Preview: Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra season opener

(Photo: Andrew Garn)

Diversity! Excitement! Orchestra?
If you didn’t think the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra was your thing, be advised that their 2012-2013 season is one of their most wide-ranging programs yet, encompassing many genres, musical periods, and performers. From Beethoven to the Beach Boys, from Big Band hits to U2, there is no doubt that musical palates will be delighted with the assortment of musical variety offered this season.
To kick off the season, the CPO will be featuring the young and talented pianist, Stewart Goodyear, performing Beethoven’s last piano composition, “Piano Concerto no. 5 in E-flat major, op. 73 (The Emperor’s Concerto)”. Goodyear, an acclaimed pianist originally from Toronto and graduate from the prestigious Juilliard School of Music, has performed with the New York, Chicago and San Francisco Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as many others all over North America and Europe. Goodyear is most famous for his improvisatory skills on cadenzas (a section in a concerto or sonata that is either written out or improvised to showcase a pianist’s skills), his elegance in technique, and his emotional depth in performance.
Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto no. 5” was appropriately subtitled “Emperor Concerto” due to the piece’s powerful and heroic themes. The first movement, Allegro, begins with an uncharacteristic cadenza line, that is later answered by the orchestra, introducing the first theme of the piece. It will be interesting to see if Goodyear will play the Cadenzas as written or if he will instead choose to improvise. The meditative second movement is a natural contrast to the virtuosic powerhouse of the first movement’s themes, while the third movement’s high energy Rondo epitomizes Beethoven’s late style. In this movement we witness the great composer’s mastery over thematic hybridization and development. Here, the main reoccurring them is manipulated and transformed, bounced around and re-examined. Goodyear’s performance of this epic concerto should prove to be exciting and spellbinding.
Under the baton and artistic vision of Roberto Minczuk, this performance will be a treat for classical lovers and first time concert-goers alike tonight and Saturday night at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Learn more here and sign up for CPOssibilities for cheap tickets if you’re 29 or younger.

– Tanya Hage

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