The Symphony of the Kootenays performed its final concert of the 2014–2015 season with three familiar works of the classical repertoire. You might even say that it was a golden concert.
It opened with the Overture to Rossini’s opera, The Barber of Seville. The opera is a riotous romp with the barber Figaro helping a lovesick nobleman win the woman of his dreams. The overture captures the essence of the opera, with its typical Rossinian wit and verve. Toe–tapping tunes abound in what is one of the most loves and best recognized pieces in the classical repertoire.
It has been used in many other venues than the concert or opera stage—in commercials, movies, and probably most famously in the Bugs Bunny cartoon, “Rabbit of Seville”. Principal oboe Aura Pons donned a set of rabbit ears as she played the famous tune.
Maestro Jeff Farragher set a measured, almost too slow, pace at the beginning. His strategy became clear as the piece progressed, slowly gaining speed until it closed with a triumphant climax. The woodwinds, in particular, sparkled throughout.
Golden pianist Sue Gould took the stage to play the Piano Concerto by Robert Schumann, who wrote it for his wife Clara. It begins with a single powerful chord in the orchestra, followed immediately by a piano flourish. The opening theme contrasts with a lyrical piano and clarinet duet. The second movement, the Intermezzo, is sweet and songlike. The third movement launches straight out of the second movement and concludes with a vibrant finale, the piano almost dancing to an orchestral accompaniment.
Gould played masterfully, drawing every emotion from this well–known concerto. She is another example of the amazing musical talent that lives in the Kootenays.
The second half of the program featured Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in A. Beethoven himself considered it to be one of his finest works. After a very long introduction, the first movement danced rhythmically to a joyful conclusion.
Many music lovers consider the second movement to be one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. It was used to very great effect in the movie The King’s Speech, building up from a very simple motif to a powerful song of joyful hope in the midst of a recovery from war.
The last two movement bring the symphony to a joyful, rhythmic close, filled with a happy energy.
The Symphony of the Kootenays is a treasure for us. Jeff Farragher indicated in his remarks that he has never worked with such a committed, generous, happy group of musicians. We are indeed fortunate to have such fine musical talent in our midst.
The Symphony will play again on July 4 at 6:30 with its “Symphony on the Mountain” in Kimberley, with Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, the “Pastorale” as the centerpiece. Get your tickets now for what is sure to be a terrific experience.
Thank you not only to the musicians, but also to the Board which has worked tirelessly to give the Symphony the support it needs to make such wonderful music.