Concert Series

Continuing a 137 year tradition of bringing great music to the community of South Australia, the faculty and students of the Elder Conservatorium of Music welcome you to our 2020 Concert Series.

Friday 30 October

Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra
Luke Dollman
conductor
Maria Zhdanovich flute*

Program

Renaissance Concerto*                                                          Lukas Foss

I. Intrada
II. Baroque Interlude (after Rameau)
II. Recitative (after Montiverdi)
IV. Joissance

Archipelago                                                                            Aaron Pelle

Symphony No. 3 in D major, D. 200                                 Franz Schubert

I. Adagio maestoso - Allegro con brio
II. Allegretto
III. Menuetto - vivace
IV. Presto - vivace

Program details for today's concert are available below and downloadable here as a PDF.

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  • Today's Program

    Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra
    Luke Dollman
    conductor
    Maria Zhdanovich flute*

    Program

    Renaissance Concerto*                                                          Lukas Foss

    I. Intrada
    II. Baroque Interlude (after Rameau)
    II. Recitative (after Montiverdi)
    IV. Joissance

    Archipelago                                                                            Aaron Pelle

    Symphony No. 3 in D major, D. 200                                 Franz Schubert

    I. Adagio maestoso - Allegro con brio
    II. Allegretto
    III. Menuetto - vivace
    IV. Presto - vivace

     

    Lukas Foss (born Fuchs) was a multi-talented composer, conductor and pianist. After fleeing the Nazi regime in 1933 for Paris, he and his parents moved in 1937 to the U.S., where he became a citizen. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, where Leonard Bernstein was a classmate. Foss was an important orchestra-builder: as music director he brought greater prominence to the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and from 1981 to 1986 the Milwaukee Symphony. In 2003 he led a chamber ensemble at the Weill Center.

    Foss’s compositions show a great variety of influences over the course of his career, from the Neoclassicism of Hindemith and Stravinsky to 12-tone modernism, jazz, Americana in the manner of Ives or Copland, aleatory (“chance”) techniques, and eventually postmodernism, in the sense of mixing old and new styles, often quoting from older composers. His Renaissance Concerto might be called postmodern, with its blending of Renaissance, Baroque and very contemporary styles, but like all Foss’s best music it shows a quirky individualism that takes it beyond any label.

    The first movement is “entrance music,” with the soloist announced by a pair of trumpets stationed on platforms above the orchestra. Much of the movement is essentially a dazzling flute cadenza, interrupted on occasion by a cheerful dance tune in the winds, based on a piece by William Byrd.

    The second movement is very delicately scored and features a harpsichord whose music harks back to a piece by Jean-Philippe Rameau. It has a brisk, steady Allegretto rhythm and could be considered the scherzo of the concerto.

    The concerto’s slow movement, partly derived from Claudio Monteverdi’s 1610 opera Orfeo, calls for four players—violin, viola, cello and flute—to be stationed at the back of the stage to create ghostly echoes of the soloist and the rest of the orchestra. Throughout the concerto but here most prominently the orchestral flute is like an eerie reflection of the soloist, who sometimes uses the glissando technique to glide from note to note.

    The final movement’s title means “enjoyment” or “pleasure” and recalls the title Réjouissance (“rejoicing”) that J.S. Bach and others often gave to finales and dances. The movement starts out boldly, strings and brass dominating, with a theme played in canon. The solo flute takes up the theme, sometimes using flutter-tonguing. At one point the flute alone plays, “shadowed” by a tambourine. The concerto ends quietly with the soloist walking offstage during the final moments.

    Archipelago was inspired by a summer getaway to the Pacific islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia. The various and sometimes contrasting cultural differences between different islands all grouped under the same nation made a great impression on me. The piece aims to explore this idea musically through polystylism, which involves combining several different styles together in a single composition. The music switches styles and genres constantly resulting in an incongruous mixture, aiming to juxtapose lowbrow popular styles with highbrow artistic ones. The Russian composer Alfred Schnittke was a major influence on this compositional method.

