Review by Danny Gaisin
The Hamilton wind was blowing at about 25 knots with gusts to 40; the Hamilton (HPO) Brass Quintet was blowing up a gale…of classical music! A free concert at the George Robinson band shell in Gage Park entertained a large group of fans including jammied kids, pets; picnickers; plus collapsibleas & blanket sitters. It was a ‘Tanglewood’ lite occasion and even the threat of rain fortunately held off. An early (7-ish) start offered sixteenth century compositions and the evening ran the gamut to as contemporary as today. Trombonist David Pell doubled as M.C. and offered a non-patronizing introduction for each piece being performed.
The H.P.O.’s Brass Quintet performing Hauser’s ‘scherzo’
Review by Judith Caldwell The National Academy Orchestra’s (NAO) latest concert entitled ‘From Tchaikovsky to Ravel’ featured some energetic, well-performed pieces interspersed with new work. The concert opened with a composition by Ana Sokolovic commissioned for the NAC Orchestra, entitled Ringelspiel, which means merry-go-round. It is meant to conjure up both the ride-on variety and the toy table-top variety to transport the audience back to childhood simplicity. The piece was unmelodic and the rhythms so fractured that it was difficult to find an access point. The use of an extreme range of strings to create scratchy, screechy sounds made it less than endearing.
Sara Davis Buechner; post-performance
Review by Judith Robinson
For those of us who cut our teeth at the 1970’s folk festivals, the Skylight Festival in Paris, Ontario, during the Civic holiday long weekend, was a trip down memory lane. Although the musicians were younger, and most of the venues indoors, the spirit of protest, freedom and fun hasn’t changed at all. There were so many great concerts it’s hard to mention only a few musicians. Minnesota singer/songwriter Heatherlyn’s energy was so much like Melanie’s that the audience could close their eyes and swear it was the 1960’s flower child guru.
Heatherlyn performing on stage
Review by Judith Caldwell
Thursday, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada (NAO) offered an evening of fantastic music which began with four much-loved John Williams’ compositions: “The Theme from Superman”; Highlights from Jurassic Park; the “Theme from Schindler’s List” and the flying theme from E.T. Each had their own instantly recognizable leitmotif which then expanded into a grand symphonic film score. Superman was masterful and heroic; Jurassic Park curious and probing and Schindler’s List heartbreakingly haunting (the audience barely breathed during the violin solo played by Concertmaster Mark Skazinetsky). E.T. was light, airy and so hopeful… the music intricate and difficult – written by a true master.
Conductor Brott & a certain ‘Star Wars’ character
Review by Karen Derry
Sunday night I had the pleasure of attending yet another great performance on the grounds of the Fieldcote Museum in Ancaster, a seven-acre property just outside of Hamilton. The quaint band shell, with its amazing backdrop of 100 foot pines, is named after Jim Green; a beloved local historian who also helped build it.
About six hundred people attended on this beautiful July night; many longtime fans of George Fox whose career has spanned decades and tours to many countries. including with artists like Randy Travis, Dolly Parton, George Strait and Willie Nelson, playing to sold out North American crowds.
George Fox in a rehearsing moment
Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin
The concept of an accepted program of familiar arias from classical opera presented in a concert format has faded into a same old, same old listing of ‘Nessun dorma; Habanera; “Au fond du temple Sainte” and the flower duet from Lakmé, usually with the invariable divas & divos. The National Academy Orchestra’s Brott summer Festival has pushed the envelope. Less familiar arias; new voices and program notes defining the actual pieces made this year’s edition a novel experience, especially for aficionados of the genre.
the soloists taking well-deserved kudos