MAY 2019 ISSUE 4
THE MAGAZINE OF ORCHESTRAS CENTRAL
BEYOND THE BARRICADE
WHYÂ REMOVING THE BARRIERS BETWEEN MUSICIANS AND AUDIENCES IS ESSENTIAL
GET WITH THE PROGRAMME
THE WORLD OF PROGRAMME NOTES (AND HOW TO UNDERSTAND THEM)
HEAT ON THE CONDUCTOR
INTRODUCING THE ORCHESTRAS
Opus is a professional chamber orchestra that plays a vital role in the creative life of the region. Concerts are held in Hamilton, Tauranga & Rotorua, and will also tour the wider Waikato and BOP from 2020. Opus attracts internationally recognised conductors such as Holly Mathieson, and soloists such as Mark Hadlow and Simon O’Neill. Peter Walls has been Music Director and Principal conductor for Opus since 2009.
Along with ‘Sunset Symphony’, held at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival each summer, and education concerts attended by 1500 Waikato school children, TWSO also present two symphonic concerts each year and holds regular 'read-throughs' and sectional workshops. Since 2017, the education concerts have also been livestreamed. This all-volunteer player orchestra has been performing in Hamilton for over 100 years and has been led by Rupert D’Cruze since 2007.
Established in 2017, this flexible-sized group of professional musicians made their debut at Sensing Music performing 'Sonoscopia', a commissioned work by Dr Jeremy Mayall, as well as the Waikato's first 'Music in the Round'. The ensemble also co-presents an innovative workshop teaching 'leaderless leadership'. This is an agile, innovative ensemble available for both public and private concerts.
Youth Orchestras Waikato offers a year-round programme of activity including workshops, camps and a Senior Youth Orchestra aimed at 12-18 year old musicians. The Orchestra currently has 51 auditioned players. Led by Tim Carpenter, and overseen by Rupert D'Cruze, Artistic Director - Community, the programme contributes directly to the regions' ecosystem of orchestral music in the region, giving young musicians opportunities to develop and play together.
This orchestra is for everyone! More than 50 musicians of all ages and abilities meet for the sheer pleasure of playing together and making music. Events include training workshops for players, a ‘pop-up orchestra’ , all-comers ‘just play it’ day and at the end of the year ‘A Very Rusty Christmas’ with the fledgling Rusty Singers.
BEYOND THE BARRICADE It wasn't that many centuries ago that the formal concert hall that we know now didn't exist.
The minstrels' gallery might have kept the musicians safe from the shenanigans of the lords and ladies in the parlours, but for the average citizen, music was performed in the heart of the community. We think it's time to get back to that way of doing things. A study of 11000 people, conducted by the Knight Foundation in 2006 on behalf of fifteen major orchestras discovered some sobering statistics on the life of music lovers. Classical music may be a complex art form, but only 6 percent of those interested in classical music considered themselves very knowledgeable about it, while more than half described themselves as â€œnot very knowledgeable.â€? Still, it gave them enjoyment. The study findings surprised many who had, over the years, come to certain conclusions about classical music audiences. Of those interested in classical music, 78 percent described themselves as casual listeners, undermining further the traditional profile of classical music lovers as seriously involved concertgoers. In fact, 12 percent had never even heard of their local symphony. For symphonies, the good news about the numbers of classical music prospects was a mixed blessing since affinity to the art form did not necessarily translate into attendance at orchestra concerts. Fewer than 5 percent of those interested actually patronized their local symphonies. There is no doubt that for many, the excitement that comes from dressing up in a nice frock, sipping on a glass of wine in the lobby, and networking with like-minded music lovers is part of the pleasure of a night out at the orchestra. But for many others, this is a foreign experience, and for some it's something they have no idea they can even take part in. So, how do we encourage people to come and enjoy the orchestra, feel part of what's going on, but not feel pressured, or worse, threatened, by the perceived rules and structure that go with a concert? Breaking down the barriers can be as simple as providing concert goers with a 'how-to guide' like the one on the Orchestras Central website. This insider's guide gives simple, plain language ways to understand what's happening not only on the stage, but in the breaks, and the special times before and after a concert. It might mean providing more insightful information - and decoding it - as we've done in this issue, with the explanations of content in a concert programme. It might mean ensuring that some of the concerts we offer are low-cost or free, or are held near public transport, or are livestreamed, so that as wide a community as possible can attend.Â
