The first concert of the Confluence season is now available (free) on the Confluence Youtube channel. It’s the first of three concerts featuring the Bach Suites for Cello, presented in partnership with the Toronto Bach Festival. This first concert features the well known Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major BWV 1007, played rather beautifully by Winona Zelenka and an equally satisfying version of Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major BWV 1009 played by Michelle Tang. Both these pieces are played on modern cell but it looks like the second and third concerts will feature less conventional forces. The concert was recorded at Heliconian Hall with a small live audience and looks and sounds excellent.
What I really like about the Confluence concert series is that sometimes they do music that I love and sometimes they do stuff that’s completely unfamiliar to me and which I almost invariably enjoy. Last night’s streamed concert came into the second category. It was curated by Patricia O’Callaghan and featured the music of Astor Piazzolla who reinvented the tango and the Andean roots influenced music of Mercedes Sosa. Tangos are great fun of course but I was more struck by the music of Sosa who spoke for the voiceless and oppressed of dictatorship Argentina in the same way that Victor Juara spoke for the Chilean underclass. Fortunately for her she didn’t share his fate though she was forced into exile. The music was interwoven with spoken texts from the likes of Borges read by Diego Matamoros and the visual art of Kevork Mourad. All in all a very intriguing program.
It seems like Ontario is changing its policy on what’s open and what’s not and who gets vaccinated and who doesn’t about three times/week right now and, among other things, it’s playing havoc with the creation of on-line content.
This will be a bit of an “odds and sods” round up. First off, check out Natalya Gennadi and Catherine Carew’s latest offering on Natalya’s Youtube channel. The music is very good but the animated effects are amazing. Over at Against the Grain you can see Joel Ivany interviewing HE Adrienne Clarkson who is always interesting to talk to.
Pickings are still decidedly slim in terms of locally created on-line content with many postponements due to the current lockdown in Toronto. What I have lined up is as follows:
The UoT Opera Student Composer Collective’s annual show is being streamed at 2.30pm on Sunday 21st February. This year it’s called Escape Room and it’s a comedy with a scenario of characters trapped in a darkened room with no memory of how they got there. It’s being streamed via Zoom and preregistration at this link is required.
The COC has a roundtable on Gender and Opera on its Youtube channel on March 5th at 7pm.
Confluence Concerts are offering a tribute to John Beckwith; specifically his songs, on March 7th at 2pm, 5pm and 8pm. That’s on Confluence’s Youtube channel.
Tapestry have two shows coming up on their Youtube channel. March 6th at 8pm sees Mireille Asselin and guests perform a range of works celebrating their French heritage. Then on March 27th at 8pm Morgan-Paige Melbourne performs Where Do I Go?; an intriguing looking mixture of piano and dance.
There’s also new short but fun content on the appropriate Youtube channels from Opera Revue, Alexander Hajek and Domoney Artists.
Do check to make sure that there aren’t further changes before planning your life around these events!
Right now January is looking a bit thin. All I have booked right now are:
January 8th at 7.30pm. The Glenn Gould School’s postponed fall opera show. It’s Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins and Bolcom’s Lucrezia. That’s going to be streamed free on the Koerner Hall performance website.
January 13th at 6pm is the next concert in the Confluence series. It’s The Mandala – The Beauty of Impermanence and it’s curated by Suba Shankaran. Also free and streamed on the Confluence Youtube channel.
January 30th at 8pm. Tapestry’s next offering. It’s called A Joke Before the Gallows and features pianist Adam Sherkin performing Chopin’s four masterpiece scherzi alongside monologues written by David James Brock. The show is described as “blackly funny and thought-provoking” and is directed by Tom Diamond. Also free, also on Youtube.
There will likely be additions as the moth goes on as people seem to put stuff up with very little advance notice!
Does creativity follow an arc with age? Is a period of peak creativity followed by inevitable decline or is there, perhaps, a qualitatively different, kind of creativity in the later years of life? Linda and Michael Hutcheon; literary scholar and physician, explored this in their book Four Last Songs, which looked at the later works of Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten. Last night they appeared in the Confluence Concerts Salon series to provide further thoughts with reference to the works of Messiaen and Leonard Cohen. Their thoughts were interwoven with performances of works by Messiaen and Cohen performed by Robert Kortgaard, Patricia O’Callaghan and Larry Beckwith. There’s no need to read my description of the show. It’s freely available on Youtube.
My sense of time, or rather lack of one, has made these “upcoming” posts a bit irregular. So anyway these are things I haven’t mentioned so far.
Tonight at 7pm on Youtube, Confluence Concerts present the Hutcheons with a talk on Creativity and Aging based on their book Four Last Songs. I’ve read the book and had (used to have) some of the best conversations with Doctors Linda and Michael so this should be good. Musical excerpts from Messiaen and Leonard Cohen will be performed by Larry Beckwith, Robert Kortgaard and Patricia O’Callaghan. Free.
Wednesday at 8pm on Youtube it’s Tapestry with SOS – Sketch Opera Singers episode 1. Singing peas on a dinner plate. The inner thoughts of evil babies. An attention-starved man who bursts into dramatic song whenever he steps into a light. Check out the teaser that’s already up on Youtube. Also free.
Saturday at 7pm is Opera Atelier’s Something Rich and Strange which is a baroque pasticcio. It’s streamed via the Koerner Hall streaming site and tickets are $25. Check out OA’s website for details.
December 13th at 8pm is Against the Grain’s multicultural Messiah/Complex. Free but registration required.
December 17th at 8pm is Soundstreams’ Electric Messiah.. This is the latest iteration of what has become an annual event but reenvisaged for the web. I was on a Zoom call last Monday with the director and music director. Sounds like it should be good. Also free but registration required.
The usual suspects (check earlier posts for recommendations) are still also mostly producing new content.
Last night Confluence Concerts streamed their latest offering; a tribute to Henry Purcell, preceded by a pre-show interview between Larry Beckwith and Andrew Parrott. There was beautifully played instrumental music from Victoria Baroque, songs from Lawrence Williford and Lucas Harris recorded at the Elora Festival and a couple of interesting takes on If Music Be the Food of Love plus Two Daughters of this Aged Stream featuring Daniel Taylor, Rebecca Genge and Sinéad White plus instrumentalists from the UoT Faculty of Music Historical Performance Department. I was less taken with Duo Serenissima (Elizabeth Hetherington, soprano and David Mackor, theorbo). I can’t tell whether it was the recording acoustic or a diction issue but the words were pretty much unintelligible which is a big problem with Purcell!.
A quick reminder that tonight, tomorrow and Saturday see new streams from AtG (A Little Too Cozy prequel), The GGS Fall Opera (Seven Deadly Sins and Lucrezia) and Confluence (Purcell). There’s also new content on the appropriate Youtube channels from Domoney Artists and Alex Hajek.