"Toasting Mother Earth"

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TOASTING MOTHER EARTH Artwork: Kerrie Coles | ‘Her Beauty & Her Terror, the Brindabellas on Fire I’ | 2020 | pastel on prepared paper | 30.5 x 40.5cm

Anna Fraser (soprano) Jack Symonds (piano) Thursday August 11, 2022 Adamstown Arts at Adamstown Uniting Church The Newcastle Music Festival takes place on Awabakal country. We acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, and pay respect to Elders, past, present and emerging.


PROGRAM “O Virtus Sapientiae (O Moving Force of Wisdom)” Hildegard VON BINGEN (1098-1179) 2’30 “Aus den Visionen der Hildegard von Bingen” (1994) Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b.1931) 5’00 “Reflets” (1911) Lili BOULANGER (1893-1918) Poème: Maurice MAETERLINCK (1862-1949) 2’30 “Attente” (1910) Lili BOULANGER (1893-1918) Poème: Maurice MAETERLINCK (1862-1949) 1’50 Requiem for a friend op.26 (1986-7) Het ga je goed György KURTÁG (b.1926)

Guardare, meravigliarsi… Nocturnes No. 1, 2 (World Premiere) Jack SYMONDS (b.1988) “The Year Begins to Be Ripe”: Solo for Voice 49 (1970) John CAGE (1912-1992) Text: Henry David THOREAU (Journal) 1’30 “Toasting Mother Earth” (2020) World Premiere Ross FIDDES (b.1944) Poem: Derek Dowding 20’00

INTERVAL Four Poems of Antonio Machado (1948) Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975) No. 1. La primavera ha venido No. 2, Ayer soñé que veía No. 3, Señor, ya me arrancaste No. 4, La primavera ha venido

Guardare, meravigliarsi… Nocturnes 3, 4, 5. (World Premiere)

Jack SYMONDS (b.1988) “only” (1947) Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Poem: Rainer Maria RILKE (Die Sonette an Orpheus XXIII [1923]) 1’30 “Since I lost you” from ‘This Too Shall Pass’ Anne CAWRSE (b.1981) Poem: D.H. LAWRENCE (1885-1930) “Elegy” 5’00 “Dans l'immense tristesse” (1916) Lili BOULANGER (1893-1918) Poème: Bertha GALERON DE CALONNE (1859-1936) 5’00


ABOUT THE PROGRAM Hildegard Von BINGEN (1098-1179) “O Virtus Sapientiae” (“O Moving Force of Wisdom”) “O Virtus Sapientiae” is an Antiphon, a short chant used in various ways throughout the course of the Canonical Hours. Antiphon texts were usually drawn from the Psalms, but Hildegard always wrote her own chant texts. The imagery is inspired by her visions and makes reference to her theological writings:

O moving force of Wisdom who, circling, circled, enclosing all in one lifegiving path, three wings you have: one soars to the heights, one distils its essence upon the earth, and the third is everywhere. Praise to you, as is fitting, O Wisdom. (Translation by Kate Quartano Brown.) Divine Wisdom (Latin: Sapientia), embodied by a woman, was a prominent allegorical character in Hildegard’s writings. For her, Sapientia was the life-giving force that animated the cosmos. The three-winged figure might refer to an illustration that appeared in Scivias, which in turn represented the “Jealousy of God” as he battled the devil. The number three is always associated with the Holy Trinity of God the Father (who “soars to the heights”), God the Son (who is found “upon the earth”), and God the Holy Spirit (who “is everywhere”)—the three natures of the single creator.

This chant is in the Phrygian mode, which is similar to minor but also contains a lowered second scale degree. This can give music in the Phrygian mode a dark and ominous character, but Hildegard’s chant is essentially joyful in terms of text and music. It begins with a long melisma on the invocation “O.” (A melisma is a sequence of notes sung on a single syllable.) This sets a reverential mood. She uses melismas throughout to emphasize important words—the first mention of “Sapientiae,” for example, contains sixteen pitches. Melismas also draw out the text so that the listener has an opportunity to meditate on its meaning: Without them, the poem would be sung too quickly. Hildegard employs text painting when she elevates her melody to its highest note with the words “to the heights,” and then down nearly to its lowest to illustrate the passage “upon the earth.” (Text: Libretext - Esther M. MorganEllis with contributing authors.) Sofia GUBAIDULINA “Aus den Visionen der Hildegard von Bingen” (1994) This work stretches the singer’s range as it moves without rest from highest to lowest registers, in a vocal representation of the span of faith. There are large dynamic contrasts and changes of timbre.


ABOUT THE PROGRAM Lili BOULANGER (1893-1918) ”Reflets”, “Attente” Poèmes: Maurice MAETERLINCK (1862 - 1949) “Dans l'immense tristesse” Poème: Bertha GALERON DE CALONNE (1859-1936) “Reflets” (Reflections) from 1911 bears some affinity to the songs of Fauré in its broken chord accompaniment and tonal harmonies. One year later, in “Attente” (Expectation), Boulanger’s harmonic language is more complex and chromatic, evocative of some early Debussy songs. These two songs are in the keys of F-sharp minor and C-sharp major, respectively, showing Lili’s predilection for sharp keys. These pieces express again the strength tinged by melancholy that was a constant theme for Lili Boulanger — in her life — and in her music. “Dans l’immense tristesse” (In Immense Sadness), from 1916, is in B-flat minor, a key that Lili Boulanger used to represent mourning and sadness. The dark sonorities, ostinato-like accompaniment patterns on stark open fifths, and dissonant harmonies convey the anguish of the mother grieving over her dead child. Some resolution comes with the quotation of a French lullaby in the piano postlude. Bertha Galeron had lost a child. Boulanger lost her beloved father, when she was only six years old. This sadness is conveyed by a slow tempo,

