March 12th at 8pm. ARC Ensemble plays Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and English Songs. An all Beethoven programme featuring Monica Whicher in the songs. That’s a free livestream on the Koerner Hall performance page.
March 21st at 1pm. To the Distant Beloved. Miriam Khalil, Russell Braun and Carolyn Maule perform Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte and a world premiere piece by award-winning Iranian Canadian composer, Afarin Mansouri, commissioned by Canadian Art Song Project. This one is $10 with tickets/codes available from the RCM box office.
Last night the RCM celebrated the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a suitably themed concert at Koerner Hall. The first half consisted of a performance of all the Anniversaries. These are short piano pieces; only a minute or two long, that Bernstein composed late at night. Each is dedicated to a friend or family member and many were reused later in longer works. There are somewhere between 20 and 30 of them and last night they were played in sets of three, four or five with introductions before each set by the composer’s eldest daughter Jamie complete with photos etc. The playing by Sebastian Knauer was idiomatic, virtuosic and sensitive. The introductions were informative, engaging and mercifully short. The music covered a vast range of moods and styles though all of it very Bernstein; that is to say tonal and obviously American. I was particularly struck by the brooding piece he wrote for his younger daughter some years after the death of her mother and by the earlier piece, dedicated to his wife Felicia Montealegre, that had Copland all over it and was none the worse for that. It was actually a rather brilliant way to showcase the man in a 45 minute or so concert segment.
This concert at Koerner Hall was the second in this summer’s Twenty-First Century Music Festival. It advertised works by Christos Hatzis, Brian Current, R. Murray Schafer and Louis Andriessen. In fact we kicked off with a short bonus selected from Youtube entries to make up 21 premieres for the C21. Unfortunately I didn’t catch composer or title and it lasted less than two minutes. Continue reading →
“Culture Days” is a weekend long festival in Toronto where various arts organisations put on free events. This year it included a concert in Koerner Hall by the ARC Ensemble with guests Baritone Peter Barrett and cellist Se-Doo Park. The main draw for me was Respighi’s Il tramonto; a setting for baritone and string quartet of an Italian translation of Shelley’s The Sunset. This was indeed very well executed but was far from the most interesting part of the afternoon.
It was actually the final piece that was the revelation; Castelnuevo-Tedesco’s Piano Quintet No. 1. It’s a really fun piece in high romantic style with tons of melodic ideas and lots of colour. It was given a truly virtuoso performance by Erika Raum, Benjamin Bowman, Steven Dann, Se-Doo Park and Dianne Werner. I think I’ll be looking for more examples of Castelnuevo-Terdesco’s work.