Schubert´s Ninth – The great
We all love nature, but even more we love our modern lifestyle. Brett Dean´s Pastoral Symphony contains both birdsongs and the noise of the city.
Pastoral Symphony depicts the contrast between pristine nature and environmental destruction. It is about birds and the threat they face, and about the soulless noise that remains after they are gone. For composer Brett Dean, it was impossible to consider nature without also reflecting on the irreverent swathe we are cutting through wilderness areas in our quest to create more motorways, more shopping centres and more car parks. All for the sake of our convenience.
The music of the piece combines frightening effects and noise with the pleasant sound of birdsong. Brett Dean (b. 1961) is a popular composer both in his native Australia and around the world. He is also well known in Sweden, where he has served as composer-in-residence for the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, based in Örebro.
The pastoral theme continues in Jean Sibelius' tone poem Luonnotar for soprano and orchestra. A striking masterpiece, according to many Sibelius experts, which, for all that, is the result of an opera project gone wrong. The tone poem portrays Luonnotar, the spirit of nature and mother of the oceans; here played by Susanna Levonen.
Franz Schubert's (1797–1828) majestic Ninth Symphony is said to be a homage to Beethoven, who was one of his greatest inspirations. But the musicians of Schubert's day thought that Schubert's work was far too long and difficult, and so refused to perform it for audiences. As a result, Schubert himself never got to hear the work performed. Austrian composer Schubert was a master at writing captivating melodies and his ninth symphony begins with a beautiful solo for French horn.
The conductor for this performance at NorrlandsOperan is Mei-Ann Chen, who has visited us on two occasions previously. Chen's energy, enthusiasm and high level of ambition have the tendency to rub off on both musicians and audiences alike.
Brett Dean: Pastoral Symphony
Schubert: Symfoni no 9 C-dur - the great
Conductor: Mei-Ann Chen
Soloist: Susanna Levonen