Con Spirito: Inside the SSO

November  2012
In This Issue
Nov. 10 concert features cello concerto
About the music
Cellist Hector Vasquez
Guest conductor Paul Pulford

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Up next:  

A Celtic Rant

January 19 

A concert like no other, this one combines the symphonic power of the SSO with the supercharged Celtic rhythms of Rant Maggie Rant. Last year they had a full house stomping and clapping. Don't miss it!



Mark your calendar:  

Dec. 21 fundraiser at Falstaff Family Centre

SSO music director Berthold Carrière, who will be featured on the grand piano, and associate music director Barbara Young are planning the event, which will include performers from the SSO and the Stratford Festival. Tickets ($20) on sale at Nov. 10 concert. More information to come.


 Volunteer opportunities abound in the SSO   

All sorts of talents are needed in support roles for the SSO. Interested? Send us an  email today.

Photo: Charles Maurer 
Hector Vasquez 


Cello soloist  

Hector Vasquez

in Nov. 10 concert 

Cellist Hector Vasquez will be featured soloist in the Stratford Symphony Orchestra's second concert of the season on Saturday, November 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Knox Presbyterian Church, Stratford.


Mr. Vasquez (see The soloist, below) and the orchestra will play Franz Joseph Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major. Also on the program are Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E flat major op. 55 ("Eroica") and the world premiere of an original composition, Reflection and Resolution, by Chris Meyer, SSO composer in residence. (See About the music, below.)


Guest conductor will be Paul Pulford, professor of cello and director of orchestra studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo (see The guest conductor, below).


Tickets ($35 for adults and $20 for students and children) are available at Fanfare Books and Anything Grows, Stratford, and Stewart Books, St. Marys, as well as online and at the door. A reception and cash bar will follow the concert.

About the music . . .

Franz Joseph Haydn

Franz Joseph Haydn wrote Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major in 1783 while in the employ of the Esterhazy family, a situation more than 30 years in duration that allowed Haydn the freedom, in his words, "to find out what enhances and detracts from effect; in other words, to improve, add, delete and try out." The concerto is written in three movements: Allegro moderato, Adagio and Rondo (Allegro). Haydn wrote it for a virtuoso cellist in his orchestra, Anton Kraft, who went on to become regarded as the foremost cello master in Vienna.


Guest conductor Paul Pulford writes about Cello Concerto No. 2: "Although the work is essentially lyrical - both themes in the extended first movement are crafted as beautifully spun melodies - the work is one of the most challenging in the cello canon. It often lies in the extreme upper register and is frequently very exposed. Compare this with the equally important Dvorak Concerto, where the orchestral writing is much fuller and often obscures, at least partially, the awkward and demanding passages."


Beethoven wrote Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, op. 55 as a tribute to Napoleon Bonaparte and it was first performed in 1804. By 1806, when Napoleon named himself emperor, Beethoven had renamed the symphony Eroica (heroic), possibly referring to the Napoleon that he had once admired. The Eroica marks a turning point in symphonic writing, longer and more complex than others of the time and one that continually builds upon new ideas.

Ludwig van Beethoven


Again, the comments of guest conductor Paul Pulford: " ... this work sets the course for the future of the symphony, right up to Mahler and Bruckner. The scope of the first movement - the vastly expanded development and coda sections, with new themes introduced and developed - goes far beyond anything previously attempted and becomes the model for years to come. ... The Finale is a set of variations; so inventive that one is barely aware that they are, in fact, variations. Near the end, several slow variations give us some respite before the symphony churns to an heroic and tumultuous conclusion."  


Here is how Chris Meyer, SSO composer in residence, describes his newest composition, Reflection and Resolution: "The idea of reflection can take many forms: it can be a literal reflection or inversion, or it can be an introspective looking back. This work builds on both of these aspects of reflection. The melodies that float into the introduction are often presented in duets where the lower voice follows the upper in contrary motion - a literal musical reflection.

Chris Meyer


"Underneath the melodies, the harmonic progressions shift inwards and outwards in another kind of musical reflection. As they do, the lower chords clash deliciously with the upper chords. These processes create the musical tension which must be dealt with. Resolution has an important musical meaning: the resolution of dissonant sounds into more pleasing consonance. Resolution is also the end result of this work's introspection.


"After reflecting back on the introductory musical material the work resolves itself to move beyond and finish with a majestic, resolute flourish."


The soloist: Hector Vasquez  

Hector Vasquez


Hector Vasquez, who grew up in a music-loving family in Caracas, Venezuela, studied with a number of international cello icons, including Pablo Casals. He was principal cellist of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, Soloist of Venezuela, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, and the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra. Political instability in Venezuela and fear for the safety of his wife and two daughters led Mr. Vasquez to take his family in 2001 to Florida, where he played with several musical organizations. Unable to attain legal status in the United States, Mr. Vasquez and his family entered Canada as refugees in 2004 and settled in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.


He is principal cellist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, the Leith Strong Quartet and the Stratford Symphony Orchestra, and performs with the Guelph Symphony as well. He is also a cello teacher. He and his wife live in Kitchener. They have two grown daughters.


The guest conductor: Paul Pulford 

Paul Pulford


Paul Pulford is professor of cello and director of orchestral studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, where he was the associate dean in the Faculty of Music from 2007 to 2011. He has pursued a career in chamber music and conducting since his debut recital as a cellist in 1970.


As a conductor, Mr. Pulford has worked frequently with Symphony New Brunswick and has appeared as a guest with the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, Mississauga Symphony, the NUMUS Ensemble and the Georgian Symphony. He founded the Laurier Chamber Orchestra and has been the principal conductor of the Wilfrid Laurier Symphony since 1989.


Mr. Pulford has recorded over 30 CDs, including the complete works for Cello and Fortepiano by Beethoven (ebs label) and Brahms (DoReMi label) with fortepianist Boyd McDonald.


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George Pearson / Editor, Con Spirito