Performance Details – May 2nd (Edinburgh), May 3rd (Glasgow) and May 4th (Aberdeen) 2019 – Scottish Chamber Orchestra
MOZART Symphony No 34 in C, K338 (21’)
DOVE Accordion Concerto World Premiere (20’)
LIGETI Concerto Românesc (15’)
HAYDN Symphony No 90 in C (24’)
It is not often this happens for sure. An accordion concerto by one of the UK’s foremost contemporary composers. Jonathan Dove’s concertos are often more than they seem, for example, his flute concerto The Magic Flute Dances imagines the life of the magic flute after the end of Mozart’s eponymous opera. His new Accordion Concerto promises to be a fitting tribute to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, drawing influences from his love of Orkney. Max had been commissioned to write the concerto for accordion virtuoso Owen Murray, but sadly he passed away just as he was about to start work on it. Luckily Dove rose to the challenge, rescued the situation and has now completed the work. And what a work! ZZ Music can reveal that Owen Murray, professor of accordion at the Royal Academy of Music has tried the work and is delighted with it commenting that it is absolutely beautiful. Given that this is a rare occurrence in the UK ZZ Music sincerely hopes that the three Scottish concert halls will be full in support of a major new work for the accordion. Good attendances will only encourage promoters to programme more accordion music in the future so can only be good for the instrument. The accordion, along with the ‘fiddle’ and bagpipes are synonymous with Scottish music and what a fitting tribute to the instrument that the concerto will be premiered in three major Scottish cities. This premiere is down to the dogged determination of Owen Murray to keep the accordion present on its recently-gained position on the classical concert platform and to leave a legacy of good works for the next generations of players. ZZ Music wishes Owen Murray, Jonathan Dove and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra a huge success with this work. If you arrive early enough there will also be an introduction by Jonathan Dove on the Concerto. And May the 4th be with them!
The programme will also include Mozart and Haydn who, are both in high spirits in their symphonies here – Haydn plays a joke that is sure to catch you out – while Ligeti is in rustic, folksy mood.
Clemens Schuldt: Conductor
Owen Murray: Accordion
Benjamin Marquise Gilmore: Violin
Composer Insights: 6.30pm Jonathan Dove introduces his new accordion concerto Northern Lights
Kindly supported by Mr Roland Williams, PRS Foundation and the Royal Academy of Music
Jonathan Dove is one of the UK foremost composers
Jonathan Dove’s music has filled opera houses with delighted audiences of all ages on five continents. Few, if any, contemporary composers have so successfully or consistently explored the potential of opera to communicate, to create wonder and to enrich people’s lives.
Born in 1959 to architect parents, Dove’s early musical experience came from playing the piano, organ and viola. Later he studied composition with Robin Holloway at Cambridge and, after graduation, worked as a freelance accompanist, repetiteur, animateur and arranger. His early professional experience gave him a deep understanding of singers and the complex mechanics of the opera house. Opera and the voice have been the central priorities in Dove’s output throughout his subsequent career.
Starting with his breakthrough opera Flight, commissioned by Glyndebourne in 1998, Dove has gone on to write over twenty operatic works. Flight, a rare example of a successful modern comic opera, has been produced and broadcast many times, in Europe, the USA and Australia. More recently, The Adventures of Pinocchio, premiered by Opera North at Christmas 2007, achieves another rare feat in contemporary opera, being a successful full-length symphonically-conceived entertainment for a family audience. It too has been produced across the world.
Dove’s innate understanding of the individual voice is exemplified in his large and varied choral and song output. His carol The Three Kings was commissioned for the famous Nine Lessons and Carols service at King’s College, Cambridge. Dove’s confident optimism has made him the natural choice as the composer for big occasions. In 2010 A Song of Joys for chorus and orchestra opened the festivities at the Last Night of the Proms. Works such as his Missa Brevis, Wells Canticles and The Passing of the Year are in the repertories of choirs across the world.
A sure sense of dramatic narrative also informs Dove’s orchestral and instrumental music. Stargazer, a concerto for trombone and orchestra commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and premiered by them with Ian Bousfield and Michael Tilson Thomas, has been described by Dove as an opera for the solo instrument. In The Magic Flute Dances, a flute concerto, Dove imagines the life of Mozart’s eponymous instrument once the opera has ended.
Throughout his career Dove has made a serious commitment to community development through innovative musical projects. Tobias and the Angel, a 75-minute opera written in 1999, brings together children, community choirs, and professional singers and musicians in a vivid and moving retelling of the Book of Tobit. His 2012 opera Life is a Dream, written for Birmingham Opera Company, was performed by professionals and community choruses in a disused Birmingham warehouse, and a church opera involving community singers The Walk from The Garden was premiered at Salisbury Cathedral as part of the 2012 Salisbury International Arts Festival.
2015 brought the World Premiere of The Monster in the Maze, a new community opera commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, performed under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle in three separate productions.