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Our Proms Concert in Palmerston North's magnificent Regent Theatre will be conducted by Tim Jones.
We are excited to be playing Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto no. 2 with Andrew Atkins as soloist.
Shayna Tweed will be our soprano soloist in the second half, performing Mozart's 'Queen of the Night' among other items.
Dance Works will perform Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker Suite.
Members of the Renaissance Singers will support the massed singing of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.
Suppe: Light Cavalry Overture
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No 2
Richard Strauss: Introduction to Also Sprach Zarathustra
Holst: Mars (from The Planets)
With Dance Works
Tchaikovsky: Waltz of the Flowers (Nutcracker Suite)
With solo soprano Shayna Tweed:
Mozart: Der Hölle Rache (The Magic Flute)
Puccini: Si mi chiamano Mimi (La bohème)
Strauss: Laughing song (Der Fledermaus)
Sir Henry Wood: Hornpipe
Arne: Rule Britannia
Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No 1
‘Anthem of Europe’, from Beethoven: Ode to Joy
Franz von Suppé (1819-1895): Light Cavalry Overture
Franz von Suppé, a composer based in Vienna, is best known now for his light operas. The operetta ‘Light Cavalry’ recounts the misdeeds of a ruler who bankrolls a dance company for his mistress, a Hungarian ballerina, at taxpayer expense. In response military aristocrats attempt to stage a coup. The ‘Light Cavalry’ overture appeals because of its catchy rhythms and contrasting styles. An opening fanfare leads to ‘cavalry’ music, a cadenza for clarinet, and then a darkly expressive ‘Hungarian’ lament, until finally the cavalry music makes its return.
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873–1943): Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18
The Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 was composed between Autumn 1900 and Spring 1901. It is dedicated to Nikolai Dahl, a physician who helped Rachmaninov recover from depression and regain confidence through hypnotherapy. The complete concerto was premiered on 14 October 1901 by the Moscow Philharmonic, conducted by Rachmaninov’s cousin Alexander Siloti and with the composer as soloist. The work is notoriously difficult to play as it requires a large handspan, particularly in the first movement with its signature wide-spread piano chords. Rachmaninov could span an extraordinary 12 piano keys with each hand.
The work was met with general acclaim and has remained popular ever since, both in its original form and in film adaptations such as Noel Coward’s ‘Brief Encounter’. It also secured Rachmaninov’s status as a celebrity concert pianist and it was in this capacity that he enjoyed his greatest success and fame in his adopted country, the United States.
The first movement, a Moderato, opens with the soloist sounding a series of chords that grow in both volume and intensity. Surprisingly for a piano concerto, the soloist’s role in this movement is largely one of accompaniment until one of Rachmaninov’s most familiar and beloved themes emerges. The music continues with a rousing march in the piano, which dissolves into a solo horn intoning the second theme.
The sensual beauty of the Adagio sostenuto second movement creates an atmosphere of enchanted otherworldliness. The primary melody is heard first in the clarinet and flute, with the piano accompanying. The soloist then takes up the melody and develops it, with accompanying woodwinds and strings.
In the final movement, an Allegro scherzando, the lower instruments murmur a brief introduction to the soloist’s opening showy cadenza, which segues into the staccato pulsing rhythm of the first theme. In marked contrast is the lyrical second theme, played by the violas and solo oboe. The two themes vie for prominence as the mood of this movement shifts abruptly from jittery agitation to ecstatic rhapsody. A brilliant coda concludes the work.
Richard Strauss (1864-1949): Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra), Tone Poem (freely after Friedrich Nietzsche) for Large Orchestra, Opus 30
Richard Strauss composed this tone poem in 1896 and it had its first performance in the same year. The music – or part of it – took on a strange new life when, in 1968, Stanley Kubrick co-opted the opening bars for his epic film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. This passage depicts Zarathustra, aka Zoroaster, an ancient seer, watching on his mountain top as a new day begins. Strauss first gives us a long-suspended moment of indeterminate rumble, so low that we hardly register a specific pitch, evoking the dark just before dawn. From it emerges a grand three-note trumpet call to signal a magnificent sunrise.
The Planets is a seven-movement orchestral suite. Each movement is designed to portray the astrological attributes of a planet in the Solar System. ‘Mars, the Bringer of War’ opens the Suite. With blaring brass and a strident ostinato in the percussion and strings, it eerily presages the First World War, which commenced just a few months after Holst composed this piece.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): Waltz of the Flowers (from the Nutcracker Suite)
Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite was first performed in St. Petersburg on 7 March 1892, as a ‘taster’ for the complete ballet, and from the start won acclaim. The ballet itself would hardly have survived without the composer’s marvellous music. An adaptation from E.T.A. Hoffman’s fairy tale, The Nutcracker and the Mouse-king, it tells the story of the young Clara, her love for her ‘ugly’ nutcracker, the growing Christmas tree, the battle between the toys and mice, the release of the enchanted prince from his spell, and the journey through the snow to the kingdom of sweets where the Sugarplum Fairy reigns as queen. The Waltz of the Flowers brings the Suite to a magnificent sweeping conclusion.
