“MESSIAH”, performed by Oakville’s MUSIKAY Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
            “Messiah” is usually performed at Christmas but Musikay offered it on the final Saturday and today of April. Handel’s original performance was in Dublin just after Easter and that timing makes more sense with a libretto largely concerned with Christ’s passion and resurrection. It is rather discomforting at Christmas when the birth of Jesus is celebrated to sing of Him being despised, rejected etc. ‘Messiah’ normally is performed by a large choir but Musikay had a small 12-member chorus, four soloists and a nine-piece orchestra – each one of them talented, well trained professionals, capable of making a wonderful sound separately and together.

The MUSIKAY choir & musicians performing “MESSIAH”

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“VIMY” recalled by Bach Elgar & guests Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
            On Sunday, the Bach Elgar Choir offered a truly monumental concert for the Centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. They were joined by soprano Jennifer Taverner, mezzo Mia Lennox, tenor Owen McCausland, baritone Geoffrey Sirett, plus the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Regimental Band of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry.
The RHLI is one of Canada’s oldest combat regiments, predating Confederation, and they fought in WW I at Ypres, the Somme, Passchendaele and Vimy. Their Regimental Band wears the authentic scarlet uniforms of 1866. They opened the concert with Arthur Bliss’ Fanfare for a Dignified Occasion, a very suitable beginning.

Some HPO musicians & the RHLI band under Rehill’s  baton

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“The course of love (& music) DOES run smooth” for the H.P.O. 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

The Hamilton Philharmonic’s construal of Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and Mendelssohn’s exquisitely memorable composition was a perfect blending of aural & visual experience. This effort was truly an O.A.R. “Top Ten” contender. Not only was the orchestra in faultless form, but the Hamilton Children’s Choir was impeccable and the students of Glendale Secondary were enchanting & delicious in their rendering of ‘Hermia & Lysander’; “Demetrius and Helena”; ‘Titania & Oberon’; plus, all the fairies and particularly the Pyramus/Thisbe interpreters. As usual it was the markedly delightful Robin Goodfellow (Puck) who steals the show. He (or she) is the character with whom I most identify!

Children’s Choir; H.P.O.; & Glendale’s fairies interpreting MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

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Cello extravaganza by “5 @ 1st.” + + Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
                Five @ the First again held their annual fundraising Cello Extravaganza in aid of Blooms for Africa and the Ann Vallentyne Scholarship for string players. This year 26 cellists performed in solos, duets, sextets and as a combined cello choir. The Extravaganza is in its fourth year and the choice of music and arrangements seems to get better each year. This year there was one piece written especially for the duo who performed it and several pieces arranged specifically for groups of cellos, including a quiet, thoughtful and rather romantic Requiem written as a cello sextet by David Popper.                      The cellists …

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Tafelmusik remembers 17th & 18th century Canada Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
            Tafelmusik presented an aural and visual history of Canada from 1663 to 1763 in a program conceived, programmed and scripted by Alison MacKay and narrated by Ryan Cunningham, -Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts. The concert was at Melrose United Church on Wednesday, and performed in an afternoon concert before 500 lucky high school children. Tafelmusik is very generous to Hamilton and the local near- capacity audience showed their obvious appreciation. This is the third year they have performed in Hamilton and hopefully they will come again next year. This baroque ensemble is renowned for playing on period instruments.

The TAFELMUSIK musicians and a Canadian icon -;the Beaver’

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Stylus Fantasticus interpreted by two groups Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
            Hammer Baroque presented the Rezonance Ensemble in an afternoon of Stylus Fantasticus from the seventeenth century. Stylus Fantasticus is the 1650’s version of jazz. Previously, instruments were used to accompany voices or keep time for dances, but the new style was described as ‘the most free and unrestrained method of composing, bound to nothing, neither to any words nor to a melodic subject’, and it was instituted to display genius’ and showcase just what instruments could do. After all this was the time of the great violin makers – Amati & Stradivarius – and they were not built to play second fiddle to a singer or dancer.

                   Benjamin Stein & his ‘theorbo’

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