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Romance is on the program for the first Red Deer Symphony concert of a new season

Mighty Maestroes is on Oct. 29 at the RDP Arts Centre
Edmonton pianist Mikolaj Warszynski is guest soloist with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra at its Nov. 29 Mighty Maestros concert at the RDP Arts Centre. (Contributed photo)

The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra is getting set for an exciting new beginning.

The first entire, in-person RDSO season since the pandemic began will start with the Mighty Maestros concert on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Red Deer Polytechnic Arts Centre.

Planning this new six-concert season has left music director Claude Lapalme feeling philosophical. Each re-birth provides a chance to revisit how things are done, and a chance to see if they can be carried out better and more efficiently said Lapalme.

The latter must be a consideration as the RDSO’s 2022-23 budget is smaller because of less revenues coming in over the past few years.

Lapalme has stepped up to this challenge by looking for the positives behind each change. For instance, hiring guest soloists from Alberta, rather than from further afield, means getting to spotlight some very deserving local talent, he said.

The first concert will feature Edmonton pianist Mikolaj Warszynski, performing Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54. He’s a gifted player, added Lapalme, who noted Warszynski has performed as soloist on a Chopin work in a past RDSO season.

The romantic Schumann work is replete with woodwind solos and carries a four-note melody through the first movement, that is then “disguised” and used throughout to provide the cohesiveness that Schumann sought.

“One of the most delightful passages of the entire concerto is the central … Intermezzo, where the cellos introduce a theme imbued with an exalted lyricism and a romantic passion,” said Lapalme.

“It’s a great piece, with one phenomenal idea after another. It’s extremely romantic, tuneful, dreamy.”

Observant viewers will notice that the musicians appear to be playing out of beat with the conductor during the finale, because three beats have been inserted in the time normally occupied by two beats. Lapalme said this makes the concerto’s finale rather tricky to carry off.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s No. 6 (Pastorale) Symphony is also on the program. Used as a soundtrack to the winged horses sequence in Walt Disney’s animated film Fantasia, this evocative work is always an audience favourite, said Lapalme.

The symphony is inspired by bird song, rural dances, yodelling — and turbulent weather. Lapalme said a “summer storm” breaks the pastoral tranquility with timpani, trombones and piccolo creating a flurry of noise and drama before order is restored in the idyllic landscape.

RDSO strongly encourages audience members to mask during performances to reduce the transmission and community spread of COVID-19, and will continue to follow any guidelines and restrictions set in place by Alberta Health Services and the government throughout the 2022-23 concert season.

For more information about the concert, please visit

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