8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 2 - October 2003

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • October
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • November
  • Choir
  • Musical
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  • Symphony

QUODllBET by Allan

QUODllBET by Allan Pulker I was fortunate to be in the audience on September 13 for a coneert by the orchestra and chorus of the Aradia Ensemble, of by Antonio Vivaldi, a program which the ensemble would be recording the following week for Naxos Records' new series of all of Vivaldi's sacred music. It was not hard to see why the career of the group's founder, artistic director and conductor Kevin Mallon, is rising quickly. His conducting that evening had everything you expect of a conductor - knowledge of the music, timely cues, wellchosen tempos and an obvious delight in the music. And' then there was something else, a quality not usually associated with conductors which for lack of a better term I will call "gen- . erosity of spirit". Mallon appeared to me always to be able to allow his artistic vision to include or encompass that of his performers without ever compromising the overall integrity of the performance. He made room for his performers to interpret the music, and the music that resulted had heart, warmth, and when the music called for it, excitement and brilliance. It reminde9 me of a conversation I had about fifteen years ago with the late Lloyd Bradshaw, about the importance of each singer in his choir being able to express the music as he or she felt it. His "secret" which steered him clei& of a multicfaceted self-indulgent "artistic" free-for-all was to create an atmosphere in which the whole choir felt the music together:· This from my vantage point as a member of the i.;hoir seemed to be the cornerstone of getting what he wanted from us. He would spend about twency minutes at the beginning of each of the first few rehearsals working on a relatively simple piece of four-part harmony, Thomas Campion's Nev_er Weather-Beaten Sail, working for a blending of our voices, phrasing and breathing together. What ~as established in capable of recognizing one when those twenty minutes seemed to in- it heard it rather than people form the rest of the rehearsal; and straggling ,to their feet after two what we each felt to be our individu- or three minutes of applause, al expression of the music fit in with which is usually how it happens and added to what he had in mind. here - if the applause lasts more I asked Toronto Philharmonia· than tWo curtain calls, then it must conductor Kerry Stratton what it was have been a great performance, that makes a conductor a good con- so we'd better stand up!) ductor. "The things· that cannot be There could hardly be a bettaught," was his succinct reply. He ter place than Toronto at this time did go on to say how important the to develop the sensitivity of our things are that can be taught, _but has- "palates" to the variety of "vintened to point out that they alone are tages" of conductors available to not enough. "It is the strength of the us: For one thing; the Toronto conductor's musical personality that Symphony Orchestra is ina tranwill'lead the way - personality will sitional year, as yet without a pertriumph Toronto Philharmonia's Kerry Stratton over technique - every manent, resident conductor - Peter Another great opportunity to train our I time," Stratton put it. When the de- Oundjian is the "conductor desigveloped musical personality is on the nate," waiting in the wings, as it be on October 25 when the Elmer ears to "hear the conductor" will also podium the results are unmistakea- were, to become the orchestra's conble; there is vitality, immediacy, ductor in the 2004-05 season. That gan Singers join forces for a con­ Iseler Singers and the Gerald Fa­ excitement, drama and an exchange . means we have many opportunities cert in which the conducting will be of energy, that make you say "that this year to hear one orchestra conwas a great performance". ducted by a variety ofpeople. shared by the two choirs' conductors. "When you hear an orchestra," In October, for example, Andrew So my concert-going goal this month Kerry Stratton said to me, "you are Davis will conduct concerts on the will be to seek out opportunities to hearing the conductor." He quoted 2nd and 3rd. On the 7th and 8th hear the conductor, to hear the musical personality behind the music. someone, Leonard Bernstein I think, Errol Gay will conduct the TSO in a as saying that a.great conductor can pops concert, and we can hear him make the town band $Ound great and again· on October 26 in the first cona Chamber MU$iC poor conductor will make the Vi- cert of his second season with Or­ Earlier I mentioned the importance of enna Philharmonic sound like the chestra Toronto. (It should be postown an en8emble feeling the music togeth­ band. sible, following my earlier argument er, something all chamber milsic en­ Of course between those two ex- to hear these as two performances sembles aspire to. One that appeared tremes there are infinite gradations, by Errol Gay rather than a performand it is in this area that I think it ance by the Toronto Symphony and would be intensely interesting for a performance by Orchestra Toronmany of us to begin developing our to!) to succeed in this area every time I heard them is the St. Lawrence String Quartet, which will bring to the Glenn· Gould Studio stage a program in which perceptivity. It is as possible to de- On October 15, 17 and 18 Keith clarinetist James Campbell and pianist velop a "taste" for conductors as it Lockhart will be the TSO's guest conis Andre Laplante will join them in perable to develop a taste for wine, to be ductor, on October 29, 30 and Noformances of Mozart's Claririet Quin­ to know exactly where a con- vember 1 Lars \i ogt, and on Novemductor tetinAK.581 am Brahms' PiaooQuin­ "sits" on a scale of one to ten ber 5 and 6 Thomas Dausgaard. tetinfOp.34. Music Toronto will bring without having to resort to reading Meanwhile, Kerry Stratton will two string quartets to the Jane Mallett the review the next day. This it has conduct the Toronto Philharmonia Theatre, the Kod&y String Quartet on been said is very muchapartofEu- on October 16and30inToronto, and October 16 and on November 6 the ropean musical culture, so why on October 18 in Barrie; and retumshould Brentano String Quartet, .whose prodentally, it not be part of ours? (Inci- ing to the notion of "hearing the congram, "The Bach Project" will in­ what makes me certain that ductor," Jerome Summers, the conit clude not only J.S. Bach's Art of the is not part of ours is the phenome- ductor of the Scarborough Philhar­ Fugue but also works by 10 composers non of the "standing ovation," which monic Orchestra, will not only conit commissioned to write companion seems to me would be a spontane- duct but will also perform a new com­ pieces to various sections of this mas­ ous response by the whole audience . missioned work for clarinet at that terpiece. These are just a few of many to a great performance if it were orchestra's concert on October 25. in the listings this month. • DELYEA PIANOS Inc. "THE USED PIANO SPECIALISTS" SINCE 1964 SALES AND ALL WORKMANSHIP GUARANTEED 100% PIANO SALES: RESTORED, USED AND NEARLY NEW UPRIGHTS - GRANDS • APARTMENT SIZE TUNING - REPAIRING· REFINISHING IF YOU HAVE PIANO RELATED QUESTIONS, CALL NOW FOR ANSWERS. Tel. 416-622-5511 Fax 416-622-0254 110 Meadowbank Rd. 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