Prom 1

Wednesday 13 April, 7.30pm
Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis conductor
Laura van der Heijden cello

Nigel Westlake Dream of Flying BBC commission: world premiere
Camille Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor
Hector Berlioz Symphonie fantastique (Episodes in the Life of an Artist), Op. 14


Imagination and passion go wild in the opening performance of the inaugural BBC Proms Australia season.

The inspiration for Nigel Westlake’s new commission Dream of Flying comes from the movie Paper Planes, a film about a young boy from outback Australia named Dylan, whose passion for flight and inventive spirit lead him on a challenging, but ultimately rewarding journey to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan. The score was originally recorded by the Melbourne Symphony for the film’s release in 2015, and the movie went on to become the highest-grossing Australian children’s film in history. Dream of Flying is a 10-minute concert suite that captures the excitement and innocence of the original movie, whilst exploring and expanding upon some of the primary musical motives from the original score.

In what can be considered as one of the most iconic symphonies of all time, Berlioz takes his obsession over a young actress to the extreme. Expertly transforming his obsessive infatuation into the idée fixe, or recurring theme, of the symphony, Berlioz draws on literary themes in this exploration of the glorious and ruinous nature of love. Throw in some opium and hallucination, and experience the roller coaster that Leonard Bernstein described as ‘You take a trip, and you wind up screaming at your own funeral.’

Unlike Berlioz, Saint-Saëns was not one to imbue his music with heroic or tragic depth, famously remarking that ‘The artist who does not feel completely satisfied by elegant lines, by harmonious colours, and by a beautiful succession of chords does not understand the art of music.’ However, there is no doubt that one can get swept away in this remarkable work where the composer takes elegance and beauty to a transcendent level. Featuring rising international star Laura van der Heijden, whose impressive career is already receiving innumerable accolades, this exciting concert is not to be missed!

Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes including 20-minute interval.

Photo credit: James Ambrose Photo

QSO’s Melbourne Accommodation Partner


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