Czech-born pianist Zuzana Simurdova is the guest soloist at the RDSO’s next concert on Saturday. (Contributed photo).

‘Czech out the Bohemians’ at Saturday’s Red Deer Symphony Orchestra concert

Buoyant Dvorak and Martinu works will be performed at RDC Arts Centre

The sparkling side of Slavonic composers will be featured in the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra’s Czech Out These Bohemians concert on Saturday.

Martinu’s lively Nonet and his “irresistible” Piano Concerto are on the program at the Red Deer College Arts Centre — as is Dvorak’s celebrated Serenade for Strings.

As Red Deerians head into the shortest, darkest days of the year, this “optimistic concert should chase away any thoughts of the ‘S’ word,” predicted music director Claude Lapalme, making a coy reference to snow.

Czech-born Edmonton pianist Zuzana Simurdova, who’s known for her bright performing style, will be the guest soloist for the Piano Concerto by Bohuslav Martinu.

While this is a more serious work than Martinu’s joyous Nonet, “it still has a lot of oomph behind it,” said Lapalme, who feels the concerto is too seldom performed.

In fact, the orchestra might be premiering it in Canada, added Lapalme, who feels privileged to introduce such an energetic, yet philosophical, work to a new audience.

Martinu created music from 1910 to the 1950s — a particularly tumultuous period in history — “so it’s just a matter of circumstance” that his works aren’t as well known as those of other composers.

“A lot of other piano concertos that are played more often are not nearly as much fun as this one is,” said Lapalme.

He added the concerto’s “irresistible” last movement features a “clattering” piano and traces of the French influence of Ravel or early Poulenc.

As Martinu’s Nonet for nine musicians will show, the composer had a knack for creating interesting parts for all instruments, said Lapalme. “When he wanted to have fun, he really knew how.”

Even while Martinu was dying of cancer in Switzerland in 1959, he managed to write this exuberant chamber piece, said Lapalme, who called this “remarkable.”

Saturday’s concert will also pay a visit to the Bohemian countryside with a performance of Antonin Dvorak’s folkloric Serenade for Strings.

While the RDSO previously performed Dvorak’s Serenade for Winds, his other demanding piece will be another first for a local strings-only orchestra performance, said Lapalme.

He added Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings presents “a lot of musical problems to solve” in five movements, but “every now and then, you’ve got to do this repertoire, it’s so good.”

Lapalme believes the concert will offer a soothing remedy for the late-fall blues.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Classical music

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

Just Posted

Central zone has 20 active cases of COVID-19

Province identified 143 new cases across Alberta on Wednesday

Province should set mask policy, says city councillor

Digital conference will raise issues of local concern

Education taxes, ambulance dispatch concern Red Deer city councillors at AUMA meeting

The digital convention will raise issues of local concern

High school’s student’s anti-racism video offers hope

Jose Jordan got dozens of high school students to participate

Trail closed near Red Deer water treatment plant until Nov. 1

Construction on intake in river continuing

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Missionary plane dedicated at Ponoka, Lacombe airports

MiracleAir flies humanitarian missions to Nicaragua

Back to school preparations put staff and students at risk

A greater percentage of parents in Alberta have chosen online education than in any other province

Michael Dawe: Battle against Typhoid fever was hard for Red Deer to win

Much of Red Deer and central Alberta’s history included outbreaks of serious contagious diseases

Father Henri Voisin School student remembered

Julie Burke Memorial Bench unveiled

Adversity just part of a ‘weird year’ for Montreal Impact: Thierry Henry

Impact look to rebound when they visit the New England Revolution

Tokyo Olympics CEO suggests relaxed entry rules for athletes

IOC consider many scenarios for how games can open on July 23, 2021

Elton John announces new North American dates for final tour

‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour’ returns in 2022

Most Read