OSO concludes itsa season with a triumph

Final performance of Triomphe! in Vernon May 13 at 7 p.m.

Anita Perry

Special to The Morning Star

This past weekend, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra concluded its highly successful 2017-2018 season with a concert entitled Triomphe. What a triumph it was.

The program opened with Regenerations by 21st century composer Marcus Goddard. This sonic poem played with unusual orchestral performance techniques including microtones, clarinet multiphonics and tone bending. In fact, some of the sonorities sounded electronic, especially the harmonics-producing low drones of the double basses and bass trombone. According to the program notes, Goddard states the work is “a reflection on the constant rebirth of innocence.”

The form was circular rather than forward moving and relied on the building of texture to carry it through. Kudos to Maestra Rosemary Thomson for programming this work and promoting new music.

Next was the highlight of the evening, the Gryphon Trio’s performance of Beethoven’s concerto for piano, violin and cello in C major, Op. 56—the Triple Concerto. Celebrating its 25th year, this ensemble, consisting of Annalee Patipatanakoon on violin, Roman Borys on cello and Jamie Parker on piano, is considered Canada’s pre-eminent piano trio.

The challenge of performing this work is that even though it is billed as a concerto for three soloists, it is really a concerto for the cohesive unit of piano trio and orchestra. As such, this was the sparkling secret ingredient to the success of the performance. After 25 years, the Gryphons know how to communicate with each other, their ideas are solid and cohesive and their music-making is unified and intelligent.

From the joyful Allegro first movement to the rollicking Rondo final movement, the music was thoughtful, polished and a total delight. Of particular note were the lightening-speed runs of Parker’s piano playing, the sensuous phrases shaped by Borys on cello and the energetic attack of Patipatanakoon’s violin entries.

The final number of the evening, and of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-2018 season, was Antonin Dvorak’s iconic Symphony No. 7 in D Minor Op.70. This work is considered by many the pinnacle of his achievement as a composer. Dvorak spent five years planning and writing this challenging music, and the OSO is to be commended not only for taking it on, but especially for a performance that shone.

The Allegro Maestoso first movement began with a deceptively gloomy theme introduced by the strings. However, this angst-filled opening was quickly transformed, becoming energetic and electrifying. Maestra Thomson held the reins with a sure hand, guiding the orchestra through sweeping melodies and lush harmonic progressions.

The Poco Adagio second movement began with bucolic woodwind section playing and there was a simple, contented quality to the meandering melodies. In any music, repeated melodic lines can be challenging to interpret and Maestra Thomson excelled at bringing out the subtext of the composition. There was some gorgeous brass choir playing and lush string ensemble work in this movement.

In the engaging Vivace third movement, Thomson highlighted the disparate dance forms of a Viennese Waltz and a Czech Furiant while keeping the driving forward momentum. Quixotic harmonic and rhythmic changes contributed to the engaging nature of this movement and tight ensemble work by the orchestra carried it off admirably.

The opening melodic fifths of final Allegro set the tone for the determined nature of this movement. Thomson led the orchestra through the many cross rhythms and contrapuntal lines with confidence and finesse. The entire 40-minute symphony is an exhausting work and yet Maestra Thomson maintained the necessary energy required to pull it off to it’s blazing and glorious finale.

The concert, and indeed the entire 2017-2018 OSO season was an unqualified Triomphe, and the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra more than merited its standing ovation. It is worth noting that, according to Maestra’ Thomson’s glowing description of the 2018/2019 season, better music is yet to come. Seasons tickets are available—for now.

—Anita Perry is a concert reviewer living in the Okanagan. Perry reviewed the OSO’s Penticton performance. Some details may differ from performances in Kelowna and Vernon.

Related: Okanagan Symphony goes big for season finale

Just Posted

Out to pasture at the Freak’n Farmer

The annual “fun” event at Covert Farms put on by the Covert family and HooDoo Adventures

Couple of cruisers crammed in Penticton

Penticton RCMP officers and voluteers collected food and money for the Salvation Army Food Bank

Great news for Indigenous youth program in BC

The federal government came through with over $1 million in funding for Indigenous youth program

Rodgers visits animals at Ontario wildlife sanctuary

Summerland-based musician a supporter of several animal sanctuaries

Summerland Steam to play in two road games

Junior B team will face Nelson Leafs, Castlegar Rebels on weekend

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Family, friends of B.C murder victim want killer sent back to max security facility

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

B.C. VIEWS: Looking under the hood of ICBC’s war on crashes

Is our accident rate really soaring, or is it inefficiency?

B.C. tent city residents have three weeks to clear out: Supreme Court

Fire risk, criminal activity in neighbourhood cited as reasons for judgment

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

16 people died when Humboldt Broncos bus collided with a semi-truck in rural Saskatchewan

The Vatican ‘owes God an apology,’ activist says in letter to Pope Francis

Letter came after a report on sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children in six Pennsylvania dioceses

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Most Read