Vancouver Island Symphony Presents Biggest Concert in Two Years – Nanaimo News Bulletin
After postponing its January concert due to COVID-19, the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra is back with its biggest show in two years.
On February 13, VIS presents Slavonic Sweets at the Sid Williams Theatre. The program includes parts Romanian folk dances, Night and Souvenir from Florence by Romantic-era composers Bela Bartok of Hungary and Alexander Borodin and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky of Russia, respectively.
The compositions will be performed by VIS’ 22-person string ensemble, which lead violinist Calvin Dyck says is the most musicians they’ve had on stage at one time since the pandemic began.
“After two years without an orchestra, we can’t wait to be there. The only thing the symphony has been able to do is do very small ensembles like trios or quartets or summer pop-up events…” Dyck said. “There were a few attempts to bring the orchestra back, but each time one of the health protocols got in the way.”
Bartok’s Romanian folk dances are based on real folk songs that Bartok listened to and wrote during his visits to Romanian villages. Dyck described the plays as “fun and upbeat. Very peasant, lively and energetic. He said of Borodin Night is a “moving” composition appropriate for Valentine’s Day, which occurs two days after the performance.
Dyck says that Tchaikovsky’s four movements Souvenir from Florence is “the main work of the program”. He said it was a “technically difficult” piece with “rising melodies”.
“I played the other two plays a couple of times,” Dyck said. “It’s the first time I’ve played Tchaikovsky Memory and I guess I would describe it as a serenade for strings but [with] a lot of technical magic.
VIS Artistic Director and Conductor Pierre Simard said one of the reasons he chose to feature these works in the concert is that he has a “rather personal relationship” with the three.
“Bartok, because I’m currently working on my compositions a bit like Bartok, defining an idea and then developing that idea. by Borodin Night I have a very special memory of this piece because… it is linked to a first professional concert which really launched my career as a conductor…”, declared Simard. “And Tchaikovsky was my teenage hero, believe it or not.”
Show time is at 2 p.m. Tickets $42.50 for adults, $24 for students. Contact the Sid Williams Theater online or by phone at 250-338-2430.