None of these things are new ideas, but each one breaks down another barrier that might put off a new concert goer 'trying us out'. But there's more than just mindset to break through - there are other barriers that can be off- putting for audiences too. Traditionally, the orchestra has been viewed as being 'just a little bit posh' with many potential audience members being very clear that 'classical' music is just not for them. It often comes as quite a surprise to learn that the music in films, and more recently in computer gaming, is in fact complex, beautiful, and played by a live orchestra. In the book 'Highbrow/Lowbrow' author Laurence Levine wrote 'the symphony orchestra concert was not always the domain of those with upper class status and superior musical knowledge. In fact, classical music concerts in the 1800s were readily available to the masses, and attendees of concerts included people who gained pleasure from hearing the music and viewed it as part of everyday life and culture'. ''The atmosphere of a symphony concert was completely different during this time, with musical selections including lighter, more popular tunes of the day and the more difficult, western music side-by-side to appeal to the wide-ranging musical tastes of the attendees. The music served as a "cultural lexicon that cut through class and income; [it] was welcomed and admired by people from all segments of the society and 'owned' by none.'' A study at the University of Tennesee highlighted the changes that are afoot in the orchestral world. One way an orchestra can reach a community is by presenting concerts in non-traditional locations. Removing the stigma of the fancy concert hall from the equation often results in more people trying classical music. For example, outdoor concerts often attract large numbers of people who can come as they are, bring food and drinks, and enjoy the freedom of the open space. Concerts at community sites like libraries, schools, and hospitals, can bring classical music to potential new audiences too. This will hopefully encourage more regular attendance in a more typical concert hall setting.
' Here at OCT, we are very aware that many people perceive orchestras as stuffy and old-fashioned, and so are committed to developing programmes that respond to the demands and tastes of our community, and to removing as many barriers as possible. We want to share our love of the orchestra with you - come and join us!''
GET WITH THE PROGRAMME! Well, of course you know how to read the words in the booklet! But what does it all mean? If you are new to classical concerts, this guide from the Arapahoe Philharmonic (Colorado) will help ! The booklet is often called simply “the programme” for short, but the “programme” can also mean the repertoire, or list of works being performed at a specific concert. For clarity, here we will call the printed document you receive at the door the “booklet.” When we say “the programme,” we will be referring to the repertoire for the concert. Programme Page One of the most important parts of the booklet is the programme page. This page will list all of the compositions, the composers, and perhaps a bit of additional information about the piece. Since classical music comes from all over the world, you may often see words in other languages as part of the program. Not only that, but the English may not always look familiar if it comes from earlier times before standardization of spelling was put into place. There are some different types of names of compositions that might appear on the programme page. You might have the name of a piece given to it by the composer, such as The Peer Gynt Suite (Edvard Grieg) or Bolero (Maurice Ravel). Another type of naming for compositions is based on the type of piece it is, such as Symphony No. 5 or Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. With these names, you won’t know specifically which piece is being played without knowing the composer’s name as well, as many composers may have created works with these names. (HINT The name of the piece will always be in italics). Thirdly, a composer may name a piece, or especially a segment of a piece, based on its tempo. Examples here include Adagio for Strings (Samuel Barber) or Allegro from The Four Seasons, “Spring” (Antonio Vivaldi). Adagio is a slow tempo and allegro is a fast or moderately fast tempo. Another way the compositions may be shown is by their popular nicknames. Examples here include the “Choral” Symphony, Symphony #9 (Ludwig van Beethoven) and the “Surprise” Symphony (Franz Josef Hayden). Compositions may also include a number of other terms in their titles, such as the key in which the work is written, such as A Major or G Minor. The letters A – G refer to the 8 primary keys in classical music, correlated to the white keys on a piano keyboard. If there is a “flat” ( ) or a “sharp” (#) next to the letter, that denotes a half step below or above the main note, correlated to the black keys on a piano keyboard.
There may also be the words “Major” or “Minor” next to the alphabet letter. Music written in major keys is more bright and positive sounding, whereas music written in minor keys sounds more sad or melancholy.
