Pandemic rules have to be obeyed, even for a videotaped concert by a Red Deer Symphony Orchestra string quartet. (Contributed photo)

Pandemic rules have to be obeyed, even for a videotaped concert by a Red Deer Symphony Orchestra string quartet. (Contributed photo)

RDSO video concert explores life at home

‘Behind the Red Door’ rendition can be viewed on the RDSO website

A musical exploration of “life at home” is the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra’s latest online offering.

With so many people experiencing an insular existence these days, it would be easy to think that Behind the Red Door, written by Alberta composer Arthur Bachmann, was tailor-made for a pandemic audience.

But music director Claude Lapalme said “That’s not why I chose it. I chose it because I liked it.

“It’s a wonderful piece,” he added in the videotaped introduction to the work.

A performance of the melodic Behind the Red Door by an RDSO string quartet was taped before the re-instated ban on of performance activity due to COVID-19. It’s free to watch on the RDSO website ( as part of the RDSO online series.

There are many autobiographical elements in the composition, which describes Bachmann’s life as it unfolded when he lived in a “little white house with blue trim and a brightly painted red door.”

Lapalme said, the Calgary-based composer “recollects some of the memories, good and bad, from that particular time.”

Four RDSO musicians — violinists Diane Lane and Elisa Milner, violist Dean O’Brien and cellist Janet Kuschak — will draw listeners across the home’s threshold with an energetic opening movement that Bachmann feels describes that “bright and cheerful time.”

The tempo switches to a more tranquil second movement, which was written as an elegy to Bachmann’s grandmother, who died while he was writing the quartet.

The vibrant third movement describes two turbulent experiences: a burglary that happened while Bachmann was off on holiday, as well as a visit by a disputing couple.

The final movement was inspired by a “colourful, sometimes volatile relationship” the composer was in at the time. “Despite an episode of perhaps too much whiskey for me, all ends well,” said Bachmann.

The composer graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a bachelor of music in viola performance. In 1986 he won a job as a violist in the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra — a position he still holds.

Bachmann began a career as a composer and arranger in 1990. His music has been heard on CBC Radio, and has been recorded and performed across Canada, the United States and Europe.

He describes his compositions as reflecting his deep connection to the landscapes surrounding Calgary. Melody and tonality are strong elements in his works, which seek “to bridge the gap between composer, performer and audience.”

RDSO’s online series includes two previously recorded performances which can also be heard for free on the website: Quintessentially Schubert and Music From the Land.

Lapalme said the idea was to produce a new online performance video every month, but restrictions around performances because of rising COVID-19 cases have created challenges.

He hopes to catch up with more video production as virus cases decline and restrictions ease this summer.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

A Comox Valley 55+ baseball team isa being organized for the 2021 season. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
18U AAA Carstar Braves start season strong

The Red Deer Carstar 18U AAA Carstar Braves started the Baseball Alberta… Continue reading

(Contributed image).
Online poetry reading to benefit Red Deer women experiencing period poverty

The Period Promise Poetry Powerhouse is a central Alberta collective of some… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron, right, celebrates after scoring on Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Montreal hangs on for 3-2 win to even series with Golden Knights at a game each

Canadiens 3 Golden Knights 2 (Series tied 1-1) LAS VEGAS — Montreal… Continue reading

New York Yankees Gary Sanchez celebrates his two-run home run during the seventh inning of the team's baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Cole, Sánchez, Chapman come through as Yanks edge Blue Jays

Yankees 3 Blue Jays 2 BUFFALO, N.Y. — Gerrit Cole pitched eight… Continue reading

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young, right, is fouled by Philadelphia 76ers' Matisse Thybulle during the second half of Game 5 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Hawks rally from 26 points down, stun 76ers in Game 5

Hawks 109 76ers 106 (Atlanta leads series 3-2) PHILADELPHIA — Trae Young… Continue reading

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

OTTAWA — Annamie Paul is firing back against the coterie of party… Continue reading

Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan leaves the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Bill to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples clears Senate

OTTAWA — A landmark piece of Liberal legislation aimed at harmonizing Canada’s… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) flips a shot on New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Russian goalies highlight Lightning-Islanders series

NEW YORK — Semyon Varlamov is the wily veteran, coming off a… Continue reading

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime reacts during his ATP Tour Singles, Men, Round of 16 tennis match against Switzerland's Roger Federer in Halle, Germany, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Friso Gentsch-dpa via AP
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime upsets Roger Federer in second round of Noventi Open

HALLE, Germany — Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime earned one of the biggest victories… Continue reading

A course official keeps out of the sun on the seventh green during a practice round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A different US Open than imagined at Torrey Pines

The spectacular ocean vistas will fill TV screens as usual, along with… Continue reading

Most Read