Saturday evening’s Cinq à Sept concert in the 21C Festival at the Royal Conservatory was intriguing. The first half of the programme was a new song cycle, After the Fires, with words by Liza Balkan and music by Lembit Beecher. It set seven pieces about the 2020 fires on the central California coast and their aftermath based on interviews with local residents. It’s a really interesting piece scored for piano, clarinet, soprano, mezzo-soprano and baritone. It’s very “text first”. Although the accompaniment is often intricate it never overpowers the words and there’s a real harmony between words and music. The mood varies but, given it’s about really awful events, it’s more elegiac and lyrical and even funny than angry or sad. It got a fine, nuanced performance from Henry From (piano), Zachary Gassenheimer (clarinet), Xin Wang (soprano), Andrea Ludwig (mezzo-soprano) and Korin Thomas-Smith (baritone). Continue reading
And in the coming week… On Tuesday there is a treat for fans of contemporary music. Krisztina Szabó will be performing the Berio Folksongs in the RBA at noon. She will be accompanied by members of the Esprit Orchestra and the programme also includes Andrew Staniland’s Orion Constellation Theory and Alexina Louie’s From the Eastern Gate.
Thursday sees the opening of the COC season with Strauss’ Arabella in a production by Tim Albery starring Erin Wall, Jane Archibald and Tomasz Konieczny. Check out this article by Lydia Perovic for a South Slav’s take on an opera with South Slav references including that hardy Strauss perennial; hunting bears in Croatia. Arabella runs until the 28th at the Four Seasons Centre.
On Saturday, indigenous production company Red Sky Productions are collaborating with the TSO in a new piece by Eliot Britton; Adizokan. It’s a fusion of dance, video electro-acoustics and music in both western symphonic and indigenous traditions. 7.30pm at Roy Thomson Hall.