Concert Season’s End Holds Great Promise
The 2003-2004 Season for musical performances is nearly over. And while we literally stuff ourselves with delectable tidbits of symphonies and soloists, hating to let go, we are also tantalized by what is still to come, as the particulars of our fall future is revealed in previews and advance releases. There is no concert where we are not reminded that a full house only pays for half the operating cost of any organization, Toronto Symphony or Via Salzburg, Music Toronto, Canadian Opera Company or other venue. Board members turn into persuasive taskmasters, boasting their willingness to match whatever we are willing to donate that very evening out of their very personal pockets, inviting us to be bold and stress their bank accounts.
Actually, I think that these people should have their personas lifted into celebrity status, since we have so much to thank them for. Just think, being a board member means having to have the means to pay the bills for what delights us.
If we really think about it when we buy our tickets, perhaps we will no longer bicker, quietly of course, about the price of a concert ticket, and happily fork over the week’s or month’s savings. Let’s face it, for many of us it still means a sacrifice to pay the current prices.
But once we are addicted and have tasted of the sweet and intoxicating power of the music we cannot stop. Who can resist a piano soloist like Jon Kimura Parker, who passionately works the ivory as though he is invigorated by the gods themselves? He is not simply a technician, one who knows how to use the instrument to near perfection. No, he dares to be involved, is engaged in the story he is telling, the emotions he is describing; he communicates these feelings, lets us know that he understands and is willing to share in the experience, rather than just perform and be admired for his skills. His rendition of Rachmaninoff’s "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini", op.43 had him off the seat more than once.
On this evening of Russian music under the baton of Hugh Wolff the Toronto Symphony Orchestra played most difficult selections. Prior to the Rachmaninoff we heard Alfred Schnittkes 20th century lament of Russian life in his Concerto Grosso No.1. This truly was an unusual experience and not easy to understand for a novice, but served to make a society more real that had to live under the restraints of a communistic regime. Often compared to Shostakovich Schnittke’s work is monumental and detailed, painfully emotional in its exactness of communication.
If that was not enough the audience was then presented with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 2 in C Minor, Op. 17, called "Little Russian".
That evening the applause was long and hard and proved once again that the local Russian culture is an enrichment to our community, because I severely doubt that we would have that much Russian music being performed in this city that often and that brilliantly.
On another evening Peter Oundjain performed and managed to invigorate the orchestra into new levels of energy. The sound was very rich throughout the evening. Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major with tall and handsome Nikolej Znaider from Denmark played with elegance and fervor and made it a most uplifting experience for the listeners.
That is where the evening stopped on an emotional up. Afterwards Ralph Vaughan William fans were treated to Greensleeves, leading instantaneously into the Symphony no. 6 in E Minor. It was a performance in honor of D-Day and in remembrance of WW II, perhaps of all wars. All the elements of doom and dread and death were there and terribly believable. At the end one did not know weather to applaud or just simply cry.
Strong communication, for sure!
It was a quiet drive home. We did not feel much like
conversation and were instead reflecting on the evening. What will Toronto’s
new Music Director bring us, when he arrives here in the fall to officially
start his position? Check it out and go to
www.tso.ca and be amazed. Decide to participate. You will not regret it!
Getting there Via Salzburg
Music in Motion was the theme for the last concert by Mayumi Seiler and her string orchestra. Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet no 14 in C-sharp minor was the evening’s opener and truly drained all the days anxieties out of an anticipating audience, which was packed with all sorts of business types this time.
This was followed by Franz Schubert’s Rondo in A major for violin and string orchestra. Mayumi Seiler was the soloist and her lively performance centre stage garnered her well-deserved ovations. The orchestra performed all night standing up, and we have come to appreciate the increase energy level of such a performance. Each one of the musicians is in fact a soloist in this orchestra because of it.
After an intermission a special treat was in store for us. As mostly Mayumi Seiler had a surprise planned that cannot be seen anywhere else easily. A work by Sandor Veress for dance was performed with a Draculian theme. Four Transylvanian Dances were accompanied by the orchestra and choreographed by D.A. Hoskins. Though this theme of folklore might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly was performed with intensity and skill. The preoccupation of this society with the subject of Vampires is an unexplainable phenomenon and I am not going to venture into or volunteer to change that, but must admit that I can live without it. Nevertheless, the performance was extremely interesting to follow. It showed the unnatural effect such an unnatural act could have well.
In any event, it served to get us exited for the next season, which promises to be as exhilarating as the last one. Call 416-972-9193 or go to www.viasalzburg.com and get moving into next season!
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