The Vancouver Island Symphony horn section goes on a journey across time and genre in its next live-stream concert.
The chronological program, Brass and Song, live-streaming on March 27, starts with Gregorian chants before exploring traditionals, operas pieces and show tunes, with all works arranged for brass instruments only.
“The very nature of the brass instrument is that it has the ability to play all the different styles of music because it lends itself to sustaining notes and a lyrical quality,” said VIS principal trumpet Stevan Paranosic.
Paranosic was practising some lyrical études when he was asked to put together the program and said “what popped into my head was the brasses’ ability to play basic melody and make it sound beautiful.”
“I thought Brass and Song would just be a perfect opportunity to highlight what we can do on the instruments,” he said.
The other musicians in the show are trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, French horn player Karen Hough, trombonist Scott MacInnes and tuba player Nick Atkinson. Paranosic said the group was originally put together to perform a string of shows at Christmastime before being rescheduled for the spring.
“We had quite a few shows lined up. We had pop-up concerts in the city planned and we had outdoor concerts planned in a tent where we were going to serve hot chocolate and it was going to be grand…” Paranosic said. “But then of course restrictions were passed and everything got cancelled, absolutely everything, so it was a massive blow to the work that we had set up.”
The horns are finally getting the chance to shine and Paranosic said he picked pieces designed to feature each instrument in the group as a soloist: A piece from Mozart’s Magic Flute has been reworked for the piccolo trumpet, a Puccini tenor aria will be done on the trombone, the traditional Carnival of Venice will feature the tuba, Amazing Grace will get a jazz trumpet treatment and the French horn will give Greensleeves an “ethereal, haunting” touch.
“Going from the back row of the orchestra to the front of the stage was the theme of our last summer concert and we’ve run with that,” Paranosic said. “We still have to polish our shoes though, because when we sit in the back we don’t. That’s the joke we’re always making.”