evenly spaced piano chords in the accompaniment, and a wistful woman's voice singing above. When the woman seeks her child, the piano chords become very dissonant, in contrast to the rest of the piece. These few low chords are so dissonant that they stand out in particular. The piece then slightly moves to a faster tempo, but slows to almost a halt and a whisper at the end of the song, when the text speaks of the sleeping child. Chromaticism dominates the work, but at the end of the piece, a few notes of a French lullaby play softly in the piano part, after the voice has died out. [Adapted from description by Sylvia Typaldos and from notes by Rebecca Rollins.]

György KURTÁG (b.1926) Requiem for a friend op.26 (1986-7)

Het ga je goed This requiem (translated: Requiem for the Beloved) is a song for piano and soprano. The text is written by Rimma Dalos, a female Russian writer, working in Budapest, Hungary.


ABOUT THE PROGRAM Jack SYMONDS (b.1988) Guardare, meravigliarsi… Nocturnes No. 1, 2 (World Premiere)

Guardare, meravigliarsi... is a collection

of five nocturnes for piano, each of which attempts to create the illusion of a multiplicity of layers within a single instrument. The title is from a recurring libretto line and musical figure in Luigi Dallapiccola's major opera Ulisse: "Guardare, meravigliarsi, e tornar a guardare" ('to gaze, to marvel, and to return to gazing"), representing the questing, visionary spirit of Ulysses, as well as being a metaphor for the process of composition itself.

4. Notturno in ommagio: The opening

bar of Gabriel Fauré's mysterious final Nocturne slips into a hommagecommentary on Fauré's own pianistic world, before atomising into a wild middle section of keyboard extremes. The return of the Fauré material extinguishes into silence.

5. Notturno corrente: 'Flowing' from

one idea to the next, this nocturne takes the material of the other four and creates continuity. Its final slow section is a commentary on the phrase from Dallapiccola, finding an uneasy repose somewhere between his harmonic practice and my own. Jack Symonds 2022

1. Notturno sospeso: a rising figure

separates the registers of the keyboard into something like a 'sky' and a 'sea', with a 'suspended' melody poised to dip downwards at any moment.

2. Notturno in riflessione: one single melody is 'reflected' softly into the middle register; a world of mirrors where every figure is sometimes exactly imitated and at others distorted.

3. Notturno ghiacciato: A slow, 3-part

canon 'freezes' into a landscape of widely-spaced chords from which tendrils of the opening almost succeed in escaping.

John CAGE (1912-1992) “The Year Begins to Be Ripe”: Solo for Voice 49 (1970) This is a lyrically chanted text from Thoreau’s journals, which fills one with wonder at life untouched by man, and a love of all living things. From Alastair Macaulay, Financial Times, 1990.


ABOUT THE PROGRAM Ross FIDDES (b. 1944) “Toasting Mother Earth” It was in the aftermath of the 2020 summer bushfires that it was suggested I compose a work about climate change, a subject of concern for me. I turned to Derek Dowding, a local poet, singer, actor, raconteur, and a person vitally interested in the future of humanity and of the planet. Derek and I had worked together before – he brilliantly performed the role of Abelard in my hybrid opera “Abelard and Heloise”. Derek worked long and late on the lyrics for the work, producing an emotional document covering history, cause and effect. His words produced musical responses from me which I consider react appropriately to both his words and the subject matter. For the musical treatment I had to consider that the length of the work, through-sung, 20 minutes, required a recurrent grounding to avoid too many thematic ideas getting in the way of the words. To that end, I created a quasireflective section which appears, rondostyle, quite a few times during the length of the piece. And, for further cohesion, I built an ABA (ternary) section early to address certain word structures. Mostly, the various sections followed the stanza structure provided by Derek, with some combinations. My musical style is essentially melodic, but with dramatic and other episodes, be they tonal, astringent, harmonically

indecisive and so on. In building the work I was principally influenced by the impact and flow of the words. The work is quite mammoth for both the singer and the pianist. I am absolutely delighted that Anna Fraser will again premiere a work of mine – in 2015 she marvellously premiered another major composition of mine, “The Man in the Other Room.” We can only hope that the new work ultimately adds to the chorus of warnings and concern about the climactic future that awaits if we continue to ignore or postpone dramatic and urgent attention to addressing the causes of climate change.