Prince Tamino enters a quest to win the hand of Princess Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night. Tamino has joined the brotherhood of a seer called Sarastro, with whom the Queen is in deadly enmity. The Queen gives Pamina a dagger, ordering her to kill Sarastro with it. Mozart's sister-in-law Josepha Hofer, a virtuoso coloratura singer, premiered the role of the Queen and Mozart wrote her a suitably challenging aria, expressive of the Queen's extreme anger. The Magic Flute was premiered in 1791, just two months before the composer's premature death.Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924): Aria, Sì, mi chiamano Mimì (‘Yes, they call me Mimì’) from La bohème
The opera La bohème was composed by Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on a drama by French playwright Henri Murger. The opera was premiered at the Teatro Regio in Turin on 1 February 1896, conducted by the 28-year-old Arturo Toscanini. Since then it has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide. Rodolfo, a poet, is alone in his garret when a young woman knocks at the door. Her candle has blown out and she asks Rodolfo to light it. He takes her cold hand (Che gelida manina, ‘Your tiny hand is frozen’). She says her name is Mimì (Sì, mi chiamano Mimì, ‘Yes, they call me Mimì’) and describes her simple life as an embroiderer.Johann Strauss II (1825-1899): 'Mein Herr Marquis', sometimes called 'Adele's Laughing Song'
'Adele's Laughing Song' is a soprano aria from Strauss’s operetta Die Fledermaus ('The Bat'). Adele, a chambermaid who has borrowed one of her mistress's gowns to go to a party, is recognized by her mistress's husband. In her laughing song she mocks the idea that a glamorous woman like herself could possibly be a lowly chambermaid. Strauss was known in his time as 'The Waltz King', composing over 500 waltzes and other dances as well as several operettas and a ballet.Sir Henry Joseph Wood (1869-1944): Sailor's Hornpipe
The Sailor's Hornpipe (also known as The College Hornpipe and Jack's the Lad) is a traditional hornpipe melody first printed around 1797. Because the dance required only a small space and no partner, it was popular on-board ship. Captain Cook ordered his men to dance the hornpipe in order to keep them in good health. In the arrangement by Henry Wood, a celebrated conductor best known for his long association with the Proms, the Sailor's Hornpipe starts quietly and accelerates towards the end.
Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778): Rule Britannia
Arne set this patriotic ode by Scottish poets James Thomson (1700-48) and David Mallet (1703-1765) to music in 1740. It was originally included in Alfred, a masque about Alfred the Great, which was designed to flatter the then Prince of Wales and express the aspirations of the nation he hoped to rule over. Arne was a celebrated composer in his day, working at Drury Lane and Covent Garden, but it is this song that has ensured his lasting fame and become a virtual second national anthem. In an orchestral arrangement by Sir Malcolm Sargent, 'Rule, Britannia!' is traditionally performed at the BBC's Last Night of the Proms.
With full title Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches, Op. 39, are a series of marches for orchestra composed by Sir Edward Elgar. They include some of Elgar's best-known compositions. The best known of the six marches, Pomp And Circumstance March No. 1 In D had its premiere, along with March No. 2, in Liverpool on 19 October 1901. Elgar and his wife attended this hugely successful performance. Both marches were played two days later at a London Promenade Concert in the Queen's Hall London, conducted by Henry Wood, with March No. 1 played second. Wood remembered that the audience ‘rose and yelled’. This, Wood said, was the one and only time in the history of the Proms that an orchestral item was accorded a double encore. The Trio contains the tune known as ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and has become a fixture at the Last Night of the Proms.‘Anthem of Europe’, from Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), An die Freude (Ode to Joy), final movement of his Symphony no 9
This anthem is used by the Council of Europe to represent both Europe as a whole and the European Union on official occasions. It has its origin in Friedrich Schiller’s poem ‘An die Freude’, written in 1785 as a celebration of the brotherhood of man. Beethoven used the poem in the choral movement of his Ninth Symphony, first performed in 1824. The prelude to the Ode was adopted as the European Anthem on 19 January 1972 at Strasbourg. Celebrated conductor Herbert von Karajan made three instrumental arrangements – for solo piano, for wind instruments and for symphony orchestra – and conducted the performance used to make the official recording.
PIANO SOLOIST ANDREW ATKINS
Andrew writes: 'Andrew is a recent graduate of Victoria University of Wellington: New Zealand School of Music. During his time there he completed a Masters of Musical Arts in Classical Performance (2016) piano under the esteemed tuition of Dr Jian Liu and Richard Mapp. He competed in the inaugural Wallace National Piano Competition in 2013 and was a finalist in the Royal Overseas League Chamber Music Competition 2014 with his Piano and Cello Duo Duo Cecilia. He performed Beethoven’s 2nd Piano Concerto with the Manawatu Sinfonia in 2013 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Tawa Orchestra in 2014.
