Spring Fling

Leslie Opatril: Whiskey Jack (2019 Canadian emerging composer)
Elgar: Selections from Sea Pictures
Ana Sokolovic: Il divertimento barocco
Bach: Ebarme dich mein Got
Brahms: Serenade No.1 in D

April 25, 2020, 7:30pm
Saint John: Imperial Theatre
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April 26, 2020, 2pm
Moncton: Capitol Theatre
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April 28, 2020, 7:30pm
Fredericton: The Playhouse
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This Bravo series concert is preceded by a pre-concert talk one hour before the performance begins

Program Notes


Edward Elgar’s Sea Pictures is the only song cycle that he wrote for voice and orchestra during his lifetime. Written in 1844, the work is based on five poems by different authors, each offering a different response to the ocean: its beauty, its temptations, its symbolism, and its dangers. These songs explore each poet’s personal relationship with the ocean and its importance to them, something that citizens of the Maritimes can definitely relate to. For Britain, the sea was of utmost importance to the cultural representation of the nation. No other European nation had a deep dependency on the ocean as Britain did. His home audience knew the sea well and did not require an academic discussion to remind them how important it was for their way of life. Pure enjoyment of poetry about the sea set to music sufficed. Something that is also relatable to audiences of the Maritimes.


An aria deriving from Bach’s famous St. Matthew Passion, this oeuvre stands at the apex of the musical canon and is considered one of his most significant works. Immediately following a recitative set to the Biblical text of Matthew 26:69-75 recounting Peter’s betrayal of Jesus, the aria expresses Peter’s penitence through the lamenting words of a poem by Bach’s contemporary, Picander: “Have mercy, my God, for my tears’ sake. Look hither, heart and eyes weep bitterly before Thee.”


The Brahms Serenade no.1 was written in 1857, and at this point in his career, Brahms being only twenty years old, had never written anything for full symphony orchestra yet. For his first orchestral work, Brahms decided to sidestep the daunting prospect of writing a full symphony by instead writing an orchestral serenade. Serenades, with their pastoral nature, multiple movements and emphasis on lyrical and lighthearted melodies, provide an excellent opportunity to explore the sonic possibilities of a full orchestra sound without all of the expectations attached to writing a symphony (especially since Brahms greatly admired Beethoven and thought nothing would ever compare to the greatness of his Ninth Symphony.