March 5: Sirens and Beethoven

The Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra (PEISO) will perform its third concert of the season, entitled “Beethoven and Sirens” at Charlottetown’s Zion Presbyterian Church, at 2:30 pm on March 5. Under the baton of guest conductor Karem J Simon, the concert will feature masterworks by two contemporaries, Gioachino Rossini and Ludwig v. Beethoven. The guest artist is the award-winning Charlottetown-based women’s choir “Sirens,” named after the singing femmes fatales of Greek mythology.

The performance will begin with Rossini’s An Italian in Algiers Overture, a work that, according to Maestro Simon, is “among his most widely recorded works, known for its comedic character.” The voices of Sirens, will then collaborate with the PEISO in performing Randall Thompson’s cantata, The Place of the Blest—a work known for its beautiful melodies, harmonies and simple textures.

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Sirens has developed a strong following of supporters. As recipient of several awards at the local and provincial music festivals, the group earned the Richard W. Cooke award at the FCMF National Music Festival, placing first in the Choral Ensemble Class in 2015. That same year, Sirens also received a nomination for Music PEI’s award for Achievement in Classical or Jazz.

During intermission concert goers can purchase fresh citrus fruit as part of the symphony’s annual fundraiser event.

After intermission, the featured classical work is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. The work was premiered in Vienna in 1813 during a gala benefit concert for wounded soldiers. Critics hailed the symphony a “triumph” with the audience clamoring for it to be repeated. Several critics, however, tossed hyperbolic slurs at Beethoven’s creation, characterizing it as the work of a drunkard or a madman. Contemporary listeners will find it a strong, intense work, with compelling rhythms that are pushed into the foreground in all four movements. Even audience members unfamiliar with the piece will probably recognize the powerful and memorable second movement which was featured in the movie “The Kings Speech.”

Tickets will be available at the door or in advance through the Confederation Centre box office for $40 and $15 for students. Visit boxoffice.confederationcentre.com or call 1-800-565-0278.

For information about the March 5 concert as well as the last concert of the symphony’s 2016-17 season which features a performance by violin soloist Marc Djokic on April 23, visit PEISO’s new bilingual webpage at www.peisymphony.com or call 892-4333.

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