Aurora Orchestra - Richard Ayres and Brahms
From Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Aurora Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Collon. Richard Ayres: In the Alps - an animated concert no 42. Brahms: Symphony No 1 in C minor.
Adam Tomlinson presents a concert of Richard Ayres and Brahms (his First Symphony, given from memory) by Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon at Symphony Hall in Birmingham on June 6th.
Richard Ayres: No 42 'In the Alps' (an animated concert)
Brahms: Symphony No.1 in C minor, Op.68
Mary Bevan (soprano)
Nicholas Collon (conductor)
Brahms's First Symphony is the starting point for tonight's concert, a work which took Brahms 14 years to complete, so greatly did he feel the weight of Beethoven's legacy. And in fact the big tune in the finale does nod to the one in Beethoven's 9th - "any ass can see that", Brahms conceded. The famous 'alphorn' theme is itself a springboard for Richard Ayres's NONcerto No 42 'In the Alps', which combines theatrical elements and film with a virtuosic score. Mary Bevan is the soloist in the unnervingly magical story of a girl stranded on a mountain top as a baby, after a plane crash. She's taught to sing by the alpine animals and falls in love with the distant trumpet-playing of a boy in the valley below. What could possibly go wrong?
Following tonight's concert, there'll be a chance to hear recordings by previous winners in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, ahead of the 2017 final this weekend.
Richard Ayres: No 42 (In The Alps)
In the words of the composer:
"No.42 (In the Alps) could perhaps best be described as a melodrama. It combines many of the subjects that fascinate me: the relationship of text narrative and musical narrative, the history of opera, early cinema, the theatrical practices of the nineteenth century, along with the folk and popular music of the Alpine region.
A girl (the soprano), stranded on top of an un-climbable mountain peak as a young baby, is taught to sing by the mountain animals. Young Bobli lives in the village far below the un-climbable peak. He was born mute and communicates with the world by playing the trumpet. Bobli hears the soprano's song drifting down into the valley. The soprano listens to Bobli's trumpet tunes blown up to her by the wind. They are both enchanted."
The three acts are separated by interludes describing how three animals experience time passing in relation to a musical tempo."
Interlude 1 The world from the point of view of a Bistienius Fly (E flat Clarinet)
Interlude 2 The world from the point of view of a Begusha Whale (Bass Clarinet)
world from the point of view of a Sythic Nemotode (Piccolo)
"Like any self respecting melodrama the text and music combine to depict or imply a wide ranging theatrical adventure, in this piece starting at the Creation (or the big bang), a lonely existence, scenes of rustic village life, some carpentry, many mountain goats, unrequited love, and ending in a quest destined to fail.