RDSO offers up ‘soothing gentility’

Claude Lapalme prefers to open his eyes in the morning to the gentle sounds of a baroque motet by Claudio Monteverdi on his radio alarm rather than a booming Anton Bruckner symphony.

Guest soloist Marc Destrubé

Guest soloist Marc Destrubé

Claude Lapalme prefers to open his eyes in the morning to the gentle sounds of a baroque motet by Claudio Monteverdi on his radio alarm rather than a booming Anton Bruckner symphony.

“Sometimes you need music that can delight you, instead of simply stirring you,” said Lapalme, who plans to conduct the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra through a baroque-themed Concert for all Seasons on Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Red Deer College Arts Centre.

Perhaps the highly civilized and courtly music style has survived the last 300 years for that very reason — because “we need some soothing gentility in our lives,” said Lapalme.

If so, the RDSO is happy to serve it up. The upcoming concert will feature the ear-caressing sounds of two Johann Sebastian Bach pieces, as well as Antonini Vivaldi’s ever popular Four Seasons.

The latter will feature guest soloist Marc Destrubé, who is an early music specialist. The Canadian violinist is also a co-founder of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Vancouver and first violinist with the Axelrod String Quartet — the quartet-in-residence at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Lapalme said Destrubé is the perfect violinist to take the lead on The Four Seasons. “He’s a highly imaginative performer,” who also intends to read some of Vivaldi’s season-inspired sonnets during the concert.

Each of Vivaldi’s musical Seasons in so perfectly composed that “I’m afraid even Winter is a good one,” joked Lapalme, who had just returned from a hair-raising trip up storm-blighted Hwy 2 to help judge a music concert in Edmonton.

The Bach works will also be familiar to even casual classical music listeners.

Both the Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major and Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major will feature RDSO trumpeter Richard Scholz — who will have his work cut out for him.

The latter piece is extremely difficult, said Lapalme, “Let me say it again — extremely difficult,” because of a profusion of close-together high-pitched notes.

“The nature of the piece is so distinct, it’s never been done before or since. . . . It takes months to prepare for that thing,” he added.

Scholz will perform with a very small trumpet to hit all the high notes, otherwise “you can’t play it,” said Lapalme.

As well as being an acting principal with the RDSO, Scholz also plays with the Calgary Philharmonic and is a member of the Altius Brass and the Bow Valley Brass Quintet.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. concert are $43.50 ($30 youth/ first four rows) from Ticketmaster.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com