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Following its energized efficiency of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony per week in the past, Calgary Philharmonic opened its Curated Sequence (Major Sequence to these with lengthy recollections) on Friday evening with a program dedicated to music from the opulent period – the interval simply earlier than the First World Warfare.
There may be nothing just like the sound of a full symphony orchestra. On this event, the stage was packed to the gunnels with devices of all types, together with two harps, a celesta, a variety of percussion devices, with the common orchestra expanded to eight horns, amongst different devices. All of it made for a most spectacular sound, not only for the sheer quantity – and there was loads of that on the finish of the night – however principally of the vary of colors attainable with such a big useful resource.
Readily available to guide the expanded forces was conductor Karen Kamensek in (I imagine) her first look with the orchestra. American-born, Kamensek has had a really spectacular profession in Europe, one which now contains England and america. These performances have included appearances within the music of Philip Glass with the Metropolitan Opera, for which she received a Grammy Award.
Her competence and ability within the dealing with of huge forces and music of appreciable complexity was spectacular. This system opened with Debussy’s Prelude to an Afternoon of a Faun, a tough piece to conduct with many adjustments in tempo and pacing that continuously lie between the beats. I’ve heard fairly quite a lot of skilled conductors over time who merely couldn’t conduct this piece. However not this time. Holding a transparent, if light, underlying pulse, Kamensek led the orchestra via a sinuous, pliant remedy of this nice orchestral work, setting the stage for much more spectacular issues to return. Sara Hahn-Scinocco, the orchestra’s first flute, carried out the prolonged solo half with aplomb.
Kamensek was much more spectacular in her conducting of the ultimate work on this system: Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. The dimensions of the orchestra wanted and the sheer complexity of the rating have made this piece an rare merchandise on live performance packages. And it was the complexity of the work, particularly in rhythm – the dealing with of its seething high quality so that doesn’t degenerate into rhythmic mush – that made this such a effective efficiency. Point out needs to be fabricated from the contribution of the expanded horn part and, significantly, of the highly effective trumpet solos of Adam Zinatelli, rock stable in all that he needed to play.
Regardless of its unfamiliarity and complexity, the efficiency was so gripping that there was a spontaneous standing ovation on the finish. The orchestra too was pleased to specific its appreciation for Kamensek’s conducting that led them via many musical shoals with readability, precision, and with a terrific climax on the finish. An entire skilled in all issues, Kamensek was very spectacular.
The opposite Karen of the night was Karen Gomyo, whom I bear in mind effectively from her earlier, much-enjoyed look with the orchestra. On this event she supplied two works: a brand new violin concerto by Montreal composer Samy Moussa, and Ernest Chausson’s Poème. As earlier than, her light stage presence and luxurious taking part in had been charming.
Samy Moussa is a reputation hardly identified right here, however he, like Kamensek, has had a significant profession in Europe, not solely as a composer however as a conductor. He has composed a substantial quantity of music for giant and smaller ensembles, in addition to operas and oratorios. All of this can be a testomony as to the problem of recent Canadian composers to get their music earlier than the general public.
On this occasion, the viewers was introduced together with his latest violin concerto, subtitled Adrano. The sub-title refers to an historical Sicilian fire-god, represented within the three-movement concerto by a sluggish, evocative opening motion (maybe the spirit of the fire-god), a central cadenza motion (maybe his individual because the god of fireside), and a rhythmic finale (maybe the power and dynamism of the god). The three linked actions are all composed in a neo-romantic method, with a powerful tonal underpinning within the concord, however with extra fashionable figures as effectively.
The work made a really optimistic impression on the viewers, particularly within the glorious efficiency by Gomyo, with the CPO as a supportive associate. Gomyo has a very enticing violin tone, and even when the music is sluggish (and far of it’s on this piece), one is drawn to the tone of the instrument, at the same time as one may savour a wonderfully cooked French sauce. And there was loads of zip within the remaining motion.
Gomyo’s persona additionally suited the Chausson Poème heard within the second half of the live performance. The cadenzas, particularly, had been fantastically dealt with, and the orchestral accompaniment was supportive however didn’t overwhelm. The poetry of the music, its versatile narrative, was excellently dealt with, with melodic moments richly introduced.
General, this was a night of extremely subtle music. For the orchestra, that is very totally different taking part in from the Beethoven of per week in the past. It was a deal with to listen to the orchestra responding to such totally different musical challenges, on this event, a hit galvanized by the 2 visiting Karens, each of whom are to be welcomed again.