Andrew also completed his Graduate Diploma in Conducting (2017) under the tuition of Kenneth Young and has gone on to develop a love and passion for conducting that gained him the position of Assistant Conductor to Orchestra Wellington 2017-2018. He has also conducted the Manawatu Sinfonia, Kapiti Concert Orchestra, Wellington Chamber Orchestra and the New Zealand School of Music Orchestra. He is the current Musical Director of the Wairarapa Singers and has seen them through successful performances of Cole Porter music and Haydn’s Creation.
In 2018 he completed his Masters in Fine Arts (Creative Practice) in Film Composition under the guidance of John Psathas and Michael Norris. He has been a finalist in the Todd Young Composers Competition and had his music workshopped by NZSM chamber music groups and the NZ String Quartet. He has been involved in the music production of New Zealand Christmas feature movie Kiwi Christmas released in 2017 and aided in the recording of music for multiple children’s plays and short films.
In September of this year Andrew has the pleasure of performing Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto with the Manawatu Sinfonia in his home town. He began his piano tuition under the encouraging guidance of Barry Jones and then Guy Donaldson, who saw him through to the completion of an ATCL Recital Diploma in 2010, and it is wonderful for him to come back to where his passion for music began.
SOPRANO SOLOIST SHAYNA TWEED
Shayna writes: 'Shayna Tweed grew up in a family of singers, but it was her High School singing teacher, Mary Ayers who introduced her to classical singing and took her to see her first opera “The Elixir of Love” by Gaetano Donizetti which inspired her to pursue singing study. She completed four years study of “Classical Performance Voice” at Te K?k? New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University under Lisa Harper-Brown and Jenny Wollerman who have taken her singing to new and exciting heights. Last year she performed the role of Adele in WGSLO's production of "Die Fledermaus". Shayna was a member of The Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus for their production of “Carmen”, played Barbarina in a production of “The Marriage of Figaro” with Eternity Opera Company and she has also had the pleasure of being a guest performer with a number of choirs in the area such as; Festival singers, Renaissance Singers, the Wairarapa singers, Palmerston North Choral Society and NZ Male Choir.'
CONDUCTOR TIM JONES
Tim writes, 'It is my pleasure to conduct the Manawatu Sinfonia for this concert. I have been in the Sinfonia for thirty years and am the leader of the percussion section, which usually involves me banging away merrily on the timpani! I have John Schwabe to thank for this, as it was he that directed me to the percussion section of the Youth Orchestra in 1987 when I failed my clarinet audition! I first conducted the Sinfonia in 1991 and never cease to be amazed at what our orchestra achieves with music written for professional musicians. I am lucky enough to be married to Beth and have three awesome children: Makaela, Isabella and Benjamin. I am a teacher, having taught at a number of schools locally, and have the great privilege of being the educator for Life Education Trust Manawatu. I love movies, sport & drama, and always find it especially difficult deciding on who my favourite composer is – I do know for sure however that my favourite concerto is the Rachmaninov 2nd, and I am a bit sore from pinching myself with regard to conducting it for this event! I hope you all have a fantastic experience being at our Proms concert!'
DANCE WORKS PRINCIPAL MARIKA HARVEY
Marika writes: 'I started dancing locally at age 7. In 2000, at the age of 17, I moved to Australia in pursuit of a dancing career to Ecole Ballet Studios gaining more than just dance skills! I have completed all ballet exams to Advanced 2 level in the Royal Academy of Dance Syllabus and gained Associate of the RAD. While studying in Australia I performed in the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic games. In Australia I discovered a love of choreography and performance and was encouraged to explore both.
Since returning to New Zealand in 2005, I have taught dance at L Dance Studio in Wellington and Maureen Ax School of Dance here in Palmerston North before opening Platinum Dance in 2009. During this time I completed both a Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies and Bachelor of Sport & Exercise. Dance is a life long passion. I have evolved from a student to professional, teacher and then studio owner. Now I'm transitioning into a dance mum myself.'
RENAISSANCE SINGERS DIRECTOR CHRISTINE ARCHER-LOCKWOOD
Christine writes: 'Renaissance Singers has a reputation for presenting varied and challenging programmes, mostly a cappella with occasional oratorio, comprising modern works as well as works of the Renaissance period and earlier. Two to three concerts are presented each year.'
Our hope is that concerts by the Youth Orchestra and the Sinfonia can still go ahead over the remainder of 2020 but we are keeping a watchful eye on the alert levels!
The October concert (date and venue to be announced) will be given by the Manawatu Youth Orchestra and will include movements from pieces featuring violin and cello soloists.
The Sinfonia's November concert, if it goes ahead, will feature conductor Martin Riseley with brilliant young violin soloist Nickolas Majic.
The Sinfonia plans to hold what was to be this year's May concert with Peter van Drimmelen (conductor) and Emma Minchin (flautist) in May 2021.
Later in 2021 the Sinfonia hopes to do a celebration of Beethoven's 250th, featuring the Emperor concerto played and conducted by Andrew Atkins, along with some of the most memorable movements from four of Beethoven's symphonies. (This might seem like a belated celebration but not to worry, Beethoven will still be 250!)
Evelyn Rawlins Arts Trust