May 25th, 2024

Southminster filled with the sounds of the symphony

By Lethbridge Herald on November 24, 2021.

Conductor Glenn Klassen leads the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra as they perform their Symphony Series II titled Hungarian Rhapsody in front of a large audience Monday evening at the Southminster United Church. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – Lethbridge Herald –

The Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra hosted Bradley Parker on Piano as part of their Symphony Series II titled Hungarian Rhapsody on Monday at the Southminster United Church. 

Glenn Klassen, Music Director of the Lethbridge Symphony, was very pleased with the turnout as there was almost a full house in attendance. 

“To be making live music again with people here is everything. As musicians we can practice in our room all by ourselves, but it’s never the same as when you are sharing that music with the people that come to hear it,” said Klassen.  

Klassen said that sharing their music with an audience is very important to them, specifically the Concerto for Orchestra by Hungarian composer Bela Bartók.

“I have to say this is one of those pieces that really stretched us as an orchestra, it’s a very difficult and demanding piece and everybody worked incredibly hard to make it sound the way it did tonight,” said Klassen.

 Klassen added that not many community orchestras would ever take on and try to do that piece. 

“This is the first time this piece has been played here in Lethbridge, so I think that is something we can be extremely proud of,” said Klassen. 

As part of the Hungarian Rhapsody, Canadian pianist and University of Lethbridge professor Bradley Parker was the soloist for Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, which was played following the Bartók concerto.  

For Parker, this was his first performance with an audience since the COVID pandemic started, and he was very excited to be able to do it once again as he has been preparing for over a year. 

“Having practiced it on my own, alone in a room for a year and half, and then finally to be able to play it with the orchestra it’s been such a privilege and pleasure,” said Parker. 

This was Parker’s dream for many years, to be able to play with the orchestra and it finally came true. He said that it helped to be able to practice with the orchestra before the performance, as having such a big audience was a little jarring. 

Next for the Lethbridge Symphony is one of the Christmas favourites from around the world, Handel’s Messiah. For this piece the Lethbridge Symphony will work with Vox Musica. 

“It’s one that we do every three years or so, the symphony performs parts of it. We obviously won’t do the whole thing because it runs like three hours and because of COVID protocols we are keeping everything to an hour and a half,” said Klassen.  

He added that they will do the entire Christmas section and some highlights of the second and third parts. 

Klassen explained that they do not perform the Messiah every year for two reasons, one because they only do six concerts per season. 

“To have one of them to be Messiah every year, I think the musicians will get tired of it… there are other great things to do at Christmas time, you don’t have to do the Messiah,” said Klassen. 

And secondly, according to Klassen, is because he believes Vox Musica would not want to do it every year, as it takes a big choir to make that piece work. 

“I think in some ways the audience might appreciate it more if we don’t do it every year, it’s not predictable and then when we do it, it feels a little fresh again,” added Klassen.

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