7 2018 Season

London Symphony

Saturday 11 August, 7.30pm
Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington

Wild Cherry Tree
Xiao Ma, Countertenor,
and Roger Wilson, Bass

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Piano Concerto No 14
in E-flat major
Michael Houstoun, piano

Antonín DVOŘÁK
Symphony No.7
in D minor

Wild Cherry Tree is a five-movement symphony with songs telling the story of a wanderer in the Tibetan region of China’s Sichuan Province. The orchestra is explored in many ways to produce sounds that relate feelings of love, desire, enlightenment, and regret. The singers are the makers of a song and tellers of a story, using their vocal range in both a singing and an instrumental capacity.

Mozart’s sunny 1784 concerto was composed for Mozart’s own performance as part of a series of subscription concerts to capitalise on the Viennese public’s enthusiasm for his work. The first movement abounds with themes and the contrast of major and minor tonalities generates an almost operatic sense of drama. The slow movement begins with the simplicity of a song and develops into a gentle dialogue between the orchestra and soloist, while the last movement rondo displays Mozart’s fertile imagination working with counterpoint.

Completed in 1885, Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony was written around the time of his beloved mother’s death and the distressing mental illness of his friend and mentor Smetana. The symphony’s opening is intense. Yet the undertones of tragedy are lifted by fragments of beautiful melody from the woodwinds and horns. The second movement begins with a statement that echoes the simplicity and depth of a Bach chorale. Dvořák transforms this theme in a leisurely and imaginative way, with the clarinets and horns in particular given a chance to shine. The scherzo movement is instantly recognisable as Dvořák’s, with its hopping folk melodies and cross-rhythms. A yearning phrase opens the Finale, which builds up into a furious march through some of Dvořák’s stormiest music.