5 @ 1st welcomes a growth in attendance Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

The word is definitely out about the standard of music offered at the Five at the First series of concerts, the organizers at the opening concert of the 2019 season had the nice problem of needing to bring in extra chairs for the over capacity audience for String Extravaganza VIII. The concert began with 14 year old Emad Zolfaghari, viola and pianist Emily Rho, playing Franz Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione & Piano in A minor – Allegro moderato. Young performers often appear nervous performing a difficult passage, not so Zolfaghari, he looked totally lost in the music * More…

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“The Hockey Sweater ”; (or Go HABS go!) Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
What is probably the last of our O.A.R. covered events for 2018 certainly was a cherry-topping one. The Hamilton Philharmonic’s presentation of Roch Carrier’s story about a Quebec kid forced to wear a Maple Leaf’s sweater was narrated by the writer himself; and offered with composer Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s interpretive music as back-drop is about as perfect an evening as this writer could even imagine. Fortunately, it was professionally recorded! It was also the first opportunity for the audience to see the Trillium®-subsidized projection screens so that Cohen’s caricature imagery could be easily projected and viewed. *

Roch Carrier & HPO’s Gemma New doing “The Hockey Sweater”

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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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