Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55, the “Eroica,” heralded Romantic composition: It was written at the beginning of the French revolution, and underwent some changes in dedication between its writing, publication, and performance for reasons of politics, but more so, of integrity. Surely these sentiments are relevant to a contemporary audience. Solid from beginning to end, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s performance was championed by the funeral march. The woodwinds shone during the return; the clarity in their execution of the theme gave a glimpse of the celebration of life inherent in the march. Photo courtesy of JOSH CLAVIR
Fragility, tension, and conviction ran throughout the evening, best conveyed during the variation in the finale by the horns.
The comedy of Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37 remained fervently intact: acclaimed soloist Yefim Bronfman is as much a joy to watch as he is to hear. The contrasting calm and riotous sections punctuate and contradict one another, easing up during the second movement. Lyrical, delicate, yet bold, the piece concludes with a cascading coda and high spirit that overcomes any doubt in its conviction. An air of fragility in its playfulness was key in ensuring the conversational elements of the concerto remained as the pianist continued to play after the cadenza.
Tonight’s programme included RBC Affiliate Composer Jordan Pal’s world premier of ‘City in Colour’, commissioned by TSO. Both confidence and de-familiarization are equally important in this piece. It features a percussive instrument called a “hand pan,” whose sound is metallic, but not alienating. As the craftsman’s reworking of each site on the instrument alters the pitch of those around it, requiring cyclic refinement, the listener’s revisiting of places from street level to high-rise and back again necessitates a fluid perspective of the piece to temper the force it embodies. Complex, fluid, and sometimes scathing, this piece communicates the elements of city life that words fail to articulate. This single-movement piece doesn’t simply illustrate—it captures.
Bronfman with renowned maestro Sir Simon Battle at their 2012 European concert tour