photo from SSO’s facebook page
I have love The Planets by Holst for a very, very long time – I spent a year years ago listening to a recording of The Planets most evenings at bedtime. So, when the SSO announced they would be performing The Planets, I was delighted by the news! And, it happened to line up with my mother’s birthday weekend … and, my brother was coming in for mom’s birthday as well – So, the stars and planets aligned and we went to the concert as a family as part of our weekend-long birthday celebrations. What a wonderful way to spend the evening! Listening to some of my favourite music with some of my favourite people both in the audience and on stage! Bravo Saskatoon & SSO!!!
Before the concert began, Mark Turner, SSO’s Executive Director, said a few words about what we were about to experience: An oscillation between Holst’s Planets and Schmidt’s Moons. Mark’s remarks were encapsulating and expressed appreciation for our exceptional SSO musicians and entertained with a slight reference to the famous Star Trek phrase “To Boldly Go …” – a great way to set the stage for the journey on which we were about to embark!
The Planets were accompanied by video footage from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre and each of Schmidt’s Moons in Lunar Reflections paired with a picture by a Saskatoon photographer. This gave a cinematic feel to the entire experience and was especially effective in Venus & Mercury.
The orchestra played each section with a high degree of precision and clarity. Eric Paetkau’s chosen tempi were exciting and exhilarating and really tested the edge.
Mars was followed by Blue Moon
Pink Moon followed Venus
Mercury was followed by Wolf Moon (one of my favourites)
And, Jupiter wrapped up the first half of the concert – it took everything in me to stay in my seat when the theme arrived in Jupiter – such an exciting piece with such an anthem-like theme!
I found all Heather’s Moons exciting in their own ways – sprinkled with rhythmic intricacies – I hope there will be a recording of them available in the not too distant future – I want to explore these engaging Moons further with my dance / movement meditation group some time …
The second half of the program saw Saturn into Snow Moon into Uranus into the “heavy metal” Thunder Moon (Jamie Parker’s words from a performance by Gryphon Trio) and finally into Neptune that ends with female chorus (singers from Aurora Voce & U of S Greystone Singers directed by Dr Jennifer Lang). It was such a neat experience having the vocals creep in near the end of this – the singers sang from off stage and it was amazingly effective – very Mystical indeed! The singers did a brilliant job of it – not easy to sing those parts super quietly.
Well done all ‘round!! Thanks for a wonderful evening!!
Thanks for reading!!
Anna Marie Bekolay (BMusEd, ARCT) writes and performs evocative folk and classical inspired music. She runs Anna Bekolay’s Studio & performs with many projects: Back of the Bus, The Stephanies, The Whiskey Jerks, Mac Talla Quartet, Troubadours du Bois, Phantasma, The Untamed, & does freelance collaborations: classical vocal album under stage name, Anna Maria Soparlo: “Songs in Loving Memory of My Father”, Flamenco Borealis, SWAG galas, Fringe play, “Brel!”, The Karpinka Brothers, Auresia, & new projects as they present themselves!
Anna has her Bachelor of Music Education and a gold medal ARCT in Voice Performance. In addition to performing and recording, she teaches and adjudicates at music festivals. Anna enjoys teaching musicians of all ages and levels (age 4 & up) bringing over 20 years experience teaching and performing into lessons that are individually crafted for each student while exploring some common repertoire to help create community within the Studio. Instruments she teaches include: Voice, Violin, Recorder (flute a bec), & Fiddle & also Theory.