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Paradise returns

On Saturday, 10 September, 2016 Halcyon again present Schultz’s Paradise, five songs for soprano, cello and piano. The work will be presented as part of a program of new and recent music called The Poet’s Voice.

The Poet’s Voice
Sept 10 at 5pm
St Bede’s Anglican Church
14 College St Drummoyne
Tickets $35/$25
Bookings:  classikon.com.au
Enquiries: info@halcyon.org.au

 

Paradise, Opus 95 (2013) is a cycle of five songs for soprano, cello and piano written for Felicitas Fuchs, Li-Wei Qin and Bernard Lanskey. They gave its first performance in June 2015 at La Loingtaine, Paris. Halcyon gave the Australia premiere shortly afterwards in September 2015. The work is a setting of the composer’s own texts in which a physician observer wrestles with the small-scale detail and the large-scale effect of an horrific and violent event.

 

Composer’s note:

‘For some time I have either been writing my own texts or quietly editing, translating and adapting pre-existing texts to suit my musical purposes. In choosing to write my own texts I have been attracted by the freedom and precision of expression this allows me to bring to my vocal music. This is partly because of the inevitable constraints that a text places on a composer but also because I am looking for a personal, specific and clear expression of ideas and that requires a high level of unity of artistic means.

In the case of Paradise the subject matter of the work’s texts is sensitive and tricky to pull off. This work occupies a similar creative space to my opera, Going Into Shadows, in the way it addresses brutal violence and its aftermath in the contemporary world. Finding a way to deal with this material is an artistic challenge that is very important to me so I’m very grateful for the support of two groups of wonderful performers.’

Deep Blue and Dirty – CD Release

Deep blue

 

 

The Southern Cross Soloists, Stephen Emmerson and Lucinda Collins are the outstanding performers on a newly released CD of recent chamber and vocal music by Andrew Schultz.

The music was written in the period from 2006 to 2011 and includes To the evening star, the winner of the 2009 Paul Lowin Prize. To the evening star is performed on the disc by Margaret Schindler (soprano) and Stephen Emmerson (piano) who premiered the work in 2009. Lines drawn from silence was commissioned by the Southern Cross Soloists with Australia Council assistance in 2007 and is also recorded here for the first time. The work contains a setting of powerful and provocative words by the famous mathematician, Isaac Newton.

In the slow-moving and expressive homage to Nina Simone,  After Nina (2007), Stephen Emmerson is joined by Paul Dean (clarinet) and Patrick Murphy (cello). Tania Frazer (oboe) and Keivn Power (piano) present the moody duet, Master Mariner – Lost at Sea (2006) and Alan Smith (violin) and Patrick Murphy have recorded another short and lyrical duo, Indigo Invention (2010).

The most recent work on the disc gives the CD its title: Deep blue and dirty is a virtuosic and jazzy work for bassoon and piano and it is presented here by Mark Gaydon (who commissioned the piece in 2011) and Lucinda Collins (piano).

The CD is released by Wirripang and carries the catalogue number: Wirr 065. Recordings were made in Brisbane and Adelaide. The disc will also be released soon on digital platforms and via the Naxos Music Library.

Click here: For more information and to purchase the disc.

Download the full track listing and performance details.

Read two recent reviews of the new disc:

http://musictrust.com.au/2015/08/deep-blue-and-dirty-works-by-andrew-schultz/

http://musictrust.com.au/2015/08/deep-blue-and-dirty-works-by-andrew-schultz-2/

Schultz Sonatina recording by Jennifer Pike released

Sonatina CD Label FINAL

A recording of Andrew Schultz’s Sonatina for solo violin, Opus 66 (2007), featuring the outstanding British violinist Jennifer Pike, was released on 25 September 2014 on the Sedition label (SEDITION6). Pike has previously recorded the Schultz Violin Concerto, Opus 55 (1996) with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Mills for the ABC Classics label (ABC4764519) – a recording that has earned high praise for both the work and the performance. “This is music for eternity” as one German critic wrote.

Sonatina for solo violin, Opus 66 (2007), by Andrew Schultz was commissioned to be performed by Jennifer Pike for the Wigmore Hall, London, concerts of solo violin music celebrating the sixtieth birthday of violinist and teacher David Takeno. The work is highly virtuosic in its writing for the solo violin and is by turns lyrical and rhythmic. Pike gave the work its first performance in London at the Wigmore Hall in March 2007 and later that year recorded the work in Singapore. Her performances of the Sonatina earned her a Finalist nomination in the Best Performance of an Australian Work category of the Australian Art Music Awards in 2008.

Renowned for her “dazzling interpretative flair and exemplary technique” (Classic FM), British violinist Jennifer Pike has taken the musical world by storm with her unique artistry and compelling insight into music from the Baroque to the present day. She gained international attention in 2002, when aged 12 she became the youngest-ever winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the youngest major prizewinner in the Menuhin International Violin Competition. In demand as soloist with top orchestras worldwide, she recently released the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Bergen Philharmonic and Sir Andrew Davis on Chandos to great acclaim.

The new recording is available from digital music stores and  i-Tunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/sonatina-for-solo-violin-op./id911866510?i=911866552

More details

Read more about Jennifer Pike: http://www.jenniferpike.com

Read more about Andrew Schultz: http://www.andrewschultz.net

Hear an excerpt from the Schultz Violin Concerto played by Jennifer Pike (TSO/Mills on ABC Classics 4764519): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cPEjXm4nws

Composer’s Note: Andrew Schultz Sonatina for solo violin, Op. 66 (2007)

The work is entitled Sonatina because it has some flamboyant and effervescent qualities contrasted with sadder and more soulful passages and also because it is in one movement.

