Open Rehearsal, Saturday April 12, 2014, 12-2pm: Key City Theatre, Cranbrook. Why? It is actually a rhetorical question. With around 100 musicians and 6 orchestral configurations in the performance it was an opportunity for the orchestra and its organizers to demonstrate the complexities of putting together the evening’s concert. Apart from the music it was a case of getting the logistics smoothed out. Judging from the smooth performance later in the evening it achieved its goal while connecting with potential audiences and patrons. Here are some images from the rehearsals.
Last Concert of the Season, Saturday April 12, 2014, 7:30:pm: Key City Theatre, Cranbrook with guest conductor Evan Bueckert and the following program:
- William Tell Overture – Gioachino Rossini
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 – Johann Sebastian Bach
- Caravan – Juan Tizol / Duke Ellington arr. Saucedo
- Blue Rondo a la Turk – Dave Brubeck
- Harry Potter Orchestral Suite – John Williams
- Waltz #2 – Dimitri Shostakovich
- Concerto for Cello in E minor – Edward Elgar : featuring Jeff Faragher
The common wisdom is to start a program with something strong and familiar and Rossini’s William Tell Overture certainly filled that bill. Every person who grew up in front of the Saturday morning TV cartoons would be familiar with the thunderous brass and percussion fanfare that is the signature of that piece. After the fanfare of the overture died away the logistics crew swung into action and reconfigured the orchestra for the string ensemble of Martine denBok, Sanja Suplevska, Robin Grewcock (violins); Graham Tagg, Alexis Moore, Duarte Silva (violas); Jeff Faragher, Anne Scott, Liz Trembley (Cellos) and Alex Nichol (bass). The string ensemble, without the usual harpsichord continuo, was grouped on stage in a small semi-circle. It achieved the ambience of a private performance in a some old country estate and was perfect for the Brandenburg Concerto. Earlier in the afternoon, during the rehearsals, Barry Coulter (editor of the Townsman) had entered the theater just as the concerto rehearsal started and he could barely contain his excitement. His response was justified; the performance literally bounced and sang with a vibrancy that is such a characteristic of the music of Bach. This Brandenburg concerto was written in 1721 and, here we are nearly 300 years later, and the music is still exciting to hear. Students from the MBSS music program kicked off the jazz and concert band portion of the program with Juan Tizol’s Jazz classic Caravan. Although often attributed to Duke Ellington the Puerto Rican valve trombonist Juan Tizol, a member of Duke’s orchestra for many years, wrote the piece in 1936. Not quite as long ago as the Brandenberg Concerto but still going strong after 78 years in the standard jazz repertoire (click on the link for a taste of the original Juan Tizol’s Caravan). A more recent composition is the 1959 Blue Rondo a la Turk by Dave Brubeck that is in 9/8 with a swing 4/4 feel. The piece was incorrectly thought to be based on Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca The piece was actually inspired by a street performance by a Turkish musician. Turkish music is very big on “eighth” rhythms such as 7/8, 9/8, 11/8. etc. The MBSS musicians finished off their selection with the film music from the Harry Potter series – Harry Potter Orchestral Suite. Once again the musicians of the MBSS music program, under the direction of Evan Bueckert, continued to amaze audiences with their level of musicianship and their ability to integrate into the symphony orchestra. Dimitri Shostakovich is a Russian composer of the Stalinist era so it was surprise (to me) to hear such a Germanic composition as Waltz#2 coming from such an unlikely source. With the tubas, bass drum and percussion it was Oomph-pa music of a superior quality. When I heard that Jeff Faragher was going to perform Edward Elgar”s Concerto in E Minor I deliberately refrained from revisiting the definitive recording by the late great Jacqueline du Pre. I wanted to approach the evening’s performance with a clear mind unclouded by any vivid memories of that recording. I was amply rewarded by the live freshness of Mr. Faragher’s performance. For the encore percussionist Robin Clegg reworked some Bach melodic motifs into an impromptu Celtic inspired romp for cello and orchestra. It was a fitting end of an evening’s “Celebration of Excellence”. Here are some more images of the evening’s performances.
So ends a Season of Excellence. The Symphony of the Kootenays is once again back on a solid musical and financial footing and the following program for the coming 2014-2015 season promises more of the same.
- Concert #1 – From Old Worlds to New : Finlandia (Jean Sibelius); Holberg Suite (Edvard Grieg); Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” (Antonin Dvorak).
- Concert #2 – A Celtic Christmas featuring Harpist Keri Lynn Zwicker.
- Concert #3 – A Night at the Movies
- Concert #4 – Classical Greatness featuring pianist Susan Gould playing Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor (it is a pity we have to wait a whole year for this). Also on the program Rossini’s Barber of Seville and Beethoven’s Symphony No.7
So sign up and gear up for another exciting season.