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Orchestra of Colours

Three Folk Suites: Holst / Bartók / Shostakovich

23 December 2010
20:30
Main Stage
Gustav Holst lauds the expressive simplicity of English traditional music. Béla Bartók’s Suite reveals the influence of Hungarian, Romanian and Arabic melodies. Shostakovich’s Suite is a recently identified collection of incidental film music.
15 - 20 - 30 - 40 € | Concs 10 - 15€
The St. Paul’s Suite reveals a different side of the English composer, Gustav Holst (1874-1934), than that on display in his much-played Planets. The suite is dedicated to the string ensemble at St. Paul’s school for girls, where Holst taught. Lively, light-hearted and intensely rhythmic, the work’s four parts reveal the composer’s love for the expressive simplicity of English traditional music, his social ideal of one art for all, and his hopes for a soothing of political tensions between England and Ireland, to which end he artfully melds two traditional airs—one Irish, The Dargason, and one English, Greensleeves in the finale.

Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was commissioned to compose his Dance Suite for the celebrations held to mark the 50th anniversary of the joining of Buda, Pest and Óbuda, and was premiered on November 23, 1923. The Suite is typically Bartokian in being inspired by an idealised traditional music. The composer acknowledged the influence of Hungarian, Romanian and Arabic melodies on his work, but never used traditional motifs exactly as he found them.

The Suite for Variety Orchestra by Shostakovich (1906-1975) is a recently identified work from the great 20th-century symphonist. Conflated until recently with the composer’s Jazz Suite No. 2, it was recently shown to constitute a separate work in its own right. The march, three waltzes and two dances that make up the suite sometimes sound like an operetta and sometimes like an al fresco fiesta featuring saxophone, accordion and imaginative percussion. The Suite is actually a collection of incidental film music, some of which continues to serve in that function: one of the waltzes was used in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut.

credits

Conductor: Miltos Logiadis
 
Gustav Holst
St. Paul’s Suite (1913)

Béla Bartók
Dance Suite (1923)

Dmitri Shostakovich
Suite for Variety Orchestra (1938)
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