Browsing: Classical Music

Alison Balsom, trompette; Scottish Ensemble EMI 4560942 (61 min 46 s) HHHHII Depuis dix ans, la charmante Alison Balsom a su convaincre le monde de la musique classique que la trompette virtuose, chasse gardée majoritairement masculine depuis toujours, pouvait resplendir de mille feux sous les doigts prestes et alertes d’une jeune femme d’à peine une trentaine d’années. Mme Balsom possède une technique fluide et assurée et elle dispose surtout d’une belle sonorité ample et nette qui ne brille pas exagérément dans l’aigu, ce qui donne à ses interprétations un aspect coussiné, mais sans mièvrerie. Le programme présenté sur ce disque…

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Angèle Dubeau, violon; Louise Bessette, piano; La Pietà Analekta AN 2 8732 (60 min 36 s) ***** Le compositeur américain John Adams s’illustre principalement dans le domaine de l’opéra et de la musique symphonique. Or, Angèle Dubeau et son ensemble La Pietà s’intéressent ici à son répertoire de musique de chambre avec pour résultat un disque très bien ficelé. Le duo pour violon et piano Road Movies est ici interprété avec la fougue qu’il mérite tandis que le quatuor à cordes John’s Book of Alleged Dances est présenté avec toute la fantaisie que le compositeur lui a conférée (on regrette…

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By Christine LeeFRIDAYBy 5 p.m. many people had already gathered to sit and listen to the music at Saint-Lambert’s Festival Classica, the town’s first classical music festival. The festivities really began at around 9 p.m. with the Orchestre Symphonique de Longueuil, directed by Marc David. As they began to play the first notes of a waltz, dancers in magnificent dresses and tuxes appeared and began their choreography, astounding spectators. As the night progressed, the parking lot turned into a dance hall; the music of the Bee Gees and ABBA compelled people of all ages to dance. A quick headcount showed well…

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Vocal soloists; Schweizer Kammerchor; Zürcher Sängerknaben; WDR Rundfunkchor Köln; Kinderchor Kaltbrunn; Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich/David Zinman RCA Red Seal 88697 72723-2 (15 Hybrid SACD – 794 min 24 s/ DVD 80 min) ***** It used to be that a Mahler symphony cycle on record typically required a decade or more to complete. The sessions for this set began in 2006 and concluded last year. RCA threw in super audio (playable on conventional CD decks) recording and launched the cycle with military precision in 2007. The performances reached collectors in sequence, at mid-price and in short order. The appearance of this lavish…

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Luminato 2011 (June 10 – 19)by Joseph K. SoThere was a time when Toronto in the summer was a cultural desert – how times have changed! Now we have the Black Creek Summer Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival, and this week, the headliner is the Luminato Festival of Art and Creativity, now in its fifth year. The centerpiece this year is a re-telling of the old Arabian tales in One Thousand and One Nights directed by Tim Supple, based on translations by Hanan Al Shaykh. I attended the opening on Saturday at the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Center…

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Scenes from Tim Supple’s One Thousand and One Nights (Photos: Cylla von Tiedemann)One Thousand and One NightsA Dash Arts Production and Luminato CommissionDramatized and Directed by Tim SuppleStories Adapted by Hanan al-ShaykhJune 7 -9 (preview) 10 – 19 (performances)Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, 227 Front StreetBy Joseph K. SoNow in its fifth season, Toronto’s Luminato Festival of Art and Creativity has always focused on exploring edgy and provocative re-imaginings of all facets of the performing arts. This year, the centerpiece of the Festival is its commission of Tim Supple’s One Thousand and One Nights, an audacious re-telling of the…

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by L. H. Tiffany HsiehThe Chinese rising star pianist Yuja Wang is emerging as some kind of new-edge sweetheart in the classical music world. She’s young — 24 — tomboyish pretty, cool, funny, feisty and good. Extremely good.You gotta love this girl and the audience at Roy Thomson Hall on June 9 loved her instantly as Wang stylishly conquered Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto in the company of Peter Oundjian and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.Standing ovation, cheers and the whole nine yards.So it’ll make me the odd person for what I’m about to write. As much as I am a fan…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehVenezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero described the piano as her playground on stage at Roy Thomson Hall June 1.That proved to be a bit of an understatement as she went on to play two brilliant encores à la Gabriela Montero.First, it was Gershwin’s famous Summertime, as requested by a member of the audience, in Bach-like style.Second, it was the theme from Hockey Night in Canada dressed in Latin fever. Montero insisted on improvising something Canadian — Torontonian to be precise — even though she had never heard of the melody until Paul Meyer, principal second violinist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra,…

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Pianist Yuja Wang (photo: Felix Broede)by Joseph K. SoChinese pianist Yuja Wang is one of the current crop of piano virtuoso wowing audiences around the globe. She is in town with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra this week at the Roy Thomson Hall. Born in Beijing, Wang studied with Gary Graffman at Curtis and won the Aspen Music Festival’s concerto competition at 15! In 2006, she was named Gilmore Young Artist, and in 2010, she was the recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant. She records exclusively for the Yellow Label. Wang had to cancel her National Arts Centre engagements last…

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A very well filled Rexall Centre awaiting the arrival of the soloists (photo: Joseph K. So)Tenor Placido Domingo and soprano Sondra Radvanovsky weaved their magic on a (cold) summer night at the Black Creek Summer Music Festival (Photo: Joseph K. So)by Joseph K. SoBlack Creek Summer Music Festival Inaugural Gala ConcertPlacido Domingo, ten.Sondra Radvanovsky, sop.Black Creek Festival Orchestra and ChorusEugene Kohn, cond.Rexall Centre, Toronto June 4, 8 pm. 2011Opening Cavalleria Rusticana (Chorus)”O Souverain” from Le Cid (Domingo)Bolero from I vespri Siciliani (Radvanovsky & Chorus)”Favella il Doge” from Simon Boccanegra (Domingo & Radvanovsky)”La mamma morta” from Andrea Chenier (Radvanovsky)”Nemico della patria”…

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