All posts by Mosman Symphony Orchestra

We’re a community orchestra based in Sydney’s North Shore. Would you like to join us? www.mosmanorchestra.org.au

A Night of Magic

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Apart from wonderful classical music in a lovely venue, one of the  really great things about Mosman Symphony Orchestra concerts is the champagne and nibblies afterwards, when the players get to relax and chat to the audience. When people talk about music that has stirred them they are often very eloquent – sometimes poetic.

We thought it was about time that we had a permanent record of some of the lovely things that people say to us after our performances, so we now have a Guest Book.

 

Here are some of the first comments after the Friday night performance of Mosman Symphony Orchestra goes to the movies:

‘A wonderful night of magic music. Thank you so much!’

‘I was absolutely enthralled by the guest conductor and loved the choice of music, a wonderful night!’

If you’re coming to our Sunday performance, we’d love you to share your thoughts in the guest book. There are still some seats available, but you’ll need to be quick!

And from Sunday…

‘Wonderful. Thank you to the conductor for “bringing in the audience”. Fabulous selection of music and professional and talented musicians.’

‘Yet another wonderful performance. Congratulations. Looking forward to the next event’

‘Can’t wait for the next concert! Fabulous!’

‘It was a fabulous concert, my first time at a concert of the Mosman Symphony, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. My spirits needed lifting, and Mosman Symphony Orchestra most certainly did that! The music choices were perfect, the order of play was so well organised and the acoustics were fabulous!

I would really appreciate being placed on the mailing list and am really looking forward to attending the next concert and into the future.

My thanks to you and, to the entire orchestra.’

This last piece is not in our Guest Book, but was emailed to me. Thank you to Edward for taking the trouble to write such a lovely review:

Spring has Sprung

Spring arrived when the flowers bloomed last week, and as the charming conductor, Carlos Alvarado took to the rostrum, raising his baton elegantly to lead our sublime Mosman Symphony Orchestra through a selection of music from cinematic history.

Composers Johann Strauss and Edward Elgar to “Harry Potter’s” themes of haunting mysticism were on the program, and the orchestra confidently performed for an appreciative audience that yearned for more.

A memorable arrangement from the movie, “Schindler’s List” elevated my mind to a space where only tolerance and peace prevail. Anny Bing Xia achieved a seamless, sweet hypnotic interpretation in that violin performance, and blew me away. Anny, you’re a “Musician’s Musician” – play on!

“Jaffas” were not rolled down the aisles, and precedents can’t be tolerated I’m sure – however, it wouldn’t have taken much for exemptions to be brought forth as the exhilaration of “Radetzky’s March” raised the house, and closed a fabulous evening of block-buster music.

See you at the next concert.

Edward

Gliding Maidens, Leaping Lads & Wild Men

The exotic, exciting Polovtsian Dances form the best known scene in Borodin’s opera, Prince Igor. In this scene, the Russian Prince Igor has been taken prisoner by the Polovtsian chief, Khan Konchak. When the Khan sees his noble prisoner is feeling miserable, he orders his slaves to cheer him up with a performance. There are 3 main themes to the dances, which appear in various combinations:

Gliding Dance of the Maidens
The Dance of the Boys
Wild Dance of the Men

The entertainment begins with the Gliding Dance of the Maidens & tender memories of their homeland:

Fly away on the wings of the wind.
Fly away, our native song, to our homeland.
To where we sang you in liberty,
where you and we were so free.

There under the sultry sky
the air is full of bliss.
There to the murmuring of the sea
the mountains half slumber in the clouds.

With the entry of the Men and their Wild Dance, things start to heat up and the timpani ushers in unstinting praise for the Khan:

Sing songs of glory to the Khan! Sing!
Glorify the might, the honour of the Khan! Praise him!
Glorious is Khan! Khan!
Glorious is he, our Khan!
In the gleaming of his glory
Khan is like the sun.
There are none equal in glory to Khan! None!
Khan’s slave girls praise Khan!

Khan is clearly pleased with this and offers Prince Igor the choice of any of his slaves:

Do you see the captive girls from a distant sea?
Do you see my beauties from beyond the Caspian
O say it, friend, say just a word to me
If you want, I’ll give you any one of them!

