Pierrot on film

Last month I posted about a Pierrot themed concert including Danika Lorèn singing Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the Happenstancers.  Now they have released films of five of the songs studio recordings – not from the concert).  They are very artsy black and white movies with the texts included and I like them a lot.  They can be found on the Happenstancers Youtube channel as five separate films or as one continuous movie.

danika_pierrot

Pierrot

pierrotLast night the Happenstancers presented a short but extremely enjoyable Pierrot themed concert at 918 Bathurst.  The major work, unsurprisingly, was Schoenberg’s melodrama Pierrot lunaire for voice and chamber ensemble.  It was presented in two parts.  The first fourteen poems formed the first half of the programme which closed out with the concluding seven.  It was extremely well done.  Danika Lorèn was an excellent choice as the voice.  She has the technique for Schoenberg’s tricky sprechstimme as well as the innate musicality and sense of drama the piece needs.  The standard “Pierrot ensemble” is perfectly suited for the Happenstancers typically eclectic mixing of instruments.  Here we had Brad Cherwin on clarinets, Rebecca Maranis on flutes, Hee-See Yoon on violin and viola, Sarah Gans on cello and Alexander Malikov on piano.  Simon Rivard conducted.  Skilful playing and well timed interplay between instruments and voice made for a most satisfactory experience. Continue reading

Late June

danikalA couple more things coming up this month.

  • June 17th/18th/19th Toronto Operetta Theatre are presenting Oscar Straus’ A Waltz Dream at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
  • June 19th at 4.30pm Opera Revue have a Father’s day show at the Emmett Ray.
  • June 24th the Happenstancers have a concert at 918 Bathurst.  It’s Pierrot themed with Danika Loren singing the obvious Schoenberg work plus moon themed music by Saariaho, Sokolovic and the Saskatchewan Songbird herself.  One not to miss IMHO
  • June 25th at Crow’s theatre Soundstreams are presenting Noam Bierstone and guests in Percussion Theatre. It’s described as “a curated concert experience exploring the concept of instrumental theatre: the music doesn’t just accompany an action, the music is the action”

Chimaera

chimaeraLast night the Happenstancers presented another intriguing concert of chamber music titled Chimaera.  This time it was in the excellent hall at 918 Bathurst.  It was a clever conceit.  There were three “sets” with each consisting of two contrasting works that were combined in different ways.

The pieces in the first set were played straightforwardly consecutively but consisted of the least familiar music; Julia Wolfe’s Reeling and the premiere of Nahre Sol’s Chunhyang.  Wolfe is one of those young American composers who combine a conservatory training with a taste for minimalism and hard driving rock and, in the case of this piece, folk music.  It’s scored for nine instrumentalists including electric guitar and drum kit plus lots of electronics.  It’s really cool and reminds me of the most drunk ceilidhs I’ve ever been to.  And that may be why I remember almost nothing about the second piece except that the composer (keyboards) was playing it.

Continue reading

Balance of April and into May

rurThere’s a fair number of shows appearing at fairly short notice as people scramble to adapt to relaxing regulations so this post will contain events for April not previously noted plus a look forward to May.

  • April 26th at 7.30 pm Likht Ensemble have a free Holocaust Remembrance Day concert at Mazzoleni Hall.
  • April 28th at 8pm at St. Andrews on King St. Soundstreams are reprising the Vivier Lovesongs concert that was done as a stream last fall.
  • April 29th at 7.30pm at 918 Bathurst The Happenstancers have a concert featuring music by Julia Wolfe, Nahre Sol, Kaija Saariaho, Gyorgy Kurtag, Oliver Knussen, and WA Mozart.

Continue reading