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MET#2 2023 – Carnivals & Adventures


Conductor – Sarah-Grace Williams

Soloist – Nicholas Russoniello (Saxophone)

Marrickville Town Hall

Sunday May 28th, 3:30pm

** There will be an interval of approximately 20 minutes after the world premiere. **

Acknowledgment Of Country

The Metropolitan Orchestra acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal custodians of the land.

We acknowledge this is a country of which the members and elders of the local Aboriginal communities have been custodians for many centuries, and on which these people have performed age-old ceremonies.

The Metropolitan Orchestra acknowledges and pays our respects to the Gadigal and Wangal peoples of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

Our Program For This Afternoon:

Dvořák, Antonin (1841 – 1904)Carnival Overture

In 1891, Dvořák composed a triptych of concert overtures, intended to portray the full experience of nature, in all its sustaining and destructive glory. Collectively the overtures were titled Nature, Life and Love, and the premiere performance in his home city of Prague saw them performed as a set, with the Opus number of 91. Dvořák then decided to publish them separately, and each of the overtures was individually named. The first was titled In Nature’s Realm (Op. 91),  the second Carnival (Op. 92)  and thirdly Othello (Op. 93).

The Overture begins with a lively and playful introduction, featuring a bright and syncopated brass fanfare. This motif serves as a recurring theme throughout the piece, establishing the festive atmosphere from the outset. The woodwinds join in, adding a layer of lightness and whimsy to the composition on a foundation of rhythmic strings.

As the music develops, Dvořák showcases his mastery of orchestration by seamlessly blending contrasting sections. Moments of lyrical beauty emerge, allowing the listener to catch their breath amidst the whirlwind of sound. The rich and warm melodies carried by the strings create a sense of nostalgia and longing, contrasting with the energetic and joyful passages that evoke the bustling activity of the carnival.

The middle section of the Overture introduces a more introspective and mysterious atmosphere. Here, Dvořák explores darker harmonies and employs intricate contrapuntal textures, creating a sense of anticipation and tension. The mood gradually intensifies, building up to a climactic moment where the full force of the orchestra is unleashed, unleashing a torrent of sound. The initial themes then return with renewed vigour and excitement. The tempo quickens, and the orchestra bursts into a dazzling display of virtuosity. The brass section blazes with triumphant melodies supported by the thunderous percussion and swirling strings. The music reaches its climax in a grand and jubilant finale, leaving the audience exhilarated and captivated.

© Andrew Doyle, 2023

Russoniello, Nicholas (1984 – ) Concerto for Alto Saxophone & Orchestra Where the Mountain (2023) *World Premiere
  1. Mountain Watching
  2. Mountain Weeping
  3. Mountain Dancing

This work draws inspiration from the Illawarra’s Mt. Keira and surrounding landscapes; where the mountain meets the sea. Mt. Keira looms above the city of Wollongong like a watchful guardian, the mountain’s dramatic façade was an ever-present backdrop to the composer’s childhood.

Mvt. I Mountain Watching commences with a reverberating call and response between the soloist and the orchestra: an exchange between the watched and the watchers. The work builds towards a highly virtuosic climax in the solo part. A broad palette of saxophone effects depict the sonic landscape of the mountain.

Mvt. II Mountain Weeping  centres on a simple melody which is taken up by the saxophone and further developed in an extended cadenza. The movement culminates in a flowing and nostalgic theme, poured out by the string section.

Mvt. III Mountain Dance  is a romp in compound time. Vibrant, virtuosic and light-hearted, it is a celebration of life at the foot of the mountain.

This work forms part of an Australia Council for the Arts  project to reimagine the possibilities of the concerto format for our times.

© Nicholas Russoniello, 2023


Grieg, Edvard (1843 – 1907)Peer Gynt Suites 1&2

Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites 1 and 2, composed as incidental music for Henrik Ibsen’s play “Peer Gynt”, are iconic works in the Romantic repertoire. Suite No. 1, Op. 46, opens with the serene and recognizable Morning Mood, capturing the tranquil awakening of nature. The Death of Åse follows, portraying a sombre and mournful scene. Anitra’s Dance brings exoticism to the forefront with lively rhythms and melodies, while In the Hall of the Mountain King showcases Grieg’s mastery of tension and excitement.

Suite No. 2, Op. 55, features four movements. The first is The Abduction of the Bride. Ingrid’s Lament, which expresses Ingrid’s sorrow and the drama of a failed abduction. Arabian Dance transports listeners to the Orient with sensual and mysterious tones. Peer Gynt’s Homecoming celebrates his triumphant return with joyful melodies. The suite concludes with Solveig’s Song, a poignant composition symbolizing unwavering love and faith.

Both suites evoke a range of emotions and create vivid imagery through masterful orchestration. The music takes listeners on a captivating journey, immersing them in Scandinavian folklore and the dramatic world of Peer Gynt. Grieg’s melodic genius and rich harmonic language are evident throughout, leaving a lasting impression on audiences.

These suites have become synonymous with Grieg’s compositional style and have achieved widespread popularity. From the delicate beauty of Morning Mood to the thrilling climax of In the Hall of the Mountain King, and the profound emotion of Solveig’s Song, Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites are a testament to the power of music to transport and deeply move listeners. They continue to be cherished and performed by orchestras worldwide, leaving an indelible mark on the classical music canon.

© Andrew Doyle, 2023

Our Artists For This Performance:

The Metropolitan Orchestra – Click Here To Read TMO’s Biography.

Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Sarah-Grace Williams. Click Here To Read Sarah-Grace’s Bio.

This Evening’s Soloist (click on the name to read his bio): Nicholas Russoniello

The Musicians Of The Metropolitan Orchestra On Stage Are:

Concertmaster ^Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich

First Violin: *Dominique Guerbois, Elena Tabolkina, Dominic Meagher, Caroline Kelly, Amanda Scott, Justin Li, Joy Limoa, Stephanie Hill, Paul Pokorny, Sarah Qiu

Second Violin: *Catrina Hughes, Breeana Baxter, Sarah Anthony, Alexis Bell, Jennifer Mee, Elisabeth Sonego, Clare Fulton, Amy Cohen, Amanda Hoh, Joshua Kok

Viola: *Robyn Botha, Monique Turner, Kirsten James, Jane Silcock, Laemi Lee, Nicola Elsworth, Liz D’Olier, William d’Avigdor

Cello: *Ezmi Pepper, #Julienne Guerbois, Catherine Upex, Lily Innis, Karen Cortez, Lye Lin Ho

Bass: *Mark Szeto, *Jeremy Fox, #Jessica Holmes, Carol Jeon

Flute: #Emilia Antcliff, #Jacinta Mikus (Flute 2/Piccolo), Henry Liang

Oboe: *Alex Fontaine, #Madeleine Randall (Oboe 2/Cor Anglais)

Clarinet: *Andrew Doyle, #Alisha Coward

Bassoon: *Sarajane Kirkaldy-Hansen, Zola Baldwin

French Horn: *Adrian Hallam, Gemma Lawton, Neil O’Donnell, Bridget Darby

Trumpet: *Chris Moran, Dominic Longhurst

Trombone: *Gareth Lewis, Mark Brown

Bass Trombone: Harry Macpherson

Tuba: *James Barrow

Tipmani: *Murray Parker

Percussion: Anita Cook, Helen Parker, Kaylie Dunstan

Harp: Owen Torr

^ Concert Master

* Principal

# Acting Principal

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