Then with whistles and whip cracking on come the leaping lads and more praise for the Khan:

Our Khan, Khan Konehak, is equal in glory to his forefathers!
The grim Khan Konehak is equal in glory to his forefathers!
Glory, glory to Khan Konchak!
Khan Konehak!
With your dancing entertain the Khan!
Dance to entertain the Khan, slaves!
Your Khan!
With your dancing entertain the Khan!
Entertain with dancing!
Our Khan Konchak!

It’s hard to believe that even  Prince Igor would not be thrilled by the rousing performance, but he decides that enough is enough and he takes advantage of loose Polovtsian security and escapes. He returns home in triumph ready to unite his people & defend his homeland.

 

 

From an audience member

It was 1979: how far back is that? – Of course, it depends on who one asks. When I’m conversing with the young I’m bound to see – and feel the numerous time posts that created my world back to then. I cop it with both barrels through youthful cynicism. But youth is wasted on the young? – Or so they say!

Where did the time go? But then again, “A lot of water has flowed under the bridge” – so they say!

Boeing 747s were the way to travel back then; and as a 25 year old they were to marval at. They’re still flying, and so are many more wonderful aircraft that take to the air.

The amazing thing about those time posts that mark important occasions in our lives is that they can be triggered by music.

The Mosman Symphony Orchestra did exactly that for me as it performed Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony last Friday night in the Mosman Art Gallery.

We can’t mistake the earthy strengths of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony, blending with the fun of the instrumental dynamics and haunting clouds of sadness.

Congratulations Andrew! It certainly did it for me.

My five months in Russia in the 1970s was but a memory. You and your beautiful orchestra brought some of that magical time back again for me.

Picnics, cray fishing and Neptune-plays while cruising the Volga River, the mysterious lights of St Petersburgh, Volgagrad and the immovable characteristics of Moscow.

Thank you again!
Edward
May 21st, 2016

That Horn Tune

One of the most wonderful and best loved moments of Tchaikovksy’s 5th Symphony, which the orchestra will play on May 20 & 22, is the noble horn tune from the 2nd movement:

horn melody

It is one of the greatest horn solos in the orchestral repertoire and has inspired a great many adaptations and imitations since it was first composed in 1888. Frank Sinatra performed his version, Moon Love, with the Harry James Orchestra in 1939.

The opening of John Denver’s Annie’s Song follows the same progression and rhythm:

Less obvious is the aria Vesti la giubba, from Leoncavallo’s 1892 opera, Pagliacci. The same melody, but a different rhythm creates a very different effect:

Vestir

That dramatic piece was used by the advertisers of Kellogg’s Rice Bubbles to depict the tragedy of running out of their product. Here’s the American (Rice Crispies) version:

For the advertisers of Winfield cigarettes in the 70’s, Tchaikovsky’s music was the epitome of classys sophistication, with ‘Boris and the band’ setting the scene for a tuxedo clad Paul Hogan to extoll the virtues of the cigarettes with ‘a bit of polish – a touch of class’. Let her rip, Boris!

World Premiere Performance

Kim d'EspineyMosman Symphony Orchestra’s first concert for 2016 at Mosman Art Gallery was an exciting blend of well-loved orchestral classics with a touch of exotic spice.

As well as Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2, the program featured the world premiere of Danza Arabica by Sydney musician, Kim d’Espiney. Kim has played oboe with the orchestra for several years. She also plays saxophone and clarinet and teaches all three instruments. This is her first composition for orchestra although she has written many arrangements for her students.

Kim says that the main reason she decided to compose Danza Arabica is because she wanted to celebrate Arabic culture.

“Like many people, I abhor the carnage and slaughter that is happening right now, from Iraq and Syria to Palestine, and I feel a tremendous sense of helplessness for all the innocent people caught in the cross-fire. An example that springs to mind is the current global tragedy: where thousands of refugees are being turned away by the rest of the world, as they flee war-torn countries to seek asylum.”

Kim comes from a Portuguese background and she feels that this may well have influenced her musical style:

“The most famous Portuguese folk music is the ‘Fado’ (meaning ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’). It has sorrowful melodies and lyrics with a rich Arabic/Moorish influence. The songs often tell stories about life of the poor or the harshness of the sea, with feelings of passion and intense longing. Having listened to a lot of Fado, I’ve no doubt this has had at least a subconscious influence on my composition.

“The inspiration for this piece was both melodic and rhythmic. The main theme grew from trying out different ideas on my clarinet – I like the smooth, mellow sound of the low register, and thought it might also work well on the bassoon. The rhythmic ideas were influenced by my love of Arabic music, with its vibrant rhythms and interesting textural effects. Once I had the basics, the rest flowed naturally.”

