Three-hundred years of festive and devotional Christmas music will be served up Saturday by the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra — and friends.
The orchestra will perform its Stringing the Holidays Together concert, with special guests the Rosedale Valley Strings, at the Red Deer College Arts Centre.
The program will encompass everything, from Little Town of Bethlehem and The Wassail Song, to Christmas-themed baroque works, and recent works by local composers.
Music director Claude Lapalme’s Fantasie on The Huron Carol will be played by a strings orchestra, as well as local pianist and composer Ruston Vuori’s Elegy.
While the latter is not holiday inspired, “it has a devotional feeling,” explained Lapalme. “And we don’t want to have only one colour in this concert, we want a lot of variety…”
Those who adore Christmas carols will get a soulful medley by Elroy Anderson that includes strains of Away in a Manger and It came Upon a Midnight Clear, performed by the orchestra and young musicians of the Rosedale Valley Strings.
The Lacombe-based youth orchestra, directed by Naomi Delafield, will also play Christmas Day, by Gustav Holst, based on Good Christian Men Rejoice.
The orchestra’s strings musicians will reach back to the Baroque era for seasonal pieces by Antonio Vivaldi and fellow Italian composer Pietro Antonacci.
Lapalme admitted he had to put his musical ear to the test when Antonacci’s score, which includes a charming Italian Christmas melody in the slow movement, initially proved elusive to track down.
Photographs of the original sheet music were finally located in the Milan music conservatory’s online library. And when Lapalme compared Antonacci’s score to the notes he had jotted down after listening to a recording of the work, he was pleased to discover he wasn’t too far off the mark.
The holidays are a mixed-nut kind of season, stirring up various feelings in different people, so Lapalme is happy to present what he calls “a variety show,” with something for all Christmas music lovers.
For tickets or more information, please visit rdso.ca.