The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra opened its 2015-2016 season with a literal bang of brass and percussion.
Featuring works by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and Czechoslovakian composer Antonin Dvorak, the evening’s fare was at once rousing, introspective and inspiring.
The evening began with Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia.
It remains arguably his most popular piece and one which evokes the images of pine forests and snow-capped mountains in the woodwind lines, cool crisp mountain air in the soaring violin melodies and the darkness of snows in winter in the brass choir sections.
The next work on the program was Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D Minor featuring Canadian violin sensation, Martin Beaver.
Beaver soared his way up and down the violin, nimble fingers tossing off runs, dazzling the audience with sizzling double-stops and rapid string-crossings.
He more than merited the standing ovation he received.
After intermission, the orchestra played “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations, in tribute to the memory of former orchestra member and symphony administrator Laurie Henderson.
To conclude the evening, the OSO performed Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” which he wrote during a sojourn in the United States.
A work in four movements, the music was inspired by the melodies, harmonies and rhythms of spirituals and First Nations music. Laura Davis’s English Horn rendition of the ‘Goin’ Home’ theme in the second movement was exquisite.
Altogether, well-deserved congratulations go out to Maestra Rosemary Thomson and the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra for starting the season off with such style and panache — clearly it is going to be a great year.