A living orb cloaked white and blue and green Revolving and evolving, tight-hugged in orbit flight We ride her back; dependent, fragile offspring. Suckling all the while …but have we bonded? A world unlike any other world we’ve seen Gifted with Water, Air, Earth and perfect Light. The essentials of life. Freely, these gifts she brings. Free for all but how have we responded? © 2020 Derek Dowding, Ross Fiddes, June 2021


ABOUT THE PROGRAM Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975) Four Poems of Antonio Machado (1948) Luigi Dallapiccola's “Quattro Liriche di Antonio Machado” is a cycle of four songs originally written for voice and piano. The songs set poetry by Spanish poet Antonio Machado. "The musical 'germ cell' for these pieces came to Dallapiccola as he was crossing a bridge reciting the line 'Señor, ya estamos solos, mi corazón y el mar.' 'Alone once again, your heart and the sea.' Dallapiccola's twelve-tone melodies permit immense variety. The first song features an arpeggiated melody as graceful as the spring flowers it describes. The second begins with a yearning, unaccompanied vocal line, suspending time as in a dream. The third, containing the 'germ cell,' depicts despair with almost operatic intensity. The last restates the opening melody at less than half tempo. Spring has returned, but without hope." Dr. Virginia Sublett (Allmusic.com)

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) “only” (1947) Poem: Rainer Maria RILKE (Die Sonette an Orpheus XXIII [1923]) Set to a poem by Rilke, this is one of the very first compositions by Morton Feldman (aged 21 at the time), and one of his rare pieces for solo voice.

Anne CAWRSE (b. 1981) “Since I lost you” from “This Too Shall Pass” “In order for there to be resurrection, there must first be death; to begin to understand and take delight in love gained, one must first experience love lost; beyond the light of day there will always be the darkness of the night. I seem to find a simple, honest beauty in melancholy; perhaps it is because these juxtapositions of light and dark, pain and ecstasy, love and loss seems altogether more real, more human.” These four elegies dive into the bittersweet symphony that is life, offering simultaneous consolation and cause for distress. Musically, I wish only to effectively paint the inherent beauty, devotion, sadness and fear of these poet's words. The words of the psalmist convey much of this struggle of paradox within our life journeys: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid... perhaps so, but I must still walk through the valley. The title came after the songs were composed, and is from an old Jewish folk story, which Abraham Lincoln referenced in 1859. "It is said an eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him with the words, 'And this, too, shall pass away.' How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!" Anne Cawrse


ABOUT THE PERFORMERS Anna Fraser is a versatile soprano specialising in the interpretation of early and contemporary repertoire, expertly demonstrating the versatility and virtuosity of a cappella singing. Equally at home as a dramatist on the stage, Anna is also a strong exponent of music education.

ANNA FRASER

Anna performs extensively with Sydney's professional ensembles including Pinchgut Opera and Cantillation, Sydney Chamber Opera, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Ironwood, Acacia Quartet, Ensemble Offspring, Halcyon, Taikoz; Bach Akadamie Australia, Australian Haydn Ensemble, and Salut! Baroque. Anna performed with The Song Company for over a decade and has collaborated with international ensembles such as The Wallfisch Band (UK) and the New Zealand String Quartet. Newcastle Music Festival is delighted to welcome Anna to perform on two occasions in this year’s festival, in this concert, and with Pinchgut Opera in Vespers by Monteverdi.


ABOUT THE PERFORMERS pas- nulle part… (2014 Sydney Festival), Maxwell Davies’s The Lighthouse

JACK SYMONDS

Jack Symonds is a composer, conductor and accompanist, and Artistic Director of Sydney Chamber Opera. He studied composition at the Royal College of Music, London under Kenneth Hesketh and at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, receiving the University Medal. Trained also as a pianist and trombonist, Jack works regularly as an accompanist and pianist, premiering many new works and conducting his own and others’ music, including Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (2017), Owen Wingrave (2013- Australian premiere) & The Turn of the Screw (2010), Saariaho’s (2019 Sydney Festival) Dusapin’s Passion & O Mensch! (2016 Sydney Festival- Australian premieres), Romitelli’s An Index of Metals with Ensemble Offspring (2015), Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill & Kurtág’s … pas à

(2012), Kancheli’s http://sydneychamberopera.com/?p=1 025 (2013) and Jonathan Dove’s chamber version of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen (2011- Australian premiere and 2017 for Victorian Opera). He conducted the world premieres of Elliott Gyger’s Fly Away Peter and Oscar and Lucinda, Mary Finsterer’s Biographica, Damien Ricketson’s The Howling Girls and Michael Smetanin’s Mayakovsky. Composition premieres include The Shape of the Earth after Patrick White’s Voss, Climbing Toward Midnight, a chamber opera re-imagining the second act of Wagner’s Parsifal, a piece for New York’s JACK Quartet, the Dostoevsky opera Notes from Underground (2011, restaged at Carriageworks in 2016), a string work for Australian Chamber Orchestra, stage work Nunc Dimittis, (2011), the song cycle Time Unredeemed (2010), a large-scale piece for viola and piano, Song Cycle, written for violist James Wannan (2011), Sunless Communion (2013) for the Composers Ensemble at Dartington where he studied with Detlev Glanert. He has written new pieces for TimoVeikko Valve, Jane Sheldon, Australia Piano Quartet, the Streeton Trio, cellist Patrick Murphy, a viola d’amore and percussion double concerto for BIFEM and a 2015 concert series curated around his music by Affinity Collective which included three premieres.