Getting the balance of mood in the piece was the biggest challenge. There is an inner dialogue for the player – both on a contrapuntal level of ideas contrasted over time and on an emotional level.  It is as if there should be a performance in which statements are made and then self-effaced but still felt deeply; self-contradictions perhaps.

There is a hint of folk-styles of violin playing with the use of short-lived drones and the use of pizzicato to almost suggest a band of players.  In interpretation, it calls for some freedom of tempo – it should never be rushed (except where it rushes) and ideas always need time to speak.

The piece is about 8 minutes duration and is in a spiral-rondo form – – an ABACA of sorts. That means when the A comes back it’s transformed and ideas also accumulate from section to section – hence the idea of the spiral shape and spiral motion (which may be down or up!). It could be the real, or pure, A is at the end  –  depending on the direction of travel.

The piece was written in early 2007 for performance by Jennifer Pike at The Wigmore Hall in March 2007 to form a part of concert celebrations for David Takeno’s sixtieth birthday. The work is dedicated, in memoriam, to Barbara Takeno.

Excerpts from Reviews: Schultz Violin Concerto, Opus 55 (1996) with Jennifer Pike and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Mills for the ABC Classics label (ABC4764519) https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/violin-concerto-op.-55-i./id509356971?i=509356984

“Cast in two movements, the concerto is ambitious – and successful – in its attempt to pit the solo line against orchestral textures which constantly change and shimmer, sometimes sounding like a resonating carillon…or a large organ in the vast reaches of a mighty cathedral.”

[David Bollard, Music Forum, Summer 2011.]

“… the first movement proceeds at an evolutionary petal-unfolding gait with the violin singing likewise. The music effervesces slowly and the Silvestrov-like carillon bubbling is unhurried….The violin gently continues to soar. The second movement is animated with iterations of bell fanfares from the brass and Hovhaness-like groans before the violin enters with a fast pulse and slippery virtuosity locked into the harmonies of the first movement…Schultz’s magnetic pull is towards the pensive. So it proves with a final page that glows steadily and in which the solo and orchestral strings whisper into silence.”

[Rob Barnett, Music Web International, October 2011.]

“If the association with film music is hinted at in “Endling”, in the two-part violin concerto it is tangible. In Schultz’ case, this does not mean that his compositions can only be associated with (real) films in order to be apprehended: the works themselves are musical films that do not require illustration but are instead, in terms of their sound qualities, both figurative and sensual. In this sense they touch upon the music of the great Latvian (Vasks), whose work similarly engages the large and existential themes of love, nature, belief, longing, hope, life and death with emotion, spontaneity, directness, without fear of drawing upon ‘already used’ tonality and harmony. One can place Schultz’ violin concerto, that had to wait fifteen years to be transferred to CD, in a line of very great works that have been written for this instrument in recent years: “Distant Light” by Peteris Vasks, “Concentric Path” by Thomas Adès or “1001 Nights in the Harem” by Fazil Say.

Schultz’ violin concerto begins with a lengthy movement titled “Chorale Expansive”. Like languorous waves, the music surges forth, retreats, and surges forth again, continuing in this fashion. This is music for eternity. The composer links the concerto with a poem by the English romantic William Butler Yeats that also recalls Goethe’s phrasing in Faust: “formation, transformation,
the eternal mind’s eternal recreation”. The second movement “Dances: Fast and Vibrant” is rhythmic, exuberant and rollicking and provides, as it were, the antithesis to the foregone “Chorale”. At its end, the music returns once more to the quiet waterways of the first movement.”

[Burkhard Schäfer, blog.codaex.de]

Schultz “is, in my opinion, one of the finest composers in this country today. The music is well-crafted in a modern idiom which is pleasing to the ear. Violin Concerto… is a work of tender lyricism and dramatic power … In two movements, the first is the slow movement titled Chorale with a hymn-like chordal structure alternating with long melodic lines. The second movement, Dance, is in direct contrast with fast, exuberant rhythms which give a feeling of joy and exultation. Double-stopping and drone techniques are employed by the violin and the rhythmic energy is explained by Schultz as ‘possibly influenced by the rich world of folk-style-violin playing’.”

[Elaine Siversen, Fine Music, July 2012.]

Simplify, Simplify

Walden Cottage, Mass.

If a man, does not keep pace with his companions perhaps it’s because he hears a different drummer.

Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

The Sydney Philharmonia Symphony Chorus present Andrew Schultz’s Simplify, Simplify, Opus 82 (2009) in their Architecture of Sound concerts in the vast expanse of Bay 17 of Carriageworks, Sydney in August 2013. 

Simplify, Simplify is a choral setting of some inspired words of Henry David Thoreau selected from his book, Walden. Walden, or Life in the Woods, was first published in 1854 and is Thoreau’s reflective account of his experiment in radical personal simplification. For two years he lived alone in a tiny cottage (above) in the woods at Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts, in a cabin owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson, in turn, caught the spirit of Thoreau’s philosophical concerns and poetic writing style perfectly when he wrote in 1860: “We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its ends; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes.” [Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life]. Simplify, Simplify is scored for choir with strings, soprano saxophone, percussion and piano.  The music weaves its way around a short two part piano invention by Bach that Schultz had also used in the opera, The Children’s Bach.

Architecture of Sound

24 AUGUST 2013
7PM – 9PM

25 AUGUST 2013
2PM – 4PM

Sydney Philharmonia Symphony Chorus, conducted by Brett Weymark

Address
Carriageworks Bay 17

Program includes

Purcell Hear my prayer, O Lord

JS Bach Der Himmel lacht!

Górecki Amen

Pärt Summa

Schultz Simplify, simplify

Chan Chaconne for voices and saxophone*

Peterson The Immortal Spark*

(* premiere)