LSM Newswire

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Ottawa Symphony Orchestra presents Robert Rival’s Whirlwind, Pablo de Sarasate’s dazzling Carmen Fantasy and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5

April 24, 2014On Monday, May 12, 2014, Music Director David Currie will conduct the 100-member Ottawa Symphony Orchestra in a concert at 8:00 p.m. in Southam Hall at the National Arts Centre.

The OSO closes out its 2013-14 season in a whirl, as the orchestra presents Robert Rival’s Whirlwind, Pablo de Sarasate’s dazzling Carmen Fantasy and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. Celebrate the end of a dramatic season with one last memorable evening with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra!

Robert Rival has been the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence since 2011. His work is written in a contemporary tonal style and often inspired by the Canadian wilderness. Whirlwind fits into this pattern, as the spark for its composition came from the flocking of Bohemian waxwings witnessed by the composer during an Edmonton winter. The work’s title alludes to its spiraling structure, its almost unrelentingly fast tempo, and to the tremendous sweep of the waxwings in flight. The result, in the composer’s words, “is like observing changes in the scenery while riding a merry-go-round”.
Pablo de Sarasate was a Spanish violinist and composer of the Romantic period, one of the greatest virtuosos of his time. His Carmen Fantasy is one of his best known works, and indeed one of the best loved of all violin pieces. Written in 1883, it is based on themes from Bizet’s opera Carmen. Considered to be one of the most technically challenging pieces for the violin, it has long been a benchmark against which violin virtuosi are measured. Thanks to its roots in one of the great operas, however, it is more than a mere showpiece for a talented violinist. It contains all the intensity and excitement of Bizet’s masterpiece, and can be thoroughly enjoyed for its passion and beauty.
Violinist Yehonatan Berick will join the OSO as soloist in the Carmen Fantasy. Prizewinner at the 1993 Naumburg competition and a recipient of the 1996-97 Prix Opus, he is in high demand internationally as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and pedagogue. He has performed as a soloist with the Quebec, Winnipeg, Windsor, Ann Arbor, Jerusalem and Haifa Symphonies, as well as with the Israeli, Cincinnati, Montreal and Manitoba Chamber Orchestras, Thirteen Strings and Ensemble Appassionata. In the words of the Montreal Gazette, “Berick makes the listeners join in his own enjoyment of the music. He phrases with meticulous care, and the beauty of his full-bodied tone is ravishing. Whether playing passionately or with utmost delicacy, his bow control is such that the instrument always sings, and the four strings form a seamless sonorous continuum….”

Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 is inextricably linked to war. He composed it during the summer of 1944, as the tide of the Second World War was turning in the Allies’ favour (though he was far removed from the fighting, in a “House of Creative Work” whose other inhabitants included none other than Glière, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, and Kabalevsky). Later, the symphony had one of the most dramatic premieres in musical history. On the day of its first performance, the Soviet army had begun the final invasion of Germany, and as Prokofiev stood in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory to begin conducting on January 13, 1945, artillery salvos rang out to celebrate this great moment. Prokofiev had to wait for the cannons to fall quiet before he could begin the concert. With this background, it is no surprise that the symphony contains references to war, but their exact interpretation is disputed. Some have seen the piece as more hopeful and less despairing than that other famous Soviet wartime symphony, Shostakovich’s Seventh, the “Leningrad, while many others have felt that the emphasis is not on victory. The symphony opens with lyrical qualities, but a menacing element lurks beneath. The second movement, though dance-like, has a barbed and brittle edge, ending in quasi-panic. The third movement is romantic yet also resigned, and draws to a march-like climax that leaves an unsure sense of peace. And the finale begins optimistically enough, but then develops a harsh, obsessive and mechanistic character. However you interpret the work, there can be no doubt that it is one of Prokofiev’s most paradoxical and yet melodious masterpieces.

The OSO will also be unveiling its new logo and programming for the upcoming 2014-15 season!

Ticket Information
Tickets are available from the NAC Box Office and through Ticketmaster. Prices range from $26 to $71 for regular tickets, from $22 to $65 for seniors, and from $14 to $29.50 for students.

For more information, and for further details about ticket purchases, visit

About the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra
The Ottawa Symphony Orchestra is the National Capital Region’s largest orchestra, and the only full-size symphony orchestra in the region able to present major works of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The OSO presents five concerts each year at the National Arts Centre, under Music Director and Conductor David Currie. Concert programs reflect the orchestra’s commitment to the promotion of Canadian talent through continuing employment of local and regional musicians, the engagement of Canadian soloists and regular inclusion of Canadian works.

Backstage Tour
Ever wondered what it’s like backstage before a concert? The OSO invites you to take a short backstage tour guided by one of the orchestra’s musicians, where you will also meet Conductor and Music
Director David Currie. Tours are limited to 12 audience members on a first-come, first- serve basis. Meet at the OSO table in the foyer by 6:50 p.m. Tours begin at 7:00 p.m. and are 15 minutes in duration.

Pre-Concert Chat
What better way to appreciate and enjoy the concert you are about to hear than with some insight about the composers and their music? Join us for a pre-concert chat with Christopher Moore, Assistant Professor at the School of Music, University of Ottawa, in the mezzanine at 7:15 p.m.

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