Concert Program

Andrew Seymour

Thursday 7 Mar 2024 6pm
Federation Concert Hall, nipaluna / Hobart

From the 6pm Series

Conducted by Eivind Aadland,
featuring Andrew Seymour on clarinet,
and hosted by Will Newbery.
Andrew Seymour

The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra acknowledges the traditional owners and continuing custodians of lutruwita / Tasmania. We pay respect to the Aboriginal community today, and to its Elders past and present. We recognise a history of truth, which acknowledges the impacts of colonisation upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and stand for a future that profoundly respects their stories, culture, language and history.

About the concert

Works

Haydn Symphony No 59 in A, ‘Fire’ (17 min)

4 movements:

  • Presto
  • Andante o più tosto Allegretto
  • Menuetto e Trio
  • Allegro assai

Jabra Latham Fire Music (20 min)

4 movements:

  1. Life
  2. Fire
  3. Desolation
  4. Renewal

de Falla Three Pieces from El amor brujo (10 min)

3 movements:

  • Dance of Terror
  • The Magic Circle
  • Ritual Fire Dance

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Andrew Seymour

Andrew Seymour (clarinet) and Henning Kraggerud (violin).

Concert 101: Learn about the works being performed

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Uncover the stories behind the works.

Enliven the day

Symphony No 59 in A, ‘Fire’

  • Presto
  • Andante o più tosto Allegretto
  • Menuetto e Trio
  • Allegro assai

Composed by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)

17 minutes

 

Joseph Haydn's Symphony No 59 in A, nicknamed the Fire Symphony, is a vibrant and spirited work that exemplifies the creativity and innovation of its composer. Haydn, often referred to as the "Father of the Symphony," had a significant influence on the form, and this particular symphony is a testament to his mastery and ingenuity. Composed in the 1760s, during Haydn's productive middle period, Symphony No 59 is known for its energetic vitality and the vivid imagery its music evokes.

Though the origin of the nickname Fire is not definitively known, it is widely believed to be due to the symphony's fiery and spirited nature, particularly evident in the first and last movements. Some speculate that the symphony might have been used as incidental music for a play called "The Fire" or that its vigorous energy simply sparks the image of flames dancing with life.

The symphony is structured in the traditional four-movement format:

Presto:

The first movement bursts into life with a rush of energy and vivacity. The strings drive the movement forward with rapid passages, while the bold, assertive themes make it instantly engaging. The music's lively and animated character sets the tone for the entire symphony, embodying the fiery spirit suggested by its nickname.

Andante o più tosto Allegretto:

The second movement offers a contrast to the first, with a more graceful and serene character. However, it retains a playful and whimsical quality, typical of Haydn's style. The movement is elegant yet has moments of cheeky surprise, showcasing Haydn's mastery in creating complex and engaging musical narratives.

Menuetto & Trio:

The third movement, a minuet, is a stately dance with a robust and rhythmic character. The minuet section is precise and structured, while the trio section provides a delightful contrast, lighter and more lyrical. This movement is a nod to the dance forms that were popular in Haydn's time, but with the composer's unique twist.

Allegro:

The final movement recaptures the fiery spirit of the first movement. It is fast-paced and exuberant, full of dynamic contrasts and exciting musical ideas. The strings, particularly, are showcased in their ability to drive the music forward with intensity and precision. The symphony concludes with a sense of triumph and exhilaration, leaving the listener invigorated.

Haydn's Symphony No 59 Fire is a brilliant example of the Classical symphony, full of energy, contrast, and innovation. It reflects Haydn's exceptional skill in orchestration, thematic development, and the ability to capture and hold the listener's attention from beginning to end. The Fire Symphony, with its lively spirit and engaging movements, is not only a testament to Haydn's genius but also a piece that embodies the joy and excitement of the symphonic form. 

As listeners, we are taken on a journey that is both exhilarating and profoundly satisfying, a journey that burns brightly with the fire of Haydn's creative spirit.

Life and fire
and life and fire...

Fire Music

    1. Life
    2. Fire
    3. Desolation
    4. Renewal

Composed by Jabra Latham (1978–)

Commissioned by Dr Marie Heitz. Fire Music exists in various formats. This is the first performance of the version for clarinet and orchestra.

20 minutes

 

Fire Music by Hobart-based composer Jabra Latham, commissioned by Dr. Marie Heitz as a response to the 2018/2019 Tasmanian Bushfires, is a composition that unfolds in four movements across the life cycle of fire: Life, Fire, Desolation, and Renewal.

Conceived amidst the ongoing bushfires, the piece aims to embody the cyclical nature of life and fire. Dr. Heitz envisioned a powerful, emotional, and evocative work, laden with descriptive and tactile elements.

In early conversations, Marie emphasised the cyclic theme, starting and finishing in the same spot. The opening movement was to be pastoral, melodic, and simple, representing life. The subsequent segments symbolise the gradual emergence of fire, depicted through intermittent discordant elements that intensify, becoming larger and more frequent until they overwhelm. The concept draws parallels to the essential role of fire in Australian regrowth, transforming destructive forces into a catalyst for life's renewal and adaptation.

