Review by Terry Gaisin
Paul Simon wouldn’t have dreamed of it; Neil Diamond – never. Natalia Makarova couldn’t imagine going ‘on-pointe’ and Led Zeppelin remained on their trio of tushes during tributes at the Kennedy and Lincoln Centres. But not our Boris! As this year’s Hamilton J.N.F. Negev Dinner honouree; Maestro Brott rather than being entertained; left his co-recipient Ardyth at the head table and took to the podium to delight those of us in attendance by conducting the National Academy Orchestra.
See alternative opinion about protest – “Letters to the Editor”
The Brotts; Boris & Ardyth; have brought respect; honour and acclaim to our city. Both would be immediately welcome in any city of the world… him for his music; her for her dedication; intellect and personal charm. Instead, they’ve remained in Steeltown and for that, all of us ‘hammerheads’ are truly appreciative. This appreciation was iterated multiple times by representatives of all levels of Government; the community; their extended family and the audience.
Traditionally, a Negev Dinner is also a fundraiser for positive projects. This year the proceeds will help the construction of a conservatory recital hall in Arava; a small town in Israel’s desert. Like it has done for its 65-year history; the State still endeavors to turn sand dunes into a ‘land flowing with milk and honey’. With this new edifice; it will also be an area of culture and sustenance for the soul…something endemic to the Brott’s life philosophy.
The concert opened with a collage composed by Stephen Glass that incorporated the ‘ta’am’ or intrinsic taste of Judaism. Then, a cantorial interpretation from the Sabbath liturgy sung with emotion and pure soprano tonality by Sharon Azrieli Perez. Then she presented the traditional Jerusalem of Gold during which she encouraged her audience to join those already singing the chorus. Brott introduced the Israeli clarinet-playing brothers – Duo Gurfinkel; who’s teasing & playful rendition of Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ was both creative and fun. Their interpretation of Saint-Saens rondo Capriccioso was remarkable, given the composer’s intention of creating the work for violin. Sorry, Boris, I can’t find any reference to him being Jewish; but…given his penchant for intellectual success in many diverse fields; I could believe he was Chinese!
There were also some comedic moments; M.C. David Brott admitting to having at one time thought his Dad was a spy; given the various guests and celebs that would visit. Also, there were about ten protesters at the entrance to the Convention Centre blaming us guests for the tribulations those poor Jihadists suffer in Gaza & Palestine.