“Escape to Paradise”, a multi-protocol HPO event Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

With just a year shy of six decades of writing about classical music; one feels as though one has heard just about everything euphonic… not so. An intimate proscenium-style almost chamber orchestra phenomenon was held in the Studio Theatre next to Hamilton’s Great Hall. It was audibly; physically; emotionally and sensually effective. HPO conductor/host Gemma New presented five novel and extremely contemporary compositions that incorporated the creative multi-media art of Tony Viera. Both orchestra and audience were impacted by light and projected imagery that accompanied the creative works being interpreted. The effect was a full dimension of impression and sensation.
The first piece was titled ‘Prelude to Dawn’ by
Kevin Lau. This is a new dimension of sensual impression and musical notation interpretation. Like the rest of the audience, our attention was more than rapt — it elicited a concentration and total focus.

Configuration of H.P.O & audience for ESCAPE TO PARADISE

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“MOSAIQUE” from the ‘Ensemble Made in Canada’ Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

Ensemble Made in Canada, comprised of Angela Park, piano; violinist Elissa Lee,; violist Sharon Wei and cellist Rachel Mercer, commissioned a major new work from 14 Canadian contemporary composers pulled together into a piece called Mosaique. The composers were each given an area of Canada to represent musically, usually an area where they had lived or visited frequently, EMIC then arranged these compositions into the finished work. In the Q & A after the performance Mercer said they had tried various groupings and were still open to change, at the moment seven compositions form the first part of the concert and the remaining seven are played after intermission.

the MOSAIQUE performers, post-concert

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“From The Beatles, With Love”; an HPO treat Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Over two dozen of the Fab Four’s standards; the Hamilton Philharmonic and Hamilton Jazz great Darcy Hepner at the podium; a musical trifecta. Faultlessly presented with stage rear overhead projections from a certain Beatles cartoon that incorporated the artwork of Peter Blake and Jann Haworth; the evening was an almost psychedelic experience. This was an evocative evening recalling songs we danced to; identified with ; and sang the lyrics to 8-tracks or cassettes or top-twenty radio stations. Last night, I and a filled Great Hall audience turned a concert into a 1500 person singalong.

Tributing the output of the FAB 4;   Note the projection of Hamilton from the mountain!

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“Compose Yourself” an HPO concert 1.0 event Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

 ‘A long time ago in a Province far away’, I and many other classically-minded kids would religiously tune in to CBS on Saturday for Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Young People’s Concerts’. It was an opportunity to learn more of the intricacies involved with classical music, without feeling that the pedagogue was patronizing or condescending. It also gave us the occasional trivia that could be impressively incorporated into dating conversations!
Conductor
Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser is a master at performances before young audiences. Like Bernstein, he never talks down to his audiences, and has an innate ability to integrate with the audience on an educational journey through classical music/orchestras utilizing humor and colloquial terms.

The maestro teaching us how to be a conductor!

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Robbie Burns concert; entertaining & fun Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
Among the many celebrations of Scottish poet Robbie Burns Hammer Baroque offered a program of Caledonia Connections, which did not involve haggis, although there was Scottish Ale at intermission. Music was supplied by soprano, Meredith Hall, Julia Seager Scott’s harp, cellist Laura Jones and Alison Melville playing flute and recorder. These ladies are all excellent musicians with impressive resumés, and they played a collection of very interesting instruments. Seager Scott had her triple string Baroque harp which was probably developed around the 1640’s. Her 34 string clarsach (or Scottish harp) was probably in use around the year 1000 and it looks exactly like the one on the Guinness logo.

The musicians who honored ROBBIE BURNS

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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…