MALAYSIAN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) gave its inaugural performance at Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS (DFP) on 17 August 1998. With the initial search for outstanding musicians involving a worldwide audition tour, the result was a symphony orchestra made up of musicians from 25 nations, including Malaysians, a remarkable example of harmony among different cultures and nationalities. A host of internationally-acclaimed musicians have performed with the MPO including Lorin Maazel, Sir Neville Marriner, Yehudi Menuhin, Joshua Bell, Harry Connick Jr., JosĂŠ Carreras, Andrea Bocelli, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Chris Botti and Branford Marsalis, many of whom have praised the MPO for its fine musical qualities and vitality. With each new season, the MPO continues to present an exciting programme of orchestral music drawn from over three centuries, as well as the crowd-pleasing concert series. Its versatility transcends genres, from classical masterpieces to film music, pop, jazz, traditional, contemporary and commissioned works.
The MPO regularly performs in major cities of Malaysia. Internationally, it has toured Singapore (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2018), Japan (2001, 2009 and 2017), Korea (2001), Australia (2004), China (2006 and 2019), Taiwan (2007) and Vietnam (2013). The MPO has also released 21 commercial CDs. Its Education and Outreach Programme (ENCOUNTER) reaches beyond the concert platform to develop musical awareness and appreciation through dedicated activities at such diverse venues as schools, colleges, hospitals and community centres. The MPOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to furthering musical interest in the nation has been the creation of the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO); its debut concert at DFP in 2007 was followed by a Peninsula Malaysia tour. The MPYO has also performed in Sabah and Sarawak, Singapore, Brisbane, Hong Kong and Jakarta. The MPO remains steadfast in its mission to share the depth, power and beauty of great music. Its main benefactor is PETRONAS and its patron is YABhg. Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Haji Mohd Ali.
Fri 18 Dec 2020 Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra Gerard Salonga, conductor PROGRAMME PĂ&#x201E;RT BEETHOVEN
Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten 8 mins Symphony No. 7 36 mins
All details are correct at time of publishing. Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS reserves the right to vary without notice the artists and/or repertoire as necessary. Copyright ÂŠ 2020 by Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS (Co. No. 462692-X). All rights reserved. No part of this programme may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the copyright owners.
GERARD SALONGA conductor
Gerard Salonga is currently the Resident Conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) in Kuala Lumpur, a position he has held since January 2019. For two seasons, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra from 2016 to 2018 and was the Music Director of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra in Manila from 2012 to 2020. Salonga has assisted and covered distinguished conductors such as Jaap van Zweden, Jun Märkl, Hans Graf, Yu Long, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mark Wigglesworth and Leonard Slatkin. He has also conducted the Philippine Philharmonic, Shanghai Opera House Orchestra and Chorus, Kunming Nie-Er Symphony, Evergreen Symphony of Taiwan, Orchestra Victoria and the Bangkok, Singapore and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. His arrangements have been performed by orchestras such as the Hong Kong Philharmonic, RTE Concert Orchestra, New York Pops, Guangzhou Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, BBC Symphony and Royal Philharmonic. He has also collaborated as arranger/conductor with artists such as Lea Salonga, Wang Leehom, Wu Tong, Tengku Irfan, Michael Ball, Blake, Il Divo, Danielle de Niese, Ksenija Sidorova, Shen Yang, James Ehnes and The Beach Boys. In 2018, Salonga conducted the Sydney Symphony and TaikOz in the world premiere of Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth’s Breath Of Thunder at the Sydney Opera House which earned an APRA AMCOS (Australian art music) nomination for Performance Of The Year. In 2019, he collaborated with pianist Cecile Licad and the Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester (South Denmark Philharmonic) on a new recording of the works of George Gershwin released on the Danacord label and was immediately invited to make his subscription debuts with the orchestra in Sønderborg and Flensburg in 2021. As a conductor of musical theatre, he has led the orchestras for the Manila stagings of Carousel, They’re Playing Our Song, Dreamgirls, Baby, West Side Story and Little Women. In 2019, he conducted Sweeney Todd for Atlantis Theatrical in Manila and in Singapore for Singapore Repertory Theatre. He is a four-time recipient of the Aliw Award for best musical director and twice winner of the Gawad Buhay Philstage Award. In 2012, Salonga was honoured as one of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM), the Philippines’ highest civilian award to achievers under the age of 40. In 2021, he will make return visits to the Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester, Philippine Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Singapore Symphony Orchestras while continuing his work with the MPO, as well as working with the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO) and Orchestra of The Filipino Youth.