Discussions on instrumentation were integral, drawing from the success of a previous collaboration between Latham and Heitz, Antarctic Triptych. While Fire Music is not conceived as a concerto, the soloist plays a unique role as a storyteller, a focal point, weaving through the orchestral fabric. The choice of the clarinet for the solo part stems from its versatile range, dynamics, and expressiveness, capable of embodying spikiness and smoothness, calmness, and freneticism. Notably, the clarinet's demanding solo part adds a layer of complexity to the composition.

This collaborative process between Marie and Jabra involved careful consideration of the narrative and learning from the success of previous works. The clarinet, with its brilliance and expressive capabilities, and in safe hands of Andrew Seymour, emerged as the instrument of choice over aligning with the thematic essence of Fire Music.

Get a taste of what to expect by listening to the fourth movement in this work, Renewal, recorded with Andrew Seymour for clarinet and piano.

Harrison's Centrifuge

Holly Harrison & the TSO

Holly Harrison

Sydney-based award-winning composer Holly Harrison has a long and growing history with the TSO. Selected for the two-year TSO Australian Composer School program in 2018, Harrison shone bright enough to garner a special extension of the program, becoming our first Composer in Residence from 2020-21.

During this period Harrison composed five works for a variety of TSO ensembles, including two for the full orchestra. The last of these works is Centrifuge, which we're delighted to premiere in this concert.

 

Centrifuge (17 min)

Centrifuge is the last in a series of works written for the TSO by Holly Harrison during her time as composer in residence.

 

Centrifuge is inspired by the sounds of demolition, an MRI machine, and the idea of spinning or circling at different rates. As I began writing the work, demolition began next door. The more I listened, the more I detected rhythmic patterns in the thudding and crushing of excavators and dozers.

At the same time, I had an MRI scan and though I had heard that the machine would be loud, nothing could prepare me for the incessant banging and whirring. As the machine beeped and stuttered, soothing piano strains from the offered headphones could faintly be heard across the top.

The idea for each movement is predominately texture driven, where large slabs of sounds are contrasted with threads that peek through, only to be swallowed up again. This happens at different rates across each movement, starting ferociously in the first and stretching into a type of slow-motion in the final movement. The second movement takes on a ballad-like blues form, with violin as soloist, while the third embraces disco influences, underpinned by groovy bass.

In a true centrifugal way, musical material from each movement spins outwards into the next.

Holly Harrison, composer

 

Love, the magician

Three Pieces from El amor brujo

  • Dance of Terror
  • The Magic Circle
  • Ritual Fire Dance

Composed by Manual de Falla (1876–1946)

10 minutes

Manuel de Falla's Three Pieces from El amor brujo (Love, the Magician) are enchanting extracts from one of the composer's most famous works. Originally conceived as a gitanería (gypsy piece) and later transformed into a ballet, El amor brujo is a vivid portrayal of Andalusian folklore, filled with the passion, drama, and mysticism of Spanish gypsy culture. Composed in 1915, this ballet is a tale of love, jealousy, and the supernatural, telling the story of a young Andalusian gypsy woman named Candelas, haunted by the ghost of her faithless former lover.

The Three Pieces from El amor brujo often include the following sections, each capturing a distinct mood and showcasing de Falla's brilliant fusion of folkloric elements with classical sophistication:

Danza del terror (Dance of Terror):

This piece immediately plunges the listener into a world of intense emotion and drama. It's meant to depict a scene where Candelas is trying to exorcise the ghost of her past lover. The music is pulsating and rhythmic, evoking the frenzied, almost frenetic, attempts to banish the specter. The use of dissonant harmonies and sharp, staccato rhythms creates a sense of urgency and fear, portraying the terror that Candelas feels as she confronts the ghost.

Romance del pescador (Fisherman's Romance):

In stark contrast to the Dance of Terror, this piece is lyrical and serene. It represents a moment of calm, a soothing lullaby sung by the fisherman. The melody is tender and expressive, often played by a solo instrument, creating an intimate atmosphere. This piece serves as a poignant reminder of the human moments in the story, offering a brief respite from the surrounding drama. It's a beautiful example of de Falla's ability to convey deep emotion through simple, yet profoundly moving, melodies.

Danza ritual del fuego (Ritual Fire Dance):

Perhaps the most famous of the three, the Ritual Fire Dance is a captivating and dynamic piece, intended to represent Candelas's ritual to break the spell of the ghost. The music is fiery and intense, with driving rhythms and vibrant melodies that mimic the flickering flames and the passionate determination of Candelas. The dance is both a celebration of life and a powerful act of purification, as the flames symbolise the burning away of the past. This piece is a showcase of de Falla's mastery in creating music that is both evocative and visually impactful.

