Printed on March 30, 2016
The Palais Montcalm audience fell in love with the Victoria Symphony
Celebrating their 75th year in British Columbia, this Canadian orchestra is on tour in cities of note including a concert in Quebec. Integrated into the Orchestra symphonique de Québec season, this concert had a well structured program that was well received on this spring evening March 29, 2016.
Made up of sixty musicians, the Victoria Symphony imposes like a large, important orchestra, very significant in the Canadian orchestral scene.
At Palais Montcalm, music lovers were virtually seduced by the high level of music from the orchestra. Moreover, the varied program presented was designed to make us appreciate the quality of the orchestra very well.
As a first piece, the Victoria Symphony – who often commission and play living composers – played Entr’actes, a world premiere by Michael Oesterle, a very active composer in Canada who was born in Germany and immigrated here in 1982. This work was quite contemporary in its structure, presenting the juxtaposition of different musical attitudes and atmospheres. Here the orchestra immediately showed its aptitude in a solid interpretation.
For the second work of the evening, Toronto pianist and composer Stewart Goodyear joined the orchestra. He was to play the famous Piano Concerto in A Major by Edward Grieg. Communication between the pianist and the orchestra was perfect. About the pianist – what strength, power, and intensity. Virtuosity demands a sense of nuance and a commanding play, and we had that in Mr. Goodyear. He is without doubt among the best pianists in Canada. His Juilliard School diploma gives the impression of being at the highest level. And after the first movement of the three in the concerto, the audience applauded warmly.
In the second half of the evening, the orchestra played Appalachian Spring by Copland. This large and grandiose orchestral suite was played magnificently. Then, as a finale, they played the magnificent and spectacular ballet suite Stravinsky’s Firebird. Six movements were played perfectly by the mature orchestra, and made the evening at Palais Montcalm.
The Victoria Symphony has been under the direction of Tania Miller for the past 13 years. She has a presence full of energy, grace, precision and restraint. She is integral to the orchestra. At certain moments, it seemed that she took flight with the fire and energy of the music. All the while underscoring he connection to and pride in the musicians.
At the end of the concert the audience didn’t hold back their applause and bravos. In short, the evening was a great discovery of classical music from the west of Canada.