Penrith City Choir, Academy Singers, Warrimoo Chorale Lucy McAlary chorus director
WAGNER Die Meistersinger Prelude TCHAIKOVSKY Swan Lake Suite MOZART Oboe Concerto TERRACINI Like a Minstrel
The grandeur of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger opened the very first orchestral concert in the Sydney Opera House in 1973, and now ushers in our celebration of the Joan’s 25th anniversary. Tchaikovsky’s irresistibly passionate Swan Lake suite continues the exciting mood before giving way to the sinuous beauty of Mozart, played by one of Australia’s finest oboists, Sydney Symphony Associate Principal, Shefali Pryor. Completing the richly varied program is Terracini’s Like a Minstrel: based on a G K Chesterton poem (The Strange Music), it was commissioned by the Joan and PSO to mark the occasion.
The Pastoral Symphony is one of Beethoven’s most ground-breaking, often described as a seminal example of program music. Yet, for all its soundpainting of birdsong and thunderstorms, the composer considered it primarily a musical expression of his feelings for nature.
The Organ Symphony of Saint-Saëns is no less innovative, pushing the boundaries of symphonic form. There’s a connection with nature there, too, for anyone who saw the 1995 movie Babe, in which themes from the symphony featured in Nigel Westlake’s acclaimed score.
We welcome Amy Johansen, University of Sydney Organist and Carillonist and an internationally renowned recitalist.
Haydn’s final symphony, the last of his twelve “London” symphonies, is a model of Classical elegance, praised at its first performance for its “fullness, richness and majesty in all its parts”. The frenetic energy of Shostakovich’s virtuosic first cello concerto could scarcely be more different and aptly displays the extraordinary talent of young Japanese-Australian cellist Hikaru Fuminashi, 2014 Conservatorium High School Outstanding Student of the Year. Sibelius, one of the most adventurous and influential late Romantic symphonists, was a fervently nationalist Finn, and his second symphony powerfully evokes the stark beauty of the Nordic landscape.
MOZART Die Zauberflöte Overture MOZART Piano Concerto No. 20 BRAHMS Symphony No. 1
Mozart’s prodigious talent and prolific output came at huge personal cost as he worked himself into an early and impecunious grave. His twentieth piano concerto, played here by Phillip Shovk, one of Australia’s foremost concert pianists and chamber musicians, was composed during a time of escalating financial woes. By the time Die Zauberflöte was premiered, its immediate success brought Mozart brief comfort, but too late to reverse his fortunes: he died a few weeks later. Brahms, on the other hand, famously wrestled for twenty years with the writing of his first symphony. He considered it partly a homage to Beethoven, but never ceased to feel overshadowed by his idol.
This year’s PSO concert for children and families features Prokofiev’s enchanting musical tale, Peter and the Wolf, narrated by former Red Wiggle, Murray Cook. Suitable for children of all ages, this performance continues our longstanding tradition of presenting entertaining and educational performances for younger audiences. Don’t miss this lively Sunday morning’s entertainment for all the family!
Prokofiev composed Peter and the Wolf in 1936 with the aim of cultivating musical tastes in young children. To this day, it remains arguably the most popular children’s work in the classical orchestral repertoire. Featuring a chamber orchestra in which various solo instruments represent the story’s human and animal characters, it is not only a wonderful demonstration of the instruments of the orchestra, but also a delightful classic that brings joy to audiences of all ages.
Paul Terracini conductor Christine Douglas director Lucy McAlary chorus director
Benjamin Johnston Amahl Corinne Parker The Mother Evan Kirby King Kaspar Vincenzo Nesci King Melchior Christopher Nazarian King Balthazar Soonki Park The Page
Shanul Sharma tenor
Amahl and the Night Visitors is an uplifting Christmas story of devotion, compassion and healing. Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s painting “The Adoration of the Magi”, Menotti conceived the work to recapture his own childhood in Italy, where the Three Kings, rather than Santa Claus, are the traditional Christmas figures. Commissioned by NBC in 1951, it was the first opera written expressly for television in America and for many years was broadcast annually at Christmas time.
Amahl is a crippled boy who lives in poverty with his mother. Three kings stop at their humble house, seeking rest and refreshment on their long journey bearing gifts to the Christ Child. Villagers are gathered to help feed and entertain the kings. As events unfold, Amahl’s mother is overcome by her desire to send a gift to the Child, but she and her son have nothing valuable to send. When Amahl offers his most valued possession – his crutch – he is miraculously healed and is able to walk. He sets off to accompany the kings to visit the Child and give thanks for being healed.