During a season in which the Vancouver Island Symphony is celebrating its 25th birthday, the Nanaimo-based ensemble will be honouring a composer who will be turning 250.
On March 14 the VIS presents Iconic Beethoven at the Port Theatre. The program will feature a trio of Beethoven compositions including his Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano, known as the “Triple Concerto.”
The Triple Concerto will feature three guest artists: VIS violinist and concertmaster Calvin Dyck, and from Montreal cellist Cameron Crozman and pianist Philip Chiu.
Dyck said “maybe one in 100” concertos are written for three instruments, although the VIS has performed some in the past. He said the Triple Concerto is a suitable piece to play during “the year of Beethoven.”
“He treats all three instruments equally,” Dyck said. “He doesn’t relegate, for example, the cellist to just being a bass line but he actually gives melody to all three instruments so we take turns having prominence.”
He said he’s looking forward to once again playing with Crozman, who performed Dvorak’s Cello Concerto at the VIS 2018-19 season opener.
“I remember saying to [conductor] Pierre [Simard], ‘We really need to have him back again.’ I didn’t think it would be so soon,” Dyck said.
This is Crozman’s first time playing the Triple Concerto and he said it’s a piece that he needed to “tick off my list.” Since there’s no Beethoven cello concerto, Crozman said this is the next best thing.
“He wrote a magnificent violin concerto a lot of great piano concertos but no cello concertos so this is the closest we have and it’s great,” he said. “It’s a really fun piece of music. the cello parts quite unique.”
Chiu, a longtime collaborator of Crozman’s making his Port Theatre debut, described the Triple Concerto as “a hoot” and “a fun piece to jam on.” Despite Beethoven’s reputation for tortured, serious music, Chiu said the Triple Concerto is a joyful, triumphant composition that ends with a big party.
“The second movement is super beautiful. It’s so nice to just be able to luxuriate, just enjoy these gorgeous melodies that are passing off between the violin, the cello and the piano…” he said. “The third movement is a huge dance and it’s really a big celebration. The third movement ends with a Polonaise, which is this Polish, noble, aristocratic dance. It’s a bit of a barnburner.”
WHAT’S ON … The Vancouver Island Symphony presents Iconic Beethoven at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Saturday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. Adult tickets $48 and $56, $22 for students. Available at the box office. Concert is a part of Festival Nanaimo.