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

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

Red Deer teacher Janelle Van Tetering had her students write letters to attach to Blankets of Hope, which will be donated to the Mustard Seed. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer teacher, students donate ‘Blankets of Hope’ to those in need

A Red Deer teacher and her students are giving warm blankets and… Continue reading

RCMP have charged a Sylvan Lake man for allegedly defrauding five people of more than $100,000.
Advocate file photo
20-year-old woman killed in collision: Blackfalds RCMP

A 20-year-old woman was killed in a collision on Saturday, says Blackfalds… Continue reading

Patrick Malkin, co-owner of The Granary Kitchen, says he wants the provincial government to lift COVID-19 restrictions that shutdown in-person dining. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer restaurant owner ‘frustrated’ in-person dining restrictions are still in place

Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the restrictions won’t yet be eased this past Thursday

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

A firetruck sits in front of a home on Harvey Close in Red Deer Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters respond to Red Deer fire

Red Deer firefighters responded to a blaze in the north part of… Continue reading

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

OTTAWA — Under fluorescent lights, Wendy Muckle surveys the supervised consumption site… Continue reading

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) headquarters Connaught Building is pictured in Ottawa on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Taxpayers’ watchdog sees complaints spike, raising worries about pandemic tax season

OTTAWA — Canada’s taxpayers’ ombudsperson says his office has seen a steep… Continue reading

Wet'suwet'en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

Tensions had reached a boiling point over a natural gas pipeline in… Continue reading

An Uber driver's vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

VANCOUVER — Several Metro Vancouver taxi companies have lost a court bid… Continue reading

Lights on an internet switch illuminate a network cable in an office in Ottawa, Thursday, February 10, 2011. A Federal Court is ordering Canada's internet service providers to block websites for a company that's offering pirated television streaming online. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Deeply disturbing:’ Nunavut internet still slower, more costly than rest of country

IQALUIT, Nunavut — In Nunavut, it’s not unusual for the internet to… Continue reading

RCMP say missing teen Hope Tivendale has been found. (File photo by Advocate staff)
No foul play suspected after burned body of homeless person found in North Vancouver

VANCOUVER — A burned body, believed to be of a homeless person,… Continue reading

The central zone experienced a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases Thursday, rising from 454 to 508 active cases over the past 24 hours, with 10 people in hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Spartan Bioscience says Health Canada has approved its rapid COVID-19 test

TORONTO — An Ottawa company says it’s received approval from Health Canada… Continue reading

Most Read