Northwest Sinfonietta to perform French classical music

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Northwest Sinfonietta calls itself the region’s premier professional chamber orchestra. It is one of a half-dozen ensembles in the country to use the “artistic partner” model of musical leadership. Now in its 28th season, the sinfonietta brings conductors and soloists from around the world to create unique, diverse concerts that showcase the diversity of music throughout centuries of classical music heritage.

The opening performance of the 2018-19 season, “French Connections,” features three French-related works influenced by death and loss. In spite of the heavy overtones usually associated with the topic, the composers bring a lightness and peace that leave the listener moved and hopeful in pondering mortality. For the main work on the program, Gabriel Faure intentionally left out two sections of a traditional mass that address wrath and pain – “Dies Irae” and “Tuba Mirum”– and inserted a final movement text entitled “In Paradisum,” which ends the season-opening program with a sublime sense of relaxation and hope for whatever lies beyond life as we know it.

The concert includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s lively “Paris Symphony.” While his trip to the French capitol – undertaken at 22 years of age – failed to yield new employment for the young composer, it did result in this magnificent work using more instruments than ever before – including Mozart’s first symphony to feature the clarinet.

To round out this musical tour de France, Maurice Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin” pays homage to famed Baroque composer Francois Couperin. Each movement of the tombeau is dedicated to one of Ravel’s musical colleagues who lost their life fighting in World War I. While the subject may imply a sadness for death and the horrors of war, each movement is lighthearted yet thoughtful, with Ravel commenting that “the dead are sad enough in their

eternal silence.”

The Sinfonietta continues its ongoing partnership with the Seattle Choral Company, presenting Faure’s heavenly, uplifting requiem in an intimate setting orchestrated by John Rutter, as originally conceived by the composer. Of his seminal work Faure wrote, “Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.”

Over the past 35 years, David Lockington, conductor of Northwest Sinfonietta, has developed an impressive conducting career in the United States. A native of Great Britain, he served as the music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony from January 1999 to May 2015, and is currently the orchestra’s conductor laureate. He has held the position of music director with the Modesto Symphony since May 2007 and in March 2013, Lockington was appointed

music director of the Pasadena Symphony. He has a close relationship with the Orquestra Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain, where he was the orchestra’s principal guest conductor (2012-2016).

Two editions of “The French Connection” will occur in the South Sound region: Saturday, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m. at Tacoma’s Rialto Theater and Sunday, Oct. 7, 2 p.m. at Puyallup’s Pioneer Pavilion.

Single ticket prices range from $20-$55. For more information, visit www.nwsinfonietta.org.

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