Arvo Pärt and Ludwig van Beethoven shared an MPO program just a few weeks ago (Fratres and the Fifth Symphony). They do so again for this concert, which, like the previous one, highlights the enormous difference in style between two composers who enjoy star status in terms of audience appeal. Pärt has created a unique style founded on quietude, serenity, stasis and austerity, while Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony provides an exhilarating musical journey through rhythmic energy and propulsive motion. Purely by coincidence, both composers wrote the works on this programme at the age of 42. ARVO PÄRT (b. 1935) Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten (1977) The Background
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Estonian-born Arvo Pärt is one of the most visible representatives of a new musical style that stresses simple materials, pure diatonic harmony, an austere mood, a sense of timelessness and haunting intensity. His musical training took place in Tallinn, where he remained until 1980. When he received permission to emigrate, his destination was initially Israel, but while en route there via Vienna, Pärt decided instead to settle in Berlin.
Pärt’s rise to fame has been astounding, and his name is now mentioned in the same breath with those of John Adams, Henryk Górecki and John Tavener among the living composers who are grabbing musical headlines for original and innovative work. Conductor Paul Hillier, an avid champion of Pärt’s music, summarizes his impact as follows: “Arvo Pärt’s music accepts silence and death, and thus reaffirms the basic truth of life, its frailty compassionately realized, its sacred beauty observed and celebrated. He … creates an intense, vibrant music that stands apart from the world and beckons us to an inner quietness and an inner exaltation”.
Pärt began his compositional career writing neoclassical piano pieces, went on to become Estonia’s first twelve-tone composer, and later toyed with collage forms. In the mid 1970s he turned to a new style, the one for which he is renowned today and which has earned the moniker “Holy Minimalism”. This style, or technique, incorporates two lines of music simultaneously to the same rhythm, one revolving around the notes of a scale, the other around a triad. Pärt calls this technique tintinnabuli (the plural of tintinnabulum, Latin for “bells”). To Pärt, “the three notes of a triad are like bells, and that is why I call it tintinnabulation”. (Pärt is referring to the effect produced by the random soundings of a small number of tones produced by ringing church bells). Tabula Rasa, the Fratres series and Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten rank among Pärt’s best-known instrumental compositions in this vein. The Music Pärt never met Benjamin Britten, but when the English composer died in late 1976, Pärt was deeply saddened and wrote his six-minute memorial to Britten the following year. Besides strings, the only other instrument is a chime or bell, which tolls periodically throughout the work. On the surface, the music consists of slowly descending, overlapping scales in A minor in various octaves and speeds; it rises to a climax in volume and density, then subsides. On a deeper level, Pärt portrays in sound the dichotomy of body and spirit, mortality and eternity, the descent of the body into the earth and the soul into heaven.
