Review by Amy McBride
The last concert of the intersection series was a mix of Progressive Rock & orchestral music, with some palette cleansers throughout the mix of loud, hard, actually thrilling rock selections. Edwin Outwater conducted the KWS at the smaller venue,-Kitchener’s Conrad Centre for Performing Arts. The majority of the seats were filled with people from the concert sponsor; WALTERFEDY… who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the evening.
Outwater wanted the audience to connect with older musical selections that were utilized by rock bands throughout the 1960’s-80’s
Beginning with Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, which was at once recognizable by the audience; It is an epic piece that a variety of progressive rock bands have covered or used within their own music, including a Finnish Cello band that plays while naked!
“Throbbing” created by Paul Stanhope was the second orchestral mix for the night. The work represents cars in a tough neighborhood. The use of funky off beats from the 70’s mixed with music from the 80’s combined to create a musical oddity. The interesting thing about this piece was the combat taking place between acclaimed musician Donovan Seidle’s violin and principal violist Natasha Sharko. They were playing so quickly and violently that it seemed the strings would break, but the music somehow drew you in even though it was so combative. This was the first time I had seen Seidle perform, and throughout the evening he really did shine, utilizing a 1/8th violin in the Homage to Metallica composed by Matthew Hindson.
A small child learns to play violin on the 1/8th, and I did not realize the sinister sounds that it could make, or the fact that an adult could play it so aptly. Seidle is certainly a talented musician, and one that the rest of Canada should look out for. The spirit of Metallica was touched upon throughout the piece and it was interesting to see the entire orchestra working to make the sounds of a rock band. Before and after the homage, Outwater decided to slow it down for the audience, and give the musicians a rest by playing some Gymnopedies, orchestrated by Claude Debussy, but composed by Erick Satie. Both of the selections from this work were beautifully played. Written for piano, the ancient Greek idea of aesthetic and beauty came across.
Outwater also mentioned that the Iron Foundry, which was composed by Aleksandr Vasil’yevich Mosolov, was probably the first time a composer created a rock piece for an orchestra. This was in 1920s Russia, and it is an exciting piece where the French horns add a great depth, while the drums keep the beat. Outwater actually reminded me of the Sorcerer in Fantasia as he moved with and directed the sounds of the orchestra.
Usually the audience does not get to meet the composer of a piece, but fortunately for us Nicole Lizee was present to tell us what inspired her to write a 20 minute piece for the 2012: Concerto for Power Trio. Lizee mentioned that the band ‘Rush’ was her inspiration, especially their earlier works. Lizee was learning how to play the drums at 13 and listened intensely to their music. She combined the textures, gestures and counter melodies to create her own “hallucinogenic rock piece.” The Power Trio consisted of the principal bass player Ian Whitman on an electric bass guitar; Steve Raegele and two guitars, and Ben Reimer on the drums. Ensembled with the orchestra, the Power Trio brought Lizee’s work to life, and it was a great way to end the evening.