RDSO makes musical time trip

The RDSO audience was briefly transported back 300 years in time on Saturday night, to when Antonio Vivaldi’s now exhaustively performed The Four Seasons was a brand new piece of cutting-edge performance art.

The RDSO audience was briefly transported back 300 years in time on Saturday night, to when Antonio Vivaldi’s now exhaustively performed The Four Seasons was a brand new piece of cutting-edge performance art.

With its descriptions of barking dogs, swarming insects and thunderstorms, the composition aimed to replicate sounds of nature, and was considered “quite radical” when first published in 1725, said violinist Marc Destrubé.

The Canadian soloist who performs with the Axelrod String Quartet in Washington D.C. gave an exciting and evocative performance of the Vivaldi staple with a pared-down Red Deer Symphony Orchestra at the Red Deer College Arts Centre — and was rewarded for his passionate interpretation with an enthusiastic and well-deserved standing ovation.

But part of what brought the baroque work to life was his poetic introductions to each movement.

Before launching into each “season,” Destrubé read sonnets that Vivaldi reportedly created for his 18th Century audience.

Granted, the composer was no Wordsworth, but his descriptions of nature help listeners understand what he was trying to describe through his music.

For instance, flower-strewn meadows and bird song were behind the three lighthearted movements that constitute Spring. Gathering thunderclouds and insects preceded an intense and turbulent Summer.

The dance-like movements of Autumn were anticipated by a sonnet about a post-harvest celebration and hunting trip, while poetic lines about winter’s bite and the cosy fireside were precursors for the crisp Winter movements.

The 12 strings musicians and harpsichordist often played duelling solos. But regardless of whether their various melody lines converged or diverged, the highly skilled musicians always remained remarkably attuned to each other.

And their combined result was breathtakingly beautiful.

Destrubé is a wonderful player with the gift of making his considerable talents appear effortless, and it was a treat to hear the baroque expert do what he does best.

The RDSO’s A Concert for All Seasons also contained two works by Johann Sebastian Bach — the famous Air from the Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, and the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major.

Conductor Claude Lapalme promised the latter would have “more muscle” than the gently undulating Air — and it did.

The stately Brandenburg piece actually features solos by the oboe, violin, and flute. But it was the RDSO’s newly appointed trumpet player, Richard Scholz, who had the unenviable task of taking on a solo so difficult Lapalme described it as being “almost unplayable.”

The first and third movements of the concerto contain a crazy number of notes for the trumpet. They appear at both the very upper and very lower ends of the registry and require lightning-fast fingerwork and incredible breath control.

All things considered, Scholz, who was also playing on a small modern trumpet and not a baroque instrument, performed the majestic piece with great flourish and panache.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The interchange at Highway 2 and McKenzie Road at the south end of Gasoline Alley is being redesigned with two roundabouts. Construction is expected to begin this month and finish in October. (Graphic from Red Deer County)
Roudabouts coming to McKenzie Road overpass at Gasoline Alley

Project expected to improve traffic flow at busy intersections

A federal strategy to preserve threatened trout could conflict with provincial coal leases in the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies. (Contributed photo by Jeff Lund).
Federal regulations could save Alberta’s bull trout by shutting down mining plans, says biologist

Ottawa’s new strategy identifies a 30-metre protected area along rivers and streams

(Contributed image)
Wolf Creek Public Schools will not participate in curriculum pilot

Central Alberta school jurisdiction joins others across Alberta

Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, fom left, celebrate after winning women's gold medal match against Brazil's team at the Beach Volley Worldtour Major Series, in Vienna, Austria on August 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ronald Zak
Canada’s world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

Canada’s world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch (24) gets fouled by Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Bogdanovic, Capela lead Hawks past Raptors 107-103

Bogdanovic, Capela lead Hawks past Raptors 107-103

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu throws to a New York Yankees batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Ryu sharp into 7th, Semien homers as Blue Jays top Yanks 7-3

Ryu sharp into 7th, Semien homers as Blue Jays top Yanks 7-3

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau (13) scores the game winning goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender David Rittich (33) in overtime NHL action in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Gaudreau scores in overtime, Flames beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Gaudreau scores in overtime, Flames beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Jim Bullock, Vicki Pappas and Randy Waples off to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Jim Bullock, Vicki Pappas and Randy Waples off to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Canada's Evelyne Viens celebrates scoring against Wales during the women's international friendly soccer match at Leckwith Stadium, Wales, Friday April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Potts/PA via AP
Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win women’s soccer friendly 2-0

Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win women’s soccer friendly 2-0

After weekend hiccup at men’s worlds, Grand Slams move into curling bubble

After weekend hiccup at men’s worlds, Grand Slams move into curling bubble

Erickson Gallardo of Canada's Toronto FC and his teammates celebrate after Andres Mosquera of Mexico's Leon scored an own goal during their Concacaf Champions League soccer match in Leon, Mexico, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRES/AP/Mario Armas
Toronto FC gets vaccine boost but injury list still an issue ahead of Leon rematch

Toronto FC gets vaccine boost but injury list still an issue ahead of Leon rematch

Most Read