January 18, 2019

Legendary Stradivarius to grace the stage with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra

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Susan Oliver, kawarthaNOW

Stéphane Tétreault will perform on one of world’s greatest cellos at February 2 concert at Showplace Performance Centre

Classical Roots will take the audience through Romantic and contemporary music that is strongly influenced by music of the past, with Stéphane Tétreault performing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme for cello and orchestra. The concert will also feature Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2. and Marjan Mozetich’s Steps to Ecstasy.

“Stéphane Tétreault is one of the most exciting young soloists to emerge from Canada in recent years,” says PSO Music Director & Conductor, Michael Newnham. “Comments about Mr. Tétreault’s marriage of technique and passion have come our way. We are very fortunate to be able to present him with the PSO in February with one of the gems of the Romantic cello repertoire, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme.”

“When you hear the theme played, you get the impression,” says Stéphane. “A Rococo tapestry is extremely detailed, a Rococo carving is defined, and that is translated itself to music: phrases are shorter, they round up as a Rococo detail would.

“Thereafter, as the variations progress, we get more and more into what Tchaikovsky’s voice was (still with a classical influence): heart on sleeve, openly expressing emotion — extremely dramatic, touching, moving.”

Following a short orchestral introduction, a solo cello states the theme. Stéphane will be playing the 1707 “Countess of Stainlein, Ex-Paganini” Stradivarius cello, once owned by Nicolò Paganini and most recently by Bernard Greenhouse.

It was originally purchased and loaned to Stéphane by benefactor and patron of the arts Jacqueline Desmarais, who passed away March 2018 at the age of 89, and is now on generous loan by her daughter Mrs. Sophie Desmarais.

“It has its own soul,” he says. “At some point they develop that … it has been in the hands of many great cellists.”

He says he is “thankful” that it is not temperamental, but very understanding, as these instruments can be hard to get to answer or react to temperature or humidity. While he states that it is not a difficult cello to play, the key is to get its sound out as naturally as possible.

“Its open rich tone projects really well in a hall, so there is no need to force out the sound,” Stéphane says. “It sounds pretty, naturally.”

Read the full interview on kawarthaNOW

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