German Culture in Concerts
Just in time for the German Festival another concert was wooing us. Drei Laender-Eine Sprache, Three countries-One language presented songs and music from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, all of them surrounding the Bodensee or Lake Constance, as it is called in English.
The Artistic Director of this great idea is Manfred Petz whom many now as the conductor of Scolar Cantorum. As a long-time teacher of music and Mathematics, the classic combination already hailed by Herman Hesse in "Das Glassperlenspiel, he continues to promote music in any form. His concerts have found much favour with our audiences in the past and this newest concept promises to be even more popular.
On October the 5th we made our way to the Isabel Bader Theatre, part of Victoria College. Manfred Petz welcomed everyone and introduced several guests of honour from the respective consulates.
The concert stated with a massed choir presentation of the 3 national anthems and a "Wanderlied-Potpurrie. Elke and Anton Steissleberger, horn and Piano, delivered a pleasant piece by Franz Strauss. It was really unusual and exiting to see a petite young woman play the big horn.
Scolar Contarum followed with 3 lovely folksong renditions, selection that were much simpler than those from the past, but they sounded rich and clean. That is exactly what we want from a choir performance.
The Toronto Jodlers performed classic Swiss selections And the Forget-Me-Nots offered Austrian fair to perfection.
Well received was also an unusual and rarely heard combination of Alphorn and piano, Reiner Reber and Christine Langely-Wallner, called aptly the Spirit of the Alphorn after an intermission.
The program continued along the same lines but with a surprise along the way. The Male Choir Harfentoene showed up and decided to contribute to the concert. And even though it was just a small contingent of the rather big choir that has some very lovely voices, it sounded great in the theatre.
The concert was so successful it has been requested to perform at the University of Waterloo and Alfred Kunz will participate with the Concordia Choir.
Austrian born Manfred Petz would like nothing better than seeing more people using their voices in song for their own pleasure as well as that of others. All the choirs need newcomers. Without new and young voices they will perish and the ancient and highly therapeutic art of song and choirs will perish.
Why not join a local choir. You do not have to be a star to try, just have a love and aptitude for music and the rest can be learned. Call Manfred Petz. He would be glad to conduct you into the right direction, 416-222-8220.
Symphonic pleasures in Mississauga
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was the offering October 18th in the Living Arts Centre. The Mississauga Symphony, composed of a smaller core of professional musicians and many volunteers, (together 170 musicians to draw from) has worked up a fabulous reputation for fine music. Even though the concert hall is build following ideal models of Europe, the new opera building in Toronto is also following that very same design principle, the interior of the hall is not too resonant due to the absence of wood in the interior layout. This became apparent when the huge Sacred Music Society and World Youth Day Choir, conductor Uwe Lieflaender, was nearly totally drowned out by the enormousness of the symphony orchestra during Beethoven’s famous chorus section in the latter part of the Symphony. But that did not curb anyone’s enthusiasm. As a matter of fact regular supporters of this art venue are very proud of their symphony, and so they should be. The hall is not too big and makes for an intimate experience between what is happening on the stage and among the audience. There is a familiarity apparent that comes only from strong communal ties.
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is a great and uplifting experience even if the orchestra would not be as good as it was, and even if the solo performers, this evening led by tenor Mark DuBois, were not amazingly dedicated to their art and brilliantly in good voice.
That Mark DuBois persistently delivers great and resilient performances we have become used to over the years. The same can be said for richly voiced baritone Bruce Kelly. He is the ultimate professional.
And so were the ladies that night, lovely and versatile Corinne Lynch, and relative newcomer Lauren Segal, Mezzo. Together they added a luminous sheen to a favourite composition. Long time conductor John Barnum handled it all in stride. He knows all his players very well and keeps pointing out that they are really like family.
The program was started with 2 pieces from Verdi , one being the famous choir from Nabucco, and the Serenade to Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams and culminated in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
The Living Arts Centre has many different and interesting offerings for its community. Visit www.mississaugasymphony.com or call the box office for info and all the programs available: 905-615-4401 or 1888-805-8888. SFR
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