Collectìf’s latest show for the Toronto Summer Music Festival at Walter Hall last night was called Beyond Perception: What Haunts Us Now. It presented three new multimedia works each curated and directed by one of the trio of singers. The first piece, by Whitney O’Hearne featured arrangements of French works; both folk and classical that deal with the idea of La Dame Blanche; by turns sorceress or virgin bride. Turning the idea of male defined female transgression upside down to celebrate women’s agency, O’Hearn combined arrangements of the chosen music for combinations of three voices and piano with soft focus atmospheric video rather reminiscent of Collectìf’s Winterreise show at Heliconian Hall. The singing was beautiful and the concept intriguing. Top notch accompaniment by Trevor Chartrand.
So, my second DMA recital of the week. This time that fine collaborative pianist Lara Dodds-Eden. Walter Hall was alive with sound before the recital proper started with Ben McCarthy’s electronic piece menagerie playing over the speakers; birdsong, rainforest and crackly vinyl. The first piece on the program proper was Fauré’s La chanson d’Ève sung by Danika Lorèn. These songs are a good showcase for Danika’s many excellent qualities. It was all there. The diction, the easy upward extension, the beautiful and varied colours. Nice! And a good start for Lara showing her sympathetic qualities in classical artsong.
Next up was Alex Samaras with Ned Rorem’s As Adam Early in the Morning. Alex is an interesting singer with a background in a variety of styles of which classical tenor probably isn’t one so it was a very different take on the Rorem than I might have expected. This was proving to be quite an enterprising program. Szymanowski’s Mythes for violin (Sheila Jaffé) and piano was also an enterprising choice. It’s a good piece for showing off musicianship and sensitivity to the modern idiom and good to have a chance for Lara to show a skill other than accompanying a vocalist.
The second show for me yesterday was presented by Soundstreams at Koerner Hall. It was a programme of works written since 1970 and featured Adrianne Pieczonka and Krisztina Szabó with a percussion heavy chamber ensemble conducted by Leslie Dala. I’ve heard Krisztina a lot in contemporary work but it was a rare treat to hear Adrianne do something other than Verdi, Strauss and Wagner. The “opera grind” as she put it in an introductory chat with Lawrence Cherney of Soundstreams. Continue reading →
It’s almost September which means there may even be stuff to write about soon. Here’s what’s in my calendar so far.
August 31st at 12.15 pm there’s a concert in the Music on Mondays series featuring soprano Rachel Krehm and an orchestra conducted by Evan Mitchell performing Dove sono by Mozart, selections from Strauss Op 27 and Dvorak’s 8th Symphony. It’s at Holy Trinity Church near the Eaton Centre. PWYC suggested $5.
Toronto contemporary music outfit Soundstreams have announced their 2015/16 season. Highlights from an operaramblings perdpective include a chance to hear Adrianne Pieczonka sing music ranging from George Crumb to The Beatles. That one’s at Koerner Hall on September 29th and will also feature Kristina Szabó. In November there’s the previously announced run of Boesman’s Julie at the Bluma Appel. I’m eagerly awaiting casting information on that. There’s also a concert dedicated to James MacMillan, including his Seven Last Words from the Cross. That one is at Trinity St. Paul’s on March 8th next year. There’s a 80th birthday bash for Steve Reich at Massey Hall on April 14th next year and for real masochists there’s a concert featuring multiple types of squeezebox music at Trinity St.Paul’s on February 10th. Full details and ticket information can be found here.