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Volume 20 Issue 4 - December 2014

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  • December
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Eric Paetkauconducting

Eric Paetkauconducting g27Beat by Beat | Classical & BeyondTo MakeThe Piano SingPAUL ENNISCanada Orchestra and Tafelmusik to three years as a conductor inQuebec, most notably 40 dates with the prestigious Les Violonsdu Roy.He learned that raising money is difficult. Fortunately his musicalintegrity, commitment and charm helped make g27 workable.Conducting had always been in the back of his mind. In the early2000s he quit Nuremburg, freelanced and made the switch. Schoolin Amsterdam and an 18-month program in the U.S. provided a veryintense musical education from the basics to hours in front of anorchestra. This was on top of his earlier viola studies under the guidanceof the legendary Lorand Fenyves and the tutelage of Steven Dann.With g27’s ability to draw on Toronto’s top orchestral professionals,the musicians can do much more than in their normal concerts. Inthe performers’ minds, Paetkau explained, indie and classical is thesame world. They might play with Arcade Fire one day and g27 thenext. What matters, says Paetkau, is “the artistic integrity that has tobe fantastic.”“Musical excellence should be anyone’s goal,” Paetkau said.Knowing the score inside out is the first step in bringing out as muchof the music as possible and “giving the players the confidence toexplore within that realm. “I really love to learn the scores so well youcan play the piece in your head the way you want it. It’s also a lot offun when you’re off hiking or on a plane.”Paetkau describes conducting as the conduit that translates “whatis part of you to what is part of the players.” His excitement is clearlycontagious. “I love it when things are really tight; I love that intensityso that every concert is an event, the connectiveness betweenconductor and orchestra.”And it’s a two-way street: “The players enjoy the energy, the intensityand the musicianship; we’ve built a bond.”You could say that g27 is where Toronto’s musicians go to play, ontheir day off.Want more news, and reviews?Subscribe to HalfTonesThe WholeNote’sbetween-issuee-letter.Seen andHeard: Aftereach standingovation that followedhis performancesof three Beethovenpiano concertoswith the TSO inNovember, 19-yearoldbudding superstarJan Lisieckiwould take a seat atthe piano and confidentlygreet theRTH capacity crowdwith the words“Good evening.” Headded at the last ofhis six concerts, “Ashas become traditional,I will nowplay some Chopin.”The Nocturne No.Lisiecki, Dausgaard and the TSO performing Beethoven’s “20 in C Sharp Minor,Op. Posth. followed, flowing as naturally as the encores in the firsttwo programs, the Prelude Op.28 No.1 and the Etude Op.25 No.1. Likeputting on a comfortable shirt.Lisiecki’s playing of the first movement of the Fourth PianoConcerto on November 12 had an almost fortepiano quality; themelancholy second movement had a conversational tone until ittime-travelled into the future before meeting up with the impetuousRondo. At intermission TSO composer advisor Gary Kulesha askedLisiecki to compare Beethoven to Mozart and Chopin, the latter twocomposers having supplied the contents of the pianist’s two DeutscheBenny SluchinMarco StroppaBarbara PritchardScan the code or go tothewholenote.com/halftonesto register.Thursday December 11The Music Gallerywww.NewMusicConcerts.comPiano Recital January 20Jane Mallett Theatrewww.NewMusicConcerts.comHave a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with NMC!18 | December 1 2014 - February 7, 2015 thewholenote.com

