Symphony wraps season with Spring Awakening

The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra is finishing up the season on a sparkling note with Spring Awakening, set for April 28 at the Arts Centre.

Performance time is 8 p.m.

Highlights of the concert include Rossini’s Overture to L’Italiana in Algeri, Concerto for Oboe and Chamber Orchestra in D Major by Strauss and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D Major.

“The lively overture from L’Italiana in Algeria pays a small homage to Haydn with its slow, quiet beginning interrupted by a surprising loud chord – a tiny wink to Haydn’s Surprise Symphony,” notes Claude Lapalme, music director for the RDSO.

He also notes that Rossini can be credited with being part of a group of opera composers who instigated better contracts and better pay. “Rossini started poor but by the time he stopped writing operas at the shockingly young age of 38 (he had created 38 operas by then), he did not actually have to write another one.”

As to the Concerto for Oboe and Chamber Orchestra in D Major by Strauss, Lapalme describes it as, “Highly virtuosic, but remarkably sunny and entertaining. This was a difficult moment in Strauss’s life but all he needed was a small suggestion from an American soldier to make him enjoy music again.”

Finally, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D Major is, “Fresh, energetic, unabashedly happy and even at times humorous,” notes Lapalme. “At the premiere of the symphony, Viennese audiences found it a dash peculiar but one could still say that it is the last work from the composer’s so-called ‘early period’.”

Guest musician for Spring Awakening will be oboist Lidia Khaner, who played principal oboe with the Sinfonia Helvetica from 1992 to 1997. She has also recorded works for the KOS Label, the Polish radio and television network, CBC and Arktos Recordings.

Khaner has performed and recorded solo concerts with the Alberta Baroque Ensemble and soloed with the Edmonton Symphony and Edmonton Chamber Orchestras as well.

“There seems to be a hard-wired need to create within the human race; but for those who choose the arts as a profession, the incentives to initiative a new work are varied and often surprising.”

Meanwhile, the RDSO Chamber Series continues on May 6 in Studio A of the College Arts Centre. The performance, called Nocturne, begins at 3 p.m.

Featured pieces include Schubert’s Notturno in E Flat Major, Dvorak’s Five Bagatelles and Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G Minor.

Lapalme said that despite the ‘nocturnal’ aspect of Schubert’s piece “Full of mystery, romance and drama, the title itself – Notturno – was added to the manuscript by an unknown hand, furthering the enigmatic aspect of this short masterpiece.”

Dvorak’s selection is decidedly “Folksy and absolutely delightful. Dvorak sincerely enjoyed writing lighter music and once wrote that it gave as much pleasure as composing great symphonies.”

Finally, Lapalme observes that Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G Minor is full of vitality and virtuosity. “It displays a kind of bravura we rarely find in Brahms.”

For tickets to Spring Awakening or Nocturne, call the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre at 403-755-6626 or visit

– Weber