Browsing: Romantic

A SPECIAL INVITATION FROM THE VSO Dear friends, colleagues, ticket holders and supporters, Last weekend the VSO opened BeethovenFest with Maestro Tausk leading a triumphant performance of Beethoven, Shostakovich, and our own Rodney Sharman. Monday saw a superb VSO chamber concert and Wednesday an innovative and vibrant VSO debut performance at none other than the Commodore. Then everything changed. On Thursday, as a result of the recent ban on mass gatherings implemented by BC Health, the VSO along with many BC arts organizations had to cancel our public performances. As we begin to come to terms with the immense impact…

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Toronto, February 16, 2020—The Toronto Symphony performed its Valentine’s program to a full house last night featuring some of the most romantic classical music ever written. What you missed? The concert opened with the Canadian premiere of American composer Elizabeth Ogonek’s “As though birds.” The work was inspired by a three-line stanza from a poem by Jonathan Dubow. Though only three-and-a-half minutes long, it is densely packed with an immense range of orchestral timbres, with moods alternating between melancholy and euphoria. Elim Chan, Stephen Hough, Photo: Jag Gundu Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, a work that epitomizes…

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His favorite repertoire includes works by great Russian composers including Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Mussorgsky and Borodin. “It’s in my blood. I grew up in Russia with this music,” says composer and conductor Airat Ichmouratov. He also admires romantics like Mahler, Strauss and Wagner: “The compositions of these great German musicians are enormously inspiring.” This brilliant representative of the new generation is entirely onboard the current trend of composers finding inspiration in works from the romantic tradition. Charms of Tonal Music Ichmouratov affirms his preference for tonal music, like many composers of his generation. “Obviously, the audience really enjoys tonal…

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NEW YORK – It is possible to lose a sense of perspective after a good night of Bruckner. The critic in me urges caution. Best live Fourth Symphony I have heard in months! My heart suggests something a little less guarded. Best in…well, quite a while. Certainly the performance ranks among the signal achievements in the history of the Orchestre Métropolitain, which on Friday made its third stop on a four-city U.S. tour and, not incidentally, its debut at Carnegie Hall. You can imagine a new punch line to the old gag about how you get there: by having Yannick…

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Thanks to amplification – yes, the Ballet has no qualms about using microphones to enhance choristers and soloists – the musical experience was satisfying, no, rewarding in normally dungeonous Wilfrid-Pelletier.Twenty years ago, ballet seemed to be third place behind the OSM and the Opéra de Montréal. No longer. This season’s opening production of Carmina Burana is fast selling out for its 9 performance run at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier’s 2552 seat configuration (the Balcon is closed off). That’s 22,968 seats versus 11,984 in Opéra de Montréal’s four performance productions (recently Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin) in SWP’s 2996-seat capacity, and 6,300 in the OSM’s…

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The near-symbiotic relationship between Mendelssohn and his older sister, examined in my forthcoming book Genius and Anxiety, was so central to both musicians’ lives that Felix was felled by a stroke on hearing of Fanny’s death and died before the year was out. Fanny, the first to evince musical talent, was silenced by their father as she neared puberty in order not to deflect attention from her genius kid brother. In her 30s she found a publisher and began – to Felix’s chagrin – to produce chamber music. His anger abated on finding that the music was of high quality.…

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The Canadian Opera Company has opened its season in Toronto with the North American premiere of Robert Wilson’s production of Turandot – and the world premiere appearances in this Puccini opera of Jim, Bob and Bill. Opera fans who do not recognize these roles might be more familiar with Ping, Pang and Pong, the court bureaucrats who add comic relief to the tale of love and death in ancient Beijing. Their names were judged potentially hurtful by the COC’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Committee, and particularly committee member Richard Lee, who is named in the credits as a production consultant. “This act…

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This was one of the best-cast and least-tampered-with Opéra de Montréal presentations in recent memory.Opera’s newest power couple – so Etienne Dupuis and Nicole Car have been called, and so they sounded Saturday night in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. But as impressive as they were in the principal roles, the Montreal-born baritone and his Australian soprano better half did not constitute the sum of show. This was one of the best-cast and least-tampered-with Opéra de Montréal presentations in recent memory. What you missed Fans of mezzo-sopranos had an array of firm sonorities to choose from in Christianne Bélanger as Larina, Stefania Toczyska…

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Musica Camerata Montreal is an exceptional ensemble. Founded in 1971, it has been performing lesser-known chamber works and pioneering the music of Canadian composers. In anticipation of Camerata’s 50th season, we spoke to violinist and artistic director Luis Grinhauz and his wife, pianist Berta Rosenohl. How did you meet? LG: I was 19 years old, new to Buenos Aires, and a friend of mine wanted to introduce a lovely pianist to me named Berta. But I seemed to be too busy with violin practice (laughs). A little bit later, after one particular concert, we finally met, and I asked her…

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The anniversary year of Hans Pfitzner (1869-1949) is marked by the re-emergence of a piano concerto that he wrote at the height of his fame. Pfitzner, acclaimed for his 1917 opera Palestrina, delivered the concerto in 1923, with Walter Gieseking as soloist. If Palestrina echoes Wagner’s Meistersinger, the concerto nods repeatedly in the direction of Brahms’s B-flat – and the nodding is done mostly by the listener. Pfitzner’s fallen reputation is sometimes ascribed to his gruesome flirtation with the Nazis but this concerto suggests something more organically at fault. Each of four movements is introduced by a promising idea, which…

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