For those of you in North Wales, the WNO Orchestra returns to Llandudno on Sunday 19 May for a concert at 3pm. As part of our ever-expanding number of appearances Wales-wide, including opera performances, orchestral concerts or opportunities to take part, the WNO Orchestra performs a programme that features Greig’s Peer Gynt Suite No 1, Mahler’s Rückert Lieder and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6 (Pathétique), conducted by Ainārs Rubiķis. In Autumn 2017 Ainārs conducted WNO’s performances of Eugene Onegin.
Mark Pullinger, bachtrack, 19 October 2017.
This was a performance, under Latvian conductor Ainars Rubiķis, to revel in the full glory of Tchaikovsky’s score, which bristled and glowed.
The concert opens with Peer Gynt Suite No 1 by Grieg. Grieg was asked by playwright Henrik Ibsen to write music for his five act drama about a Norwegian peasant anti-hero, Peer Gynt. However the four movements, ‘Morning’, ‘The Death of Åse’, ‘Anitra’s Dance’ and ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ (which many may recognise as the Alton Towers ad music), do not follow the order of the play. Morning, the first piece in Suite No.1, is the prelude to Act 4; The Death Of Åse, second in Suite No.1, comes from the end of Act 3; Anitra’s Dance, third in Suite No.1, is from Act 4; and In The Hall Of The Mountain King’, fourth in Suite No.1, comes from Act 2.
Mahler’s Rückert Lieder features soloist Madeleine Shaw, who you may have seen as Lady Rhondda in our recent production, Rhondda Rips It Up! Here she will sing the five Lieder based on the poems by Friedrich Rückert – who was also a philologist and professor of Oriental languages. Mahler’s compositions based on Rückert’s lyric romantic poems are seen as quite personal, conveying his emotions through the melodies employed. He saw himself reflected in the words and his interpretations are often seen as his most lyrical works. Brahms, Schubert, Richard Strauss, Bartók and Berg are some of the other composers who also put Rückert’s poetry to music.
The final piece is Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6, regarded as possibly his greatest work and definitely one of his most-loved. It premiered just over a week before his death, with him conducting, and has since, therefore, received a certain level of notoriety, with some seeing it as prophetic. The piece is also known as ‘Pathétique’ (meaning solemn or emotive) – an alternate name given by Tchaikovsky’s brother, with his agreement, and possibly a mistranslation from the Russian. A better translation would perhaps read as ‘Passionate’ in English.
This concert is looking likely to be an emotionally charged afternoon, but there’ll be no down time for the players as the following day sees the Orchestra tune up again, this time for a School’s Concert, bringing children from the local area in for what may be their first experience of a live orchestra.