21 Sep 2023

APO: Reflections

From Music Alive, 8:00 pm on 21 September 2023
APO's Bede Hanley

APO's Bede Hanley Photo: APO

Programme:

DEBUSSY: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune;

Debussy’s little masterpiece is the languid, ecstatic music of a hot summer afternoon lying in the grass. It’s also quietly revolutionary. Modern music began here. 

KULESHA, Gary: Oboe Concerto (world première);

This is the premiere of Canadian composer Gary Kulesha's new concerto for APO principal oboe, Bede Hanley. 

https://www.rnz.co.nz/concert/programmes/upbeat/audio/2018769603/apo-reflections David Morriss talks with Gary Kulesha and Bede Hanley about the Oboe Concerto.

TELEMANN: Fantasy No 1 in A;

PROKOFIEV: Symphony No 7 in C# minor, Op 131;

Prokofiev’s last symphony is direct and tuneful, in the best Russian tradition, but there’s more to it than that. It was written by a sick man, in dark straits, and below the nostalgic surface is a yearning for his lost happiness.

PROKOFIEV: March from The Love for Three Oranges

Bede Hanley (oboe), Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Giordano Bellincampi

Recorded in Auckland Town Hall by RNZ Concert

DEBUSSY: Prélude à L’après-midi d’une faune

Arnold Böcklin - 'Faun einer Amsel zupfeifend' (Faun whistling to a blackbird)

Arnold Böcklin - 'Faun einer Amsel zupfeifend' (Faun whistling to a blackbird) Photo: Public Domain

'The Afternoon of a Faun' is a poem by Stephane Mallarmé, and in 1894 Debussy wrote this musical evocation of it.

There are 110 lines in the poem, and 110 bars of Debussy’s music. With its famous opening arabesques on the flute, it is one of Debussy’s most famous works, and is considered a turning point in the history of music, even perhaps the beginning of modern music.

Debussy himself said of the piece: “there is a succession of scenes through which pass the desires and dreams of the faun in the heat of the afternoon. Then, tired of pursuing the timorous flight of nymphs and naiads, he succumbs to intoxicating sleep, in which he can finally realize his dreams of possession in universal Nature.”

Recorded by RNZ Concert, Auckland Town Hall, 22 October 2020
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Adrian Hollay

Gary KULESHA: Oboe Concerto

The world premiere of an exciting new work

Canadian composer Gary Kulesha

Canadian composer Gary Kulesha Photo: Supplied

As well as being a pianist, teacher, and conductor, Canadian Gary Kulesha is a prolific composer, with a long and ever-growing list of works. In particular, his piece Angels for Marimba and Tape has become an established part of the contemporary repertoire.

It’s said that his work as a composer is a blend of avant-garde techniques, mixed with traditional influences. He’s said much the same thing himself, in fact. He says: “I am attempting to blend all the techniques available to composers into a cohesive form of expression. Most of my current works begin with very traditional forms but use a language that is not so easy to define. [...] I do not think in terms of tonal/atonal sounds, I simply write music as I hear it.”

The work was commissioned by the Auckland Philharmonia and written especially for Bede Hanley.

Recorded by RNZ Concert, Auckland Town Hall, 22 October 2020
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Adrian Hollay

Related

Interview with Gary Kulesha and Bede Hanley

TELEMANN: Fantasy No 1 in A

Bede Hanley

Bede Hanley Photo: ©Adrian Malloch

An encore performed by Bede Hanley following his performance of the Oboe Concerto by Gary Kulesha.

This Fantasy was written for flute but is equally playable on oboe.

Recorded by RNZ Concert, Auckland Town Hall, 22 October 2020
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Adrian Hollay

PROKOFIEV: Symphony No 7 in C# minor, Op 131

Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev Photo: Public Domain

This was Prokofiev’s last symphony, completed in 1952 in very difficult personal circumstances for the composer. His previous symphony had been condemned by Stalin’s government for not fitting in with its new standards, and they’d stripped him of his state pension. He was poor, his health was failing, and his personal relationships were strained.

He wrote this seventh symphony in the hopes of restoring himself to favour, and – perhaps more pressingly – of winning the highly lucrative Stalin Prize, awarded for great works in the arts, or science, architecture or technology.

He failed in the latter aspiration, but the symphony was at least warmly received at its premiere in the "Moscow Trade Union Hall of Columns”.

The conductor Kiril Karabits has said of this symphony: “‘You could call it a farewell symphony. It’s a symphony that looks back over his life and childhood – an old man’s dream of childhood. But he’s also saying farewell. Look at the ending – it’s just a heartbeat that slows down and then stops.”

Recorded by RNZ Concert, Auckland Town Hall, 22 October 2020
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Adrian Hollay

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