Then there are abbreviations like Op. 95, K 467, BWV 1068, L 75/3, HWV 56, and WoO 59. What is this strange short-hand? Let’s start with Op. “Op.” is short for “Opus,” meaning “work,” and it numbers the composer’s works in chronological order. Op. 95 is the composer’s 95th composition. Another number may be added to the Opus number if there have been companion pieces created together. An example of this is Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor), which is Opus 27, No. 2, a companion piece to Opus 27, No. 1 (Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-flat major). During their lifetimes, however, composers weren’t always consistent about assigning Opus numbers, so subsequent musicologists have assigned other numbering systems to some composers’ works. All you really need to know when reading the program page is that these letters and numbers are a way of keeping track of all of the compositions of a particular composer. But if your curiosity extends a little further, here is some de-coding of systems that might appear on a programme: A number with a “K” in front of it, e.g. K 467, is by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the pieces are all numbered chronologically, so this would be Mozart’s 467th composition. It is his Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major. The BWV numbering system applies to works of Johann Sebastian Bach, so BWV 1068 was Bach’s 1068th composition! HWV applies to works by George Frideric Handel. HWV 56 is Messiah, a famous oratorio in the catalog of Handel’s works. WoO (Without Opus) numbers apply to Beethoven’s extensive body of work. WoO 59 is Beethoven’s Fϋr Elise, one of his most popular compositions. L 75/3 is Clair de lune, for piano (Suite Bergamasque No. 3), by Claude Debussy. Now you are able to decode the following if it appears on your program page! Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67, “Fate”: I. Allegro Con Brio
ARTICLE ABRIDGED & REPRODUCED FROM www.arapahoe-phil.org
Sample Program Demystified Programme Notes These will tell you about the compositions being presented, provide information about the composer and what was going on in his life at the time he created the piece, and perhaps give you entertaining and amusing tidbits about the work’s reception by audiences throughout history. Personnel Page (Orchestra members) This page will list all the members of the orchestra. Sometimes there will be additions such as extra players when a composition calls for more than normal of a certain type of instrument. Take for example Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring that calls for eight French horns! There may also be last-minute substitutions due to illness, and very occasionally a regular musician (such as the Concertmaster) will have a replacement player due to scheduling conflicts. Generally, the strings will be listed alphabetically in each section, and the other players will be listed by where they sit in their section (oboes, trumpets, etc.) Try to match up the names with the players! Featured Performers Usually there will be a biographical sketch about any featured soloists or guest artists. It will usually list their musical credentials, major works they have played, orchestras with whom they have performed, awards they have received, etc. You may have to check out their website to learn anything more personal about them. Other Contents You will find information about what is going on with the orchestra, requests for donations or participation in events, and advertisements from our wonderful sponsors. (We encourage you to frequent these excellent establishments!) We will recognize donors, both corporate and individual. You will find information on the remaining programs for the year, and possibly a preview for the following year. (sometimes called a 'season'). Our Music Director will often provide insight into the evening’s selections or comment on orchestral activities and there will be an introduction from the Conductor (if this is a different person).
A programme is your personal window into the happenings of the Orchestra. We are so pleased that you have taken the opportunity to learn more about us, and about music!
Here is a sample programe along with a guide to the listings: (1) Antonín Dvorák…………Carnival Overture, Op. 921 (2) Camille Saint-Saëns…..Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, Op. 103 (Egyptian) (3) Soloist John Brown (4) I. Allegro animato II. Andante III. Molto allegro (5) – INTERMISSION – (6) Johannes Brahms………Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73 6 I. Allegro non troppo7 II. Adagio non troppo III. Allegretto grazioso, quasi andantino IV. Allegro con spirit (1) An overture is an introductory piece written for a large choral, operatic, or orchestral work. Overtures are often played as part of a concert repertoire without performing the bulk of the original work. In fact, the overture is sometimes the only part of a composition that is still commonly played. You can see that it doesn’t have any separate movements (parts) listed under the name, so it will generally be a fairly quick introductory piece to get both the audience and the orchestra warmed up. This overture was the 92nd piece written by the composer, and was named Carnival Overture by the composer. (2) This piano concerto is the 103rd piece written by the composer, and has been popularly named the “Egyptian” concerto. (Your programme notes will tell you why!) It is the 5th piano concert of the composer. The key is F major. You will likely see a grand piano in a prominent position on the stage before the concerto begins. (3) The soloist playing the piano in the concerto is John Brown. See the Biography section of your Booklet for information about the soloist. (4) There are three movements or sections in the piano concerto. Their names are based on the speed of each section. (5) The Intermission generally happens around the middle of the program. It gives you a chance to stretch your legs, use the facilities in the lobby, get a beverage refill, and perhaps speak with some of the orchestra’s musicians. There will be a bell or flickering lights in the lobby to let you know to return to your seat for the remainder of the concert. Once in awhile, there will not be an intermission because of the nature of the programming, so check your booklet before the beginning of the concert to confirm whether there will be a break. (6) You can see that this is Brahms’ second symphony, but his 73rd composition. It is written in D major, and has four movements named for their tempo or speed. The second movement is the only slow movement; the other three are all somewhat fast though each is slightly different.
