Review: Calgary Philharmonic and guests deliver high-calibre performances


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Following its energized efficiency of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony every week in the past, Calgary Philharmonic opened its Curated Collection (Principal Collection to these with lengthy recollections) on Friday night time with a program dedicated to music from the opulent period – the interval simply earlier than the First World Struggle.

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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 every kind, 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.

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Readily available to steer 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.

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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 modifications in tempo and pacing that incessantly lie between the beats. I’ve heard fairly quite a few skilled conductors over time who merely couldn’t conduct this piece. However not this time. Maintaining a transparent, if mild, underlying pulse, Kamensek led the orchestra by means of a sinuous, pliant therapy 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 applications. 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 fantastic efficiency. Point out needs to be product of the contribution of the expanded horn part and, notably, of the highly effective trumpet solos of Adam Zinatelli, rock stable in all that he needed to play.

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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 joyful to specific its appreciation for Kamensek’s conducting that led them by means of many musical shoals with readability, precision, and with a terrific climax on the finish. An entire skilled in all issues, Kamensek was very spectacular.

Internationally known violinist Karen Gomyo was a featured artist with Calgary Philharmonic on Sept. 16.
Internationally recognized violinist Karen Gomyo was a featured artist with Calgary Philharmonic on Sept. 16. jpg

The opposite Karen of the night was Karen Gomyo, whom I keep in mind nicely from her earlier, much-enjoyed look with the orchestra. On this event she provided two works: a brand new violin concerto by Montreal composer Sammy Moussa, and Ernest Chausson’s Poème. As earlier than, her mild stage presence and opulent enjoying have been charming.

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Samy Moussa is a reputation hardly recognized 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 contemporary Canadian composers to get their music earlier than the general public.

On this occasion, the viewers was introduced along with his current violin concerto, subtitled Adrano. The sub-title refers to an historic Sicilian fire-god, represented within the three-movement concerto by a gradual, 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 robust tonal underpinning within the concord, however with extra fashionable figures as nicely.

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The work made a really optimistic impression on the viewers, particularly within the glorious efficiency by Gomyo, with the CPO as a supportive accomplice. Gomyo has a very enticing violin tone, and even when the music is gradual (and far of it’s on this piece), one is drawn to the tone of the instrument, whilst one would possibly savour a perfectly cooked French sauce. And there was loads of zip within the closing motion.

Gomyo’s persona additionally suited the Chausson Poème heard within the second half of the live performance. The cadenzas, particularly, have 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 completely different enjoying from the Beethoven of every week in the past. It was a deal with to listen to the orchestra responding to such completely different musical challenges, on this event, successful galvanized by the 2 visiting Karens, each of whom are to be welcomed again.

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