Mozart, Mendelssohn, John Williams, & Ping Yee Ho Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin

Under maestra Gemma New, the concert programs of the Hamilton Philharmonic are nothing if not eclectic. Old masterpieces are partnered with contemporary and even commissioned works. Last evening was no exception. ‘Silk Road’ by Alice Ping Yee Ho is subtitled a fantasy, and it certainly is. The work’s three movements all try to evoke differing aspects of what was the trade route from the Middle East, through Persia, India and thence to Asia. Naturally, the intro describes the Nomadic atmosphere. Glorious and effective, her scales bear a resemblance to pentatonic rather than Bachian. Short staccato riffs with melodic viola & celli are underscored by intense demand of the percussionists.

Chooi & New performing the M ozart concerto #5 with the HPO



“The Day They Kidnapped the Pope” – hilarious BLT effort Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

What is the wish that every ‘Miss America’ contestant personally claims? Think the hilarious scene in ‘Miss Congeniality’ where the afterthought is – World Peace! Remember this factoid when you see BINBROOK LITTLE THEATRE’s comedy – The Day They Kidnapped the Pope. Playwright Joao Bethencourt’s plot premise is that the pontiff on a Vatican visit to NYC evades his limo and takes a cab driven by a Jewish cabbie from Brooklyn. ‘Sam Leibowitz’ aka Brad Fortman brings him across the Brooklyn Bridge and decides to keep him in the Leibowitz pantry and hold him for ransom. And the value of said ransom demand – see this article’s opening sentences. More…

Hammer Baroque Lute Recital Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
Hammer Baroque presented lutenist Lucas Harris in a recital titled “Circa 1600” on Saturday afternoon.  In his opening remarks Bud Roach, the organization’s artistic director said that he is always surprised that so many people come out on a holiday weekend to hear early music.  The feeling among musicians apparently is that the earlier the music – the fewer audience members it attracts.  In Hamilton, however, a reasonable number turned up.
Harris said he chose 1600 because that is approximately when the lute went from the previous five courses of strings to 6 then 7 giving the composers and players more bass notes.

the soloist performing on the lute


In “YAGA,” Slavic Legend meets 21st century Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Yaga, written and directed by Canadian playwright Kat Sandler, brings the old Slavic story of Baba Yaga to new, modern life in a combination of fairy-tale, comedy, mystery, and a commentary on gender and aging. The play opens the Tarragon’s 2019-220 season. With impeccable, often brilliant acting by the well-known Seana McKenna and by Claire Armstrong and Will Greenblatt, the play is fast-paced and funny as well as thought-provoking.  For those who do not know the legend, Baba Yaga is a Slavic version of the mythic witch — seen as old, ugly, cruel (rumoured to eat children).                                                                                                                         Seanna McKenna In YAGA

O.C.O. honors ‘friends’ L.V. Beethoven & company Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

It behooves a classical music writer to have a sliding scale of criticism; the big (size & $$$) outfits should be held to a higher standard than community organizations. Hearing the Oakville Chamber Orchestra’s three dozen musicians and their director, Charles Demuynck, in performance, they deserve as sharp a pencil point as any group…they’re that good! Unfortunately, last evening’s concert was held in St. Simon’s Anglican Church and acoustically; the closest simile I can recall is hearing a band play inside a Quonset Hut construction shed!
The opening work was Beethoven’s ‘Coriolan’ overture. The tale behind the work is about the semi-legendary Roman ‘Coriolanus’.

Soprano Charlene Pauls interpreting “Zerlina” From Don Giovanni


“Radiant Ravel”; and other stuff by H.P.O. Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

  It’s autumn. School’s back and so are the musicians & conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic. The opening concert was eclectic in selections… brief old standards, a premiere composition and an orchestral interpretation of a dramatic ballet. Interestingly, the connection between two pieces is esoteric and somewhat convoluted, unless one is familiar with ancient Greek fables.
The opening work was Dvo
řák’s ‘Carnival Overture’. One of a triptych, this work is well-known and two seems the only one of the three to be performed. Maestra Gemma New gave the piece a forceful yet touching rendering that offered the clarinets and violins the opportunity to demonstrate the familiar syncopation that is a hallmark of the work.  It was an exuberant welcome back.

Dunlop; New & Fedyshyn and an abbreviated HPO performing a new composition