Monday, September 7, 2009
Trumpets to Tchaikovsky
Today signals the last day of ESO's Symphony Under the Sky! I was wary of the weather for the whole weekend but there wasn't any point where it just started pouring. Last night, the rain clouds were starting to come out just when Steve Lippia was telling Lady Luck to be kind while singing "Luck be a Lady", but most people were able to make it out without much trouble. Today started out chilly but it warmed up when the sun made an appearance after the intermission.
The concert began with the traditional O Canada and God Save the Queen followed by Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture. The ESO sounded extremely jovial as they played their merry way through the Berlioz. Humperdinck's Evening Prayer from Hansel and Gretel was lovely and extremely well-suited to the outdoor surroundings. Even though it was the middle of the afternoon, the music transformed the surroundings to the point where, if you closed your eyes, you would be certain that the shimmering evening was setting in.
Another piece I enjoyed was the piece by Jia Jia Yong, a young composer chosen by the ESO to compose a piece under the guidance of the resident composer, Allan Gilliland. Her piece entitled "A Celebration of the the Solstice" was mean to explore to the balance between the the longest and shortest days of the year as well as the warmth of summer. The piece had a very delicate and gentle quality as twinkling harp melodies weaved their way throughout the piece. Her talent is enough to put other 18-year-olds to shame. I wish Yong the best as she begins her first year at the University of Alberta.
The entrance of the colorful Mr. Jens Lindemann signaled the start of Proto's Carmen Fantasy for Trumpet and Orchestra. His 24K gold trumpet ripped through the exotic melodies of Bizet's Carmen while giving the piece a jazzy sound. Lindemann's fanfares was able to transform the Hawrelak Park Amphitheatre into a Spanish bullfighting ring. His banter between songs was also comedic as he went on about how they were not able to run through the pieces earlier in the day due to inappropriate stage temperatures for their instruments, a missing E flat trumpet, and because their music was held up by customs. At any rate, a sight-reading ESO and Lindemann made their way through Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major without any major glitches. Lindemann also gave shout-outs to his old trumpet professors and other musical figures that shaped his love for trumpet in its formative years. He also played Cowell's Rollercoaster with two of his previous trumpet teachers clad in blue Hawaiian shirts. I wasn't sure if their flamboyant attire was meant to be embarrassing, however, I suppose they matched his sparkling blue concert blazer :) At any rate, Lindemann was quite the character getting the audience to shout "Olé!" with a gesture of his hand and his Carmen fanfare was often heard even after he walked off the stage. Just in case the audience forgot how awesome he was :)
The afternoon wrapped up with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. The performance of this piece is an annual tradition and it is always fun to hear the cannons go off at the end. However, I think my favorite is when audience members take out their bells and keys to simulate victorious church bells. I never seem to get tired of it even after almost 10 years of attending the festival.
I hope to blog soon (even though I have a feeling I will be engulfed by coursework as I begin my first year as a Masters student in Speech Pathology at the UofA) and take care in the meantime!
A full grass section
Claire checking out the crowds
Grass seating rows
Birds scatter with the cannon sounds
Smoke from the cannons used by the Royal Canadian Artillery.