Review by Florence Roullet
Life is full of surprises. A special encounter transformed me into an Art Critic for an evening. I accepted the challenge with enthusiasm and herewith—my impressions as a neophyte. Saturday evening I had the great pleasure to attend the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra “For the Love of the Screen” a ‘Pops’ edition at Hamilton Place, directed by guest conductor David Martin. Accompanied by Trevor Copp, director of the Tottering Biped Theater in Burlington; I spent an enchanting evening
listening to a succession of pieces of music that were as diverse as excellent in their executions by the beautiful HPO. Excellent, diverse, and wholehearted would be the three major adjectives that describe the night. Frankly, I consider myself as a music lover but I have to admit that I do not attend the philharmonic orchestra concerts very often. I actually never attended an HPO concert before… I certainly missed opportunities…
The first great surprise to me was that the artists made a real effort to break down the prejudices/stereotypes of the classic philharmonic orchestra scene and rendered the performance really accessible and fun to a non-specialized audience. Beside the top class quality of the music they performed, the humility plus friendly demeanor of the conductor and musicians, together with the wonderful complicity between them created an amazingly welcome and warm atmosphere for us spectators. We were recipients of such familiar pieces as the Casino Royale theme; and “Over the Rainbow”. Speaking of familiar—isn’t the somewhat classical concierto de Aranjuez sometimes an oblique referral to that Minute Maid™ product?
The diversity of the pieces was an absolute delight, taking us from jazz tunes with the George Gershwin and Miles Davis version of “Summertime” to more popular songs such as “My heart will go on” (Will Jennings/James Horner). The evening went by so fast but left one absolutely satisfied. I had plans for the latter part of the evening and found that it was such a perfect way to start the festivities of a Saturday night.
The two soloists featured that evening were Larry Larson at the trumpet and the mezzo-soprano artist Erica Martin; both were fantastic. Ms. Martin’s voice being especially well suited to interpret James Horner’s “A Beautiful Mind”. Trumpeter Larson was really impressive; he is an absolute master of his instrument. And believe it or not, the greatest surprise came from his singing performance. Larry Larson did an amazing impersonation of Louis Armstrong on “What a Wonderful World”; the iconic George Weiss composition. I must mention the other musicians extraordinaire—Stephen Sitarski as first violin and David Pell on trombone.
Overall impression: wonderful, touching, excellent.