Brahms, Debussy and a Canadian Voyage

Posted by Liz

New music to start off Friday’s concert schedule with Canadian Voyage at midday, featuring various new works by Canadian composers. The last (and best) piece was Victor Herbiet’s Concerto de Chambre; the piece was written to show that new saxophone music need not be alienating! The sextet (saxophone, 2 violins, viola, cello and piano) was an interesting mix of romantic-style melodies and technique. A very interesting 2-movement work that ought to be played regularly. out of the other works, Soulmate from Chan Kai Nin (for solo cello) was excellent but I found Still Time by John Burge to be harder to fathom.

Moving swiftly to Dominion-Chalmers for an afternoon of entertainment from ‘Alexander Tselyakov and Friends’. True light-hearted entertainment, perfectly suited to 2pm. Tselyakov père et fils started the afternoon with a piano four-hands arrangement of Debussy’s Petite Suite. Subsequently Tselyakov, Arianna Warsaw-Fan and Julian Armour (the latter two, after a few days of sheet music blowing around, with clothes pegs on their music stands) performed the short but very expressive Piano Trio in G major, again by Debussy.

A change of composer to Milhaud, whom I don’t recall having heard in concert before. I thought his Suite for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, Op 157b matched the Debussy trio in good-humoured beautiful music, but livelier. The odd discordant moment in the fourth movement added an extra twist. Finishing off with a flourish came courtesy of Saint-Saëns’ Septet for Trumpet, String Quintet and Piano, Op 65.

Later on I headed to Saint Brigid‘s. The heat kept me away from the first half of A Brahms Night Out, but I heard some of the DJ set in the interim and it brought to mind the image of dancing in a field with glow sticks. There was a reasonable audience for Orchestra de la francophonie’s (OF) performances of Brahms’ Third and Fourth Symphonies Opp 90 and 98, plus a new work by Julien Bilodeau. Bilodeau’s piece, Concerto du printemps pour piano et orchestre, had a varied mix including interesting piano parts, a full orchestral scream, lots of percussion and ended with a kind of slap. Totally different from Brahms, maybe almost too different in terms of programming.

Brahms’ Fourth Symphony was the more enjoyable of the two. The OF played well, but sadly not as well as the Zürich Academic Orchestra on Tuesday. It was again refreshing to see a group of young musicians on stage, though I did not envy them having to perform in jeans!

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Filed under 2012 Festival

One response to “Brahms, Debussy and a Canadian Voyage

  1. Liz: I hope you sent a (very lucky) spy to the Music and Dining last evening. No amount of superlatives could describe that! About 60 of us enjoyed a five star multi-course meal commented by one of the three chefs Julian had chosen to lead the food preparation . The music included a lovely matching suite of selections including, of course, one from Shubert’s “The Trout” to accompany the fish courses. Julian commented on all the music and the pieces were played between courses while an excellent staff of servers glided quietly among the tables clearing, bringing the next paired wine and accompanying course. In total, the music was among the most pleasing to the ear of any concert we have so far heard at M&B.

    The nine performers were not forgotten either with a special table set for them to come and go as they could – to be able to partake of the food. Even the volunteers reported they were able to nibble.

    The attendees included many people who were not regular pass holders; folks from out of town and others just having a great experience out after a long hot work week. It was gratifying to see the Festival supported in this way.

    If there were any negatives about Music and Dining, it may have been the up front cost but this was easily equal to the bill you would get at Signatures or over at Lac Leamy – and then you had the music on top! The other negative was that the Tabaret air conditioning struggled to cope with the 35 C temperatures outside.

    We will be back for this one next year!

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