Holst; the HPO, and an astrology lesson Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin  Mar. 17th, ’19

My Very Easy Method, Just SUN”, this mnemonic is one of the ways of remembering the names and positions of the planets … the things in the night sky that don’t twinkle! Just over one hundred years ago, Gustav Holst composed a suite that reflected the astrological characteristics of the planets and the mythological gods they are named after. This work was the major opus undertaken by last night’s Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra concert in the Great Hall.
The pre-intermission part of the program was devoted to Claude Debussy. Opening with his ‘Prelude to an Afternoon of a Faun’.

The HPO & McMaster Choir performing Debussy Nocturne

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Toronto Symphony Orchestra…under Gemma New! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The Enterprise has its ‘Trekkies’; Jimmy Buffett has his ‘Parrotheads’; Taylor followers are ‘Swifties’ and Grateful Dead are the deadheads! Now is perhaps the time for fans of the HPO’s Gemma New to have a groupie nickname. A substantial number of Hamiltonians; including a full highway cruiser busload of enthusiasts made the QEW trip to Roy Thomson Hall to listen and applaud Ms. New’s first time at the podium of the TSO.
Toronto considers itself a World-class city and naturally, its eponymous musical assemblage should be world-class too. It definitely IS.
Under Sir Andrew Davis, and his predecessor Peter Oundjian , its stature and recording accomplishments rank with the best.

Gemma New at the podium

Review by Danny Gaisin
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“Escape to Paradise”, a multi-protocol HPO event Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

With just a year shy of six decades of writing about classical music; one feels as though one has heard just about everything euphonic… not so. An intimate proscenium-style almost chamber orchestra phenomenon was held in the Studio Theatre next to Hamilton’s Great Hall. It was audibly; physically; emotionally and sensually effective. HPO conductor/host Gemma New presented five novel and extremely contemporary compositions that incorporated the creative multi-media art of Tony Viera. Both orchestra and audience were impacted by light and projected imagery that accompanied the creative works being interpreted. The effect was a full dimension of impression and sensation.
The first piece was titled ‘Prelude to Dawn’ by
Kevin Lau. This is a new dimension of sensual impression and musical notation interpretation. Like the rest of the audience, our attention was more than rapt — it elicited a concentration and total focus.

Configuration of H.P.O & audience for ESCAPE TO PARADISE

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“A Ghost of a Chance”; #33 advising #39 Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin

Disclaimer: there IS bias here because playwright Judith Robinson is also a respected contributor to our ARTS REVIEW. So; as objectively as I can be – a critique of her political comedy in which a deceased Harry Truman (the haberdasher) advises President Jimmy Carter (the peanut farmer) on how to get reelected in the 1980 presidential campaign.
The format is concert-style with the characters seated while reading their dialogue from scripts. Incidental giggle; #39 is missing some pages until a ‘lines request’ is countered by an audience member running up with her version! The incumbent is recited by John Hewson while Walter Young is his ethereal campaign manager.

Dekar; Woodside; Sheehy; Young & Hewson interpreting U.S. politics

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“MOSAIQUE” from the ‘Ensemble Made in Canada’ Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

Ensemble Made in Canada, comprised of Angela Park, piano; violinist Elissa Lee,; violist Sharon Wei and cellist Rachel Mercer, commissioned a major new work from 14 Canadian contemporary composers pulled together into a piece called Mosaique. The composers were each given an area of Canada to represent musically, usually an area where they had lived or visited frequently, EMIC then arranged these compositions into the finished work. In the Q & A after the performance Mercer said they had tried various groupings and were still open to change, at the moment seven compositions form the first part of the concert and the remaining seven are played after intermission.

the MOSAIQUE performers, post-concert

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“We Are All Treaty people”: play asks meaningful questions Reply

Review by Ellen S, Jaffee

To be or not to be – friends?” That is the question confronting two contemporary children in Calgary, Alberta. Girl #1, Alanna, played by Elizabeth Ferguson-Breaker (Naaton Ainihki), a Blackfoot, and Girl #2, Maya, Lara Schmitz, who has English-French-Irish heritage. They meet on the first day of school; it is A’s first time in a city school, with few if any Indigenous students. They are about to shyly say hello when the Trickster, a traditional Blackfoot character, strides down through the audience and leaps on stage to interrupt them. “NO, you can’t be friends.” Why not? “Because of the story.” *

Scene from We Are All Treaty People

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