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News & Recent Performances

Scheherazade | One Thousand and One Nights

The Sydney Concert Orchestra is back sooner than expected with an impassioned program. This concert will present their renditions of Russian classics: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Glinka’s "Ruslan and Ludmilla" Overture. The SCO also welcomes back young and emerging composer Ben Fan with his new composition From The Stars. As always, our vision is to exhibit a newly-imagined interpretation of these enticing works in order to represent the passion of so many young musicians.


 

Program:


Mikhail Glinka - "Ruslan & Ludmilla" Overture

Ben (Wenhao) Fan - From The Stars

(Interval)

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade



 

Mikhail Glinka - Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture:

Mikhail Glinka's Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture is a vibrant and captivating orchestral work that sets the tone for the opera of the same name. Premiered in 1842, the overture showcases Glinka's mastery of orchestration and his ability to capture the essence of the fantastical world depicted in Alexander Pushkin's epic poem, which served as the inspiration for the opera.


The overture opens with a bold and energetic fanfare that immediately grabs the listener's attention. The brass section introduces the main theme, a lively and spirited melody that represents the hero, Ruslan, and the adventures that await him. The middle section of the overture introduces a lyrical and romantic theme, which represents the love between Ruslan and Ludmilla, the opera's central characters. This tender and melodious theme is carried by the strings and beautifully interwoven with graceful woodwind passages. Glinka expertly builds the tension, gradually increasing the tempo and dynamics, leading to a thrilling climax.


The finale of the overture returns to the energetic main theme, building upon its previous iterations and incorporating elements from earlier sections. The orchestra reaches its full power, with cascading runs, brilliant brass fanfares, and intricate interplay between different sections.Through the Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture, Glinka successfully captures the essence of the opera, setting the stage for the grand tale of love, heroism, and magic that unfolds on the theatrical canvas. This beloved overture remains a testament to Glinka's genius and serves as a perfect introduction to the enchanting world of Russian Romantic music.


Ben (Wenhao) Fan - From The Stars:

A story of love, two stars converging in the vast of space, both beautiful and elegant.

From The Stars is a journey of beauty, love, and letting go. Love is perhaps one of the most beautiful moments in life, whether it is the love for yourself, family, friends, or significant other, it transcends time. Sometimes, to truly love is to be able to let go.


Like stars in space, they look close, yet still so far. As far as they may seem to be though, they still twinkle beautifully. As you follow me on this journey, I would like you to close your eyes and think of someone you love. Someone you love that isn’t with you right now. Imagine their presence.


This work is divided into three movements: Two Stars Converge, A Dance To Never Forget, and The End Of A Beginning. These three movements take you through the journey of beauty, fire, and sentiment.


Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov:

Composed in 1888, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade is a symphonic suite which was inspired by the captivating tales of "A Thousand and One Nights." This four-movement work seemingly showcases Rimsky-Korsakov's exceptional orchestration skills and his ability to weave an intricate musical narrative.


The suite begins with the evocative and mysterious "The Sea and Sinbad's Ship." The richly orchestrated opening depicts the vastness of the sea, with undulating waves and gentle swells represented by the strings and woodwinds. The second movement, "The Story of the Kalandar Prince," introduces a plaintive and hauntingly beautiful theme played by the solo violin. This represents the enchanting storyteller, Scheherazade, as she weaves her tales to captivate the Sultan's attention. In the third movement, "The Young Prince and the Young Princess," Rimsky-Korsakov creates a lush and romantic atmosphere. The enchanting melodies, carried by the solo violin and other solo instruments, convey the blossoming love between the prince and princess. The suite concludes with the dynamic and exuberant "Festival at Baghdad - The Sea - The Ship Breaks Against a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman." This movement showcases Rimsky-Korsakov's mastery of orchestral colors and his ability to create vivid musical imagery. It depicts a bustling marketplace, the crashing waves, and the dramatic climax as the ship meets its fate.


Scheherazade is a musical masterpiece that combines rich orchestration, exotic melodies, and a captivating narrative. Rimsky-Korsakov's ability to transport listeners to a world of Arabian tales through his imaginative and colorful music is truly remarkable. This symphonic suite remains one of the most beloved and frequently performed works in the orchestral repertoire, enchanting audiences with its evocative storytelling and vibrant musical landscapes.



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