Monday, September 6, 2010

The Finale.

Hello readers!

This afternoon marked the end of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra's Symphony Under the Sky Festival. It was a fantastic labour day weekend filled with food, friends, and music.

Today's concert was entitled "Great Canadian Songbook," and as the title suggests, it included works by Canadian artists (minus Tchaikovsky's but it's a festival tradition that the 1812 Overture is played at the end, so for today, Tchaikovsky is a token Canadian).

My mind is awash with Canadian tunes from this afternoon such as "Canada" by Bobby Gimby, "I will Play a Rhapsody" by Burton Cummings, "Snowbird" by Gene MacLellan, "Mon pays" by Gilles Vigneault, A Medley from The Happy Gang (from a show that is "before my time"), "Swingin' Shepard Blues," A Gordon Lightfoot Medley, "If I had a Million Dollars" by the Barenaked Ladies (which had a "ka-ching" sound effect played by the ESO's resident conductor, Lucas Waldin), Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds" (which I know from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival since it has turned into their anthem), "Don Messer's Fiddlin' Tunes," Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi", and "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young.

Many of the pieces, including the world premiere of the Mitchell and Young piece, were arranged by Red Deer composer, Claude Lapalme. Lapalme also educated the audience about what things to listen for, such as particular instrumental sounds. An anvil-like percussion played throughout the Young piece to symbolize the metallic core of the "Heart of Gold" and he integrated 2 more "Yellow-titled" melodies within Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," such as "The Yellow Submarine."

The Lapalme pieces were not the only world premiere pieces since Sean Doherty premiered his original work entitled "Rainstorm" as well. He was chosen through the ESO's Young Composers project to write an orchestral work. Props to Doherty who composed a beautifully textured storm piece! It was more of a soundscape rather than an opulent orchestral piece and it fitted the outdoor ambiance of the festival extremely well. The piece began and finished with the sound of the harp and vibraphone playing a singular note to echo the falling rain while the rest of the orchestra created the effect of a brewing and receding storm.

The afternoon concluded with a festival favorite, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, which was complete with members of the 20th Field Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery firing the cannons at the end.

In my mind, this festival signals the end of the summer and the beginning of Fall since the start of school is only a few days away for me. My summer holiday is now officially coming to a close but it'll be nice to be back at choir rehearsal!

Enjoy some more pictures below!

The audience is assembling.

Instruments but no musicians on stage yet

Nora Bumanis warming up on the harp

The 20th field regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery

Chilling out and waiting for the concert to start

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