Musical tapas at RDSO

Spanish guitars will lend some fiery fun to the opening of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra’s new season.

Spanish guitars will lend some fiery fun to the opening of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra’s new season.

The Amadeus Guitar Duo from Germany will be special guest at the Una Noche En Spana concert on Oct. 3 at the Red Deer College Art Centre.

“It’ll be like a tapas buffet,” said RDSO music director Claude Lapalme of a program featuring two Spanish works and one Venezuelan composition.

As the orchestra hasn’t performed with guitars for six or seven years, Lapalme said it will be a thrill to play with the Amadeus Guitar Duo. It’s comprised of his former University of Toronto classmate Dale Kavanagh and her husband Thomas Kirchhoff, who both teach at the music conservatory in Detnold, Germany.

The duo will play two works with the orchestra: Surama, by Venezualan composer Alfonso Montes and Concierto Madrigal by Joachin Rodrigo of Spain.

The former is made up of a waltz and short South American folk dances, including the cha-cha. Lapalme said the guitar is prevalent in Central and South American folk culture, which is a “melting pot” of cultural influences, including Spanish, aboriginal and African.

The Concierto Madrigal was composed as a commission and made up of “a bunch of little movements in a variety of styles.” There are some plaintive, inward-looking passages as well as celebratory ones, said Lapalme. “There’s the fandango, a lively Spanish dance at the end.”

He compares the Madrigal to chamber music. Even though a large orchestra will perform it, only one of each woodwind instrument will play, taking turns delivering various solos. It’s a case of less is more, said Lapalme.

The work that ranges in mood from sad to joyous is “extremely colourful” — and very difficult for the guitar players. “It’s highly virtuosic.”

A third composition, El Corregidor y Molinera, by Manuel de Falla, will be performed by the orchestra alone. Roughly translated as The Mayor and The Miller’s Wife, the piece tells a story about a “ridiculous” mayor who’s trying to seduce the miller’s wife, but ends up as the butt of village jokes.

The work was redone as a ballet called The Three-Cornered Hat, which was first performed by the Ballet Russe.

“It’s extremely atmospheric music,” said Lapalme — including quirky passages played by the bassoon to illustrate the mayor’s ill-conceived foibles and the villagers’ tomfoolery.

Lapalme believes this light-hearted, easy-listening concert will be a great season starter.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. concert are $67.35 ($57.35 seniors/$47.35 students, first three rows) from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.

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