Toy instruments, East Coast folk tunes at upcoming Sidney Classical Orchestra concert

The goal of any composer is to have their work performed, but as the conductor of the Sidney Classical Orchestra, composer Stephen Brown has an advantage. The orchestra, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, is kicking off its season with Music with a Twist, featuring two symphonies by Haydn, one by Leopold Mozart (father of Wolfgang) featuring toy instruments and a new composition by Brown based on a Newfoundland folk song.

One of the two Haydn symphonies, the “Farewell,” has a special place in classical lore. When each player finishes their part of the piece, they snuff out their candle and walk off the stage. Brown said it was a hint to Haydn’s employer, Prince Esterházy, that his extended summer vacation was keeping his court musicians away from their families. He took the hint and returned to Vienna that same week.

Another Haydn symphony, the “Philosopher,” requires two French horns and two English horns (basically a big oboe), which gave Brown an idea.

“And I thought, wait a minute, we’re going to have two English horns, so I’m going to write a piece for it!” That explains the new piece on the program, Fancy on She’s Like a Swallow, inspired by the Newfoundland folk song. He’s set the tune to music once before, so he thought to himself: “I’ve got to get some more use out of this.”

It’s been a productive year for Brown, who recently concluded 25 years as head of theory and composition at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. This year he’s completed a song cycle for baritone voice and piano, a concerto for two cellos and orchestra, and a violin concerto which he said is “about three-fifths done.” There’s also another work, but “I can’t remember what it is,” he laughed.

The group’s Jan. 14 concert will feature another piece by Brown, The Big Twin, a double cello concerto written for and performed by longtime Sidney Classical Orchestra cellists Joyce Ellwood and Laura Backstrom. He said his familiarity with their style allowed him to tailor the piece to the players, which the community environment allows.

Unlike larger concert halls like the Royal Theatre in Victoria, the audience is pulled into a horseshoe around the orchestra, which makes for a more involving experience.

“This concert is going to offer people something that they just can’t access at home,” said Brown.

Music with a Twist is at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday Nov. 12 at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church.

Just Posted

Sooke’s under-14 girls squad ready for playoff tests

Sooke team has perfect record so far

Sooke’s Santa Run joined with Otter Point to fill the food bank

Dozens of volunteers took to the streets to gather food and cash donations

Saanich swimmer has ribs removed, posts them on social media

Jill Yoneda makes light of rare surgery for ‘slipping rib syndrome’

Transplant caregiver starts website for financial, mental health support

Beth Campbell-Duke started Transplant Rouges after her husband’s double lung transplant

Victoria ranked as one of B.C.’s worst cities to work in

High living costs and low average incomes drop Victoria from the top 10

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read