Evening one of Symphony Under the Sky has officially wrapped up. The first evening of the festival is always composed of classical program that is similar to the Masters series during the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra's regular subscription season. Tonight's program began with the Canadian national anthem, which the audience sang with increasing confidence as they gauged the acoustic offerings from neighboring voices.
Handel's "Water Music Suite" was a dainty and effervescent start to the festival with a rousing Allegro section. The Andante espressivo section was, well... andante and expressive. The excerpts ended with the familiar melody in the Allegro deciso section that is iconic of the "Water Music Suite."
Mozart's "Concerto for Flute and Harp in C Major" was a highlight of the evening with fantastic performances from soloists Elizabeth Faulkner on flute and Nora Bumanis on harp. After the initial balance of the microphones was established, the gentle and feminine instrumental voices from the soloists were clearly heard above the sound of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Faulkner had a lovely open tone which was further enhanced by Bumanis' cascading melodic lines. It was a lovely performance with many moments of acoustic familiarity which, I think, was appreciated by audience members who aren't as well-versed with the world of symphonic music.
The evening ended with Brahm's Symphony No. 2 in D Major which was accompanied with some rain during the second and third movements. However, it was nothing that an umbrella and raingear couldn't handle. It was actually nice to hear the wet, moody, patter of raindrops within the middle symphonic movements. The rain cleared out by the spirited final movement so people were able to view the rest of the performance without the obstruction of umbrellas. I wish I could comment more on the piece itself but, unfortunately, in conjunction with staying dry and warm, I have to admit my full concentration wasn't on the musical offerings.
One of my favorite moments? It was seeing the sun set over the crowd.
Overall, it was a beautiful start to the festival and I look forward to the remaining performances this weekend. I know that the Saturday evening and Monday matinee performances tickets are not available online but there will be some available at the on-site box office before the performance. Please refer to their website for more information on box office times and tickets for all performances. You can also follow twitter updates from the festival at #yegSUTS
Until next time, take care and stay dry!