“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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Handel’s “SAMSON”; not just a concert – an experience Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Handel composed twenty-nine oratorios but one composition stands so far out from the pack as to almost render the others insignificant. Everyone knows ‘Messiah’, but ‘Esther’ is also a creative work and so is SAMSON! Composed in 1741, it is a respectful and empathetic retelling of the Old Testament’s last ruling judge before the establishment of King David (Judges 13-16). The work is ambitious to stage; difficult to perform; and more than just diversion for the audience – it’s an experience. Statistics: – MASTERWORKS of OAKVILLE has assembled thirty-two musicians; seventy-seven choir members; four soloists and eleven members of St. Andrew’s Children’s Choir chamber team. 

The MASTERWORKS orchestra & choir awaiting maestro Demuynck

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“H.P.O. :-the ‘New World’ from an Eastern European musical view” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Ligeti was Romanian; Bartók -Hungarian and Dvořák was born in Bohemia. So, an evening of classical music with a Central and Eastern European flavor. For someone who grew up with the atmosphere of klezmer permeating my Ashkenazi household, last evening’s Hamilton Philharmonic concert brought on a strong sense of déja vu, or should that be ‘déja entendu’.
Gy
örgy Ligeti grew up in Transylvania and his interpretations of folk idiom music was politically disdained. The Concert Românesc sat unperformed for two decades until 1971. The HPO, under visiting conductor James Sommerville presented the piece with an almost Oriental flavoured scaling throughout the work’s myriad riffs.

Tao performing Bartok with the HPO

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An Easter gift from ‘5@1st’s ensemble Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
“5 at the First” presented a very varied program of music for strings ranging from a modern duet for violin and viola to a sextet for violins, violas and celli.  The young artist of the afternoon was flutist Aanya Grewel, age 13, who is a student of well-known Hamilton flutist Sara Traficante.  Grewel played a typically melodic and upbeat piece by John Rutter in two movements called Suite Antique.  The Aria was tuneful and the Ostinato was lively and unmistakable Rutter.  Both were masterfully played by a young lady who has complete control of her instrument and is obviously a talent to watch. * 

the musicians & guest soloists… post-concert

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“Ehnes & the H.P.O.; an heroic St. Paddy’s evening”, Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
I coulda been a contender‘ says Brando in “On the Waterfront”. My mother wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer, but Daddy, as part owner of a Montreal newspaper never opposed my interest in journalism. Maybe the MD or LL.B would have made me more financially stable, but given the opportunities afforded the so-called ‘Fourth Estate’ such as critiquing  a concert last evening, I wouldn’t change professions for even half of Gates’s wallet!
The Hamilton Philharmonic under artistic director
Gemma New is an amazing conglomeration. Audiences can almost physically sense the affection and respect between musicians and the podium. 

Violinist Ehnes & Conductor New – the Allegro movement of ‘The EROICA’

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