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

HILDEGARD OF BINGEN 1098-1179 St. Hildegard von Bingen is remembered for her diverse interests, talents, and abilities. She wrote on the subjects of medicine, botany, theology, and liturgy, and composed songs, wrote plays, and experienced visions. St. Hildegard served as an abbess and founded monasteries in Germany. She was born around the year 1098 to parents Mechtild of Marxheim-Nahet and Hildebert of Bermersheim. The youngest of ten children, she was offered by her family as an oblate to the church at the age of eight. At fourteen, she was enclosed with the nun, Jutta von Sponheim. the abbess of a

Benedictine monastery. Jutta taught St. Hildegard to read and write, prayed the psalms with her, and shared botanical knowledge. St. Hildegard learned to play the psaltery (harp), which led her to learn more about music, eventually composing her own songs. When Jutta died in 1136, St. Hildegard was chosen by the Benedictine community to be the new abbess. St. Hildegard first had visions at age three, and at age 42, a vision instructed her to write what she saw and heard. The works of St. Hildegard are compiled in three volumes: first, musical compositions used for liturgy; second, nearly 400 letters written to popes, emperors, abbots and abbesses – including sermons she preached through the 1160s and 1170s; and third, material relating to natural medicines and cures, information she gathered through her experience of gardening and tending to the sick. Her music was mainly for use in liturgy and chanting. One of her greatest works is a morality play entitled “Ordo Virtutum,” which has parts for the human soul, sixteen virtues, and even the voice of the devil. St. Hildegard’s understanding of the natural world came from the story of creation. She believed in the healing properties of plants, read many books and did experiments. Many of her writings show an understanding of disease, illness, and health uncommon for the time in which she lived. In addition to these works, St. Hildegard was highly regarded as a rhetorician and preacher.


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

SOFIA GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Sofia Gubaidulina was born in Chistopol in the Tatar Republic of the Soviet Union in 1931, learned piano and composition at the Kazan Conservatory, then studied composition at the Moscow Conservatory. Since 1992, she has made her primary residence in Germany, outside Hamburg. Gubaidulina visited the USA and has had works commissioned there by such groups as the Kronos Quartet. Her works are widely recorded and praised by critics in the USA and Europe, and have been highly awarded, receiving the Prix de Monaco (1987), the Premio Franco Abbiato (1991), the Heidelberger Künstlerinnenpreis (1991), the Russian State Prize (1992), and the SpohrPreis (1995).

Recent awards include the prestigious Praemium Imperiale in Japan (1998), the Sonning Prize in Denmark (1999), the Polar Music Prize in Sweden (2002), the Living Composer Prize of the Cannes Classical Awards (2003), the Great Distinguished Service Cross of the Order of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany (2009), the ‘Golden Lion’ for Lifetime Achievement of the Venice Bieniale (2013), and the Prix de l’Académie Royale de Belgique (2014). Gubaidulina is a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and recipient of honorary doctorates from Yale University (2009) and the University of Chicago (2011).


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

LILI BOULANGER (1893-1918) When your family friend is Gustav Fauré, music is likely to be part of your life. Fauré discovered that the twoyear-old daughter of friends Raissa and Ernest Boulanger had perfect pitch. Like her older sister Nadia, the young MarieJuliette Olga Boulanger, known as Lili, began study at the Paris Conservatoire. Her parents prudently waited until she was four, before enrolling her. The precocious Lili attended classes in the organ, piano, harp, violin, cello, and musical theory. Later she and older sister Nadia would study composition with Fauré himself.

At the age of nineteen, Lili competed in the Prix de Rome, but collapsed with illness. A year later, she won the prestigious competition, for her work Faust et Heléne. (Ravel, who tried five times, would never win this prize.) Lili and Nadia organised efforts to support French soldiers during WWI. Lili succumbed to illness, believed to be Crohn’s disease, which had plagued her life, and died in 1918. Nadia never composed again. Lili set poems of Maurice Maeterlinck to music, including an opera for his play Princess Maleine, which she never finished. Lili also set the poem “Dans l'immense tristesse” of Bertha Galeron de Calonne, and it was indeed a case of ‘immense sorrow’ that Lili would die at age 25. Lili’s sister Nadia would teach and conduct music until her death, at the age of 92. Her students included Daniel Barenboim and Philip Glass.


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

Maurice Maeterlinck was a fashionable writer of plays and poems, and was revered in Belgium, his home country, although he chiefly wrote in French. Born into a wealthy family, he originally trained as a lawyer, following his father’s wish, but his passion for writing saw him resume a literary career on leaving university.

MAURICE MAETERLINCK (1862-1949)

His play Princess Maleine attracted the critics’ praise, and his writing continued to elevate him to the status of sage throughout Europe. His popular play The Blue Bird was interpreted in early films in 1910 and 1918. He was widely awarded, receiving the Triennial Prize for Literature from the Belgian Government in 1903, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1911. Despite this recognition, Maerterlinck suffered depression and, at times, writer’s block. When Germany invaded Belgium in 1914, he and his actress partner Georgette Leblanc, for whom he had written many roles, settled in Nice. His application to join the French Foreign Legion had been rejected on the basis of his age. After 1920 his writings concentrated on subjects such as the occult, ethics, and natural history, including a controversial book on the life of termites.


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

GYORGY KURTAK Kurtag’s first opera was premiered when he was 92, in Milan. That the Hungarian composer’s opera was based on a play by Samuel Beckett goes some way to explaining the existential questions that beset this composer, whose music has been described as “wresting images of beauty and solace from a world of darkness.” (Tom Service, “The Guardian”, 2013).

RIMMA DALOS studied German

history at Lomonossow University in Moscow. Since 1970 she has lived in Hungary. Rimma Dalos is currently working as a academic assistant at the Budapest Office of the Friedrich-EbertFoundation. Many of her poems have been set to music by the Hungarian composer György Kurták. Her many publications include the bilingual lyric poetry volume Ohne Dich (Without You), contributions to the Kursbuch and works in translation.


