A Musical February
Not being the biggest Mardi Gras fan in the world allows me to venture to other venues such as concerts, operas and even movies. To start the month properly I chose a Toronto Symphony Concert close to my heart. There is no better composer to capture my emotions than Beethoven, and his violin concerto in D Major has had the power to uplift me when I felt down, and has been able to accelerate my exhilaration when I was up. From my very young years on I have loved this piece of music, was able to whistle it while looking at a full moon as a lovesick teenager or as an exulted adult after a major professional coup. Beethoven full range of emotional musical menu culminates for me in this one piece, the violin concerto. It is the one concert that I get never tired of listening to.
On a cold February night we made our way to Roy Thomson Hall and listened to Leonidas Kavakos play the violin in this concert. He touched his violin in a way I had never experienced before. His playing was devoid of unnecessary emotional baggage. It was not sentimental. Like some virtuosos of the past liked to present it. It was clean and had a crisp feeling to it like a mountain spring. But there was strong emotional output. The search for the intimate understanding of the music was ever apparent. The love for the music and its communication was strong, even when the bow barely touched the strings of the instrument.
This style of playing hushed the audience into utter and near breathless silence. The young virtuoso made us reach for every tone, had us experience every nuance, like I never felt before. It almost became a new concerto.
After the intermission Camille Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, also called the Organ Symphony, could not hold my attention the same way, even though it must be one of the favourites and familiar pieces to the conductor, Jaques Lacombe from Montreal, who used a score for the Beethoven Symphony, but did not need one for this piece.
I had long wanted to hear the halls organ and was looking forward to Patricia Krueger playing the demanding instrument. Unfortunately the organ parts are not as dominant as I had hoped for. The symphony was composed for an English audience and neither dramatic nor exiting. Instead it was a conservative composition, courteous to a reflection of English life.
Patricia Krueger played brilliantly, as did the orchestra, but after the Beethoven, which did not leave my consciousness, I could not fully appreciate this piece.
Perhaps the program line-up should have been in reverse for me.
The TSO also released next season’s program. For that information and what is currently being offered got to www.tso.ca
Some Enchanted Evening
Via Salzburg amazed again with the power of a string ensemble performance. It simply is astounding how much energy15 musicians can create. It is really a powerful experience to sit in the Glen Gould Studio with these musicians in such close proximity. They are perfectly miked for maximum benefit of balance. The wavelength of the sounds actually arrives on a sensitive body and can be felt like ripples on an otherwise calm lake. The sound of Sir Edward Elgar music washed over me like the warmest of invigorating spring showers. Myumi Seilern had commissioned a Canadian artist, Imant Raminsh, originally from Latvia, to compose a string ensemble version of Songs of Sorrow and Joy, all coloured by his rich heritage. The soothing effect was charming and a welcome change after the strong impact of Elgar and before the invigorating piece by Anton Dvorak.
After the intermission we were treated to Tchaikovsky’s lively Souvenir de Florence, op. 70. You cannot get much more passionate about music than the composer was in this peace. It certainly left me awake and very alive at the end of a concert that was more than just another evening with musical fare. Via Salzburg directly affects the senses in more ways then one. The Glen Gould Studio’s technical perfection allows for effects to take place that cannot occur in a big concert hall. I find these experiences almost addictive. What could be more desirable then to be addicted to one of mankind’s best creative activities?
The next concerts are on April 29t and 30…. For more info go to email@example.com or call 416-972-9193.
The next thing I am looking forward to is of a totally different nature. Roger Whittaker is coming to the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. This conjures up images of younger years and our flower child youth, even if we did not actively participate too much. Still, songs like "New World in the Morning", "Durham Town" and "The last Farewell" are unforgettably linked to my generation’s coming of age.
Roger Whittaker has enjoyed an international career but was exceptionally popular in Germany, to where he returned in 2001 for a gruelling tour at the end of which he celebrated his 65th birthday. He took a break from show business but continued to write songs. Thus he returned again to Germany in 2003 to much acclaim and roaring crowds. He even recorded a new Christmas album there. Currently he is working on his first full album in seven years, which will be released soon. Other tours are on the horizon, but now he is coming here to us in March. Let us take the opportunity to welcome him in great numbers. Let us remember our good old days together. See the ad or call 905-306-600 for more information.
See you there!
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