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NZSM Orchestra: The Emperor

NZSM Orchestra: The Emperor

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  • Tue 3 Apr ’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 Diedre Irons as piano soloist.

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major – ‘Emperor’
Delius: The Walk to the Paradise Garden, from “A Village Romeo and Juliet”
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements

'Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major', Op. 73, was the last piano concerto to be written by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was written between 1809 and 1811 in Vienna, and was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf, Beethoven's patron and pupil. The 40-minute three-movement work is almost symphonic in scale. The powerful themes and heroic note of the composition lead to the name Emperor being popularly ‘attached’ to this work, an epithet applied not by Beethoven, but rather by Johann Baptist Cramer, the English publisher of the concerto.

'The Walk to the Paradise Garden' by Frederick Delius is an instrumental intermezzo from his opera ‘A Village Romeo and Juliet’. The mood of the music might seem to belie the evocative title until one places it within the context of the opera. The ‘Paradise Garden’, far from being some soft-focus horticultural heaven, is in fact an inn – and a rather dilapidated one at that. This enchanting intermezzo covers the scene change to the inn, at which the fugitive lovers will finally decide to do away with themselves – making this ‘walk’ anything but a carefree stroll amid idyllic nature. The music, drenched in rich harmonies and sultry textures, alternates between languor and ardour, reflecting the lovers’ quandary: shall we try to run away, or put ourselves beyond capture?,
Kenneth Young notes that Delius was born in 1862. “I am also pleased that we can offer a token of love towards Delius on his 150th birthday,” he says, “as I have adored his music, and in particular this piece, from a very early age.”

'Symphony in Three Movements' is considered Igor Stravinsky's first major composition after emigrating to the United States from Russia. It was a commission by the Philharmonic Symphony Society of New York and was premièred by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in January, 1946, conducted by the composer. While he was writing this symphony, Stravinsky had begun work on rescoring his ballet The Rite of Spring. Although the project was left incomplete, his revisit to this earlier composition appears to have influenced the symphony: the ostinatos and shock tactics of the last movement, for example, and some woodwind passages are reminiscent of the ballet music. On the other hand, there are passages forecasting the opera The Rake's Progress, notably the openings of the slow movement and the finale.

Kenneth Young teaches composition and conducting at the New Zealand School of Music. Diedre Irons, former Head of Piano Studies, is currently a Research Associate at NZSM. “Diedre and I have been friends and colleagues for over 30 years,” notes Kenneth Young, “and so the opportunity to perform this truly great concerto together for the first time is very exciting.”

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