Songbook XL

Tapestry and the COC collaborated for yesterday’s concert in the RBA.  The performers were members of the Ensemble Studio.  The material was a mix of numbers from the Tapestry back catalogue plus a couple of songs by COC composer in residence Ian Cusson.

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Old Songs, New Songs

Yesterday Matthew Cairns and Rachel Kerr performed an unusually wide range of songs in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.  It’s part of Matthew’s prep for his CBC recording session which was part of the prize at last year’s Centre Stage and which will be broadcast in the new year.  They kicked off with a contrasting pair of Duparc song’s.  First came the almost dreamy L’invitation au voyage with it’s arpeggio accompaniment followed by the much more dramatic Le manoir de Rosemonde.  These really set the tone for the recital.  There was power where it was needed but also considerable delicacy from both singer and pianist.

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MIR trio

The MIR trio; Mark Skazintetsky (violin), Igor Gefter (cello) and Rachel Kerr (piano) played a programme of music by Jewish composers in the RBA at noon yesterday.  Most of the music was by contemporary composers but the opening set was the Three Nocturnes of Ernest Bloch.  This is superb music and it was beautifully played.  The first movement; Andante, is quite elegiac but things really kick in with the Andante quieto, which contains a quite lovely melody for the cello before the final Tempestoso which fully lives up to its marking.

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Toronto Summer Music opener

Last night saw the first concert of this year’s Toronto Summer Music Festival.  The theme was “Beyond Borders” with most of the works presented; a mixture of piano, violin and vocal, having been influenced by other cultures/places or written in exile.

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Water nymphs

Lauren Eberwein and Rachel Kerr put on a rather different show in the RBA at lunchtime.  The musical component consisted of Ravel’s Jeu d’eaux and Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi.  The surprise was that Lauren painted on a canvas on the floor throughout the performance.  She brought on two palettes of acrylics and used her hands and feet to create a large abstract on the broad theme of “water”.  Needless to say, she ended up covered in paint.

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February

nlightsHere are a few more February items of interest in addition to those mentioned here.  Tapestry’s new piece Hook Up opens on January 30th at Theatre Passe Muraille and runs for most of February.  Then on Sunday 3rd February at 2.30 pm VOICEBOX have a performance of Schubert’s rather rare opera Fierrebras.  Kevin Mallon conducts the Aradia Ensemble for this one.  Also there’s Opera Pub as usual on Thursday 7th February.

On February 16th at Gallery 345 at 8pm there will be an Against the Grain presentation of Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine.  The “twist” here is that Elle becomes Lui and will be sung by tenor Jacques Arsenault.  Topher Mokrzewski at the piano.  Aria Umezawa directs the first in what is planned as a series of “twisted” concerts.

In free concert news there’s the Quilico Prize competition on February 11th at 5.30pm in the RBA.  Once again the members of theEnsemble Studio compete for cash.  At the nnon hour there’s Susan Bullock and Liz Upchurch on the 19th with a programme of Wagner, Strauss and Duparc and on the 20th there’s Samuel Chan and Stéphane Mayer with an all Schubert programme.  Then on the 21st there’s Lauren Eberwein and Rachel Kerr with a Messiaen and Ravel show.  Given that it’s the Jessye Norman Gala on the 20th as well I think I’ll just schlep my sleeping bag over to the Four Seasons Centre.

Also at the COC of course Elektra continues until February 22nd with Così fan tutte opening on February 5th and running until the 23rd.

Meet the Orchestra Academy

Yesterday’s concert in the RBA, the first I’ve been to in a while, featured the five members of the Orchestra Academy; violinists Joella Pinto and Gloria Yip, violist Carolyn Farnand and cellists Erin Patterson and Alison Rich, with Joel Allison and Samuel Chan and Rachael Kerr on keyboards.  It was an interesting concert in many ways.  We don’t get to see the young instrumentalists much nor do we often see Ensemble members sing with a chamber ensemble.  It was also interesting to hear the contrast between Joel’s dark toned bass-baritone, often singing in a very low tessitura, with Sam’s much brighter, lighter baritone which sometimes was well up in tenor territory.

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