reGENERATION week 2

The second set of reGENERATION concerts of the Topronto Summer Music Festival took place yesterday at Walter Hall.  The song portion, unusually, consisted of 100% English language rep, mirroring the Griffey/Jones recital earlier in the wee.  The first concert kicked off with tenor Eric Laine and pianist Scott Downing with five songs from Finzi’s setting of Thomas Hardy; A Young Man’s Exhortation.  It was good.  Laine has a nice sense of style and very good diction.  The high notes are there though sometimes, especially at the end of a line, they don’t sound 100% secure.  There was some quite delicate accompaniment from Downing too.

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reGENERATION week 1

There were three reGENERATION concerts in Walter Hall yesterday at 1pm, 4pm and 7.30pm.  It made for a long but interesting day.  As last year, each concert was a mix of vocal and chamber music.  The vocal program was not announced in advance so I’m working from notes and there could be the odd error.  Pleasingly, there were surtitles for the songs.  This is a huge improvement on a sheet of tiny print to be read in the dark! Continue reading

Innocent revels

purcellWhat do you get when you take nine multi-talented musicians from a variety of musical backgrounds and give them a Purcell toy box to play in?  You get the latest concert in the Confluence series; ‘Tis Nature’s Voice: Henry Purcell Reimagined.  It’s an amazingly fun evening that completely blows the cobwebs off the often stuffy Toronto baroque music scene.  I can’t do a number by number account because I completely lost track.  I was having way too much fun.

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Blitzkrieg Cabaret

What better way to celebrate Kurt Weill’s birthday than listening to his songs, cabaret style, with a beer or three.  Well that’s what we did on Saturday as Blitzkrieg Cabaret opened a new run of Saturday afternoon shows at the Dakota Tavern.

We got three singers; Danie Friesen, Hilary June Hart, Jackson Welchner supported by Nick Donovan (drums), Colin Frotten (piano), and Andrew Downing (bass) with Hilary also chipping in on the accordion on occasion.  While Danie is a classically trained singer, Hilary and Jackson sound more comfortable in a jazzier idiom.  That, plus the make up of the band meant that the show tended to the “Sinatraesque” version of Weill rather than, say, the grittiness of Pabst’s Dreigroschenoper movie.  This was reflected in both choice of translation and performing style.  I think this works for some of Weill’s stuff but it doesn’t work for me so well with the Brecht lyrics.  I’ll go for Marx over McCarthy anytime!  Other people may feel differently.

blitzkrieg

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