FREE: Mendelssohn’s “Italian”


Holly Mathieson, conductor and host
Renaud Lapierre, violin
Symphony Nova Scotia

On the program:
Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Symphony No. 1 in G Major
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (arr. Alexander Lascae): Méditation from Souvenir d’un lieu cher (Memories of a Dear Place)
Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A Major, “Italian”

Original premiere:
Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 7:30 pm
The Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax.

Join Symphony Nova Scotia and Music Director Holly Mathieson for another lush, exhilarating symphonic adventure at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium! Our orchestra performs the bubbly, uplifting First Symphony from the formidable Chevalier de Saint-Georges: an 18th-century French colonel, champion fencer, virtuoso violinist, and composer. Then, Symphony Nova Scotia’s concertmaster Renaud Lapierre brings us Tchaikovsky’s poignant, fervent Méditation, a neglected but brilliantly stunning showpiece that’s being rediscovered by music lovers worldwide. And finally, hear a longtime orchestral favourite that radiates joy, affection, and heartfelt wonder: Felix Mendelssohn’s glorious “Italian” Symphony.

Please note: this concert is approximately one hour in length with no intermission.


This is a concert of real feel-good music – all three works glow in different ways. Bologne’s First Symphony is incredibly dignified and graceful, and its a fun piece for us to play as it’s very intimate and mannered. He was a fascinating man – champion fencer, spy, music teacher, and rumoured lover to Marie Antoinette. His music is reflective of the aristocratic circles in which he moved, and has a sort of flirtatiousness to it.

Next up is the Méditation from Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir d’un lieu cher (Memories of a Dear Place). I really wanted to do something special with our concertmaster, Renaud – he really has such a beautifully nuanced and sensitive style of playing this sort of repertoire, and he’s the kind of musician to really explore every tiny grain of sound and make something beautiful with it. I couldn’t think of a better piece to play with him!

And the Mendelssohn “Italian” Symphony… well… I suppose on the one hand it’s a panacea for anyone missing travel, but I also love the wildness of it. This isn’t an objective, ethnographic reflection on Italian street dances – the final movement in particular sounds like the swirling head of a quietly-spoken German who’s just gotten back to his lodgings at sunrise after drinking far too much Sangiovese and being kept in the dance circle all night at a Sicilian wedding. Something to get the heart pumping and the temperature warm, as the cool fall nights draw in!