What are the musical expressions of your culture of origin?

A number of years ago I recorded compositions I’d written for each of my children hoping that the recordings would connect them to their childhood and our family in some meaningful way, through the years to come. Virtually every culture of the world has given expression to the intangible values and experiences of that people group via music.

In the late 1800s composer Béla Bartók, concerned that cultures would be lost in the urban migrations of the day, began collecting indigenous music of peoples in the Transylvania region of eastern Europe (now part of Romania). He first preserved remnants of these in a piano and violin composition released in 1901. In 1907 he expanded this work for orchestra. It is this composition that the Foothills Philharmonic Orchestra will perform December 15 and 16 in High River and Okotoks.

Envision a community like ours a century or more ago, somewhat weather locked in the winter months, but able to come together for an evening of music and dance, sharing some drinks and some laughs, breaking up the landscape of an otherwise bleak winter’s existence.

Today, in the Foothills, our existence is neither bleak nor isolated yet the value in coming together on a winter’s eve to celebrate great music and share some encouragement together remains. December 15 and 16 will be such an evening. Included in the offerings will be Béla Bartók’s “Romanian Folk Dances”, this collection of compositions inspired by these Transylvanian melodies.

Bartok’s “Romanian Folk Dances” invite us to reflect on the uniquenesses and beauties of a culture that might have otherwise been inadequately remembered, had it not been for his years of carefully collecting these wonderful melodies.

Come and be transported back to another time and another place, that’s not entirely different from this time and our place. I hope you’ll join us on one of these chilly December evenings, and celebrate with us!