Kim was thrilled to have the opportunity to have her music performed by a symphony orchestra.

“It is an incredible experience: hearing the notes I have written coming to life through the efforts and skills of the players in the orchestra. It is also exciting to think that others may interpret my music in their own way.”

When asked if there were any more pieces in the pipeline, Kim’s response was

“Absolutely… watch this space!”

Only 10 More Sleeps…

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There’s only 10 more sleeps to go before our first concert of the year, and we’re very excited to announce the addition of a touch of exotic spice to our program. The orchestra will be performing the world premiere of our very own Kim d’Espiney’s Danza Arabica.

Kim says that her work reflects her love of Arabic music with its vibrant rhythms and interesting textural effects:

“The main reason I decided to compose ‘Danza Arabica’ is because I wanted to celebrate Arabic culture. Like many people, I abhor the carnage and slaughter that is happening right now, from Iraq and Syria to Palestine, and I feel a tremendous sense of helplessness for all the innocent people caught in the cross-fire. An example that springs to mind is the current global tragedy: where thousands of refugees are being turned away by the rest of the world, as they flee war-torn countries to seek asylum.”

There are currently only 14 seats available for Sunday afternoon, but there are still good seats for Friday.

Buy tickets now

Romantic Pastorale

Single tickets are now on sale for our first concert of the year, and what a concert it promises to be!

As part of our ongoing Beethoven series, we’ll be performing his evocative 6th Symphony – the Pastoral.

How happy I am to be able to walk among the shrubs, the trees, the woods, the grass and the rocks! For the woods, the trees and the rocks give man the resonance he needs.Beethoven: letter to Therese Malfatti

Beethoven had a deep love of nature and he poured that love into a wonderful evocation of landscape. The 6th Symphony, with its depiction of nature in its various guises, from a gentle creek to a tumultuous storm, is one of Beethoven’s best loved. I can’t tell you much the orchestra is enjoying rehearsals!

We’re also thrilled to welcome back audience favourite Gregory Kinda who will play the rapturously lovely Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2. You can’t help but swoon to the lush harmonies and heart-stoppingly lovely melodies of this most romantic of works.

Book online to choose your seat.

Buy tickets now

2016 Subscription Season Now Open

This year you can buy tickets to all 4 of our major concerts at discounted rates and ensure you get your favourite seat at each concert.

Delight in Beethoven’s evocative Pastorale Symphony, swoon to the romance of Rachmaninov, & thrill to the exciting rhythms of Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien.

We’ll be joined by some outstanding soloists. Two audience favourites return to the orchestra in 2016, with violinist Ron Thomas playing Brahms and pianist Gregory Kinda the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no. 2, and Rachel Tolmie, a newcomer to the orchestra, but very well known to Australian audiences, will play the Donizetti Concerto for Cor Anglais.

The Mosman Symphony Chorus will feature in our main concert program with Borodin’s stirring Polovtsian Dances as well as  in a special Christmas performance of Handel’s Messiah (not included in the subscription series.)

Online subscriptions close on February 12. Don’t miss out!

Mosman Rider

MRider.v01_PinkIf you’re coming to our Sunday concert this summer, you might want to consider the Mosman Rider. It’s a free community bus service operated by Mosman Council. From October 1st it will run between 9am to 1pm  and 2pm  to 6pm. It will drop you right at the Art Gallery.

If you  click here you can download the timetable. There is also a free new app  for the Mosman Rider service that gives realtime information on the rider’s whereabouts.  It works on all smart phones.

You can visit the Rider’s website at mosmanrider.net.

Mosman Community Showcase

Mosman Community Connects

Bridget, Bob and Linda (along with their respective spouses) had a great day at the Mosman Community Showcase. What an amazing diversity of  volunteer community organisations we have in this town! Thank you to Mosman Rotary and to Mosman Council for the great job you did organsing the event. It was good to catch up with some of our supporters including Councillor Tom Sherlock and also Virginia Howard, who is a not only director on the board of Mosman Bendigo Bank,  generous sponsors of the orchestra for many years, but who also does sterling volunteer work for Taldumande Youth Services.

It was a pleasure to meet members of the community who have been coming to our concerts and who gave some very encouraging feedback and also to connect with future players and audiences.