The University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall
Melbourne Recital Centre
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It took Brahms 21 years (from its first sketches to completion) to write his first symphony. 'How can I possibly write a symphony when Beethoven is looking over my shoulder?’ he famously remarked.
Brahms quotes themes and motifs from Beethoven’s 5th and 9th Symphonies and, after the first performance, his new work was popularly dubbed Beethoven’s 10th. Whereas the symphonies of Brahms are ‘absolute’ music (whereby there is no specific story or musical picture), the first half of this concert offers two very different tone poems, each with a very detailed story.
The concert opens with Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks: in this piece, the music follows the mischievous (16th century) German folklore character as he plays his notorious pranks – upsetting stalls in the marketplace and poking fun at the clergy and the academics of his town. Eventually he is sentenced to death for blasphemy and we hear him at first joke and then plead for his life. From this jovial start, we move to tragedy and a very sombre piece indeed.
Dr Miriama Young has written the orchestra a beautiful and haunting musical tribute in honour of the 51 lives that were lost, during morning prayer at two mosques, in Christchurch earlier this year. It is entitled Long Moon, Liquid Sky.
Presented by Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.