“GEMMA NEW Conducts!” successfully. Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor

Back in April of 2014, the first of the H.P.O.’s candidates for music director conducted an awesome performance of Saint-Saëns violin concerto and Beethoven’s Pastorale 6th symphony. Her post-concert answers and rationales to queries by yours truly were succinct and coherent. To say that we were impressed would be an understatement and a subtle hint of our selection choice was hidden within the column. We’re pleased that she was selected and join the rest of the Hamilton community in welcoming her. Last evening’s concert highlighted contemporary (sort of) Russian composers.

Conductor NEW addressing the HPO audience

Conductor NEW addressing the HPO audience

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“Caroline Wiles”; you can go back, through music Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG

Way back when we had just entered a new millennium and while being a gainfully employed member of the fifth estate; the editor insisted that I do a promo (read puff) piece about a local folk group. I loved classical music & enjoyed jazz but the only folk knowledge I had was hating Lightfoot for being repetitious and even worse –BORING. Went to the Oakville Centre’s basement; listened; enjoyed and thereafter attended as many of the concerts as I we could. We were hooked into the White Oaks Folk Club. *

l-r McCurlie; Wiles; Chisholm & Doidge, on stage

l-r McCurlie; Wiles; Chisholm & Doidge, on stage

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BRAHMS & FRIENDS; a 5@1st Saturday afternoon Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

A capacity audience thoroughly enjoyed a 5 at the First concert themed around friendship. Three friends – Rachel Mercer, cello; clarinetist Guy Yehuda, and Peter Longworth, piano offered two pieces written by Brahms for his late-in -ife muse and friend Richard Muhlfeld, plus a contemporary Clarinet Trio titled ‘Among Friends’ by Canadian composer Ka Nin Chan. The concert opened with Yehuda and Longworth playing Brahms Sonata in E flat, Op. 120 No 2. Brahms had already retired when he heard Muhlfeld playing and became interested in writing music for this marvelous instrument, and this particular piece is his final chamber composition.

Mercer; Longwoth & Yehuda; post-concert

Mercer; Longwoth & Yehuda; post-concert

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“OPERA”; an evening at the… (HPO!) Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Opera, as a genre, seems to have no grey area of fans; it’s a love or hate response. I’m in the former category and have been for as long as I can remember (radio broadcasts from the Met during WWII!).  When Daniel Lipton was artistic director of the Hamilton Opera, his POPERA became a favorite gala evening offering a selection of the most beloved and well-liked arias from the repertoire. Last night, he, and the concept, returned to the Great Hall. It was a super evening.

Austin;Lennox;Lipton;Coolen & Armstrong taking the 1st of many bows

         Austin; Lennox; Lipton ;Coolen & Armstrong taking the 1st of many post-concert bows

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“MESSIAH”; Musikay’s version Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
If the mention of Handel’s Messiah conjures up images of a huge choir trying to drown out the organ while they belt out choral pieces, then I have news for you, there is a much more nuanced and approachable version available; last evening the 13 voice choir of professional singers called Musikay plus four soloists and a nine piece orchestra – including the necessary trumpets – offered a precise and thoughtful rendition under the direction of Stephane Potvin. The soloists; soprano Catherine Arcand-Pinette, Madison Arsenault, alto; tenor Michael P. Taylor, and Maciej Bujnowicz, bass were wonderful.

The MUSIKAY choristers; Soloists and director Potvin

The MUSIKAY choristers; Soloists and director Potvin

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“The CANADIAN BRASS”… still shines Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor
          It’s been eight years since the Hamilton Philharmonic invited the nation’s renowned Canadian Brass to perform with the orchestra. That occasion was to introduce the new artistic director of the HPO and according to O.A.R. archives; the quintet shone; but the orchestra wasn’t quite up to par. History repeats itself… the Canadian Brass were superb, the HPO under guest conductor  Scott Terrell was a little ragged, especially during the opening Leroy Anderson medley.

The Canadian Brass onstage with the H.P.O.

                                                                    The Canadian Brass onstage with the H.P.O.

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