SEASON 2024

 

Sunday 14 April 2:30pm

INTO THE UNKNOWN

Unfinished, Unanswered and Unidentified 

 

Music’s unanswered questions. Why didn’t Schubert finish his B minor Symphony? What is Charles Ives asking in his Unanswered Question? What is the theme from Elgar’s Enigma Variations based on?

Facts are scarce and mysterious. Schubert made no mention of the symphony during his short lifetime. It lay buried, like hidden treasure, in a cluttered study until the 1860s – more than 30 years after his death. The full score, clearly written in Schubert’s own hand, includes two movements: a wonderful melodic first movement and a heartbreaking second. And then, nine bars of a scherzo, followied by… nothing. The music stopped abruptly as if Schubert had been interrupted mid-thought.

Against a background of slow, quiet strings, a solo trumpet, in Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question, poses ‘the perennial question of existence,’ to which a woodwind quartet vainly try to provide an answer, but growing more frustrated and more dissonant.

Elgar refused to explain The Enigma – “its ‘dark saying’ must be left unguessed. Through and over the whole set another and larger theme ‘goes’ but is not played…” But what is it?

2:30pm | 14 April 2024 | Central Coast Grammar School Performing Arts Centre 

Sunday 7 July 2:30pm

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Parisien Influences 

 

For creatives in the early Twentieth Century, Paris was a magnet. The post-war years, “the crazy years”, drew writers like Hemingway, Yeats and Pound. Artists developed dadaism, surrealism, cubism and futurism. It was the home of Picasso, Modigliani, Duchamp, and Satie, Ravel and Stravinsky.

Nadia Boulanger began teaching composition at the Paris Conservatoire: her first American pupil was Aaron Copland.  Realising that a ‘modern’ style was not attractive to many audiences, he deliberately wrote ‘accessible’ and popular music, creating what many consider to be the sound of American music. His ballet Appalachian Spring and Fanfare for the Common Man display optimism, grandeur, and sentimentality and, above all, are built on memorable melodies.

With the Russian Revolution looming, Sergei Prokofiev made his way to Paris, where his First Violin Concerto was premiered with the Paris Opera Orchestra. George Gershwin arrived in 1928, hoping to study with Nadia Boulanger, but she refused him, afraid that classical studies would ruin his jazz-influenced style. He composed An American in Paris, while staying at the Majestic Hotel, capturing the sound of the Paris taxis as they circled the Place de l’Étoile.

A study in form, rather than melody or harmony, Ravel’s Bolero began as a one finger tune on the piano. “Don’t you think this is insistent?” he asked a friend. “I’m going to try and repeat it a number of times without any development, gradually increasing the orchestra as best I can.” He predicted that orchestras would refuse to play it. History shows otherwise.

2:30pm | 7 July 2024 | Central Coast Grammar School Performing Arts Centre

 

Sunday 22 September 2:30pm

BEETHOVEN AND TCHAIKOVSKY – MASTERFUL!

Virtuosic Excellence 

 

The French Revolution saw the fall of the monarchy and the rise of a liberal democracy. The constitution, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, was created. Napolean Bonaparte  was appointed leader and First Consul of the French Republic. Beethoven began work on a mighty Eroica (heroic) symphony, dedicated to the man who he believed embodied the new democratic and anti-monarchical ideals.

But power begets power and when Napolean declared himself Emperor of the French, Beethoven was furious. “Now too, he will tread under foot the rights of Man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!” (plus ça change…) He scratched out Napoleon’s name on the symphony’s first page, adding “to celebrate the memory of a great man.”

The concerto, a work for solo performer and orchestra, demands a mastery of technical, analytical, aural and inter-personal skills. Local musician Kaito Deed, winner of the Aujudicator’s and People’s Awards at the 2023 Prodigies concert, will perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, which was initially met with mixed reviews but has since become a favourite among soloists and audiences. With lyric, folk-like melodies, a heroic cadenza, and a lively dance to conclude, this work is spirited and joyous, with bags of character.

2:30pm | 22 September 2024 | Central Coast Grammar School Performing Arts Centre

 

Sunday 1 December 2:30pm

WALLACE, GROMIT AND SHAUN

Happy Holidays! 

 

Japan is famous for its animated movies, or anime, but the films from Studio Ghibli are in a league of their own. Spirited Away (2001) won the best animated feature award at the 2003 Academy Awards and pretty much encapsulates the entire Ghibli ethos. A stunningly-realised tale of a 10-year-old girl, Chihiro, who is travelling with her parents to her new home. When her father takes a shortcut, Chihiro ends up lost and alone in the spirit world, and has to navigate a dreamlike landscape, populated by increasingly grotesque characters, to save her parents. We’ll also be performing the music from My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, and Howl’s Moving Castle. 

Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers. Gromit finds himself being pushed out of his room and home by a devious new lodger, Feathers McGraw. A ruthless criminal (and a penguin cunningly disguised as a chicken), he’s planning a robbery and needs to use Wallace and his mechanical remote-controlled trousers to pull off the raid. However, Gromit is wise to the penguin and comes to the rescue. Will he be able to stop the feathered fiend?

Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas. Shaun’s Christmas excitement turns to dismay when a plan to get bigger stocking for the flock leads to Timmy going missing. Can Shaun get Timmy back before he becomes someone else’s present? Prepare for a ‘Santastic’ adventure suitable for all ages, as everyone learns the true value of Christmas.Wallace, Gromit and Shaun, on the big screen. Plus some Christmas music to welcome the holiday season.

Book now to share this laugh-out-loud show with all the family. Available for one performance only, ewe don’t want to miss it. 

2:30pm | 1 December 2024 | Central Coast Grammar School Performing Arts Centre

 images © and TM Aardman/W&G Ltd. All rights reserved