Haunting and emotional is the way Maestro Norman Nelson described Bartók’s Viola Concerto and he is overjoyed at the thought of working with viola soloist Rae Gallimore. Gallimore will be performing the overpowering Viola Concerto with the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra on Oct. 24 and 25.
The fall concerts of the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra take place Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Sooke Community Hall and Sunday, Oct. 25 at Our Lady of the Rosary Church on Goldstream Avenue in Langford. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.
Featured soloist, Gallimore, won the Don Chrysler Concerto Competition last April, and is no stranger to Sooke and Metchosin audiences. She placed second in the 2014 concerto competition, and she played the Telemann Viola Concerto in G with the Sooke Philharmonic Chamber Players in November 2014.
Norman Nelson, conductor of the Sooke Philharmonic, had this to say about the concerto, “when Rae Gallimore won the Don Chrysler Concerto Competition last April with her beautiful playing of this viola concerto, I was overjoyed at the thought of working on such an exciting and emotional piece with her. It is full of the flavour of Hungarian folksong and dance, but I find the brief, poignant slow movement especially overpowering. Bartók wrote it when he had just weeks to live and, of course, never heard it performed. The music was left in draft form and was completed by a Hungarian friend, Tibor Serly. It will haunt you for a long, long time.”
The Don Chrysler Concerto competition, now in its 10th year, is open to musicians under the age of 25, who are studying voice or an instrument on Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands. Judges are professional musicians at the top of their fields. The winner receives the opportunity to perform his or her concerto or song cycle with the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra. Also on the program is the well-known Symphony No. 9 by Dvorák, popularly known as the New World Symphony. This symphony was written during Dvorák’s stay in the U.S., and was in part inspired by some of the African-American music he heard. It is one of the most-performed symphonies in the repertoire, full of optimism and excitement.
The concerts open with another composer who was deeply rooted in his country, Jean Sibelius. The Karelia Suite is influenced by the folk music of his native Finland, and evokes northern wilderness landscapes. Young musicians from the Victoria and Sooke School Districts, including students from Journey Middle School and Edward Milne Community School, will be joining the orchestra to play this work.
The SPO is passionate about mentoring youth, and a portion of the money from ticket sales will go to support their school music programs.
This season, the SPO will be highlighting a local artisan at each concert. October’s artisan is Fredwin Perry, stone carver. His work will be on sale, and he is donating a piece as a door prize.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students; youth 16 and under are always free. For online ticket orders, ticket outlets and more information, please call 250-419-3569 or go to the SPO’s website, sookephil.ca.