Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Commemorates Victims Of AIDS
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra pays tribute to the victims of AIDS at the second of its Splendour Series concerts for 2012: American to the Core.
The 26 July concert features the overture to Leonard Bernstein's Candide, and Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F, the latter with sensational German pianist Ragna Schirmer as soloist. However, the centrepiece of the evening is John Corigliano's Symphony No.1.
The work has never been played in New Zealand but APO audiences are no strangers to Corigliano's music, which has been championed by the orchestra in recent years. And although the concert marks the New Zealand debut of the symphony, it is a work APO Music Director Eckehard Stier has performed in Europe.
"I've conducted this symphony six times before," Maestro Stier explains. "The reaction from the audience after hearing this piece was the strongest I've ever experienced on the podium."
That's little surprise; it is a powerful work, written to commemorate victims of AIDS. Corigliano was inspired to write the symphony after seeing one of the famed AIDS Memorial Quilts, and structured his work accordingly. In the same way that each panel on a Quilt represents a person claimed by the disease, so each of the first three movements of the symphony represents a friend Corigliano lost to AIDS.
"I was extremely moved when I first saw 'The Quilt'," the composer wrote at the time of the symphony's 1990 premiere, "[It was] an ambitious interweaving of several thousand fabric panels, each memorializing a person who had died of AIDS, and, most importantly, each designed and constructed by his or her loved ones. This made me want to memorialize in music those I have lost, and reflect on those I am losing."
In that spirit, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is honoured to display sections of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt at the concert. A national taonga, three New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilts were handed to representatives of Te Papa on 29 April 2012. The panels displayed by the APO have been specially assembled for the evening.
"The symphony is a compelling piece of music," says APO Chief Executive Barbara Glaser. "Hearing it while panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt hang in the Town Hall can only heighten what already promised to be a moving experience."
Who: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Eckehard Stier, and with Ragna Schirmer (piano)
What: Splendour Series - From the New World: American to the Core, featuring music by Bernstein, Gershwin and Corigliano
Where: Auckland Town Hall
When: 8pm, Thursday 26 July
Bookings: http://www.buytickets.co.nz (09) 357 3355