‘Israel in Egypt’; Handel’s oratorio – by Bach Elgar Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

Handel’s Israel in Egypt is rarely performed because it is such a formidable undertaking requiring a double choir of 80 voices at the very least; an accompanying orchestra, six soloists and a very courageous conductor.  The Bach Elgar Choir teamed up with The Grand River Chorus to make a double choir of 110 voices which was accompanied by a 25-member orchestra who managed to sound much bigger than their numbers suggested.  Originally Handel wrote a 45 minute opening act of lamentation for the death of Joseph, but this was not well received by his first audience.

The combined performers for Handel’s ‘ISRAEL in EGYPT’

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Bernstein; & kudos for the HPO’s Percussion section Reply

Review by Danny Kert-Gaisin
According to the Gershwin’s ‘Crazy For You‘, the ‘Great American Folk Song is Rag’. I beg to differ- It’s the Western Theme song. Think of ‘The Big Valley’; “Gunsmoke”; ‘Davey Crockett’; High Noon” or ‘Bonanza’ and I’ll bet that the melodies pop immediately to mind. So, opening a Hamilton Philharmonic concert dedicated to USA’s musical icon Leonard Bernstein with Aaron Copland’s Rodeo is a super choice. The friendship between these two admirers lasted from 1932-until their deaths sixty-seven years later. This writer’s admiration for both was, and is, diverse but palpable. Copland taught at Rochester’s Eastman when cousin Barbara studied there;

Porthouse; New; & Iadeluca stage front with the H.P.O.

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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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