Eunice Tong, Conductor
Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra


SAINT SAENS The Swan (The Carnival of the Animals)
MASCAGNI Intermezzo
ELGAR Pomp and Circumstance March Op. 39 No. 1
GRIEG Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, iv. In the Hall of the Mountain King
SAINT SAENS Bacchanale (Samson and Delilah)
OFFENBACH Can Can from Orpheus in the Underworld
GRIEG Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55, iv. Solveig’s Song
RIMSKY KORSAKOV Flight of the Bumblebee
GRIEG Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, i. Morning Mood
SAINT SAENS Danse Macabre
CHOPIN Grande valse brilliante
MASSENET Thais Meditation

EUNICE TONG, Conductor

A graduate of Westminster Choir College, New Jersey, Eunice Tong studied under the tutelage of Joseph Flummerfelt and Andrew Megill. Whilst there, she was able to perform with Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Lorin Maazel, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Neeme Järvi, Anton Armstrong, Alan Gilbert, Dale Warland, and Joseph Flummerfelt.

Eunice has been the Chorus Master of Jakarta Oratorio Society since 2006, leading the choir to perform the greatest works of Bach, Brahms, Handel, Mendelssohn, Bernstein, and many more. Jakarta Oratorio Society as the choir-in-residence of Aula Simfonia Jakarta is an ensemble with the most demanding choral repertoire performances in Indonesia, with up to 5 major works per year.


As the Assistant Conductor of Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra, she is engaged to conduct concerts such as Symphonic Series, Mass and Oratorio Series, Concerto Series, and the beloved Family Concert Series.

Since its opening in 2009, Eunice has been assigned as the Managing Director and the Director of Artistic Planning of Aula Simfonia Jakarta, working alongside with many local musicians and corresponding with international artists. In 2020, when the pandemic took over the world and silenced many halls, Eunice passionately introduced the Chamber Music Society of Aula Simfonia Jakarta. In this setting, music can be played by Indonesian musicians and chamber music repertoires are gently brought back to the attention of classical music lovers.

THE CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS " THE SWAN"

Camille Saint-Saëns
Duration approximately 3 minutes

Besides performing and writing, Saint-Saëns was teaching as well at the Ecole Niedermeyer. He was known as a teacher who liked to lighten things up, injecting humor and occasional mockery of the rules into his classroom improvisations. Delighted by his way of teaching, the students encourage him to write down some short pieces, which some of them later on most probably metamorphosed into “The Carnival of the Animals”. However it took him a little over twenty years to write down this work. Wanting to avoid being known primarily as the composer of “The Carnival of the Animals”, Saint-Saëns decided to make sure the piece was not published during his lifetime.

Saint-Saëns’s inspired portrayals go beyond typical animal specimens to include pianists, fossils, and even habitats, as in Aviary and Aquarium. Often a famous actor or the conductor will describe the pieces during modern performances, especially for educational or young people’s concerts—or they recite the delightful accompanying poems that Ogden Nash wrote in 1949. Many others have since supplied humorous verses, among them Peter Schikele, Bruce Adolphe, and John Lithgow.

Le Cygne (The Swan) is the most famous movement. It was written for his friend who were cellist and composer as well, and was the only part of the “Carnival” that was allowed to be published during his life time. He even allowed the Russian dancer, Mikhail Fokine, to choreograph.

“The Swan” depicts the grace of the long-necked bird calmly gliding over the water with a gorgeous melody played on the cello. The poignant mood of the piece and its accessibility secured its immediate success and gave rise to numerous arrangements. The simplest substituted one piano for the two pianos, but there were many others, including transcriptions for cello and orchestra, flute and piano, double bass and orchestra, string quartet, panpipes and guitar, or solo piano.

Written by Steffanie Surya


INTERMEZZO FROM CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA

Pietro Mascagni
1863 | December 7 – 1945 | August 2
Duration approximately 5 minutes

Cavalleria Rusticana is an one act opera, composed by Pietro Mascagni in 1888. He wrote this opera when he was joining a competition, and he decided to compose based on Giovanni Verga’s hit play Cavalleria Rusticana (Country Chivalry) that he watched in 1884. One of 73 entries, it won the competition, and was first staged in Rome in May 1890.

This work was perhaps the first opera to draw on the verismo literary movement, that expresses the reality of ordinary life. Verismo opera became in fashion during this time, but only some could reach succession. The intermezzo from this opera is delicate, nostalgic, yearning, and beautifully structured for its incredible effect. It is calm that divides the messy emotions of the opera that it accompanies.

