RDSO rounds out season with Blockbusters

Red Deer Symphony Orchestra is wrapping up another smashing season with Blockbusters, set for April 30 on the Arts Centre mainstage.

Performance time is 8 p.m.

A special appearance with Canada’s superstar soprano Karina Gauvin will also mark Maestro Claude Lapalme’s 20th anniversary with the RDSO.

Lapalme was appointed music director in the 1990-91 season. He has also performed as a guest with the Edmonton Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Winnipeg Symphony, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Laval and the Hamilton Philharmonic among others. He has also spearheaded the creation of several RDSO outreach programs including the Choir Kids program.

Meanwhile, highlights of the April 30 concert include Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major.

According to Lapalme’s program notes, Ravel wrote Shéhérazade in 1903. It is set in three parts, the latter two being considerably shorter than the opening number. Ravel, in fact, initially wanted the first song to be the concluding number, but changed his mind before publication.

“Despite the Pelléastrian vocal treatment, the work differs greatly from Debussy’s esthetics, especially in the first movement. Instead of somber psychological musings, Ravel treats us to a vivid landscape which invited the listener to ‘see’ the characters and places described in the poems.”

Right from the start, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major features sounds of sleighbells and flutes, which set the tone of the work with bird-like music, notes Lapalme.

“A genteel, almost archaic melody ensues and we know right away that we are not entering a world of emotional excess, but rather a joyful depiction of nature. The second movement is more acerbic, featuring a solo part for a violin whose strings are tuned a tone higher than usual.

“The third movement is a peaceful, sublime set of variations which prominently features the cello section. In the finale, we finally hear the soprano’s childlike dream of heaven. The movement, despite its deceptive simplicity, is inspired and transcendent.”

A prolific recording artist with more than 20 releases to her credit, Karina Gauvin has been nominated consistently for the Juno Award, and twice for the Grammy over the past decade.

Her repertoire ranges from the music of Johann Sebastian Bach to Luciano Berio and she has sung with many orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and the Toronto


She won the Juno in 2001 and 2003 with Handel’s Silete Venti/Apollo e Daphne and Mozart’s Requiem with Les Violons du Roy respectively.

A graduate of the Montreal Conservatory of Music, Gauvin pursued her postgraduate study at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow.

The Blockbusters concert includes the RDSO education dress rehearsal at 1:30 p.m.

Students must pre-register by calling the RDSO office 403-340-2948. A study guide will be handed out prior to the dress rehearsal, RDSO musicians will do a presentation in the lobby plus refreshments will be provided at intermission.

For tickets, call 403-340-4455.


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