Like a party!
Bela Bartok, 1881-1945
The Sooke Philharmonic is playing the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra June 28th (Sooke) and June 29th (Victoria).
Here is what Norman Nelson, Sooke Philharmonic conductor, has to say:
“The Bartok a big, extravagant piece of writing. I have played it many times and it’s something I always wanted to conduct. To say that the work is difficult is an understatement. The virtuoso writing for the winds in particular will show our excellent players at their very best. I can’t wait.”
A big piece indeed. In addition to large string sections, the Concerto calls for a full complement of every kind of woodwind and brass, including tuba, plus tympanis and a percussion section that includes tam tam and side drum. Oh, and two harps. Although it is not often performed, it is greatly enjoyed by audiences. The piece has everything. It moves between subtle colours and delicate atmospherics to wild exuberance and raucous laughter, foot-stomping dance rhythms and the cold fingers of death.
Bartok wrote the Concerto in the last years of his life, and it is so full, you can almost imagine it as a whole life passing before your (his) eyes. It could also be a party, perhaps a fantastical party with strange masked guests, who drink and play games and reminisce their way through the light night of the summer solstice.
You are invited to our party! Come and listen to one of Bartok’s greatest works! The orchestra will be unusually large to accommodate Bartok’s extravagant writing. Some of the best amateur musicians in Victoria, Vancouver and Edmonton will be joining the usual Sooke Phil players, delighted with a chance to play this challenging and rewarding work.
The well-known Egmont Overture by Beethoven will open the evening. Alice Haekyo Lee will play the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.
Some of the musicians joining us for this unusual concert are listed below.
Yasuko Eastman, violin (Victoria)
Studying chamber music with The Hungarian Quartet and the leader Zoltan Szekely over many years, Yasuko developed a keen interest in Bartok’s music. Hearing stories about Bartok and their friendship from Mr. and Mrs. Szekely, Yasuko feels close to Bartok in heart. Playing the Concerto for Orchestra is a dream come true for her, and she is grateful to Norman, who let her join Sooke Philharmonic for this concert.
Norman adds, “We worked together in Edmonton and of course in Sooke and Victoria, and I am delighted to be sharing the Bartok with her.”
Valerie Sim, violin (Edmonton)
I’m a scientist who practices medicine to support my music habit. The science? Mad cow disease. The medicine? Neurology. The music? Violin, piano, or whatever is in style!
I am thrilled to be playing Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra for the first time and look forward to working with Norman Nelson, a true fan of Bartok.
Adrian Rys, cello (Edmonton)
I am retired and my principal occupations are now family and music. I am Principal Cello in the Concordia Orchestra, a community orchestra in Edmonton. I love chamber music too and frequently attend the annual Sooke Harbour Chamber Music Workshop with other string musicians from Edmonton. Like many of the local Sooke Philharmonic players, we have benefited from superb coaching from Norman and his very able colleagues.
Carol Sperling, violin (Edmonton)
Retired from Human Resources from Alberta Government a year ago. Now I have more time to practise!! I play lots of music and enjoy life.
Member of Concordia College Symphony Orchestra, LaFolia Baroque Ensemble and look forward to playing with the Sooke Phil again. I see all the emails for sectionals and I wish I was there to partake for the extra details and rehearsals. Norman is challenging us to the fullest.
Really looking forward to it. Thanks for letting us be involved.
Heather Bergen, violin (Edmonton)
I am a violinist in the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and Alberta Baroque Ensemble. A fair number of years ago I finished both my Bachelor and Masters of Music, studying with Norman Nelson. I am coming to Sooke for a refresher course in love of music, of passion for the instrument, care in listening and playing together, of relaxing while playing (“or you might as well be a sheep farmer”) and the infinite number of other inexpressible things that make playing with Norman so magical.
Allan de Caen, viola (Edmonton)
Allan is a violist by hobby, and a pediatric intensive care doctor by profession. Music (orchestral and chamber) is his passion, and his escape from his “paying job”. He is very excited to be performing Bartok with his Vancouver Island friends.
Kaori Otake, harp (Vancouver)
Ms. Kaori Otake has given solo recitals and concerto performances around the world. She graduated from Indiana University, the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music. She currently is a harp instructor at Capilano University, Chilliwack Academy of Music, and North Shore Conservatory of Music at Gloria Dei Church and resides in Vancouver.
She says, “The Bartok Concerto for Orchestra is very important orchestra repertoire for harpists. It is often required for orchestra auditions and I am very excited to be able to perform this piece with the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra.”
Please note that because of the labour dispute between teachers and province, the concert on Saturday the 28th, which was to have taken place at the EMCS theatre in Sooke, has been relocated to the Community Hall on Shields Road. Concert time will be 7:30.
The Sunday concert at Farquhar Auditorium at U Vic is unaffected and unchanged. John Horgan, our MLA, will be the MC!
Check the website for ticket information.