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

JOHN MILTON CAGE JNR. (1912-1992) An experimenter whose musical influences and interests spanned the world, John Cage is often remembered for his ‘silent’ work 4’33”, which is an invitation to hear to the sounds surrounding the listener. Cage was intensely interested in all human experience and different cultural attempts to understand the world, and it is not surprising that he was also a visual artist, with a deep passion for living things, particularly mushrooms! He was inspired by Thoreau and Buckminster Fuller, as well as Indian ideas about the relationship between music and nature, and considered music

as a model of ecological relationships with the natural world. With Morton Feldman, whose work also features in the program, and others, Cage was part of the so-called “New York School”, but lived most of his life in the western states of the USA. Cage’s interest in Thoreau’s writings spanned many years, and in 1981 he performed a 10-hour monologue, “Empty Words”, using extracts from Thoreau, in phrases, words and sounds, selected using a methodology much favoured by Cage, based on chance. A much shorter, earlier work based on Thoreau’s writing is featured in this concert.


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817-1862) Thoreau, nineteenth century author of “Walden” and “The Maine Woods”, is regarded with ambivalence by modern and past commentators, as everything ranging from the father of American environmentalism to a privileged white colonialist playing at achieving an idealised notion of simplicity. “The fact is,” he wrote in his journal, “that I am a mystic, a transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher to boot.”

In his article, “Everyone Hates Henry”, Donovan Hohn described him as “a naturalist who studied a pond, scum and all, so curiously and attentively he glimpsed an ecosystem and perhaps even a cosmos through the distorted mirror of his own reflection”. This is the Thoreau who interested John Cage. [“The New Republic”]


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

ROSS FIDDES (b.1944) Ross Fiddes’ recent compositions include a chamber opera for the international dramatic soprano Jennifer Wilson, and today’s work “Toasting Mother Earth”, with writer Derek Dowding. Well known for his song cycles, Ross has composed music on a range of themes and for different voice styles. The Acacia Quartet and soprano Anna Fraser premiered a song cycle, The Man in the Other Room, set to poems by his daughter Samantha Fiddes. Soprano Ayse Goknur Shanal premiered and has performed his song cycle, on poems responding to experiences of the Gallipoli campaign in WW1. This song cycle is now available on a Wirripang CD called Canakkale – Gallipoli Songs.

In the 2018 Newcastle Music Festival, baritone Michael Lampard premiered Love Stories, a song cycle based on poems by John Shaw Nielson, and dedicated by Ross to his wife Jill. Ross Fiddes has performed on piano as soloist, accompanist and recitalist, and as a chamber player. As conductor/ musical director Ross has conducted symphony concerts, operas, musicals and choral concerts for many musical organisations in the Hunter. Ross is a lawyer with over 50 years in practice, and co-founder of the Newcastle Music Festival.


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

DEREK DOWDING

Derek Dowding is a Newcastle based poet, composer and musician who has been writing parody and protest songs for decades. The subjects of his songs include the Williamtown water contamination, and his latest poem, "Toasting Mother Earth", put to music by composer Ross Fiddes, rages against the impact of industrialisation and its role in creating climate change. Derek and Ross Fiddes are now collaborating on the creation of two chamber operas adapted from oriental ghost stories.


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS Morton Feldman could be described as the quintessential twentieth century New Yorker, born into a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants, and living in the intellectual milieu which also featured John Cage, Mark Rothko, Frank O’Hara and Jackson Pollock. The piece performed in this concert, ‘only’, dates from 1947, prior to Feldman’s meeting in 1950 with Cage, in the foyer of a theatre after both left a concert, disturbed by the audience reception of a symphony by Anton Webern. His music is variously described as “soft and intimate”, and he says: “In my music

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987) [Photo: Rob Bogaerts/ ANEFO]

I am… involved with the decay of each sound, and try to make its attack sourceless. The attack of a sound is not its character. Actually, what we hear is the attack and not the sound. Decay, however, this departing landscape, this expresses where the sound exists in our hearing — leaving us rather than coming towards us.”

Cage encouraged Feldman to explore new boundaries in his music, to vary rhythm and duration, and use nonstandard notation. After 1970, Feldman reverted to more rhythmical works, and some extremely long works, culminating in the six-hour long String Quartet II. For much of his life, he worked in the family textile business in New York. The later years of Feldman’s life were spent in Buffalo, New York, near the Niagara River, as Edgar Valerese Professor at the University of Buffalo.


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

RAINER MARIA RILKE (1857-1926) Rainer Maria Rilke was essentially a Parisian poet, for the most productive period of his life was spent in that city. He was also a cosmopolitan, travelling extensively throughout Europe. Born in Prague, he entered military school at a young age, but his tendencies were literary, and he was removed to a preparatory school in Germany, and then university.

Westhoff, a pupil of the great sculptor Rodin, and became Rodin’s friend and then secretary, living for twelve years in Paris.

By the time he was 21 he had already published three collections of poetry, He travelled to Italy, and then Russia, where he met Tolstoy and the Pasternak family. He married Clara

Well known among artistic circles during his life, it was only after his death that his poems would become widely known and loved in the general community.

During World War I he was unable to stay in France, and moved to Germany, then later Switzerland, where the “Sonette an Orpheus” were written in 1923. He died of leukaemia in 1926.


