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News & Recent Performances

Sydney Concert Orchestra Presents: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

A thrilling sequel to the Sydney Concert Orchestra program series. Presenting works from the Classical, Romantic and 21st Century periods. Tchaikovsky’s passion-packed Symphony no. 5 will be the main event alongside Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and a new work from one of our young and emerging composers.


 

Program:


Ludwig Van Beethoven - Egmont Overture

Kailesh Reitmans - Como

(Interval)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Symphony No.5



 

Ludwig Van Beethoven - Egmont Overture:


As the musicologist Paul Mies has remarked, heroism was “close to Beethoven’s own personality and it was a major concern of his times.” It is certainly not surprising that Beethoven therefore conspicuously leaned toward the protagonists who dared much against representative forces.


Egmont would certainly be a case in point. The overture is closely tied to the respective play, which tells the story of a 16th-century Dutch nobleman who fights against Spanish oppression. Beethoven's music captures the heroic spirit of the play, as well as the sense of struggle and triumph that is at the heart of its message. Egmont's death was the spark for public protests throughout the Netherlands which eventually resulted in their liberation from the Spaniards. The message of the play stuck a strong chord with Beethoven, who was opposed to the tyranny of the French empire and its expansion over Europe.


The overture opens with a short slow sombre introduction, which moves into a stormy minor key allegro describing the struggle against oppression. It is turbulent music, full of dramatic passion, ceaselessly searching without rest and leading towards the moment of Egmont's execution which is vividly portrayed. There is then a short mournful chorale before the key changes to the major and the music takes on a triumphant character culminating in a blazing set of F major chords crowned by the shrill piccolo.


The music was immediately successful and the overture has remained a popular concert piece ever since. Goethe himself declared that Beethoven had expressed his intentions with "a remarkable genius".


Kailesh Reitmans - Como:


Kailesh is a Sydney-based musician and composer. In 2020, he composed the score to Descent, which won best documentary at the 2020 Sydney Film Festival and is now streaming on Amazon Prime. He is currently scoring a sequel to this film. In 2021, he was the music producer for a new Australian opera, Émilie & Voltaire, a production supported by Opera Australia. He won the 2017/18 Artology Fanfare Competition which led him to then compose and sound design various productions with the Australian Theatre for Young People. He is currently working as a music producer and orchestrator/ arranger for a new First Nations musical, Yellow Rock, written by Brittanie Shipway and supported by APRA AMCOS and Australian Council for the Arts.


In 2022, he performed as the pianist for The Ten Tenors on their national tour of Australia. He is currently on tour with them in New Zealand. He also performs regularly as a jazz pianist and singer alongside partner, Demi Louise, in their vocal/ piano duo titled, Demi & Kailesh.


Como is a suite of themes inspired by an in-development film of the same name. The film, Como, is being developed by Kailesh's partner, Demi Louise. The story is:


"In 1879, regional NSW, a prodigious young talent dreams of visiting Lake Como, Italy, to

compose a symphony. When the Sydney International Exhibition arrives that year, she must

summon the courage to pursue her passion, defy societal norms, and make her dreams a

reality on the world stage."


With the film in early development, its idea emerged as young creatives wanting to create something with the best of their skill sets. For Demi, this is filmmaking. And for Kailesh, composing. The film's protagonist is a gifted musician. As such, music will be a vital narrative tool. Given the musical nature of the film, it is important to develop the music alongside the script. The dream is that one day, this piece will be the opening of the film, Como. It draws on the great orchestral pieces of the late 19th century, ultimately capturing the hope and raw potential of youthful aspiration.



Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Symphony No.5:


Tchaikovsky came of age at a turning point in Russian music, a time when composers argued passionately over the direction their art should take: should they pursue a uniquely Slavic approach, emphasizing folk tales and melodies, or should they embrace the Western European classical tradition? Tchaikovsky's music is seemingly always marked by its emotional intensity, vivid orchestration, and memorable melodies. Despite his success as a composer, Tchaikovsky's personal life was often troubled, and he struggled with his homosexuality in a society that was deeply intolerant of same-sex relationships. He died at the age of 53, under mysterious circumstances that are still the subject of speculation and debate. Nevertheless, his music continues to captivate and inspire audiences around the world.


The first movement of this magnificent symphony opens with a melancholic horn melody, followed by a pulsating string accompaniment. The music gradually builds in intensity and introduces the main theme, a stirring melody that is played by the brass. The movement is marked by Tchaikovsky's gift for crafting sweeping, emotional melodies, and his skill in orchestrating them for maximum impact.


The second movement is a tender and lyrical contrast to the stormy first movement. The music is marked by long, soaring melodies played by the strings, and features a beautiful solo for the horn. Tchaikovsky's gift for melody is again on display, as he crafts a theme that is both simple and deeply affecting.


The third movement is a graceful waltz that features a lilting melody played by the strings. The music is marked by its lightness and elegance, and provides a welcome contrast to the more weighty first and fourth movements.


The final movement is a tour-de-force of orchestration and musical drama. It opens with a somber theme played by the brass, which is then transformed into a triumphant march. The music builds to a climax, with a thrilling fugato section that showcases Tchaikovsky's skill as a contrapuntalist. The movement ends with a fiery coda, bringing the symphony to a rousing conclusion.

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