The symphony, cheap

By Andrew Tomilson

Students with an extra $50 in their pockets can now witness the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance of Holst’s The Planets from the Jack Singer Concert Hall’s choir loft.

A special offer from the CPO will allow students to enjoy the last five concerts of this season’s Classics Series. The upcoming concerts present an eclectic repertoire of 19th and 20th century music, ranging from Canadian composer Sophie-CarmenEckhardt-Gramatté’s

Bassoon Concerto to early-romantic Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 4.

The CPO is by no means Canada’s greatest orchestra. It performed well during the last installment of the Classics series, on Jan. 13-14, where guest-conductor James Paul expertly navigated it through the textural contrasts and ambiguities of Bernstein’s On the Waterfront. There were also some balancing problems. For example, the brass section consistently overpowered and obscured the other sections of the orchestra during the opening movement of the Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. The orchestra also paid much less attention to the dramatic tension and subtlety seemingly implied in the symphony’s third movement.

There were also a few technical hitches during the performance. During Meditations on the Mass, one of the french horn players unexpectedly left the stage, only to return minutes later clutching several pages of sheet music in his hand.

On Feb. 18, Calgarian baritone Allan Monk will assist the orchestra’s performance of Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw. Monk recently teamed up with the CPO to delight our ears performing the title role in Verdi’s Falstaff. Also of interest, Bramwell Tovey, the conductor for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, will guest conduct the orchestra on Mar. 10.

The first concert is Feb. 18 with Dvorak’s Violin Concerto, Schoenberg’s Survivor from Warsaw, and Brams’ Symphony No. 3.

All concerts start at 8 p.m., for information about concert dates and content, check out

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