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Thursday 17 August, 2017
Llewellyn Hall, ANU, 7.30pm

Conductor Nicholas Milton AM
Artistic patronage ActewAGL
Horn Hector McDonald

BORODIN Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor
STRAUSS Horn Concerto No.1 in E flat major, TrV117, op.11
PROKOFIEV Symphony No.5 in B flat major, op.100

Pre-concert talk 6.45pm

Richard Strauss grew up basking in the warm sound of the horn. His father, Franz Strauss, was a leading horn player of his day and his long-held love for this brass instrument would later influence the writing of his composer son. Richard Strauss’ Horn Concertos are among the most demanding solo works for this notoriously temperamental instrument, and while many horn players have cursed Strauss for this, Hector McDonald will make the challenging concerto sound effortless. McDonald returns to the Canberra stage for the first time in almost 30 years to perform Strauss’ Horn Concerto No.1. It is an heroic piece with bravura hunting calls and intensely beautiful, lyrical passages. The concerto is preceded by the exotic romanticism of composer and chemist Alexander Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from his opera, Prince Igor. The dances display graceful melodic lines, rich tonal colours and energetic rhythms, which create a feeling of frenzied celebration and enthusiasm. Prokofiev’s Symphony No.5 in B flat major celebrates a vision of the human spirit that is free, happy, pure and noble. Fellow composer and conductor Koussevitzky described the symphony as “… the greatest musical event in many, many years. The greatest since Brahms and Tchaikovsky! It is magnificent! It is yesterday, it is today, it is tomorrow.”

“I want to be able to depict in music a glass of beer so accurately that every listener can tell whether it is a Pilsner or a Kulmbacher.”

Richard Strauss