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Soul-stirring music to die for

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

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Whether to stir the passion and nationalistic fervour of troops going to war or to celebrate the victory of an army, the emotion of battle has inspired many great musical works.

Join WAAPA’s Wind and Brass Ensemble under the musical direction of Philip Everall and Brent Grapes as they perform famous inspirational battle-themed music in Battle and Victory on Thursday, 20 of April at 7.30pm in the Music Auditorium.

The program includes Samuel Scheidt’s glorious quintet Galliard Battaglia, Giovanni Gabrieli’s Canzon in Double Echo for 12 brass, Ludwig van Beethoven’s passionate Wellington’s Victory, andan arrangement of John Williams moving "Hymn for the Fallen" from Steven Spielberg’s film, Saving Private Ryan.

Spielberg chose to place "Hymn to the Fallen" over the opening and closing credits of his classic World War II film because he said it would “stand the test of time and honour forever the fallen of this war and possibly all wars" and felt it showed Williams' "sensitivity and brilliance."

From this modern composition, the program sweeps the audience back in time to the early seventeenth century, when German composer Samuel Scheidt combined two musical forms: the galliard, a Baroque court dance characterised by energetic dance moves, and a battaglia, a type of music that imitates a battle. Two trumpets in Scheidt’s score represent the two sides of the battling armies as attempt to outdo each other.

Wellington’s Victory or the Battle of Vitoria, Op. 91, was composed by Beethoven to commemorate the Duke of Wellington’s 1813 victory over Napoleon Bonaparte’s elder brother, Joseph, at the Battle of Vitoria in Spain.

Beethoven’s original orchestration used an oversized horn section and a percussion battery – including sound effects from muskets and other artillery pieces – to simulate the approach of two opposing armies. The orchestra was staged as two ‘sides’, representing the British and the French; modern audiences will recognise Beethoven’s use of “Rule Britannia” and “God Save the King” for the British and “Marlborough has left for the War” for the French – the latter now more commonly known as the tune of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”

After waning in popularity for many decades, Wellington’s Victory has recently been revived for the UK’s annual Battle Proms Concerts. This concert series performs the piece with the full complement of 193 live cannon, with modern technology allowing electronic firing devices to be operated by the orchestra percussionist.

While there won’t be cannons at WAAPA, the talented Wind and Brass students will fire up their playing to heroic heights to bring these inspirational musical works to life.

For all venue and performance details, please visit the Battle and Victory performance web page.

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