These three pieces, though part of a larger narrative, stand on their own as vivid musical portraits, each offering a glimpse into the soul of Andalusian culture. Manuel de Falla's Three Pieces from El amor brujo are more than just music; they are stories told through the language of rhythm, melody, and harmony. They invite the listener to step into a world where the boundaries between the earthly and the supernatural blur, where the flames of passion burn fiercely, and where the human spirit triumphs through love and art. This music is a celebration of life, love, and the enduring power of folklore, resonating with the universal themes of human experience.

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Musicians

Eivind Aadland

Chief Conductor & Artistic Director

Supported by Anonymous

Image

Eivind Aadland is one of Norway’s most respected conductors. Since 2020 he has been Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. He was Chief Conductor and Artistic Leader of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra for seven seasons from 2004, during which time he conducted the complete Beethoven and Mahler symphony cycles. His extensive work with Scandinavian orchestras includes regular guest engagements with the Oslo and Bergen Philharmonics, the Stavanger Symphony, the Gothenburg Symphony and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. In addition, he has conducted acclaimed productions of Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte and Die Fledermaus for Den Norske Opera, Oslo.

He has also worked extensively in the Far East and Australia. He is a frequent visitor to the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, the National Orchestra of Belgium and Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He has also worked with Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse, Gürzenich-Orchester Cologne, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Lausanne and Scottish Chamber Orchestras and the symphony orchestras of Melbourne, Finnish Radio, Bamberg, Staatskapelle Weimar, SWR Stuttgart and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his career as a conductor, Eivind Aadland is a devoted collector of, and authority on, contemporary art. His private collection encompasses works in the diverse media of painting, photography, video and installation.

 

Andrew Seymour

Clarinet soloist

Supported by Dr Peter Stanton

Image

Principal Clarinet with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO) since 2012, Andrew Seymour studied with Robert Schubert at the Victorian College of the Arts. Between 2009 and 2011 he toured nationally as a member of the orchestra for OzOpera. Andrew was singled out by The West Australian review of OzOpera’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata, saying “his every note was meaningful.” In 2014 Andrew was featured in recital on ABC Classic FM’s Sunday Live program, his performance praised by Limelight Magazine as being “soaring and colourful” and by the Hobart Mercury as “an astonishing display of instrumental virtuosity.” Andrew has performed as guest principal Clarinet with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, West Australian, Melbourne, and Canberra Symphony Orchestras.

In 2016 Andrew made his solo debut with the TSO performing the Copland Clarinet Concerto under the baton of Chief Conductor Marko Letonja. His performance was described by The Hobart Mercury as “sensitive and beautifully shaded” and “gloriously vibrant.” As well as performing the concertos of Mozart and Weber with the TSO, Andrew has featured regularly as soloist in the TSO ‘Live Sessions’ series where he has performed a diverse range of pieces from Klezmer and Jazz inspired works alongside new pieces by Tasmanian composers Jabra Latham and Stephen Cronin.

As a chamber musician, Andrew has been featured in the Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival, performed with the Southern Cross Soloists and regularly performs with Virtuosi Tasmania. Since 2017 Andrew has been a staff member at the University of Tasmania, Conservatorium of Music, where he is Lecturer in Clarinet and Coordinator of Woodwind. Andrew is a Backun artist and performs on Backun Clarinets crafted in Cocobolo wood.

Orchestra List

Eivind Aadland Conductor

Andrew Seymour Clarinet

William Newbery Host

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Violin

Jennifer Owen Concertmaster

Miranda Carson Associate Concertmaster 

Lucy Carrig-Jones Principal Second

Christopher Nicholas Principal First

Natalya Bing

Yue-Hong Cha 

Tobias Chisnall

Frances Davies

Edwina George 

Michael Johnston 

Elinor Lea

Susanna Low

Rohana O’Malley 

Lynette Rayner

Viola

Chris Cartlidge Principal

Douglas Coghill 

Anna Larsen Roach

William Newbery

Ariel Postmus

Cello

Jonathan Békés Principal

Ivan James 

Nicholas McManus 

Martin Penicka

Double Bass

Stuart Thomson Principal

Matthew McGrath

Adrian Whitehall

Flute

Lily Bryant Guest Principal

Lloyd Hudson Principal Piccolo

Oboe

Celia Craig Guest Principal

Dinah Woods Principal Cor Anglais

Clarinet

Chris Tingay Principal

Eloise Fisher Principal Bass Clarinet

Bassoon

Tahnee van Herk Principal

Evan Lewis Guest Principal Contrabassoon

French Horn

Greg Stephens Principal

Claudia Leggett Principal

Roger Jackson

Julian Leslie

Trumpet

Richard Blake Guest Principal

Mark Bain

Trombone

David Robins Principal

Jackson Bankovic

Bass Trombone

James Littlewood Guest Principal

Tuba

Tim Jones Guest Principal

Timpani

Matthew Brennan Principal

Percussion

Gary Wain Principal

Harp

Meriel Owen Guest Principal

Piano

Karen Smithies Guest Principal

*Correct at time of publishing

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Photo credit: Fin Matson

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Olivia Chindamo

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