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

At the age of 11, Bertha Galeron de Calonne was rendered partially deaf and blind by typhoid fever, eventually succumbing in later life to total deafness. She learned music from the Sisters of St Vincent de Paul in Paris, and later married, having three children. Bertha found that she could ‘hear’ her young daughter by the child speaking into the palm of her mother’s hand, and could understand her husband’s speech by holding her hands to his throat. Berthe became a correspondent of Helen Keller.

BERTHA GALERON DE CALONNE (1859-1936)

With her husband she travelled extensively through Europe, and is remembered chiefly for a collection of poems called Dans ma nuit (In my night) which was first published in 1890, and revised in 1897. Victor Hugo called her “the great seer”, and she is now regarded as one of France’s finest 19th century poets. [Image: courtesy of Valentin Haüy: Actualities, Didier Haas, 1st trimester 2007, No. 85, p. 32.; Gallica, Bibliotheque Nationale de Francais (BNF)


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

ANNE CAWRSE Photo credit: Emma Luker 2019 Anne Cawrse is an Adelaide based composer of orchestral, chamber and vocal music. Born in Freeling in rural South Australia, Anne studied composition at the Elder Conservatorium of Music. She completed her PhD in Composition with Graeme Koehne and Charles Bodman Rae. Anne has had five works commissioned by the Adelaide Chamber Singers and is a revered art song composer, with performances by Greta Bradman and Emma Horwood, among others. Anne has had major commissions from the Adelaide and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, Australian String Quartet, Adelaide Wind Orchestra, Benaud Trio and Zephyr Quartet.

Her first opera, Innocence, was developed with Singular Productions and the State Opera Company of SA with support from an Arts SA Major Commission grant. Anne's choral work On Earth As In Heaven received the SA State award at the 2018 APRA/AMC Classical Music Awards, and her orchestral work Musaic (for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) was a finalist in the 2008 awards. Anne has received many awards and grants, such as the Bishop Memorial Commission and the inaugural Women in Music commission. Anne is a casual member of staff at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, and the tutor for the 2021 Australian Youth Orchestra's Composition program. With thanks to Australian Music Centre


ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND POETS

D.H. LAWRENCE (1880-1935) English writer David Herbert Lawrence’s prolific and diverse output included novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, paintings, translations, and literary criticism. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, human sexuality and instinct. After a brief foray into formal poetics in his early years, his later poems embrace organic attempts to capture emotion through free verse.

Lawrence's opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his “savage pilgrimage.” At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E.M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as, “The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.” Later, the influential Cambridge critic F.R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence's fiction within the canonical “great tradition” of the English novel. With grateful acknowledgement of the Poetry Foundation


LYRICS AND TRANSLATIONS “O Virtus Sapientiae” Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) O virtus Sapientiae, quae circuiens circuisti comprehendendo omnia in una via, quae habet vitam, tres alas habens, quarum una in altum volat, et altera de terra sudat, et tertia undique volat. Laus tibi sit, sicut te decet, O Sapientia.

O moving force of Wisdom who, circling, circled, enclosing all in one lifegiving path, three wings you have: one soars to the heights, one distils its essence upon the earth, and the third is everywhere. Praise to you, as is fitting, O Wisdom.

Translation by Kate Quartano Brown

“Aus den Vision der Hildegard von Bingen” (1994) Sofia Gubaidulina (b.1931) Text - Sofia Gubaidulina, after Hildegard von Bingen Gott, der alles durch Seinen Willen ins Dasein rief, hat es erschaffen, damit Sein Name erkannt und verehrt werde. Nicht nur das Sichtbare und Vergängliche tut Er dammit kund, sondern offenbart darin auch das Unsichtbare und Ewige. Darauf weist das Gesicht hin, das du schaust.

God, who created all things in his will, made them so that his name would be known and honoured. Through his creation he not only makes known visible and temporal things but also invisible and eternal things. Such matters are shown in this vision which you see.


LYRICS AND TRANSLATIONS “Reflets” –

“Reflections”

Lili BOULANGER (1893-1918) Poème: Maurice MAETERLINCK (1862-1949)

Translation © Korin Kormick 2014

Sous l'eau du songe qui s'élève Mon âme a peur, mon âme a peur. Et la lune luit dans mon cœur Plongé dans les sources du rêve! Sous l'ennui morne des roseaux. Seul les reflets profonds des choses, Des lys, des palmes et des roses Pleurent encore au fond des eaux. Les fleurs s'effeuillent une à une Sur le reflet du firmament. Pour descendre, éternellement Dans l'eau du songe et dans la lune.

“Attente” Lili BOULANGER (1893-1918) Poème: Maurice MAETERLINCK (1862 - 1949) Mon âme a joint ses mains étranges À l'horizon de mes regards; Exaucez mes rêves épars Entre les lèvres de vos anges! En attendant sous mes yeux las, Et sa bouche ouverte aux prières Éteintes entre mes paupières Et dont les lys n'éclosent pas; Elle apaise au fond de mes songes, Ses seins effeuillés sous mes cils, Et ses yeux clignent aux perils Éveillés au fil des mensonges.

“Expectation”

Under the rising water of the dream, my soul is afraid, my soul is afraid. and the moon shines in my heart plunged into the well-springs of the dream! Under the mournful boredom of the reeds, only the profound reflections of things, of lilies, of palms, and of roses, still weep at the bottom of the waters. The flowers drop their petals one by one on the reflection of the sky in order to sink eternally under the water of the dream and into the moon.

