Beethoven kicks off Red Deer Symphony’s upcoming season

A blast of Beethoven will launch a bigger new Red Deer Symphony Orchestra season.

A blast of Beethoven will launch a bigger new Red Deer Symphony Orchestra season.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 promises an euphoric start for the RDSO on Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Red Deer College Arts Centre.

Music director Claude Lapalme said the symphony sparks “overwhelming joy”— which is unexpected, considering the German composer wrote this work in 1811-12 when he was becoming profoundly and progressively deaf.

“It’s very strange to think that when there was so much bad stuff going on in his own life that he was able to do that.”

Described by the German composer as one of his best works, Symphony No. 7 will be performed by a full orchestra of about 40 musicians. It contains a second movement that’s more quiet and profound. The stirring Allegretto proved so popular when the symphony was premiered that it had to be encored. And over the years, it’s often been played on its own.

“It’s got a great deal of philosophical depth to it,” added Lapalme, who considers the quiet movement almost “metaphysical” for its ability to take listeners to a different place.

RDSO principal flutist Lucie Jones will be the featured soloist on French composer Jacques Ibert’s Flute Concerto. The Calgary resident teaches music at Mount Royal University and has performed around Alberta and B.C. with the flute and harp Looking Glass Duo. Jones has also been a featured performer with the Land’s End Ensemble, Kensington Sinfonia and Burman University Orchestra, among others.

The concerto is another sprightly, happy work by a composer who often wrote music as pure entertainment. The 18-minute piece, which Lapalme stressed is very difficult for the flutist, also calls for oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns — plus one trumpet, timpani, and strings. It was composed for Marcel Moyse, a famous flutist in the early 1930s.

The upbeat overture from Gioachino Rossini’s small comic opera, Il Signor Bruschino, about young lovers who scheme to tie the knot despite parental objections, will round out the program.

Those who can’t catch Beethoven Blast at the Red Deer College Arts Centre can try to catch it this weekend in Camrose, where it will be performed on Sunday. Lapalme said the RDSO was invited to be the first professional orchestra to perform at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre.

In past years, the RDSO has also been invited to play concerts in Fort McMurray, Lacombe and Sylvan Lake.

This season, subscribers will get a more expansive season of seven concerts rather than the usual six —including an”extra” Nov. 5 event that’s been added. The Purcell Prowess concert will be produced by the RDSO, but co-presented by Calgary’s Early Music Voices Society, featuring two groups VoiceScapes and Prairie Baroque at Gaetz Memorial United Church.

“People can get more bang for their buck,” said Lapalme.

For more information about the 8 p.m. show, please visit www.rdso.ca.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com