This was the week that a local groundhog interrupts his burrowing to see what the winter duration will be. The Hamilton Philharmonic’s Pops Concert paid tribute to the rodent by presenting a concert that was…Boring! Promoted as a jazz event with guest soloist Diana Panton, the selections and arrangements were stereotypically ‘piano bar’ and should have had the percussion team clinking glasses as background.
Review by Judith Caldwell
Dec. 8th, ‘12
Oakville Ensemble’s fourth annual presentation of The Messiah took place on Saturday. The Ensemble is a small choir of 16 singers plus soloists and is led by Maestro Stephane Potvin. Sometimes they sing a capella but this evening they were accompanied by a nine piece orchestra of strings, trumpets, continuo and timpani.
In fairness to our readers, a little personal history may justify a certain positive bias on the part of this reporter. It was fifty years ago this month that I blind-dated a recent immigrant to Toronto. He was from Montreal, thus cognizant of all the stereotypes his hometown bestowed on my city…lousy restaurants (true); Blue Laws; (also true) cold & insular (still true); and rolled up streets after sunset (NOT true). During those early dates when couples learn about each other; I found out he was an avid fan of live music, including jazz.
Review by Danny Gaisin
** Guilty Guilty Guilty ** A sleepy-headed scribe credited Lehninger instead of Parker for “O’ Canada” ! Editor
The H.P.O. concert was named & dedicated to its two composers, Maurice Ravel and Dmitri Shostakovich. Approximately one generation apart, the Frenchman and the Russian had some similar and yet some totally diverse musical styles and experiences.
Ravel lived from the end of the 19th century to almost the start of WWII. His compositions like Tombeau de Couperin; Daphnis e Chloe, plus his arrangement of Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures’ are now almost as familiar as the piece he wrote for the movie “10” (just kidding)!
Saturday evening, the Oakville Chamber Orchestra presented a program which their conductor, Charles Demuynck, called Brilliance and Light. It contained the Triple Concerto in C major by Beethoven and Symphony #41 in C major; ‘the Jupiter’, by Mozart. The Triple Concerto is unique in that it is the only classical concerto ever written for a trio of soloists. Amy Dorfman, piano; Carolyn Hubel, violin; and cellist Felix Wong are the Blakemore Triofrom Nashville, Tennessee and they played the trio parts brilliantly & with perfect timing.
Saturday marked the reunion of the Hamilton Philharmonic with Basia Bulat, for the first of this season’s Pops Series. There is something about mixing together more than one type of music which can be very exciting, in the same way that combining various flavours of foods can be. We’ve become used to certain combinations, and know what to expect. A jazz vocalist with an orchestra, for example, is a “flavour” we all enjoy. We operate within a certain comfort level within that tradition, exploring the unique qualities that each vocalist or stylist brings. Sometimes, as in the food analogy, a whole different flavour is created. Put apples & cheese together, and you have an idea of what Bulat and the HPO achieved. It was a fresh, interesting sound that very much appealed to this reviewer, earning a standing ovation from the audience.