English Translation © Richard Stokes, author of A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000) provided courtesy of Oxford Lieder, www.oxfordlieder.co.uk) My soul has folded its strange hands On the horizon of my gaze; Satisfy my scattered dreams Between the lips of your angels! Waiting beneath my weary eyes, Mouth open in prayers Extinguished behind my eyelids Whose lilies never open; My soul brings peace to the depths of my dreams, Its breasts bared beneath my lashes And its eyes blink at the perils Awoken through the thread of lies.


LYRICS AND TRANSLATIONS Requiem for a friend op.26 (1986-7) Het ga je goed György KURTÁG (b.1926) Text – Rimma DALOS (b.1944) – from Russian

“The Year Begins to Be Ripe”: Solo for Voice 49 (1970)

I.

John CAGE (1912-1992) Text: Henry David THOREAU (Journal)

II.

III.

IV.

O God, how suddenly still… Anxiety and horror all around Now tell me beloved How am I to live without love? And the blossoms are withered, And the scents are vanished What remains for me except hope and dreams? It was my strength That you gave to her Now I am stranded and dying of shame. Farewell my dear God bless. I have nothing to regret I have nothing to forget

The birds seem to delight in the first fine days of the fall in the warm hazy light (robins, bluebirds, in families on the almost bare elms, phoebes and probably purple finches). Now the year itself begins to be ripe, ripened by the frost, like a persimmon.


LYRICS AND TRANSLATIONS “Toasting Mother Earth” Ross FIDDES Text: Derek DOWDING A world unlike any other world we’ve seen Gifted with Water, Air Earth and perfect Light, The essence of Life. Freely, these gifts she brings. Free for all but how have we responded? A living orb cloaked white and blue and green Revolving and evolving, tight-hugged in orbit flight. We ride her back: Dependent, fragile offspring. Suckling the while…But have we bonded? We once followed the paths of the ancients; took only as required. “Survival”: deriving reward from the bounty of nature’s unrivalled perfection, inspired. Guided by seasons, the reason to rove; sporadic abundance: the cycle our moving life force. But the seed “agriculture”, transforming culture, led nomadic ways to redundance, alas, for worse. We grew and we grew… tied firmly to the spot. We grew fat. We grew ill and hungrier still; sowing our ever-expanding sedentary plot. Addition the mission; with mounting ambition of ways to grow, to grow more. To gain greater sum from the natural bounty we held highly regarded before. Old ways forgotten; lain rotten with no backward gazing, we set the past blazing. Burning the forests, the oil, gas and coal, Unlearning the lessons the wise ones traditionally told. Taking, forsaking and chokingly, smokingly sold, Greed now the impetus. Lustfully “getting” and “keeping. Perhaps good intention merits a mention. Techno-dreams stirring while common sense is sleeping entranced To the whirring sounds of machines. Machines that mine ore to feed the forges. Machines that move mountains and fill in the gorges.


LYRICS AND TRANSLATIONS “Toasting Mother Earth”

Ross FIDDES Text: Derek DOWDING Continued Machines to draw boundaries, build a high wall. Machines that brought absolute pow’r over all. But what have we burnt to bolster the boilers? And how did we rovers become slaves and toilers? And oilers and greasers of thunderous machines? And when did we chance to acquire Kings and Queens? Then time meant money. Not transitions from Winter to Spring. Where milk and honey were measure enough of the stuff that the seasons would bring. Empire! Longer, broader, higher! Expanding empire Fuelling insatiable fire. Bring resistance to heel, insistently demand our Mother should kneel. Empire, empire! On fire. Bow down, before the pow’r of man! before the arrow, sword and gun! Yield to the Field Marshall. Strike up the band! A parade! A grenade! How the West was won. But what was won? What was gained? Harnessed and enslaved, our freedom tethered, tightly reigned. Law and government power constitutes That the power of Man belongs to the men in suits. But will these men take heed in our time of need? To heed where all the facts suggest the axe will fall? Where the axe will fall? And people in plain clothes beseech they act Or will their unbridled greed destroy us all? Their system, artificial monster brought to life. A psychopathic cyborg with no heart in its breast But beating nonetheless; After all…winning is the mission nothing less.


LYRICS AND TRANSLATIONS “Toasting Mother Earth”

Ross FIDDES Text: Derek DOWDING continued Of the many varied gods who supposedly control the outcome of our ventures. Where are they? Which omniscient deity is tempering the toll? Will a saviour come and fix it all in one day? How blind is the beast with endless appetite? The ravenous, clamorous beast too loud to hear The muffled whimpering calls heard within the next bite. As dirty clouds condense about the sphere. The world that once shone so blue, white and green Is browning now, a withered, crestfallen flower. Neglected, uncared for, spent and unclean, Her petals curling, dropping by the hour. Could we let up a moment; long enough to hear The weeping doves; their endless floods of tears? Can we take breath to note the Earth is bleeding? Can we pause to assess what we have caused? How can we rate this conquest as “succeeding”? A living orb cloaked….


LYRICS AND TRANSLATIONS Poems of Antonio Machado (1948) Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975) Text – Antonio MACHADO (1875-1939) No. 1. La primavera ha venido La primavera ha venido. ¡Aleluyas blancas De los zarzales floridos! No. 2, Ayer soñé que veía Ayer soñé que veía A Dios y que a Dios hablaba; Y soñé que Dios me oía... Después soñé que soñaba. No. 3, Señor, ya me arrancaste Señor, ya me arrancaste lo que yo más quería. Oye otra vez, Dios mío, mi corazón clamar. Tu voluntad se hizo, Señor, contra la mía. Señor, ya estamos solos mi corazón y el mar. No. 4, La primavera ha venido La primavera ha venido, Nadie sabe cómo ha sido.

