The ELIXIR ENSEMBLE, part of the Hammer Baroque season Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

On Saturday evening, Hammer Baroque presented The ELIXIR ENSEMBLE playing string quartets on instruments using gut strings as opposed to the more usual modern metal strings.  The second piece on the program explored the different sounds gut strings can make.   Many patrons of Hammer Baroque have complained of the short notice given for the concerts, the email announcement of this concert only went out on Thursday, but Bud Roach explained in the program notes that these concerts offer no-fee guarantees for the performers, and flexibility with dates is the trade-off to secure high-quality (and very busy) performers. 

       The Elixir Ensemble in concert

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“H.P.O., L.V.B. + W.A.M”; a memorable concert Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Gemma New’s Hamilton Philharmonic is of such a critical plateau that even if she’s away from the podium; the musicians are still an “A-Team”. Last night, her conducting mentor, the renowned Quebec native Jacques Lacombe, directed an exhilarating reading of Gluck’s ‘Dance of the Furies’ from Act II of “Orphée et Eurydice” (pronounced Yur rid a sea). In the opera; the dance backgrounds Orpheus & his lyre being hindered in going down to Hades to reclaim his dead wife! The music also appears in the composer’s “Don Juan” opera. This rendering was highly evocative and intense and set the bar at an apogee level for the evening.

Laplante performing Beethoven’s concerto No. 4 with HPO under Jacques Lacombe

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“O.C.O’s competition winners in concert” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
The Oakville Chamber Orchestra is starting it’s 35th year; concertmaster Aleksandar Gajic begins his 2nd decade with the ensemble, and maestro Charles Demuynck has held the podium almost forever. Like every forward-thinking musical organization, looking ahead means nurturing the musicians that will follow and the O.C.O. has always made such actions its mandate.
The Queen Elizabeth Park Cultural Centre does suffer from poor acoustics and the Yamaha may be a little tinny but the talents of four young (
as in 2 x age14 & 2 x19 year olds) made such problems minuscule.
The afternoon started with
J J Bui performing the Mozart Piano concerto no. 12’s allegro (opening) movement.

Sun; Orlenko; Bui & Yuan :- OCO competition winners post-performance

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“Gemma New’s HPO aces Brahms” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Saturday’s Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s opening 2018-’19 season epitomizes the old “A-Team” slogan about a plan coming together. The works performed; the guest soloist and the published list for the rest of the season were, & are – terrific.
The opening work was Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3; (of four). It initiates the opera Fidelio in which the main character uses the title as her pseudonym in order to become a prison guard and thus help her beloved escape. Maestra New’s interpretation had a slow and understated introduction so dramatic as to have me close my eyes to thus enhance the aural drama being experienced.

Crozman & New’s HPO interpreting Elgar’s cello concerto

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‘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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