Day 2 Part 2 – Dance and Rachmaninoff

Posted by Liz

A complete evening of high quality performances – I heard from attendees of A Lover And His Lass that the evening was wonderful (for more detail, read Richard Todd’s review in the Ottawa Citizen).

The auditorium at the former Ottawa Technical High School was at least three-quarters full for last night’s Music and Dance spectacular. I can’t remember the last time I went to a dance program, but the evening was very entertaining and highly informative. Having just a few musicians to accompany the dancers introduced a more intimate element to the performances.

It was very interesting to see the Baroque dance sequences by Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière and Mikael Bouffart: wonderfully ornate costumes and excellent acting, especially in La Verdinguette (Jacques Champion de Charbonnières). Harpsichord accompanist Marie Bouchard received almost equal acclaim; her performance of Froberger’s ‘Lamento sopra…’ from Partita VI in C Major FbWV 612 was superb. Bouchard described the piece as an ‘unmeasured prelude’ and there was certainly a familiarity with some of the piano prelude repertoire.

Sonia Rodriguez and Piotr Stancyzk were clearly the stars of the evening, keeping the audience spellbound. Their performance of the pas de deux from Swan Lake was extremely well received, but the subsequent Lady of the Camelias (set to excerpts from the quintet arrangement of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 1) performance was even more superb.

At this point the scheduled program was somewhat mixed up, but this didn’t detract from some excellent instrumental performances by Wonny Song, Paul Marleyn and Yehonatan Berick.

Another excellent concert followed – Arianna Warsaw-Fan, Julian Armour, Matthew Larkin and Andrew Tunis playing the Rachmaninoff Piano Trios, featuring performances of the Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor and Trio élégiaque No. 2, the latter in the original arrangement with harmonium. Both performances had the reasonably sized audience rapt. Trio élégiaque No. 1 was incredibly atmospheric: beautiful melodies and great variation between flowing and gritty elements. Trio élégiaque No. 2 (written in homage to Tchaikovsky) was more difficult. The 2nd movement (quazi variazone) with the harmonium was very interesting and the violent piano passages were impressive, but I found the piece overall rather exhausting. A very full-on concert for a late night slot, but it was a good experience and I hope the two Fauré nocturnes concerts have as good attendance.

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