12th August, 2.30pm.
Speirs Centre, Palmerston North Boys High School, opposite Megamitre 10 on Featherston Street.
Concert features Hannah Fang playing Max Bruch's violin concerto in G minor. Conductor is Peter van Drimmelen.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, Egmont Overture, Op. 84
FRANZ SCHUBERT, Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D.759 (Unfinished)
RICHARD STRAUSS, Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments, Op. 7
MAX BRUCH, Violin Concerto 1 in G minor, Op. 26
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827), Egmont Overture, Op. 84
In 1809 Beethoven was commissioned by the Burgtheater of Vienna to compose incidental music for a performance of ‘Egmont’, a play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The play narrates Count Egmont’s struggle for Dutch liberty against the imperial rule of Spain in the late sixteenth century. Stirred by witnessing Vienna’s sufferings under Napoleonic occupation, Beethoven gladly contributed to Goethe’s celebration of human liberty and defiance in the face of oppression. His brief overture summarizes the plot of the play. The wind part is said to represent Egmont’s wife beseeching the Spanish judges for mercy, the brass proclaims the guilty verdict, and the fall of a fourth in first and second violins signals the descent of the executioner’s sword. The joyous music concluding the piece presages the triumphant Dutch independence that will arise from Egmont’s self-sacrifice.
FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828), Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D.759 (Unfinished)
1. Allegro moderato
2. Andante con moto
Schubert’s famous “unfinished” symphony has a very odd history. For unknown reasons, Schubert gifted the score of the two completed movements to a musical colleague in 1822. It was then completely lost sight of. Only some forty years later in 1860, long after Schubert's death, did the then owner rediscover the score. He approached the conductor Johann von Herbeck with assurances of a “treasure” on a par “with any of Beethoven’s”. Even so, it took another five years before Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony had its premiere in 1865.
As Brian Newbould, a specialist on the Schubert symphonies, has put it, this work is not so much an unfinished symphony as a "finished half-symphony". In it the composer explores new possibilities for the symphonic form. Instead of the firm statement that classical and early romantic symphonies so often start with, this symphony opens with a pianissimo murmuring in cellos and basses. While the first movement is based on the song-like statements typical of Schubert, it soon breaks this pattern when the second theme is suddenly interrupted. The second movement, in E major, contrasts a peaceful, ethereal melody with a second, more majestic theme featuring trumpets, trombones, and timpani. These sharp contrasts persist through the movement.
RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949), Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments, Op. 7
Written between 1881 and 1882, around the time the 18-year-old Strauss entered the University of Munich, the Serenade had its first performance on 27 November 1882 in Dresden. This short piece charms the listener with its jaunty themes, confident handling of the instrumental resources, and a relaxed, almost improvisatory, version of sonata form. While Strauss later dismissed his composition as little more than the ‘respectable work of a music student’, it has gone on to enjoy a firmly-established place in the repertoire.
HENG FANG (Hannah Fang), violin soloist
Heng Fang began her musical journey when she was three years old, studying violin first with her father and uncle and from age ten under renowned violin professor Zhang Shixiang (Peter Zhang) at the Shang Hai Conservatory of Music. She placed first in her Bachelor’s degree with the Orchestral Department in 2006 and took her Master’s degree in the Performing and Teaching Department at Xing Hai Conservatory of Music on a full scholarship in 2011. She also had the privilege of studying under Professor Wang Zhenshan from the Central Conservatory of Music. In 2009 she received a full scholarship to study with violist Berent Korfker in the Summer String School at the Sydney Conservatory of Music, where she also had the opportunity to learn the Dalcroze music method from Sandra.
Competitions in which she has enjoyed success include the 5th Youth Violin Competition in Guang Dong province, the 4th Chinese Music Golden Bell award, and the Hong Kong International Violin Competition in 2011.
She has also toured internationally. In 2006 she joined the Asia Outstanding Youth Symphony Orchestra. She participated in the Murcia International Youth Art Festival in Spain, in a concert on the centenary of Xian Xinghai’s birth. She was a solo violinist in the 2nd Asia Orchestral Music Festival in Thailand and the 5th Yang Cheng Music Festival, where she had the opportunity to perform the famous “Butterfly Lovers” to the royal family in Thailand and Belgium. She performed alongside world renowned pianist Lang Lang and violinist Xue Wei in the 2008 CCTV Piano and Violin Competition News Conference and was a guest performer for the Korea Tourism Board.
Hannah, as an award-winning teacher, has taught a total of 120 students at her own Heng Fang Violin Studio. Many of them have gone on to study at the Conservatory of Music in China and achieved success in competitions. She has also served as a teacher in the Education Department of Guang Zhou Xing Hai Conservatory of music and a guest teacher at the Hong Kong Zhang Shixiang International Violin School. Her work as an adjudicator includes the 14th Violin Competition in Guang Dong Province in 2013, the 5th Hong Kong International Violin Competition, and the 9th Hong Kong International Youth Art Festival. She was an examiner for the Social Music Grading Test of Xing Hai Conservatory of Music and is a member of the Violin Institute and Higher Education Institute of China.
Hannah moved to Palmerston North in 2015, where she obtained her Music Teachers’ Registration in New Zealand (IRMTNZ). Her teaching career has continued to flourish. Her local solo debut in March 2016 at the Globe Theatre was met with much enthusiasm. She is currently involved in writing her own music and in April 2018 debuted her album “Not All Me”, recorded here in Palmerston North. She has played at a number of local events, including “Christmas in the Square” and “New Year’s Eve in the Square” in 2017, and opened for the Festival of Cultures this year.
Hannah has an upcoming concert on October 27th at the Regent on Broadway, where she will collaborate with both classical and contemporary music groups to showcase a wide range of different music genres, from classical to hip-hop to metal rock.
PETER VAN DRIMMELEN, Conductor
Born in Holland, Peter studied violin at the Rotterdam Conservatory and viola at the Utrecht Conservatory. He was Sub-Principal viola in a choir-accompanying orchestra in Delft and then a member of the Auckland Philharmonia from 1983 to 1987, with two years as violist in the Auckland String Quartet. He conducted three ASQ Summer School orchestra projects during that time. While in the NZSO, which he joined in 1987, he conducted the Wellington Chamber Orchestra numerous times and also the St Matthews Chamber Orchestra (Auckland), the Nelson Symphony Orchestra, and the Manawatu Sinfonia on an near-annual basis since 2003. He also adjudicated for local ensembles, and since 2014 has done this on an annual basis for the KBB Festival in Auckland. In 1996 Peter set up the Michael Monaghan Young Musicians Foundation, to encourage young musicians to audition for an opportunity to play a concerto movement with a professional orchestra made up of volunteers from the NZSO and Wellington Orchestra. Over 100 teenagers availed themselves of this opportunity in the 14 years that Peter ran the Foundation. Peter has made numerous recordings for Radio NZ. He retired from the NZSO in May 2014 but has numerous continuing musical activities and has authored a book of memoirs entitled 'Driving for Music'.
Our next concert is the first one for the MYO for the year. The concert is on Sunday 23rd June at 2.30pm at the Central Baptist Church.
Evelyn Rawlins Arts Trust