A Message from the Music Director………………Ansgarius Aylward
Dear Youth Orchestra families,
You had to be there! This common phrase is scarcely able to convey the experience of the
GBYO European tour to Salzburg, Prague and Vienna. Seeing the snow-capped Alpine peaks
looming over you in Salzburg, walking in the footsteps of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and
Brahms (not to mention Johann Strauss) in Vienna, playing to a packed sold-out Dvorak Hall in Prague - these adventures, plus walking miles and miles on foot through castles and history created a tour for the ages. And in the concerts the young musicians covered themselves with glory. From the stellar playing of the wind quartet in the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, the evocative string playing in Valse Triste, the ebullient playing of all concerned in the Overture to Der Freischutz, to the first class ensemble work and power of the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 2 - the level of musicianship rose dramatically. You definitely had to be there!
Our spring concert revisits a concept from our opening concert with Roman Carnival Overture of Berlioz. Here in Debussy’s Fetes from “Three Nocturnes for Orchestra” we are thrust immediately into the midst of a riotous celebration in a new/different musical language.
Midway through the festivities a mysterious surprise interrupts the proceedings: as if in a dream, we hear an imaginary procession drawing closer and closer - suddenly we find ourselves back in the midst of the celebration ….until our dream quietly evaporates into thin air.
Mia Fasanello, Principal Oboist of GBYO and Senior Concerto Competition winner, will treat us to the lovely Vaughan Williams Oboe Concerto, reminiscent of another of his masterpieces, The Lark Ascending. Evocative of the British countryside, this piece was composed for Leon Goosens, the pre-eminent oboist of the early 20th century. The GBYO is delighted to present Mia in this highly representative work as a capstone to her years in the orchestra.
In Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances from his opera Prince Igor we witness a succession of overlapping dances, from the opening song of captured maidens longing for their homeland,
through the stamping dance of the warriors, all the way to the ensemble grand finale. This exotic middle-eastern tapestry is highly enjoyable both to listen to and to play.
Brahms’ expansive Symphony No. 2 contains multitudes of delightful material. From the use of his own famous Lullaby to that glowing final D major chord we are enveloped in Austrian
gemütlichkeit. The Alps seem to rise on their own out of the first movement fabric, presaging Disney’s Fantasia scene set to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. They also make appearances in each of the following movements - especially the alpine meadow of the ländler-like third. It takes minimal effort to follow the transformation of the opening cell (three notes: D, C-sharp, D)
as it appears in each scene. Especially notable is the haunting French horn line leading to the close of the first movement. The finale treats us to virtuosic string playing, lilting wind lines and, of course, the heroic brass flourishes to close with exultation.
There it is!