Claude Lapalme, music director of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, says the musicians are thrilled to be performing in front of a live audience again on May 28 at Red Deer Polytechnic’s Mainstage. (Advocate file photo).

Claude Lapalme, music director of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, says the musicians are thrilled to be performing in front of a live audience again on May 28 at Red Deer Polytechnic’s Mainstage. (Advocate file photo).

Spring concert will be first live RDSO performance in two years

Uplifting music is on the program, says director Claude Lapalme

After two long pandemic years, some light-hearted music from Mozart will be performed when the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra stages its first live concert since 2020.

Music director Claude Lapalme feels central Albertans need a bright diversion, given what everyone has lived through in recent years.

“I didn’t think we should start off with anything metaphysical or dark,” he said — ergo, the Magic Flute Overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will be on the program for A Long-Awaited Spring concert on Saturday, May 28, at the Red Deer Polytechnic Mainstage.

Aaron Copland’s epic Appalachian Spring will also be played in this first live RDSO show since February 2020, as will another uplifting concoction that Lapalme refers to as a “Franken-concerto.”

To highlight various musicians, Lapalme has stitched together three separate movements that were actually written by Mozart for three different concertos.

Principal flutist Lucy Jones will solo in the “delightful” first movement, while clarinetist Ilana Bahl will be featured in the slower second movement, and horn player Doug Umana will be spotlighted in the third movement, used to score the film Out of Africa.

Lapalme admitted that many logistical challenges had to be surmounted to bring this live concert to the stage — including forecasting the course of an unpredictable pandemic, and lining up some “contingency” musicians, just in case.

But although the RDSO players will all be wearing masks — except when blowing into horns or woodwinds — they are all very excited to return in front of an audience, he added.

Live performances were allowed earlier in the year, but Lapalme is glad to have waited to be able to perform on surer footing. He believes audience members will feel the wait was worth it as the orchestra launches into the Magic Flute Overture, which uses trombones to “represent feelings of awe and wonder and sometimes magic.”

Another favourite is Copland’s Appalachian Spring, which stirs feelings of American nostalgia. Lapalme said Copland was very good at making music about what Americans wanted to think their country was, “not what it was for real.” But the composer did it in” a very poetic manner,” using rhythms suggesting adventure, as well as snippets of folk music.

For more concert information, please visit rdso.ca.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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