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MET#3 2023 – Music For A New World


Conductor – Sarah-Grace Williams

Soloist – Heather Shannon (Synthesiser)

Marrickville Town Hall

Sunday August 20th, 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:

Lalor, StephenMima Concert Overture

The MIMA Concert Overture was commissioned for the opening of the Multi-Arts Pavilion MIMA, Lake Macquarie NSW.

‘Mima’ is an Awabakal (Central Coast Aboriginal) word meaning ‘cause to stay’, signalling an intention that the venue become a site for the conscious intermingling of ancient and emerging cultural expressions.

The music encapsulates the history, environment and development of Lake Macquarie.

An opening fanfare quickly passes like a brief storm across the Lake. The “quiet after the storm” is embodied by pulsating pizzicato strings reflecting gently lapping waves, punctuated by birdcall-like woodwind flourishes. These expand into more broadly melodic sections featuring the brass – a reference to the coal-mining background of the area, associated historically with brass bands. Dramatic sequences lead into a playful, energetic section heralded by muted trumpets and percussion, reflecting the growth and vibrancy of the region. This drives to the end before – as if recalling the memory of the storm – launching into a quick recollection of the dramatic opening.  

© Stephen Lalor, 2023

Shannon, Heather Strange Roses Synthesizer and Orchestra *World Premiere

I ‘Uncanny Shapes’

II ‘Imaginings’

III ‘Grotesque Sequence’

Strange Roses for orchestra and synthesiser was composed during my recent Master of Composition studies in which I researched the Australian Gothic and its themes of dislocation, the uncanny, romance and haunting. As a composer I am interested in the cultural expressions of western classical music, the history of its musical forms and their implications within an Australian environment and landscape. Drawing on Gothic themes together with various methods of composition has allowed me to explore a weirdness and an uncertainty I have felt composing and playing music within this musical tradition, and to reflect on my sense of place in the world.

Strange Roses employs classical musical techniques: themes built from tone rows, counterpoint and other functions that give western music its forward linear direction. Yet its expressions voiced by the synthesiser blow up these linear structures into a wide screen, atmospheric echo, which shadows the orchestra as a haunting iteration, at times inverted, elongated, distorted, and abstracted. There is a sense of the in-between, a dialogue between orchestra and synthesiser that is in harmony one moment and starkly opposing the next. Strange Roses positions these musical structures in an open-ended format as a sort of process of disintegration and transformation through its creative explorations of musical forms. The orchestra’s rich and expressive tone palette, together with the synthesiser’s versatility and its ability to hauntingly recall acoustic textures has enabled me to explore dislocated classical musical architecture, warped and uncanny in its electronic displacement.

© Heather Shannon, 2023


Dvořák, Antonin (1841 – 1904)Symphony No 9 – New World Symphony
  1. Adagio-Allegro
  2. Largo
  3. Scherzo: Molto vivace – Poco sostenuto
  4. Allegro con fuoco

Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 was premiered at Carnegie Hall on 16 December 1893. As Director of the National Conservatory of Music of America, one of Dvorak’s main duties was to instil a passion for musical nationalism in his students. After studying and being influenced greatly by Native American music, Dvorak explained to the New York Herald how these influences were present in his music:

I have not actually used any of the melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music, and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, counterpoint and orchestral colour.

The slowly unfolding harmonies that begin the first movement develop with an underlying sense of the drama and grandeur that will continue throughout the symphony. This is reinforced by the dramatic timpani interjection announcing the move into the allegro tempo. Dotted rhythms are prevalent throughout this movement, giving us the impression of folk dancing.

The largo second movement opens with a brass chorale and is followed by the famous english horn solo, reminiscent of America’s vast, wide-open prairies. Dvorak remarked that amongst the prairies, he found solace and beauty, but also bleakness, sadness and despair.

Paying a brief homage to scherzo in Beethoven’s ninth symphony opens the third movement, and he links this to ‘modern’ America by performing a rhythmic dance emphasised by the timpani.

The grand, final movement ties all of the previous movements together, with recurring themes appearing in grand, dramatic fashion. The dotted rhythms are again present, and these help to emphasise the melody without losing clarity amongst such a large orchestration. Upon its grand finale at its premiere, it received thunderous applause and cheering, and New York critic W.J. Henderson wrote, ‘It is a great symphony and must take its place among the finest works in the form produced since the death of Beethoven.’

© 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 name to read her bio) : Heather Shannon

The Musicians Of The Metropolitan Orchestra On Stage Are:

Concertmaster ^Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich

First Violin: *Dominique Guerbois, Elena Tabolkina, Dominic Meagher, Amanda Scott, Denisa Smeu-Kirileanu, Jonathan Karanikas, Sarah Anthony, Justin Li, Fiona Jose, Paul Pokorny, Sarah Qiu

Second Violin: *Catrina Hughes, Breeana Baxter, Alexis Bell, Jennifer Mee, Amanda Hoh, Claudia Seibold, Isabel Tzorbatzaki, Jane Silcock, Victoria Giles, Clare Fulton, Brian Lee

Viola: *Robyn Botha, Seola Lee, Janet Silverton, Kirsten James, Nicola Elsworth, Haemi Lee, Liz D’Olier, William d’Avigdor, Steve Koroknay

Cello: *John Benz, *Ezmi Pepper, Julienne Guerbois, Sally Schinckel-Brown, Lily Innis, Lye Lin Ho, Karen Cortez

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

Flute: #Michelle Wang, #Jacinta Mikus

Oboe: *Alex Fontaine, *Matthew Bubb

Clarinet: #Alisha Coward, Rob Mackay

Bassoon: #Joshua Reynolds, Zola Baldwin

French Horn: *Adrian Hallam, Robert Stonestreet, Neil O’Donnell, Julia Zeltzer

Trumpet: *Chris Moran, Raphael Harvey, Toby Rands

Trombone: *Gareth Lewis, Mark Brown, Arthur Johnson

Tuba: *James Barrow

Timpani: *Murray Parker

Percussion: Robert Oetomo

^ Concert Master

* Principal

# Acting Principal

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