I. Spring has come. White Hallelujahs from briars in bloom! II. Last night I dreamt I saw God and talked to God And I dreamt God heard me… Later I dreamt I was dreaming. III. Lord, you have torn from me what I loved most. Listen again to my heart’s supplication. Your will has been done, Lord, against mine. Lord, my heart and the sea are already alone. IV. Spring has returned. But without hope.


LYRICS AND TRANSLATIONS “only” (1947) Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Poem: Rainer Maria RILKE (1857-1926)

Die Sonette an Orpheus XXIII (1923) only when flight shall soar not for its own sake only up into heaven’s lonely silence, and be no more – merely the lightly profiling, proudly successfully tool, playmate of winds, beguiling time there, careless and cool: only when some pure wither outweighs boyish insistence on the achieved machine will who, has journeyed thither be, in that fading distance, all that his flight has been.

“Since I lost you” - Anne CAWRSE Poem: D.H. LAWRENCE (1880-1935)

“Elegy” Since I lost you, my darling, the sky has come near, And I am of it, the small sharp stars are quite near, The white moon going among them like a white bird among snow-berries, And the sound of her gently rustling in heaven like a bird I hear. And I am willing to come to you now, my dear, As a pigeon lets itself off from a cathedral dome To be lost in the haze of the sky, I would like to come, And be lost out of sight with you, and be gone like foam. For I am tired, my dear, and if I could lift my feet, My tenacious feet from off the dome of the earth To fall like a breath within the breathing wind Where you are lost, what rest, my love, what rest!


LYRICS AND TRANSLATIONS “Dans l'immense tristesse” Lili BOULANGER (1893-1918) Poème: Bertha GALERON DE CALONNE (1859-1936) Dans l'immense tristesse et dans le lourd silence, Un pas se fait entendre, une forme s'avance, Et vers une humble tombe elle vient se pencher O femme, en ce lieu saint, que viens-tu donc chercher. Pourquoi viens-tu troubler la paix du cimetière? As-tu donc un trésor caché sous quelque pierre, Ou viens-tu mendier, à l'ombre des tombeaux, Pauvre vivante, aux morts, un peu de leur repos? Non, rien de tout cela jusqu'ici ne l'amène, (La lune en cet instant éclairait cette scène,) Et ce que cette femme, (hélas! le coeur se fend,) Ce que cette femme vient chercher, c'est un frêle et gracieux enfant, Qui dort sur cette tombe, et qui, dans Sa chimère, Depuis qu'il a vu là disparaître sa mère, Doux être! s'imagine en son naïf espoir Qu'elle n'est que cachée et qu'il va la revoir. Et l'on dirait, le soir, en vision secrete, Lorsque le blond enfant sent s'alourdir sa tête, Et que sa petite âme est lasse degémir, Que sa mère revient chanter pour l'endormir

“In the Immense Sadness” Translation Korin Kormick ©2004

In the immense sadness and in the heavy silence, a step makes itself heard, a form advances, and towards a humble tomb she comes to lean over; O, woman, in this holy place, what do you come to seek? Why do you come to disturb the peace of the cemetery? do you have a treasure hidden under some stone, or do you come to beg, in the shadow of the tombs, poor living woman, from the dead, a bit of their rest? No, none of that brings her here, (the moon at that moment illuminated this scene,) and what this woman, (Alas! The heart breaks,) What this woman comes to seek is a frail and graceful child, since it was there that he saw his mother disappear, (Sweet being!) imagines in his naïve hope who sleeps on this grave, and who, in his fallacy, that she is only hidden and that he will see her again. And they say that at night in a secret vision, when the blond child feels his head grow heavy, and his little soul is weary of sighing, his mother returns to sing him to sleep.


ABOUT THE FESTIVAL Artistic Director: David Banney

COMMITTEE: Emeritus Prof. John Rostas – President Colleen Potts OAM – Vice-President/Volunteer Coordinator Ross Fiddes – Secretary/Treasurer/Artistic Consultant Jillian Fiddes – Administrator Jillian Albrecht – Editor and Media Liaison John Cornell – Corporate Liaison Jenny Barrie – Community Liaison/Masterclass Convener Kerrie Coles – Merchandise/Stylist Convener Greg Kerr – Financial Advisor

BECOME A FRIEND OF THE FESTIVAL The Newcastle Music Festival is made possible thanks to the generous support of many sponsors and donors. To make a tax-deductible donation and become a Friend of the Festival see the festival website, or speak to a member of the committee after the concert.

COVID RESTRICTIONS The NMF follows a COVID-safe plan, adhering to all government regulations and requirements in relation to the pandemic. The requirements may change at any time. Patrons must not enter an NMF venue if they have symptoms of COVID, are waiting for COVID results, or are required to quarantine or self-isolate for any reason. Patrons are encouraged to wear masks indoors.


STILL TO COME IN THE FESTIVAL: Rachmaninov with a Cello Grace Knight in Concert Festival Finale

Fri, Aug 12, 7.30pm Sat, Aug 13, 7.30pm Sun, Aug 14, 2.30pm

AA CC CC

AA – Adamstown Uniting Church, CC – Christ Church Cathedral