Review by Danny Gaisin
Editor’s note: -”O.P.H.” or bilingually ‘orchestre philharmonique d’Hamilton’
The Hamilton Philharmonic offered two guests in what was an amazing evening and a stupendously entertaining one. On the podium was Kitchener’s Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser , with the renowned Cirque de la Symphonie performing on stage. The HPO was in top form; the conductor was in perfect synch with the musicians; (& vice versa). The ½ dozen Cirque members astounded; diverted & astonished the audience. Guilty admission: – this scribe uttered way too many ‘Oy vey‘s’ at what appeared to be certain-death ministrations.
The program was dedicated to the compositions created for, or used, by Hollywood.
* Most of the selections were then physically interpreted on or above stage by superhuman feats of strength; incredible dexterity as well as acrobatic techniques worthy of an Olympic gymnastic competition. Those seated in the front rows had to crane necks to watch trapeze-work -right above their heads!
Maestro Bartholomew-Poyser was meticulous and insightful in the HPO’s interpretations of John Williams’ score for ‘Jurassic Park‘ and the Badelt arrangement of Zimmer’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean‘. Both pieces evoked the cinematic scenarias for anyone who has seen the films. His conducting style is fortunately not histrionic but fastidious and certainly focused on assuring that all the orchestral sections are tonally synchronic. Sound travels at approximately 330mps, so there must be a slight lead time for the instruments at stage rear. In an acoustically-perfect venue like CORE’s 1st Ontario Concert Hall, this can be a hurdle for a first-time conductor. Bartholomew-Poyser aced it and his informal demeanour with the audience contributed to the overall fun-ness(sic) of the evening. He even managed a droll bit of stand-up that gleaned guffaws.
There was also a brief moment of hilarity when the conductor appeared to abbreviate his reading of Herrmann’s themes from ‘Psycho’…then, went into the melodies incorporated into the infamous shower scene!
This is the beginning of year two with Gemma New as the HPO’s music director. With the vibrant support of the Board of Directors & company; the complementing efforts of executive director Diana Weir; and the obvious affection of the attending Hamilton audience; the H.P.O. Is certainly on the cusp of being a category ‘A’ assemblage. This scribe’s crystal ball hopefully hints at some CD recordings in the near future.
Some symphonic concerts are educational; some are technically challenging; some are evocative – but some are just plain fun and entertaining… last night was all of the above. There are a large number of HPO events in February, check out the listing by clicking on their O.A.R. Advertisment.