Northern Orchestra’s first concert of the year kicked off the season with former principal cellist of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and a sight-reading showcase this month.
On March 6, the NO presented its spring concert “Kings and Things”, featuring guest solo cellist Larry Skaggs, at the Nechako Valley Secondary’s Integris Community Theatre.
It’s Skaggs third time performing with the NO — an opportunity to keep him playing, he said.
“I’m fortunate to be a cellist in an orchestra,” Skaggs said, adding that his alternate path may have been a music teaching career in school.
Though retired after a 35-year career with the Victoria Symphony five years ago, Skaggs continued to perform with the McPherson Trio — comprised of violinist Pablo Diemecke and pianist May Ling Kwok — and will be touring Mexico with Die Mahler String Quartet this year, he said.
Just as Fall and Summer of Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons were performed by the orchestra at the end of last year, Spring opened this month’s concert, followed by Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Overture to King Stephen Opus 117 and Joseph Haydn’s Concerto No. 1 in C Major,.
After intermission, Skaggs and conductor Gordon Lucas at the piano performed a series of short “bonbons” that included miniature concertos composed by Lucas and the well-known Lullaby by Johannes Brahms — “a challenge for the audience as we’re hitting nap time in the afternoon,” said Skaggs, and he finished the last note with a yawn.
One of the miniatures was called the Miniature Sonata for Short Attention Span, subtitled Goldfish, Skaggs explained.
“The decreasing attention span of human beings is now shorter than a goldfish,” he said. “You can no longer complain it’s 20th century music; it’s 21st century music.”
The concert continued with Gabriel Faure’s Elegy and Camille St. Saen’s Allegro Appassionato, as well as a piece sightread by the orchestra, in order to showcase the skills of its members of various ages, Lucas said.
“An audience standpoint of what we do as an orchestra,” he said.
The afternoon performance ended with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C, Jupiter First Movement — as a taste of next year, Lucas added.
The Northern Orchestra will next perform in May, and music camps for all levels to take place in July.