Mahler’s 5th, big composition needs a big orchestra Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin,  May. 12th, ‘19

Gustav Mahler’s 5th symphony is big, glorious; affecting; and serious. Thus, it needs a class ‘A’ orchestra and conductor to properly perform it. The Hamilton Philharmonic and maestra Gemma New certainly accomplished the work’s requirements.
This season’s final concert opened with Claude Vivier’s ORION. First time hearing this piece and quite probably, my last. The seven motifs supposedly represent the stars that make up the constellation – the hunter and his two doggies. Like the myth; Vivier; a flamboyant gay, was murdered in Paris by a young male prostitute just as Orion was condemned for insulting the gods.

Gemma New & Diana Weir, informing the HPO audience about tonight’s special event

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“Ravel & Stravinsky; + Bartok, Prokofiev, & ballet” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin, Apr. 28, ‘19

Under the vision of maestra Gemma New , executive director Diana Weir and the HPO Board, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has evolved into something far more eclectic and audience attractive than we saw under previous administrations. This is obvious from the increase of ‘sold out’ concert situations and also from the noticeable atmosphere emanating from the musicians themselves. Last evening’s event under guest conductor Nathan Brock featured the HPO’s concertmaster Stephen Sitarski performing the violin concerto No. 2 by Sergei Prokofiev. This piece is far less known than the composer’s ‘Peter & the Wolf’ or his opera ‘Alexander Nevsky.

Sitarski under guest HPO conductor Nathan Brocki

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5 @ 1st, honouring Canadian women composers Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell    Apr. 14, ’19

Hamilton should be very grateful to Rachel Mercer for frequently offering wonderful new music she has found or commissioned to local audiences. The most recent concert featured compositions by Canadian female composers from the 20th and 21st centuries and included three works especially commissioned by Mercer for the occasion.   The afternoon began with a young artist, 8 year old Azlyn Spleit, playing Felix Borowski’s Adoration on the violin.  She played entirely from memory and with great aplomb, obviously not a bit nervous, and completed the fairly long and difficult piece without a glitch and to appreciative applause.  More…

“The Brandenburgs”, an O.A.R.’s Top ten contender Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Mar 24th, ‘19

J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti were composed during the second decade of the eighteenth century, but were only so-named in 1870. An intrinsic part of every dedicated collector of classical music’s library, these works are the epitome of the Baroque era. They also have such range as to stating a personal favorite. A lively topic for debate and discussion among aficionados.
To celebrate its thirty-fifth year anniversary, the Oakville Chamber Orchestra spared no effort or venue choice to present all six with guest soloists who were picked from orchestral principals with absolutely stunning resumés.

OCO & solists performing Branderrburg No. 1’s allegro movement

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Holst; the HPO, and an astrology lesson Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin  Mar. 17th, ’19

My Very Easy Method, Just SUN”, this mnemonic is one of the ways of remembering the names and positions of the planets … the things in the night sky that don’t twinkle! Just over one hundred years ago, Gustav Holst composed a suite that reflected the astrological characteristics of the planets and the mythological gods they are named after. This work was the major opus undertaken by last night’s Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra concert in the Great Hall.
The pre-intermission part of the program was devoted to Claude Debussy. Opening with his ‘Prelude to an Afternoon of a Faun’.

The HPO & McMaster Choir performing Debussy Nocturne

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Toronto Symphony Orchestra…under Gemma New! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The Enterprise has its ‘Trekkies’; Jimmy Buffett has his ‘Parrotheads’; Taylor followers are ‘Swifties’ and Grateful Dead are the deadheads! Now is perhaps the time for fans of the HPO’s Gemma New to have a groupie nickname. A substantial number of Hamiltonians; including a full highway cruiser busload of enthusiasts made the QEW trip to Roy Thomson Hall to listen and applaud Ms. New’s first time at the podium of the TSO.
Toronto considers itself a World-class city and naturally, its eponymous musical assemblage should be world-class too. It definitely IS.
Under Sir Andrew Davis, and his predecessor Peter Oundjian , its stature and recording accomplishments rank with the best.

Gemma New at the podium

Review by Danny Gaisin
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