“The Toronto Consort”; guests of Hammer Baroque Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
The term ‘baroque’ is defined as irregular or imperfect, but also refers to the 17th to mid 18th century artistic period…especially in music. If not enunciated properly, the meaning refers to impecunious or empty-pocketed…something most of us scribes have suffered! Hamilton’s “Hammer Baroque” organization brought the 45 year-old octet to perform the music and songs associated either directly or contemporary of William Shakespeare’s theatre and England. The group are renowned not only for their vocal & instrumental authenticity, but their making every performance a learning experience – even for the musically enlightened. We, as first-timers were impressed.

The Toronto Consort post-performance in Hamilton.

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Voice of the flute – the 5@1st’s opening concert of ’17 Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
The first concert in the 8th season of 5 @ the First series was “The Voice of the Flute” featuring HPO principal flautist Leslie Newman, accompanied by Roman Borys, cello and pianist Jeanie Chung. The afternoon opened with a student of Newman’s – Lisa Han playing Astor Piazzolla’s Tango-Etude #3 for solo flute. This difficult and interesting piece was very well played by Han, but the flute was a slim sounding instrument to convey the passion of tango, although it did marvellously well in the haunting, longing passages. Han is only in Grade 12 and is obviously a musician to watch. 

The ‘Voice of the Flute’ musicians – post-concert

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Oakville Chamber Orch’s, “fun & fun(d) raiser” Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
The OCO has a history of creative ways to attract support and contributions. Even our ARTS REVIEW had the imaginative idea of door prizes that incorporated assisting in the next concert’s critique; a restaurant dinner and an evaluation (always positive) of said eatery. The laminated and mounted article then was hung in the diner’s entryway. It was a desirable prize.
Since relocating to Hamilton, we’ve forsworn the concept, but OCO also has other innovative ideas and an afternoon at Joshua Creek Art gallery for music, food and silent auction was a success.

Leslie Ashworth performing, backed by Linda Ruan

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“Russian celebrations”, a superlative HPO evening Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Once upon a time, there was a thing called a record player. Round vinyl platters could be stacked up, and thus preferent music choices could be enjoyed. The HPO’s director Gemma New somehow was able to select four of this scribe’s favourites. So, if a reader gleans a little bias in the following…please forgive me.
A capriccio is defined as a whimsical or prankish work. Methinks Rimsky-Korsakov interpreted the meaning to emphasize the lighthearted aspect rather than a joke idiom because the work is a pure joy – both to perform and to hear. The H.P.O. gave all its five sections a distinct image

   Chalifour & New performing Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto

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Hammer Baroque & ‘Eybler Quartet -confusion! Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

Hammer Baroque got off to their usual early start to the 2017/18 season with a concert on the Saturday of Labour Day weekend. This time it was the Eybler Quartet presenting an afternoon of classical chamber music by Vanhal, Asplmayr, Hayden and Mozart, even though the concert was billed as Beethoven and Vanhal. Bud Roach took the blame for the confusion, and while there may have been some disappointed Beethoven fans, they were not evident as the near-capacity and knowledgeable audience thoroughly enjoyed the quartets which were offered. String Quartet Op. 6 No. 2 (1771) by Johann Vanhal opened the concert. 

Nosky; Gay; Jordan & Wedman – post-concert

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“Choral Spectacular”, NAO’s terrific Festival closer 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

The Brott National Academy Orchestra finished its 30th season with a superlative concert; four featured soloists and seventy-four choir-members selected from dozens of diverse venues – all coming together as one coordinated unit. The magic required to accomplish such a feat was contributed by chorus manager Paul Hawkins and under the mastership of Stephane Potvin. The latter is artistic director of MUSIKAY, a small ensemble whose popularity is growing with each season, but the challenge of creating something tenfold in size boggles the mind. It would be egregious not to mention the challenge facing the podium – choral group AND an orchestra.

Bradley, Segal, MacMaster & Westman performing ‘Ode to Joy with the NAO & Chorus

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