Concert 5 2019 Lord of the Rings

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This concert is a joint concert with the Monash University Wind Symphony director Roman Ponomariov. The conductor is Roland Yeung. Three works are being performed.

Twist by Jodie Blackshaw

Trumpet Concerto by Alexander transcribed by Guy Duker Naomi Whimpey trumpet soloist

Symphony No.1 ‘Lord of the Rings’ by Johan de Meij

  1. Gandalf (The Wizard)
  2. Lothlórien (The Elvenwood)
  3. Gollum (Sméagol)
  4. Journey In The Dark
    • The Mines of Moria
    • The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm
  5. Hobbits

PROGRAM NOTES

Twist by Jodie Blackshaw

For information about the composer, click on this link https://www.jodieblackshaw.com/about-jodie

Twist was commissioned by a consortium led by the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association Queensland and premiered at the Australian National Band and Orchestra Clinic 2012. Twist, composed for wind orchestra, is inspired by shape, spirit and hisory of Australia’s magnanimous waterway, the Murray River (the Wiradjuri people of the Albury-Wodonga region call the river ‘Millewa’. Many solos for the go-get ’em wind band. Trumpet section cadenza, dance movements, iconic Aussie sounds, klezma-style. The work is divided into six sections.

.I. ‘Survival’. This powerful opening was stimulated by the indigenous story of ‘Tiddalick the Frog’. There are assorted versions of this Dreamtime fable but essentially, it tells of a colossal, greedy amphibian who consumes the entire river without thought for the inhabitants of his bionetwork. This forthright, almost violent introduction to your journey along the river is driven by bass and percussion; it seeks to paint Tiddalick’s volatile movements whilst he selfishly gorges on the region’s lifeblood.

(inserted here is an excerpt from the poem “Rapid Acoustic”.)

II. ‘Reflection’ speaks of the majestic beauty the river displays at dawn and dusk. At times, the water is so very calm a perfect mirror image of the surrounding landscape is reflected on the water’s surface, bringing a sensation of inner peace to any spirit who is fortunate enough to experience such splendour. The elegance of the Vibraphone pitted against a meandering Flute solo and unpredictable bass line reflects the stillness of the river but the hidden undercurrents that lurk just beneath the surface.

(inserted here is an excerpt from the poem “The Light of the River”.)

III. ‘Discovery’ reveals the arrival of European settlers and the introduction of paddleboats in the mid-1800s. These steam-powered beasts enabled essential supplies to be delivered to farmers working the land in arid, remote regions. The magnificence of the towering cliffs must have been an awesome sight to newcomers navigating this often treacherous waterway. These discoveries inspire a chorus of brass rising above busy, interlocking woodwinds and pulsating percussion, transforming into a glittering, joyous melody that echoes the enthusiasm and spirit of the paddleboats themselves. Just as dawn is announced by a chorus of Kookaburras, so to is this movement but instead of a recording, the call of these idiosyncratic Australian birds is emulated here by the trumpet section using various playing techniques and plunger mutes.

(inserted here the poem “The Gorge Country”.)

IV. ‘Obsession’. Following the paddleboats is a bush soundscape, painting the timbral colours experienced at the campfire at dusk. This usurped by a sleazy late night Tango featuring at first the Soprano then Baritone Saxophone. The river is as deceiving as it is beautiful Whilst the calm and innocent surface has lured many into the Murray’s embrace, precarious snags, unseen creatures and treacherous undercurrents present many hazards. Even with experience the Murray still makes those in love with her unable to resist her temptations.

(inserted here is an excerpt from the poem “Catch me I’m falling”.)

V. ‘Carnevale’ is the Italian term for carnival or festival and is used here to capture the profound influence of Mediterranean culture in the South West regions of New South Wales. In the late 1940’s and early 1950s hundreds of Italian people migrated to Australia and thanks to the development of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and many years of strenuous labour, they helped to transform otherwise unworkable land into thriving viticultural regions. Whilst many despise these changes that man has brought to the Murray and her surrounding landscape, no-one can deny that these one-time immigrants, now the Great-Grandfathers and Mothers of second and third generation Australians, have promoted positive change in Australia. The melodic material used in this section is inspired by the Italian folk dance the ‘Tarentella’ and is simply bursting with energy and joy.

(inserted here is an excerpt from the poem “Headwater”.)

VI – ‘Ascension’. Though all those twists and turns the piece comes back to where we started using material from ‘Survival’. Not only does this implicate the lifecycle of the eco-system, it also hopes to challenge all listeners to consider this; how so we successfully sustain of our beloved Murray River? As now it not only affects the natural inhabitants, it encompasses all who prosper from her bounty, and that means you.

(inserted here is an excerpt from the poem “Headwater”.)

