Okanagan Symphony Orchestra presents final season concert

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra’s modified and shortened 2021 season comes to a close this weekend with a concert entitled New Beginnings, livestreaming from Kelowna Community Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 1.

“We close this unusual 2021 season with music to evoke spring’s promise of hope and new beginnings”

This concert features small chamber works for orchestra that celebrate birth, blossoms and renewal. It is an eclectic program that creates an overall shape of the movements of a big symphony in the moods and colours of each selection.

“Our music for this program awakens a sense of possibility,” says OSO music director Rosemary Thomson. “From Wagner’s very personal celebration of new love, to the gentle blooming of Mahler’s miniature, the unpredictable patterns of Gimon’s rain, and the joyous freshness of Nino Rota’s chamber symphony, we close this unusual 2021 season with music to evoke spring’s promise of hope and new beginnings.”

Tickets and information about this concert are available at www.okanagansymphony.com.

The program begins with Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, a birthday gift for his wife, Cosima, and a tender celebration of the birth of their son, Siegfried. Unbeknownst to Cosima, Wagner arranged for a group of musicians to premiere this piece in their home, playing it on the morning of her birthday as she was waking, hearing beautiful music as if in a dream.

This is followed by “Blumine,” originally a movement of Mahler’s First Symphony. It was subsequently removed by the composer and now is most often heard as a stand-alone piece of incidental music. Translating as “bloom” or “flower,” Blumine features the trumpet in an uncharacteristically gentle and melodic line.

Next is Katerina Gimon’s spatialized work for open instrumentation, Rain on a Tin Roof. Somewhat similar to the way groups use rubbing hands, tapping and clapping to simulate the sound of a rain storm, this work by the BC-based Gimon uses open instrumentation (any grouping of at least three instruments) to mirror the progression of a rainstorm falling on a metal roof — from sporadic droplets to a torrent of activity before evaporating back into the sky.

The final work on the program is Sonata per Orchestra da Camera (Sonata for Chamber Orchestra) by Nino Rota. Celebrated for his film scores (a total of 150!), Rota has created in this “mini orchestra” the perfect cap for this concert and this season. “Richly evocative and alternately between pastoral, spritely, and heroic characters, the Sonata per Orchestra da Cameraoffers each instrument its moment in the brilliant sunshine,” say OSO principal horn Scott Wilson, who penned the program notes for this performance.