Review by Danny Gaisin
The third candidate aspiring to the podium of the Mississauga Symphony is Misha Roháč; a Torontonian conductor whose background is Czechoslovakian. Understandably, the program featured two works by Smetana; three dances from his ‘Bartered Bride’, and the Sarka from Ma Vlast. This latter work translates as My Fatherland and is an excerpt from his Moldau suite. Another excerpt from Moldau is the melody for ‘Hatikvah’; Israel’s National Anthem which means ‘The Hope’. Both works carry a strong emotional yet musical theme.
Roháč’s style is somewhat posturizing; his address to the audience repetitious and non-educational, but his control of the orchestra is obvious. There were some discernible technical blunders in the first two works, but not noticeable for the remainder of the concert. The maestro is focused and almost pedantic in exhorting his version and arrangement from his musicians.The conductor’s acknowledgement of the solo clarinet work by Colin Savage was certainly deserved.
Post-interval, guest soloist Adrian Fung performed the familiar Concerto in b-minor by Dvořák. This intense young musician is almost histrionic in his concentration and form. The symbiotic relationship between director and soloist manifested itself in continual eye contact and subtle signalling. Fung’s expertise is slightly marred by occasional slurring but he is a consummate interpreter of the composer’s musical message. The 2nd movement adagio was performed definitely non-troppo. The closing allegro was polished and fully professional.
There are three move concerts in the MSO series scheduled for March 24th, Thursday April 5th, and the finale for John Barnum, on Sat. May 5th.