For sound links and inspiration go to the composer’s website https://www.jodieblackshaw.com/twist

Trumpet Concerto for Trumpet and Symphonic Band by Alexander Arutiunian transcribed by Guy Duker

Arutiunian conceived the main theme for this concerto in 1943. Like most of his themes, it first came to him while he was asleep. He was encouraged to complete the work by a longtime friend, Zolak Vartasarian, who was principal trumpet in the Yerevan Opera Orchestra. Unfortunately, Vartasarian died in the war that same year, and the concerto was not completed until 1950. It was premiered then by Timofei Dokshizer in Moscow. The movements are Andante, Allegro energico, Meno mosso, and Allegro. A long virtuoso cadenza brings the concerto to an abrupt but stylish close.

Since Arutiunian composed this work (also known as Concerto in A flat), it has continued to grow in popularity. In 1990-1991, for example, it led a list of eighty-two solos performed by approximately 150 professional, faculty, and student members of the International Trumpet Guild.

The work was originally written for orchestra accompaniment. This version is a transcription by Guy Duker published in 1990.

For information about the composer, click on this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Arutiunian

– Program Note from “Program Notes for Band” for the symphonic band version. https://www.windrep.org/Concerto_for_Trumpet_(Arutiunian)

Also go to the Wikipedia page devoted to this concerto. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trumpet_Concerto_(Arutiunian)

Symphony No. 1 “Lord of the Rings” by Johan de Meij

Symphony No. 1 “The Lord of the Rings” is the first symphony for concert band written by Johan de Meij. It premiered in 1988 with the Groot Harmonieorkest van de Belgische Gidsen (nl) conducted by Norbert Nozy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._1_%22The_Lord_of_the_Rings%22

For information about the composer, click on the following link. http://www.johandemeij.com/biography.php

Johan de Meij’s first symphony “The Lord of the Rings” is based on the trilogy of that name by J.R.R. Tolkien. This book has fascinated many millions of readers since its publication in 1955. The symphony consists of five separate movements, each illustrating a personage or an important episode from the book.

Although it is not simple to summarize such an extensive and complex work, the main outline is as follows: the central theme is the Ring, made by primeval forces that decide the safety or destruction of the World. For years it was the possession of the creature Gollum, but when the Ring falls into the hands of the Hobbits the evil forces awake and the struggle for the Ring commences. There is but one solution to save the World from disaster: the Ring must be destroyed by the fire in which it was forged: Mount Doom in the heart of Mordor, the country of the evil Lord Sauron.

It is the Hobbit Frodo who is assigned to carry out this task, and to assist him a company, the Fellowship of the Ring, is formed under the leadership of Gandalf, the wizard, which includes the Hobbits Sam, Peregrin and Merin, the Dwarf Gimli, the Elf Legolas, Boromir and Aragorn, the later King. The Companions are secretly followed by Gollum, who does not shun any means, however perfidious, to recover his priceless Ring. However, the Companions soon fall apart, after many pernicious adventures and a surprising dénouement Frodo and Sam can at last return to their familiar home, The Shire.I

I. GANDALF (The Wizard)
The first movement is a musical portrait of the wizard Gandalf, one of the principal characters of the trilogy. His wise and noble personality is expressed by a stately motiff which is used in a different form in movements IV and V. The sudden opening of the Allegro vivace is indicative of the unpredictability of the grey wizard, followed by a wild ride on his beautiful horse “Shadowfax”.

II. LOTHLORIEN (The Elvenwood)
The second movement is an impression of Lothlórien, the elvenwood with its beautiful trees, plants, exotic birds, expressed through woodwind solo’s. The meeting of the Hobbit Frodo with the Lady Galadriel is embodied in a charming Allegretto; in the Mirror of Galadriel, a silver basin in the wood, Frodo glimpses three visions, the last of which, a large ominous Eye, greatly upsets him.

III. GOLLUM (Sméagol)
The third movement describes the monstrous creature  Gollum,  a slimy,  shy  being  represented  by  the soprano saxophone. It mumbles and talks to itself, hisses and lisps, whines and snickers, is alternately pitiful and malicious, is continually fleeing and looking for his cherished treasure, the Ring.

IV. JOURNEY IN THE DARK
The fourth movement describes the laborious journey of the Fellowship of the Ring, headed by the wizard Gandalf, through the dark tunnels of the Mines of Moria. The slow walking cadenza and the fear are clearly audible in the monotonous rhythm of the low brass, piano and percussion. After a wild persuit by hostile creatures, the Orks, Gandalf is engaged in battle with a horrible monster, the Balrog, and crashes from the subterranean bridge of Khazad-Dûm in a fathomless abyss. To the melancholy tones of a Marcia funèbre, the bewildered Companions trudge on, looking for the only way out of the Mines, the East Gate of Moria.

V. HOBBITS
The fifth movement expresses the carefree and optimistic character of the Hobbits in a happy folk dance; the hymn that follows emanates the determination and noblesse of the hobbit folk. The symphony does not end on an exuberant note, but is concluded peacefully and resigned, in keeping with the symbolic mood of the last chapter “The Grey Havens” in which Frodo and Gandalf sail away in a white ship and disappear slowly beyond the horizon.

For the above information and more including a recording, go to the composer’s web page http://www.johandemeij.com/cd_profile_main.php?id=12&cat=9