Review by Terry Gaisin
The artistic director of the Oakville Chamber Orchestrais a multi-talented musicologist. He is an accomplished arranger; dedicated conductor, and an adept composer. This latter flair was displayed yesterday afternoon (Sunday) at a concert staged at Sheridan College. It was music written as backdrop to a poem by Haitian Gérard Étienne dealing with the poet’s loves. The prose is rather repetitious with the subject word appearing in almost every sentence, in some cases- thrice! Naturally, Demuynck’s work is also repetitive, but that is a reflection of the subject’s intrinsic restraints
. To accompany and illuminate the prose being sung/recited by a quartet; a solo dancer performed in an interpretive classical format. The only music, except for a brief percussion interlude was contributed by the composer on Ontario Piano’s grand.
The major work of the afternoon was the Vivaldi ‘Four Seasons’. This composition musically describes the periods of our year and each ones’ idiosyncrasies. Thus, there are four concerti each having their own three-movement format. A certain local FM station; six years into its ‘new CFMX’ I.D.; plays these sub-movements regularly as short breaks between the commercials. Today, we heard the creation in its entirety.
Primavera, or 1st greening, was given a sensual and understated treatment so as to not overpower the solo demands on Aleksandar Gajic. His violin technique is robust and quite physical. He demonstrated his fingering dexterity in both the largo & pastorale movements. But it was in the adagio & presto cadenzas of the ‘Summer’ that he was challenged and slight slurring was apparent even though Demuynck’s interpretation was not the usual lethargy but rather a more optimistic reading. The 2nd adagio was certainly ‘forte’.
For the Fall/Winter stages, Alain Bouvier exchanged solo positions. His performance style is more sedate and certainly suited to the overall ‘downer’ motif that infuses most of “Autumn”. Were I the composer, there would have been more optimism to an interpretation…but I’m a spring/fall person. The last season has some marvellous pizzicato counterpoint to a lyrical theme and the synchronization was immaculate. The largo and its enigmatic cadenza is familiar to all mystery movie buffs, as the mood-setting pre-kill!
During the entire presentation, a sextet of dancers enacted changing relationships between family members as the year progresses. The corps are members of ‘Two Sisters Dance Project” and was specifically choreographed for this occasion.