Conducted by Bramwell Tove, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performs Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker Suite, a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Waltz of the Flowers
“Waltz of the Flowers” is one of the most renowned compositions by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the famous Russian composer. It is a piece from his ballet “The Nutcracker,” which premiered in December 1892 in Saint Petersburg. This ballet is based on the German Romantic author of fantasy and Gothic horror, E.T.A. Hoffmann’s (24 January 1776 – 25 June 1822) story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and has since become one of the most popular ballets worldwide, particularly during the Christmas season.
The “Waltz of the Flowers” is the final dance in Act II of the ballet and showcases the sumptuous orchestration that Tchaikovsky is renowned for. Characterized by its beautiful, flowing melodies, the waltz conveys a sense of grandeur, celebration, and joy.
One of the notable features of the composition is the harp cadenza at the beginning. This gives the piece a magical, ethereal quality before the strings usher in the main waltz theme. As the waltz progresses, Tchaikovsky expertly interweaves different orchestral voices, making the piece rich in texture and dynamics.
The “Waltz of the Flowers” encapsulates much of what Tchaikovsky is known for: deep emotion, intricate orchestration, and the ability to create a vivid and evocative musical landscape. Over the years, it has not only been a staple in ballet performances but has also been performed in concert settings and used in various adaptations due to its immense popularity.
The Nutcracker is one of the composer’s most popular compositions. The music belongs to the Romantic Period and contains some of his most memorable melodies, several of which are frequently used in television and film.
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) is a Canadian orchestra based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The VSO was founded by the Vancouver Symphony Society in 1919, largely through the efforts of arts patron Elisabeth (Mrs B.T.) Rogers. A previous unrelated orchestra had operated under the name of the “Vancouver Symphony Orchestra”, which was formed in 1897 by Adolf Gregory and lasted for only one season.
The first conductor of the current VSO was Henry Green, with F.L. Beecher as its president and Rogers as its vice president. The orchestra performed for two seasons before financial strains and the disappearance of Green forced the orchestra to suspend activities in 1921. Performances resumed in 1930.
Performances were held at the Georgia Auditorium from the 1940s, until 1959, when the Orchestra moved its performances to the new Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
The VSO also served as the Vancouver Opera Company’s orchestra during the 1960s and 1970s, until the creation of the separate Vancouver Opera Orchestra in 1977. During the late 1960s and 1970s, the orchestra often appeared in joint concerts with the Vancouver Woodwind Quintet.
In 1979-1980, the VSO had the largest subscription list of any symphony in North America. However, in spite of a CBC recording contract, a quarterly magazine, and an ambitious touring schedule, the VSO began to encounter financial difficulties. In 1988, the VSO was forced to shut down for five months to regroup and deal with a $2.3 million deficit. With local financial intervention, and a $500,000 federal grant, the VSO began to rebuild, focusing more attention on popular works and collaborations with contemporary artists. To this end, the VSO has continually appointed a composer in residence since 1996.
Since 2000, the VSO’s Music Director is Bramwell Tovey (as of August 2015).
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