RDSO launches New Year with French Kiss

France’s legacy of musical brilliance shines through in concert

The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra is delving into the New Year on a stylish, sophisticated note with French Kiss.

The concert runs Jan. 21 on the Arts Centre mainstage, starting at 8 p.m.

Special guests include soloists Paul Grindlay and Sarah Brown on oboe.

“There is no question that France has long been celebrated for its contribution to the arts. Paris, to this day, is still a hot spot not only for cultural tourists but also for professional musicians, painters and actors,” notes Claude Lapalme, RDSO music director.

“Music written in France from the 1880s until the 1930s will always be popular with audiences. The sense of colour, the masterful orchestration and the great talent for evocation we find in that music has always been a great hit with the public and performers alike.”

Highlights of the evening include Champagne’s Danse Villageoise, Haydn’s Oboe Concerto in C Major which features Sarah Brown, and Rameau’s Suite from Les Boreades. Ibert’s Chansons de Don Quichotte and Ravel’s Ma Mere L’Oye round out the performance.

Lapalme describes Champagne’s Danse Villageoise as “sunny, happy and pleasant to the ear. Written originally for violin and piano, Champagne later orchestrated it with great skill. Both versions are frequently performed.”

Rameau’s Suite from Les Boreades is based on an obscure Greek legend, and was Rameau’s last work for the theatre.

“The suite we perform contains the overture and a series of dances. Most of the excerpts are full of life and vivacious energy, but are also interspersed with movements of delicate grace and thoughtful reverie.”

Finally, Ravel’s Ma Mere L’oye glimmers with attention to detail, said Lapalme. “With a small orchestra, Ravel produces an extraordinarily large palette of colours. The attention to detail and the outstanding descriptive aspects of the work are a true marvel, especially when one considers how small the means.”

As for the guest soloists, they each bring extraordinary experience and skill to the performance.

Paul Grindlay has performed in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Japan. His vocal abilities have captivated audiences in productions of Don Giovanni for Opera Atelier, Die Pilger von Mekka for the Vienna Chamber Opera, Handel’s Messiah and several other Baroque and classical concert works.

Grindlay has appeared with Tafelmusik, The Portland and Pacific Baroque Orchestras, the American Bach Soloists, Le Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal, the Victoria, Kingston and Red Deer Symphony Orchestras, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Bach Choir and Cantata Singers, Pro Coro Canada and the Calgary Festival Chorus among others.

He is probably best known for his interpretation of Baroque music, where his agility and resonant low range can truly shine, but he is equally at home in classical and Romantic repertoire and in recital collaborations.

Grindlay has been an adjunct music professor at Rocky Mountain College since 2007, where he teaches voice plus a small ensemble/chamber music class. He is also artistic director of the Calgary Boys Choir and the Airdrie Community Choir plus co-director of music at Knox Presbyterian Church.

He is a founder member of VoiceScapes – a professional vocal collective – and The Buzz – a men’s a cappella quartet.

Sarah Brown is currently attending her first year at Augustana University in Camrose, where she is pursuing a bachelor of science degree. She has studied oboe under the tutelage of Beth Levia and currently studies with Melody McKnight.

Meanwhile, the RDSO Chamber Concert Series continues on Feb. 12 with American Quartet at the First Christian Reformed Church, starting at 3 p.m.

Next up for the RDSO’s Main Concert Series is Triple Fanfare on Feb. 18 at Gaetz United Church. Wrapping up this season will be Spring Awakening on April 28 on the Arts Centre mainstage.

For tickets, call the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre at 403-755-6626 or visit www.blackknightinn.ca.