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Sun 20 Nov 2016, 7:00pm–9:00pm

Where: Auckland Town Hall - Great Hall, 303 Queen St, CBD, Auckland

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adults, Reserve A: $55.00
  • Adults, Reserve B: $40.00
  • Adults, Reserve C: $30.00
  • Students with ID, Children: $20.00
  • Additional fees may apply

The Aorangi Symphony Orchestra proudly presents a unique World War One Commemoration concert, with works related to the War or the theme of war in general.

We wish to commemorate a little known but very important occasion, the Battle of Romani, which took place in the Sinai Desert on August 4th 1916, involving large numbers as ANZACs as well as the Auckland Mounted Battalion.

Two composers in tonight’s programme served in the Great War: Maurice Ravel was a lorry driver in the Thirteenth Artillery Regiment, and Ralph Vaughan Williams a medical orderly and subsequently a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

The programme is as follows:
- Marcel Dupre “Poeme Heroique” Op.33 (1935) for Organ, Brass and Field Drum, dedicated to Verdun
- Maurice Ravel “Le Tombeau de Couperin” (1914-1917), each movement dedicated to a fallen soldier
- Ralph Vaughan Williams “The Lark Ascending” (1914/1921)
- Dimitri Shostakovich “Symphony No.5 in D Minor, Op 47 (1937) – one of the “War Symphonies”

Formerly Ensemble Polymnia, we gladly announce our debut in the Auckland Town Hall, under the baton of internationally known conductor Sarah Bisley. whose appearances to date have been with the State Hermitage Orchestra of St Petersburg, Savaria Symphony Orchestra of Szombathely, Hungary, Marihilfer Oper in Vienna, the orchestra of L'Opera de Massy in Paris, Ensemble Polymnia in Austria, France and New Zealand, the Aorangi Singers, the Nelson Symphony Orchestra and Opera Waikato.

The title work is to be performed by organist Philip Smith, who gave an outstanding performance of the “Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani” with Ensemble Polymnia in 2014. The violin soloist for the hugely popular and beautifully nostalgic work, “The Lark Ascending” is rising star Joella Pinto, while celebrated actor and director Raymond Hawthorne is to narrate several poems from the Great War.

“Symphony No.5 In D Minor” is arguably Shostakovich’s most outspoken and expressive of his symphonies, a work which brought Leningrad to its knees at the premiere in 1937, with the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yevgeny Mravinsky. It is reported that the ovation lasted well over half an hour. As a passionate and telling expression of the struggle of the human soul in the decades of political repression under Stalin, audiences in St Petersburg stated that “the composer has given us what we needed”.

“After one has been a critic for a decade or more, it is rare to find the pulses racing at a performance, but that was the result of the presentation of a recently discovered work by CPE Bach… Here was a concert full of moments of sheer pleasure, of intense emotion, of continuing delights.” - Waikato Times, 17th March 2013

“…Conductor Sarah Bisley's string ensemble, performers full of passion and energy and driven by a collective wisdom and an individual understanding of the works they were offering… The Elgar Introduction and Allegro, Op 47 demonstrated grandeur unbounded, an evocation of Empire which is so typical of the composer, and the difficult fugue was handled with a rare and polished delight... Ralph Vaughn Williams's "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis… filled the sanctuary with harmony and the audience with pleasure.” - Waikato Times, 4th June 2014

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