    Unusually, the work also requires the ensemble to be divided into two groups separated on stage antiphonally. This is to explore the possibilities of sound coming from different areas spatially in a similar manner to the works of the American composer Charles Ives and the ensembles playing off of each other, but also exists as a nod to the ‘social distancing’ that has become prevalent during these ‘unprecedented’ times.

    In 1815 the 18-year-old Schubert was working as a full-time, year-round schoolteacher, taking twice-weekly composition lessons with Antonio Salieri, and doing some private music teaching on the side. Yet he somehow managed to compose over 200 works, including four operas, two masses, two symphonies, and 145 songs, a productive explosion that has had music historians shaking their heads for generations. He began his Third Symphony on May 24 and finished it on June 19.  He also wrote some songs, liturgical music, and an operetta in those 26 days.

    The Third Symphony is notably concise, and shorter than Schubert’s first two symphonies. But it also foreshadows ideas that would expand the scale of the symphony. The rushing scale passage of the first movement’s slow introduction is turned into the second theme of the Allegro, contrary to the standard practice of making the Allegro contrast with the introduction by not having them share any musical elements. Schubert would revisit the idea to great dramatic effect a decade later in his “Great” C-major Symphony.

    Like the Seventh and Eighth symphonies Beethoven was writing at about the same time, Schubert’s Third has no real slow movement.  Instead there is a lightly scored (without trumpets and timpani) Allegretto in ABA form.  It has an ambling principal section and a middle section with a jaunty little clarinet tune.

    The third movement is marked “Menuetto,” but the name is rooted more in tradition than reality. The minuet had had a long life — about 150 years — but it was dying. In his late works, Haydn liked to spice his minuets with odd accents that would have flummoxed any dancer. Schubert does the same here, with rudely accented upbeats: the phrases all begin on the third beat, not the first. The middle section, scored for solo oboe and bassoon, and strings without cellos, is more a Ländler, or even a waltz, than a minuet.

    The finale, in the rhythm of the tarantella, is marked “presto vivace”, about as clear an instruction to avoid dawdling as a composer can write. The sheer fleetness of the themes creates enormous momentum, but Schubert adds a few sly pauses to keep us guessing. The movement owes much to the frenetic drive of comic opera overtures.

    Maria Zhdanovich began learning to play the flute when she was 6 years old in her hometown of Saint Petersburg, before studying flute with Alison Rosser in Adelaide. Maria attended Marryatville High School whilst being an active member of the school’s specialist music program, participating in multiple choirs and ensembles. In 2017 Maria graduated from Marryatville High School with merits in performance and is studying in the new Bachelor of Music Advanced Degree with Associate Professor Elizabeth Koch AM at the Elder Conservatorium. Maria has received awards at the Adelaide Eisteddfod and recently won the Flute Society of SA’s David Cubbin Memorial Prize. Maria is a member of the Elder Conservatorium Wind Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra and the Adelaide Youth Orchestra. Maria is also one of the top young fencers in Australia and has won Silver and Bronze medals in the Australian Open Fencing Circuit.

    Aaron Pelle is an Australian composer and pianist whose music combines elements of neoclassicism and jazz with a satirical flavour. After completing his Bachelor of Music in Composition with Honours (First Class), he is currently enrolled in a Masters of Philosophy program under the supervision of composers Graeme Koehne and Charles Bodman Rae, with the intention of upgrading to PhD. He has had his music performed by renowned artists such as pianist Konstantin Shamray, conductor Luke Dollman, and violinist Elizabeth Layton, and ensembles such as the Elder Conservatorium Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. He is the recipient of the Alex Burnard Scholarship, and the Dr. Ruby Davy and H. Brewster Jones Prizes, as well as winning first prizes in the South Australian Young Composers Awards in 2017-19 for several compositions. Aaron’s other musical activities include teaching and performing.


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