The season’s last Okanagan Symphony concert took place at the Penticton Convention Centre last Saturday.
It was their last performance in a non permanent venue and in fall they will be playing in the more suitable Cleland Theatre again.
The concert’s program titled Spirit of the North featured music by Grieg, Sibelius and British Columbia’s own composer Marcus Goddard.
Goddard wrote his work I Send Only Angels for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, of which he is associate principal trumpet player. Inspired by a fable the composition described the dark side of human nature with a turbulent, percussive, conflict laden opening section.
It gave way to soothing string sounds reminiscent of aurora borealis. A xylophone added texture to lyrical melodies in the woodwinds.
Drum rolls, brass chords and driving, syncopated rhythms created an energetic surge towards a sudden ending.
The performance of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor by Soloist Kinza Tyrrell was absolutely breathtaking. The young pianist has studied with great masters like John Kimura Parker, Anton Kuerti and Gyorgy Sebok. Tyrrell played the bold opening section with proud confidence, finishing the phrases with generous, graceful arm movements. The sparkling virtuosity of her cadenza made it impossible for the audience to hold their applause after the first movement. In the lyrical passages, there was warmness and poetry, a story told with drama and suspense.
The final movement with its colourful folkloric dance themes had fluid scale-work.
With undiminished stamina Tyrrell competed with trumpet and trombone fanfares and brought the piece to a rousing finale. Instantly the listeners jumped to their feet and showered the star of the evening with applause.
The third item on the program was Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No.5, a grand composition with an epic quality that reminded of the starkness and vastness of the Scandinavian landscape.
Conductor Rosemary Thomson in her pre-concert talk explained the intricacies of the work and pointed out that the themes were expanding rather than developing. Sibelius was inspired by flocks of swans flying over his estate.
Tremolos and rustling in the string instruments, meandering tunes in the woodwinds and delicate motives in flutes conjured up a ballet of birds. The themes appeared and reappeared with variations, then layered over another expanding into a majestic ending.
The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra has enriched our cultural lives with another season of wonderful symphonic music.