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Vancouver Island Symphony trios play Beethoven and Brahms in online concert

Performances to be live-streamed as part of ‘Symphony from your Sofa’ series
Flautist Paolo Bortolussi and clarinetist Krystal Morrison are among the performers in the Vancouver Island Symphony’s upcoming Beethoven and Brahms concert. (Photos courtesy David Lopez/Jeremy Ferland)

An early work by Beethoven and a later work by Brahms are on offer in the next concert in the Vancouver Island Symphony’s Symphony from your Sofa series.

Beethoven was a teenager when he wrote his Trio for Piano, Flute and Bassoon in G major and Brahms came out of retirement to compose his Clarinet Trio in A minor. Both pieces will be performed in the VIS’s Beethoven and Brahms program on Feb. 19.

Clarinetist Krystal Morrison will be joined by cellist Min Jee Yoon and pianist Andrea Lahmer on the Brahms piece. Morrison said the composition is one of her favourites, even though she hasn’t performed it in nearly a decade.

“One of the things that warms my heart when I play it is it really feels like the clarinet and the cello are having a conversation and so you get to talk with this other instrument in an almost literal way,” she said. “It’s really cool, especially in the second movement. As an audience member you feel like you’re eavesdropping in on a really intimate conversation.”

While Morrison is playing an old favourite, flautist Paolo Bortolussi will be performing the Beethoven piece in concert for the first time. He’ll be joined by Lahmer and bassoonist Olivia Martin. Bortolussi said Beethoven wrote the composition for his patron’s family for them to perform within the household for fun and to entertain guests.

“I liked this idea that it was an intimate group of people who loved making music together within the family or with them and their friends,” he said. “And it’s very much the sense that we get now when we’re giving concerts to a very limited group of people live and sharing it with our friends and patrons via streaming as much as we can.”

Bortolussi said Beethoven’s earlier works aren’t played as often and it’s interesting to hear the contrast between the “courtly charm” of classical-era Beethoven and “the turmoil and the angst” of the composer’s later years. Morrison said it’s a uncommon opportunity to play music for small ensembles on the symphony stage and for listeners to hear chamber pieces by these composers.

“Because it’s a smaller work it’s like hearing a different side of Beethoven, part of his personality that you don’t normally get access to on the symphony stage, and I think that’s true for both composers,” she said. “So I think it’s a chance to really deepen your understanding of both Beethoven and Brahms.”

WHAT’S ON … The Vancouver Island Symphony presents Beethoven and Brahms live stream concert broadcast from the Tidemark Theatre on Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $25. Available here.

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