Resonance Ensemble - Confluence
Resonance Ensemble’s September programme, conducted by Tony Ryan, comprises music written by composers from Russia and the USA between 1915 and 1954 – a period that spans a turbulent time in world history, including World War I, the Russian Revolution, World War II, and the first years of the Cold War. But all the works in this concert demonstrate that great music transcends conflict and aggression, and leads to a Confluence (or ‘coming together’) despite the hostility of misguided political motives.
Our programme opens with Shostakovich’s joyous and popular Festive Overture of 1954, written in just three days in response to a last-minute commission to celebrate the thirty-seventh anniversary of Russia’s October Revolution.
Just two years before that, Aaron Copland finished arranging a group of traditional American songs, full of nostalgia, peace and humour. Christchurch soprano, Helen Charlton, joins us for six of these captivating Old American Songs. But ten years earlier Copland responded to America’s entry into the war with his remarkably original Fanfare for the Common Man, also included in our programme, one of ten fanfares commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1942, and the only one to have survived as a masterpiece in its own right.
Helen will also sing Rachmaninov’s famous Vocalise and Samuel Barber’s gloriously lyrical Sure on this Shining Night; both songs written by their respective composers just before two of the twentieth century's most devastating events – the Russian Revolution of 1917, and World War II.
We return to Shostakovich to end this concert with his inspired, appealing and high-spirited Ninth Symphony of 1945; one of his shortest symphonies, and also one of enduring popularity despite its criticism by Stalin’s sycophantic toadies as being "ideologically weak", and for its failure to "reflect the true spirit of the people of the Soviet Union". ... Decide for yourselves!