Guest violin soloist Robert Uchida

RDSO presents Beethoven like you’ve never heard him before

The myth of “brooding Beethoven” is about to be overturned by the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra.

The myth of “brooding Beethoven” is about to be overturned by the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra.

Musical director Claude Lapalme promises to paint a brighter, more optimistic picture of Germany’s genius composer at the RDSO’s Classical Mood concert on Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Red Deer College Arts Centre.

Audiences will hear Ludwig Van Beethoven’s monumental Violin Concerto in D Major performed by nearly 50 RDSO musician and guest violin soloist Robert Uchida of Edmonton.

The mid-career work was written while Beethoven was growing profoundly deaf. Yet it’s imbued with a buoyancy that could only come from a composer who enjoys exploring a gamut of nuanced emotions.

“He likes working in the grey areas and painting in the corners,” added Lapalme.

Although Beethoven lives on as a turbulent presence in the public imagination, Lapalme believes his music isn’t nearly full of “sturm und drang” as many people believe. “This concerto should dispel the myth.”

The 40-plus minute piece begins with drama and ends with a upbeat, “folksie” rondo. In between, listeners will hear a “gorgeous” second movement, which is slower and more reflective.

But introspection can sound just as positive as more romantic and energetic passages, said Lapalme.

Uchida, concertmaster for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and previous artistic director of the Acadia Summer Strings Festival in Nova Scotia, will have “a massive mountain to climb” in performing the piece. But Lapalme knows he’s up to the task.

“Robert knows how to set a lot of different moods, and has a very expressive range … He’s a wonderful soloist (who produces) singing tones” with his instrument.

In keeping with the evening’s classical theme, the RDSO will also tackle the operatic and angsty Overture to Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as well as the light and graceful Symphony Opus 9 by “London” Bach. The youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach, who spent much of his career in England, is more formally known as Johann Christian Bach.

Limited tickets to the concert are available from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.

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