Hamilton’s Festival of Friends; No. 42 Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
We Gaisins have been Hamiltonian for a decade, but studiously avoided attending our city’s annual ‘Festival of Friends’; having erroneously thinking it was a Quaker religious retreat!. Nope, no affiliation with the 17th century Anglican offshoot started by George Fox. Instead, its an opportunity for neighbours to meet outdoors and have free access to music, creative arts, food, drink, and political candidate or organizational affiliation booths. One group of regulars even mentioned that back in their dating dates, it was a super ‘pick-up’ opportunity!
For us, this was an occasion to get out the tandem and bicycle over…something we old farts are usually looking for excuses NOT to utilize.

Sunday in the park…in Hamilton!

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‘Folly in Love’; Hammer Baroque’s Art Week contribution Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

As part of Hamilton Arts Week, Hammer Baroque presented an in-concert version of Alessandro Scarlatti’s opera “Folly in Love”, Alessandro is now less famous than his son Domenico, but back in the day he was celebrated as a major composer of opera in the period before Handel and Gluck.  His ‘Gli equivoci nel sembiante’ was composed in 1679 when he was only 18 years old,  it is a pastoral comedy of love and yearning, a mischievous and jealous sibling and a long lost brother who looks just like our hero.

The HAMMER BAROQUE ensemble musicians

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‘Israel in Egypt’; Handel’s oratorio – by Bach Elgar Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

Handel’s Israel in Egypt is rarely performed because it is such a formidable undertaking requiring a double choir of 80 voices at the very least; an accompanying orchestra, six soloists and a very courageous conductor.  The Bach Elgar Choir teamed up with The Grand River Chorus to make a double choir of 110 voices which was accompanied by a 25-member orchestra who managed to sound much bigger than their numbers suggested.  Originally Handel wrote a 45 minute opening act of lamentation for the death of Joseph, but this was not well received by his first audience.

The combined performers for Handel’s ‘ISRAEL in EGYPT’

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Bernstein; & kudos for the HPO’s Percussion section Reply

Review by Danny Kert-Gaisin
According to the Gershwin’s ‘Crazy For You‘, the ‘Great American Folk Song is Rag’. I beg to differ- It’s the Western Theme song. Think of ‘The Big Valley’; “Gunsmoke”; ‘Davey Crockett’; High Noon” or ‘Bonanza’ and I’ll bet that the melodies pop immediately to mind. So, opening a Hamilton Philharmonic concert dedicated to USA’s musical icon Leonard Bernstein with Aaron Copland’s Rodeo is a super choice. The friendship between these two admirers lasted from 1932-until their deaths sixty-seven years later. This writer’s admiration for both was, and is, diverse but palpable. Copland taught at Rochester’s Eastman when cousin Barbara studied there;

Porthouse; New; & Iadeluca stage front with the H.P.O.

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“Gem” of a concert, & of an opportunity 1

Review by Danny Gaisin & Bryan Dubroy
The dictionary defines ‘gem’ as something prized. Saturday’s 5 @ 1st‘s season finale nearly met that criterion. Something old; something new and a guest soloist still in her teens. A slight delay before the doors opened enabled a last minute rehearsal tweaking, but the hold was minimal. Telemann’s four short-movement viola concerto is considered the 1st known composition for the instrument. The allegro 2nd was performed by a somewhat nervous and hesitant Sarah Derikx. A few minimal tech slips and some note slurring, but otherwise, handled with aplomb.
Mozart’s 1788 E-flat divertimento was performed as a trio comprised by violinist Yehonatan Berick, accompanied by Jethro Marks and Rachel Mercer.

Berick; Mercer & Marks performing Mozart’s Divertimento

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‘Hammer Baroque’, offers a tasty smorgasbord Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

A recital entitled “If music be the food of Love” featuring soprano Helene Brunet and lutenist Sylvain Bergeron was presented in the Sunday Hammer Baroque series of concerts.  Most of the music presented was by Henry Purcell (1659-’95), who has been called the greatest English composer until Elgar.  He certainly was a towering musical figure of his time and wrote music both for the Catholic King James II and for the Protestant monarchs William & Mary – no mean feat in that divisive day and age.  Like many great composers he unfortunately died young, at 36, so we must savour what he created.

Hammer Baroque’s guest soloists – Bergeron & Brunet

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