Manawatu Sinfonia
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Manawatu Sinfonia Saturday May 13th 2023, 2.30pm

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Venue: Speirs Centre, Palmerston North Boys' High School

Dvorák - The Water Goblin

This is a symphonic poem - that is a piece that tells a story. Its inspiration was a Czech poem, one of those dark European tales (think Hansel and Gretel). A mother warns her daughter to stay away from the lake. But she cannot and as she starts to wash her clothes, she is drawn down to the goblin’s underwater castle, to be his bride. After the birth of their child. She begs to go back home - he agrees but keeps the child as hostage. 

The reunion of mother and daughter is sad but loving. As evening falls the mother keeps the daughter and forbids her to go back. The goblin is furious and keeps knocking - there is a fierce storm and loud crash. You can guess the rest, it doesn’t end well.

This is a demanding, exciting play for the orchestra, but hopefully we will rise to the challenge!

Strauss - Serenade for 13 Winds

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949), Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments, Op. 7

Written between 1881 and 1882, around the time the 18-year-old Strauss entered the University of Munich, the Serenade had its first performance on 27 November 1882 in Dresden. This short piece charms the listener with its jaunty themes, confident handling of the instrumental resources, and a relaxed, almost improvisatory, version of sonata form. While Strauss later dismissed his composition as little more than the ‘respectable work of a music student’, it has gone on to enjoy a firmly-established place in the repertoire.

Elgar - Serenade for Strings

The Serenade for Strings in E minor is an early piece by Edward Elgar. It was written in 1892, and became one of his most popular pieces. Elgar was trying to establish himself as a composer, he was largely self taught and earned his living conducting and teaching. He played the violin, and bassoon. It’s a short piece in three movements and although he became famous for his larger more complex works, it remained a favourite throughout his life. His wife, Alice was always encouraging, and this piece was completed for their third wedding anniversary but not performed publicly till 1898. 

Keggenhoff - Emperor

Emperor is an episodic piece, written to narrate the year in the life of emperor penguins in Antarctica.

The first section, 'Ice Shelf', aims to describe the openness; coldness; and grandness of the Antarctic continent, before focusing on the flightless denizens, the emperor penguins, in the next section, 'Colony'. This section is lighter, more humorous, and aims to show the busyness and awkwardness of the penguin colony, before turning much darker as the sun disappears, and 'Winter' comes.

'Winter' is dark, desolate, and desperate; the penguins must huddle together for warmth until the sun finally breaks over the horizon after months of absence. Their new chicks hatch in this springtime, and the next section, 'Fledglings' begins.

Finally, the maturing chicks leave their nests and make it to the ocean, ready to fish and to breed, until they return to the colony once again, and the cycle starts over.


Elgar - Nimrod

These are a set of variations portraying Elgar’s friends. It’s no secret who these friends are as they are identified by their initials, beginning with his wife, C.A.E (Caroline, Alice), and ending with a self portrait (E.D.U) - short for Edward. 

Elgar was 42, and finally recognised as a major composer. It was first performed in 1899 and instantly became popular. The best known variation is Nimrod (the biblical mighty hunter). It’s a portrait of his friend and publisher AJ Jaeger (Jaeger is German for hunter). It was played at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral. 

This piece has been played often by the Sinfonia (it was John Schwabe’s favourite).

Andrew Atkins, conductor




ECCT community trust       Pub charity    
Milverton Trust
Performance Trust




            Evelyn Rawlins Arts Trust                    

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