HEAT ON THE CONDUCTOR We sat down with Artistic Director - Community, Rupert d'Cruze, to talk about what happens when the heat comes off When did you first feel the pull to be a conductor? Probably soon after I started playing in orchestras at school in my early teens. Can you tell us about a particularly memorable concert you conducted? What was the music? Who was the soloist? Gosh there have been so many over nearly four decades working as a conductor. I do remember a number of very well received performances I directed with the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra in the UK – for instance Stravinsky’s ground breaking ballet The Rite of Spring and also several of Mahler’s astonishing symphonies. I’ve been very privileged to have performed in some wonderful concert halls in various parts of the world – London’s Royal Albert Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and also at the Hollywood Bowl in California. I’ve been very lucky to have worked with some great soloists, particularly Kathryn Stott, Martin Roscoe, Nona Liddell, Helen Medlyn and many others. Then there have been live broadcasts of various concerts in Europe such as Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique in Budapest, Hungary, and performances of the music of Gyorgy Kurtag with the South German Radio Orchestra in Stuttgart, Germany. Who is your favourite composer and why? There are so many – of course the ‘masters’ of the core classical/romantic tradition (Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, Mahler) – as well as Stravinsky in all his various styles, and the great English composer Edward Elgar. How do you prepare for a concert? Do you still get ‘butterflies’ before a performance? The work of the conductor is probably one of the least understood of all musicians, and unlike our players/singers we don’t make a sound. Our preparation starts long before the performance/s and rehearsals themselves as we plan the repertoire and rehearsal schedule and study and learn the scores, thinking through how to best work with our musicians to help them achieve a high performance standard. On concert days themselves there is usually a final rehearsal in the venue itself, and I personally prefer then to have a little quiet time to gather my thoughts and conserve my energies before the concert begins. No, I am very lucky that I have never been prone to pre-concert nerves. What is one thing you like the audience to know about a performance? That the audience itself, just be being present, has a crucial role to play in the live concert dynamic. The performance environment needs both listeners and players for it to really come to life. Without all those people there wanting to listen and see us create powerful and moving performances our role is lessened and the intensity of our playing is diminished. Live music is certainly a group collaborative experience.
Are there any ‘rules’ or expectations that you wish were different? I think having no expectations is a good way to be – approaching live music free from preconceptions is both healthy and stimulating. Keeping open to new things can lead to very positive experiences for all. Certainly players, singers and conductors give their all in creating dynamic performances which excite, intrigue and sometimes even challenge. What do you do to relax away from your work? Working in the medium of sound my most important relaxation away from work is to seek quiet and calm, particularly in the wonderful natural environment which exists in such abundance in our beautiful country. I find the solitude of the New Zealand bush wonderfully refreshing, and the high country of the south is always exhilarating. Tell us one thing about yourself that might surprise us... Even though I have worked in music since my late teens, there was a period some years ago when I became intrigued by aviation, and was very lucky to have been able to realise my ambition to learn to fly. What with one thing leading to another I eventually worked for some years as a commercial pilot, instructor and flight examiner in the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and in NZ. Even though the two worlds of aviation and music might appear very different there have been a number of conductors who have also been pilots, in particular the legendary Herbert von Karajan, who for many years was chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. And of course flying myself to rehearsals and concerts beat the traffic congestion down on the ground in the UK!
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