Written by Steffanie Surya


POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCES, MARCH NO. 1

Edward Elgar
1857 | June 2 – 1934 | February 23
Duration approximately 6 minutes

Elgar composed a series of marches for orchestra, and the first one was composed in 1901 and dedicated to the Liverpool Orchestral Society.

An English composer who received international recognition for his classical compositions. His most famous orchestral works include the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstances Marches, and The Dream of Gerontius – a choral works.

Written by Gloria Teo


PEER GYNT SUITE NO. 1, OP. 46
   NO. 1 "THE MORNING MOOD"
   NO. 4 "IN THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING"
PEER GYNT SUITE NO. 2, OP. 55
   NO. 4 "SOLVEIG'S SONG"

Edvard Grieg
1843 | June 15 – 1907 | September 4
Duration approximately 12 minutes

In 1874, Edvard Grieg was asked by his fellow countryman, Henrik Ibsen, the Norwegian playwright to write the music for “Peer Gynt”, a theatrical adaptation of his own poetic drama. The music was completed in 1875, and the play’s lavishly staged premiere took place on February 24, 1876 in the Mollergaden Theatre, Christiania (now Oslo), with the orchestra conducted by Grieg himself.

Grieg was able to write 23 different pieces for the theatrical work, even though it was somewhat a difficult task. Amongst these 23 works, four were assembled in 1888 to form the Suite no. 1, and five others in 1891 for the Suite no. 2. Several of these works have since entered the Pantheon of music history, notably “The Morning Mood” and “In the Hall of Mountain King, from the Suite no. 1, and also “Solveig’s Song”, from the Suite no. 2.

The “Morning Mood” is one of the most popular in the 21st century. Most people assume that it depicts sunrise among the fjords. However, Grieg intended to depict the sunrise in the North African desert, as the play setting. In the play, Gynt is making a reed pipe. In the beginning, the charming flute solo represents Gynt making his reed pipe while admiring the nature. As the music goes on, we can enjoy the beautiful pastoral melody, that incorporates the whole orchestra, waxing and waning until it fades away.

The first suite ends with one of Grieg’s most popular melodies, “In the Hall of the Mountain King”. It takes us to the underground palace of the Mountain King where Gynt encounter trolls, goblins, and gnomes in these dark caves. Because of one issue to another, the mountain residents become more and more menacing towards Gynt. This movement ends with Gynt almost killed by the angry trolls. The main theme will be played throughout the movement growing in volume, tension, and tempo that leads us to an epic and dramatic finale.

In “Solveig’s Song”, Grieg composed this piece in tempo andante, initially to be sung by a soprano to represent ‘Solveig’, the heroine from Ibsen’s original theatrical work, which he replaced with violins. Solveig, the woman Peer had loved and left at various point in the preceding acts, comforts him with this cradle song, while Peer was asking for forgiveness. And this closes the end of Act IV, a foreshadowing of Solveig’s redeeming devotion to Peer.

Written by Steffanie Surya


DANSE BACCHANALE FROM "SAMSON AND DELILAH"

Camille Saint-Saëns
Duration approximately 7 minutes

Saint-Saëns was notable for his pioneering efforts on behalf of French music, and he was a gifted pianist and organist as well as a writer of criticism, poetry, essays, and plays. Among of his hundreds of compositions, one of his most popular works is his masterpiece opera “Samson and Delilah”.

“Samson and Delilah” was written in 1874 with the assistance of author Ferdinand Lemaire who drew the outline of the libretto from the book of Judges in the Old Testament of the Bible. The action takes place in and around the city of Gaza. The mighty Samson is a leader among the Hebrews, whose land is occupied by the Philistines. The Philistines use the wiles of the beautiful, treacherous woman Delilah to discover the secret of Samson’s great physical strength. He succumbs to her false charms and she renders him powerless by cutting off his hair. The third and final act takes place in the temple of Dagon, god of the Philistines. As Samson sits pathetically in chains, Dagon’s followers perform this exotic, increasingly frenetic Bacchanale.

Taking its name from Bacchus, mythological god of wine and fertility, a bacchanale is a dance that puts a premium on sensuality and abandon. Saint-Saëns’s Bacchnale opens with a twisting melody that could charm a snake from its basket. This is followed by a passage that begins as though it might have come from a nineteenth-century Parisian dance hall. These elements alternate until the appearance of a lovely tune, full of longing. Nevertheless the music hall and snake-charmer music have the final words.

Written by Steffanie Surya


CAN CAN FROM ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD

Jacques Offenbach
1819 | June 20 – 1880 | October 5
Duration approximately 2 minutes

Offenbach is a French composer of German origins (he became a naturalised French citizen in 1860) who wrote some of the most attractive and melodious music for the stage during the middle years of the nineteenth century. He is known with writing in a fluent, elegant style and with a highly developed sense of both characterization and satire. Gioachino Rossini would call him as “little Mozart of the Champs-Elysées.”

