BABE IN CONCERT
U.S. PREMIERE Presentation of Nigel Westlake’s Score Performed Live to Film Conducted by NIGEL WESTLAKE in His Philharmonic Debut
December 16–17, 2016
The New York Philharmonic will present the U.S. Premiere of Babe in Concert, featuring a screening of the complete film with Nigel Westlake’s score performed live to the film, conducted by Mr. Westlake in his Philharmonic debut. Mr. Westlake revised and re-orchestrated the score for the live-to-picture presentation, which was premiered by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2015 to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary. Nominated for seven Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, and winner for Best Visual Effects, Babe tells the story of the eponymous plucky piglet who overcomes the odds with the help of his adopted farm family.
Nigel Westlake quoted classical works throughout his score — most prominently the Maestoso of Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3, Organ, which serves as the main theme. The film twice features “If I Had Words,” the 1978 Scott Fitzgerald/Yvonne Keeley chart-topping pop song that adapted the Saint-Saëns theme. Mr. Westlake’s other classical quotations include “March of the Toreadors” from Bizet’s Carmen, Pizzicato Polka from Delibes’s Sylvia, Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine, and Spring Dance from Grieg’s Lyric Pieces.
The concept of incorporating Saint-Saëns’s Organ Symphony in the score came from director / co-screenwriter Chris Noonan and producer / co-screenwriter George Miller, though the score’s instrumentation does not incorporate organ. “It was too heavy, too gothic, for the tone of the movie,” Mr. Westlake says, “but the theme is optimistic and wholesome, and very versatile. It can be subtle and sweet, or heraldic and jubilant, depending on the demands of the scene.”
Mr. Westlake says that the score follows the concept of a symphony. The overture, he says, “reveals all the musical elements before you actually see them, functioning in the same way as a classical form overture.” He adds: “At the time I had trouble accepting George and Chris’s instructions to use the Saint-Saëns, Grieg, and Delibes, but now I recognize it as something of a stroke of genius that has helped to make the film timeless.”
Australian composer and conductor Nigel Westlake’s career has spanned more than four decades. From the age of 17 he was touring Australia and the world as a freelance clarinetist, bass clarinetist, and saxophonist with ballet companies, a circus troupe, chamber music ensembles, fusion bands, and orchestras. In 1983 he studied bass clarinet and composition in the Netherlands and was appointed composer-in-residence for Australia’s ABC Radio the following year. From 1987 to 1992 he was resident clarinetist with Australia’s leading chamber group, The Australia Ensemble, and went on to join guitarist John Williams’s group, Attacca, as a composer and performer. As a composer for the screen, Mr. Westlake’s film credits include the feature films Paper Planes, Miss Potter, Babe (1996 Golden Globe Award for Best Feature Musical or Comedy), and Babe: Pig in the City, as well as the Imax films Antarctica, The Edge, and Solarmax, among many others. His television credits include documentaries, telemovies, news themes, and station identifications. His compositions have earned numerous accolades, including the Gold Medal at the New York International Radio Festival and 15 APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) awards in the screen and art music categories. His secular mass Missa Solis — Requiem for Eli won the prestigious 2013 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize and the 2011 Limelight Award for Best New Composition, was named Orchestral Work of the Year at the 2012 APRA Art Music Awards, and was released to critical acclaim on the ABC Classics label. Compassion — a song cycle for solo voice and orchestra, co-written with singer / songwriter Lior, based on ancient Hebrew and Arabic texts — won the 2014 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album. In 2004 Nigel Westlake was awarded the HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University, and received an honorary doctorate in music from the University of New South Wales in 2012. He made his conducting debut with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 1997 and has since conducted performances and recordings of his own works with all the major symphony orchestras in Australia. He is a director on the board of APRA. These performances mark his New York Philharmonic debut.
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Programs for Families at the New York Philharmonic, presented by Daria and Eric Wallach.
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Citi. Preferred Card of the New York Philharmonic.
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Emirates is the Official Airline of the New York Philharmonic.
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Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Single tickets for this performance start at $45. Tickets are available now through October 11 to 2016–17 New York Philharmonic subscribers and donors (Supporter level and above), and available to Citi cardmembers October 6–11, online at nyphil.org; by calling (212) 875- 5656; or at the David Geffen Hall Box Office. Tickets will become available to the general public on October 12, at which time tickets may be purchased online at nyphil.org, by calling
(212) 875-5656, or at the David Geffen Hall Box Office. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic’s Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. (Ticket prices subject to change.)
New York Philharmonic
David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center Friday, December 16, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 17, 2016, 2:00 p.m. Nigel Westlake*, conductor
Nigel WESTLAKE Babe (U.S. Premiere–score performed live to film) The program will be presented without intermission.
* New York Philharmonic debut
ALL PROGRAMS SUBJECT TO CHANGE
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