At Roy Thomson Hall last night for the TSO playing Carl Orff’s extravaganza Carmina Burana. It was fun. I don’t think it’s a piece to over-intellectualize. Big orchestra, enormous choir (Toronto Mendelssohn Choir augmented by the Toronto Youth Choir plus the Toronto Children’s Chorus), bawdy Latin lyrics and so on. It’s big, brash and mostly quite loud though I think Donald Runnicles did a fine job of balancing orchestra and voices, especially when the soloists or the children were singing.
Last night the TSO gave the last concert of the Decades Project. Starting, inevitably, with a sesqui, the first half continued with a fine performance of Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with Nicola Benedetti as soloist. In some ways it’s an odd piece to use to characterise the 1930s (but then so is Carmina Burana!). It’s high romantic in tone and style. Lush even. It’s also extremely well crafted with a rather luscious part for the soloist played quite beautifully by Ms. Benedetti.
It’s pretty Grimm in Toronto these days. Friday will see the 500th performance of Dean Burry’s 1999 opera for children The Brothers Grimm. Now, 500 performances for any recent opera is pretty remarkable. 500 performances for a Canadian work is extraordinary. Anyway, in the lead up to Friday there are a number of events scheduled including a concert yesterday lunchtime in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with a Grimm theme.
Eric Domville introduced the music. He gave us a disquisition on the Grimm brothers, philology, the Great German Dictionary, folk tales and the oral tradition, his childhood, Romanticism as a reaction to Enlightenment, the plot of several folk tales in their English, French and German incarnations and a potted summary of the cultural, political and religious state of Germany in the mid 19th century. It was perhaps just a teeny bit more than one resally needed to explain three arias from Hansel and Gretel and one from Königskinder. Continue reading →