ualrpublicradio.org A portrait of the composer Benjamin Britten from 1948.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 (1811-1812)
I. Poco sostenuto – Vivace II. Allegretto III. Scherzo IV. Allegro con brio
The Background For sheer visceral excitement, there are few works in the orchestral repertory to match Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, and all manner of descriptive comments have been invented to explain this phenomenon. Beethoven’s contemporary, one Dr. Iken, saw the symphony as depicting a political revolution (a not unlikely interpretation in those heady Napoleonic days). Alexander Oulibischoff regarded it as a buoyant masquerade, while A. B. Marx saw in it a story of Moorish knighthood. Even such serious composers as Berlioz and Schumann saw fit to attach programmatic interpretations. Berlioz described the first movement as a peasant wikipedia.org round dance, and Schumann left a detailed account of the symphony as portraying a rustic wedding. But unlike the Sixth Symphony, in which the composer had deliberately incorporated the expression of feelings of nature, Beethoven attached no “meanings” to the Seventh beyond the sounds themselves. Wagner accurately described the essence of the music by dubbing it “the Apotheosis of the Dance”, though it is doubtful he expected it actually to be choreographed, as has been done on several occasions. Unquestionably the driving force of the Seventh Symphony is rhythm. Throughout each movement runs a single rhythmic pattern (two in the third movement) that propels it relentlessly, irresistibly forward with cumulative energy. The effect in the
first movement, on most listeners, is exuberant, in the second mildly hypnotic, in the third boisterously athletic and in the fourth something akin to a full-scale Bacchanalia. Beethoven himself said of the finale: “I am Bacchus incarnate, to give humanity wine to drown its sorrow ... [Each person] who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world”. The symphony was first heard at a gala benefit concert for wounded Austrian and Bavarian soldiers given in Vienna on 8 December, 1813. The Music The introduction to the first movement amounts almost to an entire movement in itself, lasting a third of the movement’s approximately twelve-minute length. The transition to the main vivace section consists of 68 repetitions of the same note (E) to varied rhythms. These eventually settle into the pattern that pervades the rest of the movement. From here Beethoven propels us through a sonata-form movement of bold harmonic changes, startling alternations of loud and soft, and an obsessive display of that rhythmic motif, found in nearly every bar. In the second movement (Allegretto) there is again an underlying, pervasive rhythmic pattern (long-short-short). The virtually melody-less principal “theme” in A minor is heard in constantly changing orchestral garb. There is also a lyrical episode of surpassing beauty in A major (woodwinds) and a stormy fugato built from the principal theme. The first audience to hear this symphony demanded that this movement be encored ̶ an unprecedented occasion for a symphony’s “slow” movement. The third movement is a double Scherzo and Trio. The slower Trio section, with its accordion-like swells and strange growling from the second horn, is believed by some to have been based on an old Austrian pilgrims’ hymn. With characteristic humour, Beethoven threatens to present the Trio a third time, but suddenly dismisses it with five brusque chords from the full orchestra, as if to proclaim “That’s e-nough of that!”. The final movement eclipses all previous ones in its intoxicating exhibition of sonic power, sweeping listeners instantly into its orbit and holding them fast until the symphony hurtles to an abrupt stop seven or eight minutes later. Formerly a horn player in the Montreal Symphony, Robert Markow now writes programme notes for that orchestra and for many other musical organizations in North America and Asia. He taught at Montreal's McGill University for many years, has led music tours abroad, and writes for many leading classical music journals, including American Record Guide, Fanfare, Opera, Opera News, The Strad and Symphony. He travels regularly to Europe, Asia and Australia in search of musical stimulation.
