Saturday 17 September, 7.30pm

Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington

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Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
Lohengrin: Prelude to Act 1 (1848)

Wagner based his story of Lohengrin on medieval German sagas of knights and chivalry, also touching on Arthurian legends. At the court of Brabant, Elsa is accused of murdering her brother, the rightful heir to the throne. The only one to defend her innocence is a knight  who enters her dreams, borne in a swan boat. He is revealed to be a Knight of the Holy Grail. Wagner’s Prelude creates a timeless magic as it suggests the Grail descending from Heaven surrounded by angelic hosts, or perhaps manifesting from the gentlest shimmering of strings until a triumphant cymbal crash marks its full arrival.

John Psathas (1966 - )
Leviathan (2020)
Alexej Gerassimez, percussion

This work was commissioned by and dedicated to the soloist. As with so many of Psathas’ works, the movements bear evocative titles: Hightailin’ to Hell, The Final Brook, Soon We’ll All Walk On Water, and A Falcon, a Storm, or a Great Song?

Soloist Alexej Gerassimez is a guest with internationally renowned orchestras including NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Münchner Philharmoniker and Konzerthausorchester Berlin under the baton of conductors such as Tan Dun, Kristjan Järvi, Eivind Gullberg Jensen, Alexander Liebreich and Jonathan Stockhammer.

Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856)
Symphony No. 2 (1846)

Schumann emerged from struggles with his mood and his health to create this symphony. He’d spent his year of illness studying the counterpoint of Bach and Beethoven, resulting in a work of enlarged complexity while entirely retaining Schumann’s individual voice. “Trumpets and timpani sound in my head in C major,” he wrote to Mendelssohn as he was starting work on it — perhaps referring to a motif from the symphony’s opening that is threaded throughout. The second movement rushes along carried by itchy-sounding string quavers and light-footed woodwinds. The Adagio has a heartfelt beauty that puts it among Schumann’s greatest works.

Lohengrin: Prelude to Act 1

Richard Wagner


John Psathas

Alexej Gerassimez percussion

Symphony No. 2

Robert Schumann