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MET#1 2022 – String Serenade

String Serenade

Bartock, Dvorak, Grandison*

Conductor – Sarah-Grace Williams

Marrickville Town Hall

Sunday August 28th at 3:30pm

Our Program For This Afternoon:

Bartók, Béla (1881-1945)Romanian Folk Dances

Bartók is generally considered to be one of the most important composers of the 20th century. The Hungarian born composer had a passionate interest in the folk music of his own and neighbouring countries, and from 1905 travelled extensively to systematically record and transcribe the native music. The influence of this passion is clearly heard in Bartók’s compositions, even those that are not direct transcriptions of folk tunes. His music is deeply emotional, rich in melody, with driving rhythms, and although primarily tonal, it is coloured with dissonance and the use of modes and polytonality. During his lifetime Bartók’s music was not very well received in his own country, however he was internationally recognised as an original and ground-breaking new musical voice.

The Romanian Folk Dances are straight arrangements of seven contrasting modal fiddle tunes Bartók had collected in his travels. Originally composed for solo piano in 1915, the composer transcribed the work for small orchestra two years later, and it is now one of his most popular and often performed works.

© Andrew Doyle 2022

Grandison, Mark (very much alive)Cellar Door For String Orchestra *World Premiere
  1. 1. Champagne
  2. 2. Riesling
  3. 3. Semillon
  4. 4. Chardonnay
  5. 5. Spring Water (A Palate Cleanser)
  6. 6. Pinot Noir
  7. 7. Shiraz
  8. 8. Cabernet Sauvignon

When asked to compose a cello octet by fellow gourmand, sybarite and bon vivant, John Benz, Cellar Door readily sprung to mind: a Suite in 8 tastings. The notion of bringing together two of the grandest things in life – music and good wine – proved irresistible. As was the associated fieldwork!

This octet was subsequently re-orchestrated for String Orchestra – the version premiered in this concert.

Cellar Door commences vibrantly with a cork-popping Champagne, followed by three ‘white’ movements. A spring water movement provides a moment of repose before three ‘reds’. The many nuances associated with these various drops provided fecund ground for musical ideas. In equal portions of jest and extra-musical motivation, I included in the score numerous wine-tasting terms and images that are commonly associated with each wine. These serve to mark each sub-section and allude to its new textures and tone colours. They flow one into the other not unlike the way various flavours and aromas will emerge from a glass when tasting.

To whet one’s appetite and complement the sounds, I include these in the movement summary below. I recommend using these cues with synesthetic gusto to follow the music with eyes, ears and taste buds alike… Bottoms up!

1 Champagne: buoyant and effervescent – taut and crisp – yeasty – with bright acidity – mouth puckering – floral notes – one final sip – with a clean finish

2 Riesling: zesty citrus – flinty – slightly tart – dried herbs

3 Semillon: viscous and honeyed – dry and grassy – herbaceous – toasty

4 Chardonnay: gentle waves of stone fruit – almonds and vanilla – ripe figs and melon

5 Spring Water (A Palate Cleanser): still, clear and cool

6 Pinot Noir: mellow and velvety – tangy cherries – violets and chocolate – supple and silk

7 Shiraz: earthy and unctuous – spicy and peppery – rich and voluptuous – a lingering finish

8 Cabernet Sauvignon: savoury and tannic – oaky and opulent – full-bodied and plummy – raspberries

© Mark Grandison, 2022

Dvořák, Antonin (1841 – 1904)Serenade for Strings in E Major Op. 22
  1. Moderato
  2. Tempo di Valse
  3. Scherzo: Vivace
  4. Larghetto
  5. Finale: Allegro vivace

An aspiring composer on the verge of success, 1875 began a new period of composition in Dvorak’s life. Until 1874, he was a relatively unknown composer in the early stages of his career. His application for the newly created Austrian State Stipendium for young artists described him as, ‘Anton Dworak of Prague, 33 years old, music teacher, completely without means.’ His success winning this stipend freed his creative barriers and began a period of creative success and international renown.

His String Serenade is wistful and elegant and contains an abundance of popular tunes, evoking feelings of comfort and familiarity. Whilst each movement takes on a different style, except for the finale, they are all in a tripartite form (A-B-A). Each movement has a contrasting middle section, however the overriding feeling of each movement is clear. The first movement is lyrical, opening with a second violin and cello theme in E Major. A shift to the relative minor (C#) opens the second movement, the waltz, with the middle section shifting back to E major, returning to conclude in C# minor. A lively scherzo in F Major forms the third movement, before we relax into the lyrical tranquillity of the larghetto fourth movement. The finale is in sonata form, and provides a robust and exuberant conclusion to this charming work with the re-appearance of the original lyrical theme bringing the piece full circle.

© Andrew Doyle, 2022

Our Artists For Today

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.

The Musicians Performing Today:

Concertmaster ^Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich

First Violin: #Kathryn Crossing, Elena Tabolkina, Denisa Smeu-Kirileanu, Ela Stopa-Zbikowska, Jonathan Karanikas, Dominic Meagher, Stephanie Hill, Sarah Qiu, Joshua Kok

Second Violin: *Catrina Hughes, Naomi Warr, Sarah Anthony, Alexis Bell, Elisabetta Sonego, Katrina Papallo, Stephanie Colomb, Jennifer Mee

Viola: *Robyn Botha, Seola Lee, Monique Turner, Dawid Botha, Lucy Macken

Cello: *John Benz, Joshua Pak, Cathy Upex, Lye Lin Ho

Bass: *Jeremy Fox, Jessica Holmes, Nicole Murray-Prior

^ Concert Master

* Principal

# Acting Principal

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