Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra maestro Norman Nelson.

Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra maestro Norman Nelson.

Double treat from orchestra

Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra to perform works of Bartok

The Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra’s June 28 and 29 concerts promise two rare treats.

One is the opportunity to take in the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Norman Nelson, who has been heard to say that this is one of his favourite works by one of his favourite composers.

The other is a performance of the challenging and beautiful Tschaikovsky Violin Concerto by the talented Alice Haekyo Lee, who placed first in the Don Chrysler Concerto Competition in 2012.

Haekyo Lee, who is 14, is currently studying at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. She played Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto No.3 with the orchestra in October 2012, and the orchestra is delighted to have her back.

About the Concerto for Orchestra, Norman Nelson said, “In 1957, I started performing this work when I joined the London Symphony Orchestra. Since then, having played most of Bartok’s symphonic output many times, with many orchestras, I have come to know and love his wonderful music and, of course, especially this last great Concerto. These coming Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra concerts in June will be the first time I have conducted the work and I hope not the last. I wanted to offer the music lovers of Sooke a chance to hear this unique and passionate music played live.”

What Nelson didn’t say is that he is passionate about the music of Bartok and has a connection through the conductor who worked directly with Bartok.

“It is going to be extraordinary,” said SPO viola player Michelle MacHattie. She said the entire orchestra is behind Nelson in this work especially.

“It’s hard, quite modern and spectacular in a way Sooke hasn’t heard before,” she said. Both Michelle and her husband Trevor are players in the orchestra. Michelle plays viola and Trevor is the principle cello player.

The Concerto for Orchestra certainly is performed regularly, but you won’t hear it every day. It is an amazing work, with constantly shifting colours and rhythms, and goes from delicate to playful, tragic to jocular, subtle to rough – all with a Hungarian accent. It requires a large orchestra with skilled brass, woodwinds and percussion.

The work was composed in 1943 when Bartok was already in poor health. He was able to attend the first performance in 1944, which was a great success. Performers, audience, and Koussevitsky, who had commissioned the work, loved it.

Beethoven’s Egmont Overture begins the program.

The Victoria performance will be a first for the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra in that they will be performing on the large stage at UVic.

Saturday, June 28, 7:30 p.m. at Edward Milne Community School. Tickets available online at www.sookephil.ca or in Sooke from Little Vienna Bakery, Shoppers Drug Mart, South Shore Gallery, Wood Travel and Cruise; in Victoria from Ivy’s Bookshop or Long & McQuade; in Westshore at Tom Lee Music; in Metchosin at the Metchosin Country Store.

Sunday, June 29, 7:30 p.m. at the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium, University of Victoria. Tickets available online at www.tickets.uvic.ca or at the UVic Ticket Centre, University Centre – B wing (250-721-8480).

For info, please contact: info@sookephil.ca or call 250-419-3569.