Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Jaime Martín conductor
Musicians from the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM)+
+This performance is part of ANAM and MSO's Orchestral Training Partnership.
Smyth Overture from The Wreckers
Debussy La Mer
R. Strauss Ein Heldenleben
About this performance
From Greek tragedies to Marvel movies, the Hero protagonist is an enduring feature of storytelling. Join the MSO under the baton of Chief Conductor Jaime Martin for this fast-paced, action-packed homage to the heroic.
- Turn-of-the-century English composer Ethel Smyth was a heroic rebel of the highest order. A bisexual leader of the suffragette movement, she served a stint in prison, and challenged the prejudices of the musical establishment, all with a flourish of anti-authoritarian flair. Her intensely powerful and socially-damning 1906 opera The Wreckers follows a hypocritical community of Cornish plunderers who lure ships amidst raging storms onto rocks to loot their cargo.
- Debussy's divine masterpiece, La Mer, is a rich and evocative portrayal of the sea and its many moods. A master of musical colour, Debussy captures his lifelong love of the sea - a romance that had once almost led him to become a sailor. In this shimmering work, he reveals his attachment to "my old friend, the sea; it is always endless and beautiful." Completed in Eastbourne on the English Channel coast, Debussy also drew on visual inspiration from an earlier generation of painters, including Hokusai's The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which was a source of key inspiration for Debussy, and became the cover of the score.
- Inspired by Beethoven’s Eroica (heroic) Symphony, Strauss wrote his tone poem, Ein Heldenleben, to depict the various key ingredients in the life of a hero, including Adversaries, Companions, Battles, and Works of Peace. Strauss strenuously denied allegations that he had based the work on himself, but later admitted that he felt he was ‘no less interesting than Napoleon’, and indeed, the work quotes many of Strauss' earlier works. Regardless – Ein Heldenleben, with triumphant brass and swelling romantic lyricism – is a flattering picture of any heroic subject.
Duration: approx. 1 hour and 50 minutes including interval