spectral trio then makes a wistful farewell before the movement ends energetically. So far Korngold’s themes are entirely original to the Symphony, but in the Adagio he turns to melodies from his

BRAHMS AND KORNGOLD | 31 March – 2 April

film scores. Utterly transformed, they become the foundation for an intense, mournful movement – the emotional heart of the symphony. The solemn main theme was originally associated with the Earl of Essex in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939); the second subject is a dark reflection of a bright theme written for Captain Blood (1935), while the central section is based on a theme which illustrated the title character’s ‘dark night of the soul’ in Anthony Adverse (1936). You can hear Korngold’s command of orchestral colour in every bar, from the opening idea for cellos (divided into four parts), bassoons and horns, to the passage for celeste, gong and lower brass which ushers in the concluding bars. Korngold became an American citizen in 1943; in gratitude to the country that gave him refuge he dedicated the symphony to the memory of President Franklin Roosevelt. In fact it’s possible to hear in the jaunty opening of the Finale an echo of the patriotic song Over There, but the theme is actually a transformation of the lyrical second theme from the opening movement. This is the first of many references to themes from earlier movements; these create quite a few emotional ‘torpedoes,’ in which the seemingly buoyant atmosphere becomes dark or clouded. The victorious final moments are hard-won. The Symphony was not performed publicly until 1972. Its gradual emergence since then as a major work speaks to the emotional power of Korngold’s art. From his balletpantomime The Snowman – written when he was 11 – to this Symphony, he gave us a unique, individual music, which carries with it a story which helps us understand the splendour and agony of a turbulent period in world history. © Phillip Sametz 2022


MSO Mornings:

Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto Saturday 2 April / 11am Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Benjamin Northey conductor Daniel de Borah piano BRAHMS Piano Concerto No.2 Please see page 36 for program notes

A musical Acknowledgement of Country, Long Time Living Here by Deborah Cheetham AO, will be performed before the start of this concert. Running time: Approximately 50 minutes, no interval

Daniel de Borah

Since returning to Australia from Europe, Benjamin Northey has rapidly emerged as one of the nation’s leading musical figures. He is currently the Principal Resident Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in 2015.

Melbourne-born pianist Daniel de Borah has emerged in recent years as one of Australia’s foremost musicians, praised for the grace, finesse and imaginative intelligence of his performances. His wide-ranging performance schedule finds him equally at home as concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician.


His international appearances include concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, the Malaysian Philharmonic and the New Zealand Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia. He has conducted L’elisir d’amore, The Tales of Hoffmann and La sonnambula for SOSA and Turandot, Don Giovanni, Carmen and Cosi fan tutte for Opera Australia. Limelight Magazine named him Australian Artist of the Year in 2018. In 2021, he conducts the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Christchurch Symphony and all six Australian state symphony orchestras.



Benjamin Northey

Since his prize-winning appearances at the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition, Daniel has given recitals on four continents and toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom and Australia. As a concerto soloist he has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and Auckland Symphony Orchestras. During his studies Daniel won numerous awards including 3rd Prizes at the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition, the 2001 Tbilisi International Piano Competition and the 2000 Arthur Rubinstein in Memoriam Competition in Poland. In 2005 he was selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust, London. Daniel is also a past winner of the Australian National Piano Award and the Royal Overseas League Competition Piano Award in London. Daniel currently serves as the Head of Chamber Music at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.



Supporters MSO PATRON The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria

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ARTIST CHAIR BENEFACTORS Chief Conductor Jaime Martín Dr Marc Besen AC and the late Dr Eva Besen AO Cybec Assistant Conductor Chair Carlo Antonioli The Cybec Foundation Concertmaster Chair Sophie Rowell The Ullmer Family Foundation Concertmaster Chair Dale Barltrop David Li AM and Angela Li Assistant Concertmaster Tair Khisambeev Di Jameson

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Sidney Myer Free Concerts Supported by the Sidney Myer MSO Trust Fund and the University of Melbourne



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* The MSO has introduced a new tier to its annual Patron Program in recognition of the donors who supported the Orchestra during 2020, many for the first time. Moving forward, donors who make an annual gift of $500–$999 to the MSO will now be publicly recognised as an Overture Patron. For more information, please contact Donor Liaison, Keith Clancy on (03) 8646 1109 or 48

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