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Our September concert series was to have been presented in conjunction with the Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust and the Lodge of the Liberal Arts No.500,  to celebrate two significant events:

  • the 110th anniversary of the opening of the Auckland Town Hall and its organ; and
  • the 25th anniversary of the Lodge of the Liberal Arts No.500 which has generously supported AYO for many years.

We hope to celebrate these events and present the exciting works on this programme as soon as possible. 



The Soloists

Christina Ellison
Christina Ellison

Tayla Alexander
Tayla Alexander

Sid Chand
Sid Chand

Nicholas Forbes
Nicholas Forbes

The Programme

The programme opens with this short work, written for the uncommon instrumentation of organ in ‘dialogue’ with a brass ensemble. The majestic style of the theme is bright and rhythmic, and the dialogue steadily intensifies throughout, displaying many of the exciting contrasts available in a large organ.

-  Aria: O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn (soloist: Christina Ellison)
-  Aria: Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön (soloist: Sid Chand)
-  Aria: Der Holle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (soloist: Christina Ellison) 
- Aria: Ach ich fühl's (soloist: Tayla Alexander)

-  Duet: Tamino mein! O welch ein Glück! (soloists: Tayla Alexander & Sid Chand)

Throughout the eighteenth century a movement developed amongst the intellectuals of Europe to establish a means of reforming government in order to create a just society based on reason, liberty and tolerance. The principles which lay behind these ideals, now known as the Enlightenment, were: equality under the law, religious toleration and the brotherhood of man. These ideas were circulated in places where discussion and argument could take place, free from censorship and state control - such as scientific academies, literary salons, coffee houses, and significantly, Masonic Lodges. It was at his Masonic Lodge in Vienna that Mozart found the intellectual stimulus and friendship he needed; nearly all his friends at the end of his life were Freemasons.

The Declaration of Independence by the American colonies and the subsequent Constitution of the United States in which these principles were enshrined, gave a tremendous boost to attempts to create reform in Europe along the same lines. This led ultimately to the French Revolution in1789, the excesses of which threatened to set back the progress made elsewhere. Amongst the most enlightened rulers in Europe at the time were those in Austria. Emperor Joseph II, Mozart’s patron, tried to apply enlightenment principles throughout his reign, and though not a Freemason himself, as his father had been, was sympathetic towards them. On his death in 1790 there must have been great concern that his successor, his younger brother the Duke of Tuscany, would reverse these reforms and, under pressure from the French emigres who had escaped the “Terror,” institute a period of reaction and repression.
It was during this time that Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute was written, and the message behind its fairy tale façade is a serious one. Would the new Emperor, Leopold II, continue the reforms as an enlightened ruler, or would he succumb to the pressures upon him to reverse all the progress that had been made? As it happened, these fears proved groundless and in fact, as Duke of Tuscany, he had been the first ruler in Europe to abolish the death penalty, as well as torture. Sadly, his reign was short; he died in 1792, only one year after Mozart.

The story of The Magic Flute, is essentially a simple one. The young prince, Tamino, on being shown a picture of the beautiful princess, Pamina, and falling instantly in love, is informed by the Queen of Night that her daughter has been kidnapped by an evil magician. He vows to rescue her, only to find that the opposite is the case. Pamina has in fact been saved from the influence of her evil mother by Sarastro, the leader of a society dedicated to wisdom and justice. To become a member of this order Tamino must undergo a series of trials upon which, if he succeeds, he will obtain the love of Pamina. She too must undergo trials to show that she is also worthy. Despite the attempt by the Queen of the Night to subvert this process the couple, symbolising wisdom and beauty, are successful and, at the end, are united in love. Tamino, with Pamina at his side, will be a noble and worthy ruler.

We can see from this story that the principles held by the Freemasons, which Mozart passionately believed in, are set out in the form of the journey taken by Tamino and Pamina towards enlightenment.

Premiered in London 135 years ago, this symphony was immediately popular and is considered to be a staple work in the orchestral repertoire.  Listeners will quickly recognise its most well-known theme in the Finale – it featured in the 1995 movie Babe, and was used in Keeley and Fitzgerald’s 1977 hit record “If I Had Words to Make a Day for You”.  Hear and feel the organ rumble!



Concerts Already Performed in 2021


Concert Programme

Prokofiev - Romeo & Juliet Suites 1 & 2
Bernstein - West Side Story Symphonic Dances
Verdi/Bassi - Concert Fantasia on Motives from Verdi's Opera: "Rigoletto" (soloist: Kiara Kong)


Sat. 19 June, 7.30pm - Helensville War Memorial Hall
Sun. 20 June, 4pm - Orewa Arts & Events Centre
Thurs. 24 June, 7.30pm - Howick, All Saints Church
Fri. 25 June, 8pm - Auckland Town Hall




Concert Programme

Copland Fanfare for the Common Man
Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending (soloist: Jim Wu, violin)
Ravel - Pavane for a Dead Princess
Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition

Sat. 20 March, 7pm - Whitianga Town Hall
Sun 21 Mar, 2pm - Katikati War Memorial Hall
Fri 26 March, 7.30pm - Howick, All Saints Church
Sunday 28 March, 2.30pm - Auckland Town Hall