Browsing: Romantic

Congregation Shaar Hashomayim’s pews were recently packed to the proverbial rafters for a performance by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. In honor of its 170th birthday, ‘The Shaar’ welcomed esteemed maestro Kent Nagano, who led the OSM in a rousing performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s thrilling oratorio, Elijah.   Shaar Hashomayim’s own cantor Gideon Zelermyer interpreted the tenor roles, while baritone Russell Braun sang Elijah. Soprano Layla Claire and mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal rounded out the protagonists, who were backed by the OSM’s 30-member chorus. VIPs appreciated the pre-concert mini ‘crash course’ on Elijah, delivered by Kelly Rice from McGill’s Schulich School of Music, along…

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Toquade Marina Thibeault, viola; Janelle Fung, piano ATMA 2017. ACD2 2759, 66 min 58 s. With the first recording of her career, violist Marina Thibeault strikes a balance ­between spirited and sentimental, tradition and innovation, accessibility and abstraction, leaving us with a clear and compelling understanding of the breadth of both the repertoire and the instrument itself. Thibeault has a sensitive but firm touch, painting long lines in which sounds become ideas. The disc opens with the Valse sentimentale from Tchaikovsky’s Six Pieces Op. 51. The transcription of the piece, originally written for piano, highlights the thematic binaries – the…

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Inner Landscapes Windermere String Quartet; Elizabeth Loewen Andrews, violin; Michelle Odorico, violin; Anthony Rapoport, viola; Laura Jones, cello Pipistrelle Music, PIP 1216, 71 min 22 s. With Inner Lanscapes, the Windermere String Quartet shows how far they’ve come since their 2012 debut The Golden Age of String Quartets, which featured the Classical masters: Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart. This disc features a commission by Canadian composer Robert Rival, Traces of a Silent Landscape, which was inspired by the Beethoven and Mendelssohn quartets on either side. The group plays on Classical period instruments, a bit lighter in tone perhaps, but no less…

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This year Opéra de Montréal is betting on a young, all-Canadian cast to present their last opera of the season, La bohème. Five of the eight singers in the opera are part of the alumni of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal.   The soprano France Bellemare – who portrays the lead role of Mimì – is the indisputable star of the show. She displayed great legato and good chemistry with conductor James Meena, who pulled out some magical moments by emphasizing nuances in the score. Bellemare’s strongest moments came in Mimì’s aria “Si, mi chiamano Mimì” and in the duet scene with Marcello interpreted…

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The trouble with keeping records is that library science has yet to devise a method of telling you where any piece of music will be just when you really need it. The Schumann piano concerto, for instance. If I look under Schumann, I find two versions. But then there are four more under Grieg – that’s how the record industry likes to pair them up – and heaven knows how many more in box sets of the lifetime works of individual great pianists. Online, it’s no easier, since the same recording will crop up a dozen times under different covers…

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Do not be put off by the cover, which shows two Victorians of different gender having a pre-Raphaelite snog. What they look like post-Raphael is left to the imagination, as is any thematic connection between Gilbert Baldry’s The Kiss and a set of Schumann pieces that evoke male friendships. Not long ago, record companies employed picture researchers and their covers bore some relevance to the music inside. These days, the images seem to be picked by a computer linked to the Amazon sales chart. Do not be put off either by the coupling of Schumann with a record newbie whose…

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It’s raining Rachmaninov concertos and I’m not sure the roof can take any more. The past couple of weeks have brought Vanessa Benelli Mosell on Decca, Marc-André Hamelin on Hyperion and now the exuberant Khatia Buniatishvili on Sony. Benelli and Hamelin both play with London orchestras, neither sounding on peak form. Khatia is seriously challenged by the Czech Philharmonic, who are in terrific shape under Paavo Järvi’s baton. Benelli’s pairing for the C minor concerto is the Corelli Variations, which she does rather well. Hamelin matches the D minor concerto with Nikolai Medtner’s long-neglected second concerto, a curiosity that falls…

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MAHLER, BEETHOVEN, MOZART AND VERDI HIGHLIGHT THE OSM SEASON WITH SUBLIME WORKS Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” opens the season on a grand scale A finale with the complete Beethoven symphonies Mozart tints the season in a series of concerts featuring bold combinations Four sacred works: Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Saint-Saëns’s Christmas Oratorio and Bach’s Magnificat The premiere of Matthew Ricketts’s Blood Line will celebrate 150 years of Confederation Nordic Festival from Mathieu to Sibelius: with Alain Lefèvre and Samian Science and fiction: a week in images and music when the OSM meets E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Express concerts:…

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In 1846, when Felix Mendelssohn conducted the commissioned premiere of his oratorio Elijah for the Birmingham Festival he presided over an orchestra of one hundred and twenty five musicians, ten soloists, and a chorus of four hundred singers. Mendelssohn was in his mid thirties. Fast-forward one hundred and seventy years, and another conductor in his mid- thirties will direct one of the most popular oratorios of the choral repertoire. On March 9, for the 45th anniversary of the St. Lawrence Choir, its Artistic Director Philippe Bourque will debut his first Elijah. “This work is intensely personal for me,” says Bourque.…

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The Barbican’s season opener last September was one of the great Requiems of my life. The London Symphony Orchestra had a spring in their step as they came on stage, the chorus had been seriously souped up by director Simon Halsey and the conductor, Gianandrea Noseda, waited at least half a minute until complete silence prevailed before he began. And silent it stayed. I have seldom sat among a more rapt London audience, not a cough in eighty minutes. Every individual in the orchestra displayed ferocious concentration. And, best of all, the quartet of soloists – Erika Grimaldi, Daniela Barcellona,…

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