True North: Symphonic Ballet

True North: Symphonic Ballet 2018-02-21T16:02:20+00:00

World premiere of True North: Symphonic Ballet

Conducted by Gary Kulesha
Saturday 28 October 2017

Featured Artists: 

Hal Eagletail and the Tsuu T’ina Singers
Yukichi Hattori, choreographer/dancer
Galien Johnston Hattori, dancer
Tara Williamson, dancer

Calgary Youth Orchestra Violinists Edmond Agopian, director Jason Barnett, Catherine Butcher, Typhen Chan, Luke Chiang, Chris Fang, Solana Frebold, Daniela Garcia, Amilia Hildahl, Satchi Kanashiro, Lucy Kim, Danielle Lefébvre, Sophie Leishman, Olivia Li, Kevin Lin, Fiona Marchetto, Gabriela Nunez Noguez, Madeleine Nysetvold, Christopher Poon, Stephen Poon, Fatima Salazar, Kevin Wang, Joanna Yeh, Meagan Yeung

University of Calgary Violinists Edmond Agopian, director; George Fenwick, manager Emily Au, Christine Chen, Rena Far, Brenna Hartmann, Cameron Leahy, James Watson

Students of the H/W School of Ballet Yukichi Hattori, director


EAGLETAIL: Prelude: Calling Song
WIJERATNE: I. First Winter
CHARKE: III. Industrial
CHANG: IV. Northern Star
HO: V. Earthbeat
EAGLETAIL: Postlude: Unity Song


To mark Canada’s 150th anniversary, the CPO presents a large-scale project that celebrates our nation’s cultural diversity: True North Symphonic Ballet. This project brings together six award-winning composers of differing backgrounds from across Canada to create a monumental symphony that expresses the spirit of our history, place, and time. Based on a remarkable narrative by critically acclaimed choreographer Yukichi Hattori, the work paints the portrait of our country in musical and dance form while defining who we are, where we came from, and the future of our nation.

Programme Notes by Vincent Ho © 2017

DEBUSSY: Prélude a “L’apres-Midi d’un Faune” (Afternoon of a Faun)

Claude Debussy (1862 –1918)

This atmospheric work, the first piece to announce the emergence of Debussy’s sensuous mature style, developed out of his admiration for Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem The Afternoon of a Faun. Debussy recognized in it a style similar to his own view of music. He composed his Prelude during the summer of 1894. The words of the poem are those of a faun or satyr, a languid, pleasure-loving half-man, half-goat figure from Classical mythology. Debussy wrote, “The music of this Prélude is a very free illustration ofMallarmé’s beautiful poem. It is not to be seen as an attempt at a synthesis of the poem; that is suggested rather by the succession of scenes through which the faun’s dreams and desires in the heat of the afternoon are expressed. Then, weary of continuing the pursuit of the sacred water-nymphs and spirits, he abandons himself to enriching sleep, which is full of finally fulfilled dreams, of complete possession of the natural world.”

Programme Notes by Don Anderson © 2017

BELL: Bear Child

Allan Gordon Bell, narrator and composer
Text by Fred Stenson

Rivka Golani, viola
Rivka Golani is recognized as one of the great violists and musicians of modern times. BBC Music Magazine included her in its List Of The 200 Most Important Instrumentalists and the Five Most Important Violists. Her contributions to the advancement of viola technique have already given her a place in the history of the instrument. More than 300 pieces have been written for Golani, of which more than 70 are concertos. Familiar to audiences throughout the world, Rivka Golani has performed as soloist with many prominent orchestras: the BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw, Israel Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Montreal Symphony and many more. Landmark concerto recordings include works by Elgar, Colgrass, Britten, Berlioz, Bloch, Bax, Martinu and others. She has recently been named an Ambassador of Canadian Music by the Canadian Music Centre and was presented with the Medal Pro Artibus by the Artijus Foundation for her contribution to the world of Hungarian contemporary music. A passionate teacher, she is professor of viola at Trinity College of Music in London.

TCHAIKOVSKY:  1812 Overture

1812 OVERTURE, OP. 49
Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)

This is the ultimate festival piece: stirring, spectacular, unmarred by inappropriate subtlety. It was commissioned by the organizers of a major exhibition of industry and arts, scheduled to be held in Moscow in 1881. Tchaikovsky’s publisher informed him that they were offering a choice of items: an overture to open the exhibition, or pieces to enhance two other events that would be taking place at the same time: Tsar Alexander’s silver jubilee, and the consecration of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Tchaikovsky reluctantly agreed to take on the job. Settling on the dedication of the cathedral as his subject, he knocked off the 1812 Overture in a week. “It will be very loud and noisy,” he wrote to his patroness, Madame von Meck, “but I wrote it with no warm feeling of love, and therefore there will probably be no artistic merits in it.”

His conception originated in the cathedral’s being built to commemorate the events of 1812. The music recreates a battle that took place that year, near the Russian town of Borodino. This was a turning point in the French invasion under Napoleon. Soon afterwards, his troops were forced to withdraw from the country. The overture begins with a solemn Russian folk song, God, Preserve Thy People. A vivid depiction of the battle follows. A group of folk songs represents the Russian side; La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, the other. After the Russian forces have prevailed, Tchaikovsky has the orchestra thunder out both the Russian folk tunes and God Save the Tsar, the Russian national anthem at the time that he composed the overture.

Programme Notes by Don Anderson © 2017