MALAYSIAN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR LAUREATE Kees Bakels
VIOLA Co-Principal Gábor Mokány
RESIDENT CONDUCTOR Gerard Salonga
Ong Lin Kern Sun Yuan Fan Ran Thian Ai Wen Celina Baran Juan Sebastian Castillo Diaz *Jebat Arjuna Kee Jia Liang
FIRST VIOLIN Co-Concertmaster Peter Daniš Principal Ming Goh Co-Principal Zhenzhen Liang Maho Daniš Martijn Noomen Sherwin Thia Runa Baagöe Miroslav Daniš Evgeny Kaplan Marcel Andriesii Tan Ka Ming Petia Davies SECOND VIOLIN Section Principal Timothy Peters Assistant Principal Luisa Theis Stefan Kocsis Anastasia Kiseleva Catalina Alvarez Ionuț Mazareanu Chia-Nan Hung Yanbo Zhao Ling Yunzhi Robert Kopelman
FLUTE Section Principal Ignacio de Nicolas Gaya Co-Principal Yukako Yamamoto Sub-Principal Rachel Jenkyns PICCOLO Principal Sonia Croucher
CELLO Co-Principal Csaba Körös Assistant Principal Steven Retallick Sub-Principal Mátyás Major
OBOE Section Principal Simon Emes
Gerald Davis Laurențiu Gherman Julie Dessureault Elizabeth Tan Suyin Sejla Simon Lee Seulki
CLARINET Section Principal Gonzalo Esteban Co-Principal David Dias da Silva Sub-Principal Matthew Larsen
DOUBLE BASS Section Principal Wolfgang Steike Jun-Hee Chae Naohisa Furusawa Raffael Bietenhader Andreas Dehner
Note: Sectional string players are rotated within their sections. *Extra musician.
COR ANGLAIS Principal Niels Dittmann
BASS CLARINET Principal Chris Bosco
HORN Section Principal Grzegorz Curyła Co-Principal James Schumacher Sub-Principals Laurence Davies Kartik Alan Jairamin Assistant Principal Sim Chee Ghee TRUMPET Section Principal Sérgio Pacheco Co-Principal William Theis Sub-Principal Jeffrey Missal Assistant Principal Matthew Dempsey TROMBONE Section Principal Marques Young Co-Principal Fernando Borja TIMPANI Section Principal Matthew Thomas
BASSOON Section Principal Alexandar Lenkov Sub-Principal Denis Plangger
PERCUSSION Section Principal Matthew Prendergast Sub-Principals Joshua Vonderheide Tan Su Yin
CONTRABASSOON Principal Vladimir Stoyanov
HARP Principals Tan Keng Hong
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DEWAN FILHARMONIK PETRONAS Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS (DFP) is Malaysia’s first concert hall dedicated to classical music and home to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO). Located at the PETRONAS Twin Towers, it was officially opened on 17 August 1998 by the Patron of the MPO, YABhg. Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Haji Mohd Ali and Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Designed by Cesar Pelli, the hall takes its inspiration from the traditional shoe-box shape of the great 19th century European concert halls with the magnificent Klais Pipe Organ providing a spectacular backdrop to the stage. The hall seats 920 people at one time which includes box seats, corporate suites and a royal suite. Acoustics experts Kirkegaard & Associates have incorporated unique acoustical devices into its design to maximize the hall’s natural qualities. DFP plays an integral part in the music and cultural landscape of the city of Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. It continues to enthral audiences since the day it first opened its doors. World renowned orchestras that have performed here include the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, BBC Symphony and Vienna Symphony.
Beyond classical music, DFP has hosted ensembles of jazz and world music genres such as the Count Basie Orchestra, Yellowjackets, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mezzoforte, Igudesman & Joo, Pink Martini and Gotan Project. International superstars who have graced the stage are Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall, Anoushka Shankar, Laura Fygi, Zakir Hussain, Larry Carlton, Harvey Malaihollo, Ruth Sahanaya and Judika. Among renowned Malaysian artists who have mesmerized audiences at DFP include SM Salim, Sheila Majid, M Nasir, Siti Nurhaliza, Jamal Abdillah, Khadijah Ibrahim, Ramli Sarip, Ella, Yuna, Faizal Tahir, Dayang Nurfaizah and Misha Omar. It also provides the platform for the talents of young Malaysians from the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO). DFP’s success is attributed to its exceptional architectural design, superior acoustics and recording studio modelled after the legendary Abbey Road Studios. As the first purpose-built concert hall in Malaysia, DFP will continue to provide Malaysians with world-class music experiences through innovative programmes and repertoire every season.
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