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NZSM Orchestra: Rhapsodie

NZSM Orchestra: Rhapsodie

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  • Tue 29 May ’12, 7:30pm


St Andrews on the Terrace, 30 The Terrace, Wellington


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adults: $22.00
  • Seniors/Students: $10.00
  • NZSM Staff and NZSM Students: $0.00

Te Kōkī, New Zealand School of Music is delighted to present this concert featuring the NZSM Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Young, with Deborah Rawson as saxophone soloist.

Sam Logan: Lost Island;
Debussy: Rhapsodie for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra;
Ravel: Mother Goose Suite;
Lutoslawski: Concerto for Orchestra

Sam Logan is currently an NZSM Masters candidate. 'Lost Island' is the result of winning the David Farquhar Composition Award in 2011 and this performance will be a world premiere of the work.

The Rhapsodie for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra was a long time in the creation! Debussy was commissioned by Mrs. Elisa Hall of Boston, an American patron of Arts and saxophonist, in around 1895 but he put off completing the commission for many years. After a reminder from her he appears to have worked on it from 1901 until 1908, at which point he sent his version for saxophone and piano to her; the piano part was orchestrated in 1919, the year after Debussy's death, by the French composer Jean Roger-Ducasse. In the ten-minute 'Rhapsodie' Debussy seems not so interested in virtuosity as in exploring the sound and character of what was for him a new instrument, with many listeners struck by what appears to be Spanish or Moorish associations or an oriental influence.

The Mother Goose Suite (Ma Mere l'Oye) by Maurice Ravel is a charmingly delicate and imaginative collection of 'fairytale' pieces. Originally a four-hand piano suite, Ravel orchestrated the work as a ballet, and it is the seven-movement suite from the ballet music that has become most well-known. In his autobiographical sketch, Ravel wrote:- "the idea of evoking in these pieces the poetry of childhood naturally led me to simplify my style and refine my means of expression".

During the difficult post-war reconstruction of Poland, Lutoslawski earned his living writing 'functional' music for radio, theater, film, and schools. The chance to turn his functional, folklore-based style to a more ambitious purpose came in 1950, when Witold Rowicki, director of the Warsaw Philharmonic, asked him to write something brilliant with which the orchestra could celebrate its rebirth after the devastation of the German occupation, and could show off its abilities. His Concerto for Orchestra took four years to complete and, while it references Polish folk melodies, they are raw material for radical transformation into themes, counterpoints, and elaborate orchestral textures. It is an ingenious approach: the substance of the music is demonstrably so "national" as to be politically unassailable, yet modern and personal enough to burst the bounds of what in Poland was called 'socrealizm', the local variant of the repressive Soviet artistic creed.

Kenneth Young teaches composition and conducting at the New Zealand School of Music. Deborah Rawson is Lecturer in Clarinet, Classical Saxophone and Coordinator or Wind Instruments at NZSM.

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