Hammer Baroque, continues offering the best of an era Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

Tenor Bud Roach sang a short concert of largely English airs by Henry Lawes and his contemporaries, with three Italian airs from the same period included for good measure. Roach accompanied himself on the 14 string Theobro, a large bass lute used in the 16th century which Roach joked about needing a wide angled lens to photograph and could, on occasion, be 14 strings of chaos. Not so today when played by a master musician. The sizeable audience were clearly anticipating a program of quality music and that is what was offered. The same program was recently performed by Roach in New York, where it was well received.

Tenor Bud Roach of Hammer Baroque

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“Broadway To Tin Pan Alley”, HPO recalls the era Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

It’s a century since the armistice ended the Great War. Even my young(er) wife can recall the Second World War and the music written and performed then, can still evoke memories of those years. It was the period of RagTime with its emphasis on synchopation and the 2 or 4/4 beat made popular by Scott Joplin. It was also the heyday of Tin Pan Alley (28th between 5th & 6th Avenues) where sheet music was promoted and published. The HPO’s amazing maestra Gemma New invited the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Band to add colour, drama and pomp commensurate with the occasion

Soloist & maestra with the H.P.O. & Bach Elgar

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Bach Elgar Choir vocally remembers & recalls WWI Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
A World War I Centenary concert was presented by the Bach Elgar Choir on with soloists Cassandra Warner, mezzo-soprano, and baritone Alexander Dobson.  The concert was inspired by McMaster University’s archive of Canadian material from the era including letters written by soldiers and replies , plus a selection of Canadian music published during the war.  The first half of the concert featured sheet music from the McMaster collection.
In 1914, before the advent of radio or television in homes,  ordinary people would buy the sheet music of popular songs to take home and play on the piano (in nearly every home) and sing along with the family. 

 the Bach Elgar voices

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“HPO’s Halloween ‘Spooktacular’ afternoon concert Reply

Review by Danny GaisinThe musicians and concertmaster were in costume; the dancers of Freedom Studio – costumed; the audience – totally dressed up. And yours truly was fully attired for ‘Trick of Treating’. The somewhat abbreviated afternoon performance was aimed at a definitely younger audience, hence the selections and duration. Our seatmates were a 4-year old Alice and her slightly older brother. Observing their attentiveness and physical participation spoke well for the endeavour as well as the future of classical interest. Their mimicking of the conductor and fascination with the on-stage dancers defined total engrossment. The concert focal point was conclusively the conductor.

The HPO musicians awaiting Bartholomew-Poyser (aka Grim Reaper)

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The ELIXIR ENSEMBLE, part of the Hammer Baroque season Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

On Saturday evening, Hammer Baroque presented The ELIXIR ENSEMBLE playing string quartets on instruments using gut strings as opposed to the more usual modern metal strings.  The second piece on the program explored the different sounds gut strings can make.   Many patrons of Hammer Baroque have complained of the short notice given for the concerts, the email announcement of this concert only went out on Thursday, but Bud Roach explained in the program notes that these concerts offer no-fee guarantees for the performers, and flexibility with dates is the trade-off to secure high-quality (and very busy) performers. 

       The Elixir Ensemble in concert

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“TIME”, an afternoon recital in a century-old loft Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
Rebecca Morton, cello, and pianist Emily Rho, presented a recital around the theme of Time at the Cotton Factory on Sunday afternoon, for a small, but enthusiastic audience.  The thought, preparation and musicianship on display deserved a much bigger following.  Morton introduced each piece with amusing explanatory notes which greatly helped the appreciation level.  The afternoon began with a delightful March for Solo Cello by Sergei Prokofiev in 2/4 time that was something between a stroll and a sashay – much more fun than a simple march.  A Sonata for Solo Cello in three parts by George Crumb followed. 

Mrs. Morton Sr.; Rebecca Morton & Emily Rho

 

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