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Wellington Chamber Orchestra (WCO): July Concert


Sun 6 Jul 2014, 2:30pm–4:30pm

Where: St Andrews on the Terrace, 30 The Terrace, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adult: $19.00 ($18.00 + $1.00 fees)
  • Senior/Tertiary Student: $16.00 ($15.00 + $1.00 fees)
  • School student and younger: $0.00 ($0.00)
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Vincent Hardaker conducts the orchestra with a programme of:
Lilburn – Aotearoa Overture
Haydn – Symphony No 99 in E flat
Sibelius – Symphony No 1 in E minor

Tickets are also available at the door on the day of the concert (adults - $20; tertiary students, seniors, unwaged - $15; school students or younger - free).

Ticket sales are limited by the size of the venue so advance Eventfinda bookings are recommended.

Brief Programme Notes:
Douglas Lilburn (1915 – 2001): Aotearoa Overture

Lilburn wrote three works centred on national identity in his early period of composition: Landfall in Unknown Seas, A Song of Islands, and the Aotearoa Overture. The latter work was written during his studies at the Royal College of Music in London and it premiered first in London at His Majesty’s Theatre. It would not be until 1959 that it was first performed in New Zealand.

Much like many of Lilburn’s works, the Aotearoa Overture can be instantly recognised as his own, featuring typical characteristics, such as short-short-long rhythm (a rhythm also beloved by Sibelius) and stark dynamic contrasts. This work projects a shimmering impression of a sea-spumed coast with the pure light that floods Katherine Mansfield’s short stories when she writes of the sea and surely projects Lilburn’s longing for his home country.

Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809): Symphony No. 99 in E flat
1. Adagio - Vivace assai
2. Adagio
3. Menueto - Allegretto
4. Finale - Vivace

Despite being less frequently performed than others in the London set, it is nevertheless a work of supreme accomplishment, with a number of highly original features, particularly with regard to some of the key relationships. Some indication of the enthusiasm with which it was greeted on the first performance on 10th February 1794 can be gained from the Morning Chronicle the following day: "The overture" (this being the English term for Symphony in those days) "being performed with increasing accuracy and effect, was received with growing rapture.”

In this work Haydn was to use clarinets for the first time in a symphony, and their special timbre, combined with the key of E flat, evoke to a degree the music of Mozart's "Magic Flute".

Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957): Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39
1. Andante, ma non troppo – Allegro energico
2. Andante (ma non troppo lento)
3. Scherzo: Allegro
4. Finale: Andante – Allegro molto, Andante assai – Allegro molto come prima – Andante (ma non troppo)

In April 1898 Jean Sibelius wrote in a sketchbook a programmatic outline for a symphony. His notes expressed a Nordic fantasy: “The wind blows cold, cold weather from the lake”; “The northern pine dreams of the southern palm”; and “A Winter’s Tale.” By April’s end he had set about writing music to this scenario. “I’m working on a new thing, alla sinfonia…” he related to his wife from Berlin, where he had gone to attend concerts and try to find a German publisher.

Though starting promisingly, Sibelius encountered many distractions in Germany’s taverns and other entertainments. His progress resumed once he returned to Finland. As the music took shape, the composer abandoned the programmatic ideas that had originally inspired the work, producing instead an “abstract” symphony in a conventional four-movement format, very much in the tradition of Beethoven, Schumann and Tchaikovsky.

Sibelius directed the premiere performance of his First Symphony in Helsinki on April 26, 1899. Already an experienced orchestral composer, it is unsurprising that immediate success accompanied the work. The work’s most unique quality lies in its fusion of Romantic content and Classical form. Its themes are the sweeping, often impassioned, always melodious thoughts so identifiable with much of Sibelius’ music, and form a cohesive composition through ingenious cross-references.

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