8 Dec 2017

EDWIN CARR: Concerto Balabile (introduction)

From Resound, 9:02 pm on 8 December 2017

Introduced by Kenneth Young.

Kenneth Young

Kenneth Young Photo: Deborah Rawson

"Edwin Carr, or Ted, for those who knew and worked with him, was one of the generation of New Zealand composers who were present at Cambridge Music School in 1946 when Douglas Lilburn gave his seminal lecture, A Search for Tradition. I think it’s probably fair to assert that Ted took this title rather literally in his subsequent compositional path. This is certainly not a criticism, merely an observation.

"He travelled to Europe in 1948 to study. His teachers included Benjamin Frankel, Carl Orff and Goffredo Petrassi, all of whom would’ve contributed greatly to Carr developing an admirable technique based around traditional forms. This was even apparent when he dabbled in serialism for a while, before returning to what he considered a more accessible language.

"Symphonies, concertos, oratorios, ballet and a large wad of chamber music all exhibit Edwin Carr as a consummate technician. For me, he’s the finest orchestrator we’ve yet produced in this country. Nowhere more well demonstrated than in the deftly judged textures of his piano concerto, Concerto Ballabile completed in 2001.

"Ballabile is an Italian term for dance number or dance tune. Dance is definitely the centre-point of the work, written on a commission from the NZSO to celebrate Carr’s 75th birthday. It’s a portrayal of the importance of maintaining a balance between dance and song in music, as the title might suggest.
He moves effortlessly between different styles, from ragtime and jazz to the tarantella all beautifully clothed in orchestral colours reminiscent of Stravinsky and Ravel.

"Ted Carr retained a fierce individualism throughout his working career. He moved around when the mood took him; teaching conducting and composing in Australia, England, New Zealand at varying stages of his life from 1958 to 1984. That was when he decided that Taupo, and later-on, Waiheke Island, might be nice places to live and compose. It was on that latter gorgeous bit of paradise that he passed away in 2003, just two years following the premier of this concerto."

Listen to Concerto Ballabile by Edwin Carr.

 

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