Opera Star Paul Whelan to premiere new Song Cycle
Hello everyone. I have some amazing news.
Opera star Paul Whelan is performing the World Premiere of my new song cycle ‘Such A Fine, Sunny Day’, at The Piano, on Saturday 17th of September at 7:30pm. A dramatic duet will accompany Paul played by multi-international award recipient Nicholas Young and New Zealand concert pianist Anna Maksymova. The piano is a Steinway D full concert grand piano. This is a once-off never to be repeated event and will be a highlight of my creative career.
Arguably one of the world’s largest audio/tech companies, TM Stagetec Systems, is sponsoring this World Premiere concert on Saturday September 17th at The Piano, in Christchurch City Central.
Stagetec is flying over their latest recording gear and a technician, from Sydney, to set up this equipment in The Philip Carter Family Concert Hall at The Piano. Craig Field, who mixed Alan’s debut Introspection album and recorded, mixed and mastered my second album Rare View is recording this song cycle a few days before the concert.
Stagetec is the second international company to come onboard as a sponsor. ANZCA Music Examinations is also a concert sponsor.
ANZCA chose 15 of my solo piano pieces in total to be included in their 2022 – 2024 international piano syllabus. 2 pieces from my 2023 Land No More? 6 pieces from 2018 Rare View, and 7 from my 2016 Introspection.
All 15 pieces are published at: https://www.griffithscomposer.com/shop/
ANZCA conducts instrumental examinations in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei.
The song cycle is dedicated to Sophie and her brother Hans Scholl from the Munich 1940s student pacifist group White Rose. ‘Such A Fine, Sunny Day’ was the last thing Sophie said before Hitler had her executed. I was so moved by their story and bravery that I wrote both the music and the text. At great personal risk they mocked Hitler and condemned the Nazis for their horrific crimes against the Jews and Russians and urged their fellow Germans to rise up.
The dramatic piano duet accompaniment was quite a challenge to write, but I think it has paid off, especially with Paul Whelan’s full voice range. Covering themes from betrayal with roaring rage, to painful loss with a deep yearning for solace, to ultimately love, I hope this inspires today’s audiences. I wrote this in Melbourne’s second lock down.
New Zealand concert violinist Rose Light, whose trio won 1st Prize at the 2019 Inaugural Queensland Chamber Music Competition (Under 18s) will perform my NZ Premiere of Etude from my Rare View album with Nicholas. Nicholas’s trio Ensemble Francaix won the overall 1st Prize at the same chamber music competition. So it will be quite a performance to have these two highly polished musicians perform together.
University of Canterbury School of Music top Honors in performance piano Megoe Chen is performing the World Premiere of one of my latest piano pieces 1st Wave In Memoriam, I wrote during the first COVID wave. Her performance will be recorded live for Land No More?
Nicholas is also performing the World Premiere of my second piano piece from this album, Finding New Home, which will also be recorded live.
Tony Betros, General Manager of ANZCA who attended the 2018 live Rare View premiere at Beleura House, which was sponsored by SONY and Stuart & Sons, says:
‘I was introduced to Alan’s work at the Rare View world premiere recording and was extremely impressed with the mastery of style and range of emotions heard in his compositions. To further add to the event, the authority displayed in the performances of pianist Nicholas Young made for an overall outstanding experience. I’d highly recommend the works of Alan to all.’
It is a huge honour to have Paul Whelan involved and to feature on my 3rd album. Hopefully this will help lift my profile to a wider audience.
‘Such A Fine, Sunny Day’ World Premiere concert with Paul Whelan, Nicholas Young, Anna Maksymova, Rose Light and Megoe Chen is on Saturday 17th September, at The Piano, Christchurch, New Zealand. Doors open 6:45pm. See here for concert details:
I hope to see some of my old childhood friends from Christchurch where I grew up. It’s going to be a beautiful time of the year, as the city is famous for its Springtime daffodils.
Nicholas Young will also perform a 40 minute lunch time recital on the 26th September as part of the Christchurch Arts Centre lunchtime series in the Great Hall. The program consists of Chopin, Griffiths & Schubert.