“Orpheus in the Underworld”, French Orphée aux enfers, is a comic operetta based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. It premiered on October 21, 1858, at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens in Paris. In the original story, Orpheus is trying to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the Underworld after she died from a snake bite. The only condition for Eurydice’s safe return was the Orpheus had to make the full journey to the surface without turning around to look at her. Unfortunately, he looked back at the last second and lost his beloved wife forever.

However, Offenbach turned the relationship between Orpheus and Eurydice upside down. In his version, Orpheus and Eurydice are married couple who later on living a separate lives because Eurydice had an affair. Then one day, the heroine is fatally bitten by a snake and willingly relocates to the Underworld to be with Pluto, the ruler of the Underworld, who in a mortal form had become her lover while she was alive. Orpheus, in the other hands, acts to retrieve Eurydice much against his will. Both Orpheus and Eurydice are pleased when his attempt fails.

Offenbach has basically reimagined all of the characters’ motivations and turned the tragedy into a comic farce. He ended the operetta with the dance that was originally titled the “Infernal Galop”, and performed by actors pretending to be the Olympian Gods and Eurydice. This dance piece is now one of the greatest musical clichés of all time, and is usually performed as a standalone item, rather than in reference to its older setting.

Written by Steffanie Surya


FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
1844 | March 18 – 1908 | June 21
Duration approximately 3 minutes

In 1899-1900, Rimsky-Korsakov wrote an opera “The Tale of Tsar Saltan, based on a Russian fairy tale poem by Aleksandr Pushkin. The poem has the rather wordy title of “The Tale of Tsar Saltan, of His Son, the Glorious and Mighty Knight Prince Guidon Saltanovich, and the Fair Swan-Princess.” In the fairy tale, the swan-princess changes the prince into an insect on three occasions: first a mosquito, then a fly, and finally a wasp. The reason that the swan-princess transformed the prince into an insect was so he could fly over the sea to pursue a ship transporting his father. As it turned out, it also made it easier for him to escape from humans after creating mischief.

“Flight of the Bumblebee” was written as the closing piece of Act 3 in this opera. The composition imitates the insect “bumblebee”, flying and buzzing throughout, replicating its journey. The piece offers a fast-paced race from its very first notes, compelling each player to be on guard.

Written by Steffanie Surya


DANSE MACABRE

Camille Saint-Saëns
Duration approximately 7 minutes

Dance of death, is a medieval allegorical concept of the all-conquering and equalizing power of death, expressed in drama, poetry, music, and visual arts of Western Europe mainly in the late Middle Ages. Saint-Saëns set this tone poem for orchestra in 1874.

Written by Gloria Teo


GRANDE VALSE BRILLANTE, OP. 18

Frédéric Chopin
1810 | March 1 – 1849 | October 17
Orch. Igor Stravinsky Duration approximately 5 minutes

This piece was originally composed as piano repertoire and the first Chopin’s many waltzes to be published in 1834. Waltz is characterized by a step, slide, and step in ¾ time, with its turning, embracing couples, which at first shocking polite society. This Polish composer’s achievement was to turn this popular phenomenon into high art. These elegant, beautifully ornate works filled with fantasy that were not meant to be waltzed in the ordinary sense, but were instead highly stylized versions of the dance.

In 1909, Russian composer Igor Stravinsky made an orchestral arrangement of this waltz for Sergei Diaghilev’s 1909 ballet ‘Les Sylphides’. This was the first collaboration between the young Russian composer and the formidable impresario, and adequately revealed Stravisnky’s talent for transcription and orchestration.

Written by Steffanie Surya


THAÏS MEDITATION

Jules Massenet
1842 | May 12 – 1912 | August 13
Duration approximately 5 minutes

Jules Massanet was the leading French operatic composer of his day. He composed more than forty works, and many are still performed today, including Manon, Le Cid, Esclarmonde, Werther, Thaïs, Cendrillon, Chérubin and Don Quichotte. He is admired for his music that is lyrical, sensual, occasionally sentimental, and theatrical aptness.

“ThaÏs” is the opera composed by Massenet in 1983, and premiered on March 16, 1894 at the Opéra Garnier in Paris. “Thaïs Meditation” specifically is a symphonic intermezzo form the opera Thaïs, that is written for solo violin and orchestra. Massanet could have chosen any orchestral instrument to describe this singular moment, but the violin has the ability to sustain and to sing, like a human voice, that could represent the courtesan herself, Thaïs.

Written by Steffanie Surya