Grammophon CDs.“In Mozart you’re completey exposed – elegant; in Chopin youcan play the concerto without the orchestra; in Beethoven you’re amember of the orchestra,” he responded.“My modus operandi is to make the piano sing,” Lisiecki said. Alongwith a wonderful tone, that’s his approach to every piece he plays.Kulesha wondered how Lisiecki would characterize the threeBeethovens. The Third “has a similar ferocity and darkness as theD minor Mozart K.466 which it parallels”; the Fourth “pushes theboundaries . . . [it] begins from the soul of the piano”; the Fifth“broadens what can be done in a concerto.”Three days later came a first-rateperformance of the Third. It had greatcohesion, its architecture proceedingorganically from the propulsive Allegrocon brio and delicacy of the Largo tothe pure joy of the inverted theme afterthe Rondo’s cadenza. You could feel thecomposer’s notes straining against classicalconvention but revelling in it. In theChopin etude, Lisiecki demonstrated thebeauty of tone over technique.Lisiecki’s playing of the “Emperor”the following Saturday was dynamicallydiverse yet always controlled, fromthe wondrously hushed non-cadenza ofthe Allegro and the magical Adagio whichfelt as though the piano’s notes werewalking on air, to the radical contrasts ofthe Rondo.In a conversation with William Littlerduring intermission, Lisiecki divulgedthat a teacher in pre-school had suggestedthat the five-year-old child be given pianoEmperor” Concerto, Nov 20, 2014lessons. It took most of that year and agenerous gift of a 100-year-old upright from a family friend beforehis parents agreed. Curiously, the Third Piano Concerto was the firstpiece by Beethoven he can remember as a child. Lisiecki also revealedthat if he doesn’t practise he doesn’t feel right: “You don’t want to bearound me.”Talking about his instrument and the fact that every pianist is at themercy of the venue where he performs, he raved about the piano atKoerner Hall, declined to comment on those at RTH and gushed overthe one he played in Hamburg. “Not knowing what to expect forces usto create art in the moment,” he said.Lisiecki’s Beethoven coincided with a series of three symphoniesby the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, all under the enthusiastic batonof Neilsen’s countryman Thomas Dausgaard. Judging by the orchestra’sgenerous applause and responsive playing, their connection tothe guest conductor was genuine. For his part, Dausgaard exudes joyon the podium, which manifests itself occasionally as open-mouthed.And he often lowers his arms and lets the orchestra play on their own,trusting them for bars at a time. He turned away from the audience inhis introduction to the final concert and spoke directly to the players:“Can I say to you Toronto Symphony – you own this music.”Lisiecki too fell under his spell as the two musicians intentlylocked eyes at the beginning of the finale of the “Emperor,” the youngCanadian drawing on the Dane’s energy.Trifonov Trifecta: Daniil Trifonov, only 23, the 2011 TchaikovskyCompetition multi-award-winner, having already proved his technicalprowess at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano MasterCompetition earlier that year, seemed intent on establishing hisartistic reputation with three programs available to Toronto audiencesthis season. The first, a dazzling performance of Rachmaninov’sRhapsody on a Theme by Paganini with the TSO took place inSeptember. An ambitious solo recital December 9 at Carnegie Hall willbe live streamed on medici.tv (and available free for 90 days thereafter).Consisting of Bach’s Fantasy and Fugue for Organ in G Minor,BWV 542 (transcribed for piano by Franz Liszt, S. 463), Beethoven’sPiano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111 and Liszt’s TranscendentalEtudes, it will likely add to his burgeoning reputation.Then on January 20 at Koerner Hall, Trifonov turns to chambermusic with the great Gidon Kremer. Mozart’s Violin Sonata No. 33in E-flat Major, K. 481. Schubert’s Fantasy in C Major, D. 760 andRachmaninov’s Trio élégiaque No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 9 comprise aprogram that will certainly reveal yet another side of this talentedRussian-born phenom.A Trio of Quartets: Music Toronto presents the latest incarnationof the Juilliard String Quartet January 8 in a program headedby Webern’s shimmering Five Movements, Op.5. Three weeks laterthe mighty St. Lawrence String Quartet returns for its annual visit toits first home. The exuberant Geoff Nuttall will lead us in a “HaydnDiscovery” followed by the father of the string quartet’s Op. 33, No.2“The Joke.” A major new work by John Adams fills the concert’ssecond half. On January 6 the New Orford String Quartet treats us toBeethoven’s Op. 95 and Brahms’ Op. 51, No.1 before premiering a newwork by Gary Kulesha. The New Orford then teams up with Amicifor one of the most interesting programs of the new year, “BohemianContrasts.” They join cellist David Hetherington and violist Teng Li ina performance of Schulhoff’s String Sextet and Joaquin Valdepeñasin Brahms’ unforgettable Clarinet Quintet in B-minor, Op.115. PianistSerouj Kradjian fills out the rest of the program with piano works byMALCOLM COOKAngelaHewitt.caArtist StoreWe keep all titles in stock and processorders in 24 hours - free shipping.We only ship to Canadathewholenote.com December 1 2014 - February 7, 2015 | 19

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