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Critic’s picks: Toronto concerts for March 4 to March 10

By John Terauds on March 4, 2013

Soprano Erin Wall, far better known outside Toronto, sings art song with John Hess on Thursday night.
Soprano Erin Wall, far better known outside Toronto, sings art song with John Hess on Thursday night.

This is one of those silly weeks with perfectly excellent musical options competing with each other on the same days. But that’s Toronto, circa 2013.

TUESDAY

  • Arc Ensemble at Mazzoleni Hall, 7:30 p.m.: The Royal Conservatory of Music’s all-star chamber players are off to make their début at London’s Wigmore Hall. Before they go, they’re showing off their programme of pieces by Mieczyslav Weinberg, Szymon Laks, Paul Ben-Haim and Felix MendelssoHn (via David Louie) to a hometown crowd. Details here.
  • Soundstreams presents Fuji Percussion at Koerner Hall, 8 p.m.: Canada meets Japan in a fascinating fusion of eras, styles and performers in a concert that features Japan’s Fuji Trio of percussionists, Toronto’s Ryan Scott, pianist Gregory Oh and the Toronto Children’s Chorus. Details here.

TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY

  • Talisker Players at Trinity-St Paul’s Centre, 8 p.m.

This third programme of words and music of the Talisker season features two wonderful singers — soprano Carla Huhtanen and baritone Peter McGillivray — mixing contemporary and vintage music, including Edvard Grieg and Gerald Finzi, in settings for voice and string quartet. Actor Stewart Arnott is the reader. All the details, including audio samples, here.

WEDNESDAY

  • Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, noon. Free.

In honour of International Women’s Day (on Friday), the Canadian Opera Company’s free lunchtime recital series features a programme that includes newer as well as older compositions by women, including late Toronto composer Ann Southam, who will be represented by Glass Houses No. 5. The programme details are here.

THURSDAY

  • Soprano Erin Wall with pianist John Hess at the Jane Mallett Theatre, 8 p.m.

Although she lives in Toronto, Calgary native Erin Wall is far better known outside Canada. She has a large, golden voice as well as impeccable musicality. We’ve heard her with the Toronto Symphony as well as the Canadian Opera Company. Now’s the chance to savour an intimate solo recital with master accompanist John Hess.

Wall is offering a great programme of art song that features well-known as well as slightly more obscure pieces by Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss, Erich Korngold, Francis Poulenc and accessible comtemporary American composer Ricky Ian Gordon. You’ll find all the details here.

Because this is part of Music Toronto’s Discovery Series, regular tickets are cheap: $21.50 regular, $10 for students.

For a taste of Gordon’s songs, here is Audra McDonald singing “The Red Dress,” a setting of a poem by Dorothy Parker:

THURSDAY & SATURDAY

Pekka Kuusisto.
Pekka Kuusisto.
  • THURSDAY: Concert No. 2 of Toronto Symphony Orchestra New Creations Festival at Roy Thomson Hall, 8 p.m.

Fireball Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto alone is worth the price of admission to the second of three programmes of new(er) music, which features the North American premiere of the Violin Concerto by Owen Pallett. That’s just part of a concert that also features the Amadeus Choir and the Elmer Iseler Singers. Details here.

In case you have time, here’s a converation recorded last year at the Drake Hotel between Pallett and Kuusisto, which, in the first few minutes sheds light on the art of interpreting music:

  • SATURDAY: Concert No. 3 of New Creations, 8 p.m.

The big piece to close this year’s festival is Bostonian Tod Machover’s A Toronto Symphony, composed over the course of the past year with the input of dozens and dozens of live Toronto children and grown-ups, as well as online digital manipulations. Details here.

FRIDAY

  • Young Toronto piano student Aron Chow at St. Andrew’s Church, 12:10 p.m. Free. St Andrew’s Church at King and Simcoe Sts bought itself a Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano in order to add music to its community outreach programmes. It would be great if they actually mentioned this on their website. Occasionally, someone updates the relevant Facebook page. I have no idea what he will play, but Chow is a mighty fine piano student, based on this clip from last year’s North York Music Festival:

  • Sinfonia Toronto with violist Rivka Golani at the Glenn Gould Studio, 8 p.m. Music director Nurhan Arman leads what promises to be a pretty special concert featuring Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony, the premiere of a new Viola Concerto by Marja Mozetich and Angela Cheng performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9, K271. Details here.
  • Seiler Piano Trio at the Aurora Cultural Centre, 8 p.m. if you feel like skirting metropolitan Toronto, violinist Mayumi Seiler, cellist Rachel Mercer and pianist Angela Park should be a treat in a programme featuring piano trios by Mozart, Schubert and Astor Piazzolla. Details here.

SATURDAY

  • Elixir Baroque Quartet at Metropolitan United Church, 7:30 p.m. The third concert in an ongoing series titled Baroque and Beyond also features theorbo player Benjamin Stein, soprano Ariel Harwood-Jones and mezzo Chrstina Stemacovich in a programme built around François Couperin’s gorgeous Leçons de Ténèbres. Details here.
Ciro Longobardi (Fabio Falcioni photo).
Ciro Longobardi (Fabio Falcioni photo).
  • Pianist Ciro Longobardi at Gallery 345, 8 p.m. Here is what is for us a very rare and precious peek into the world of contemporary Italian art music, courtesy of one of its most intense apostles. Longobardi has also chosen Piano Piece No. 3 by Toronto’s Brian Current for his programme. Details here.

Here is some mesmerising trio work between Longobardi, Michele Rabbia and Daniele Roccato:

SUNDAY

  • The Aldeburgh Connection‘s final Greta Kraus Schubertiad at Walter Hall, 2:30 p.m. Hopefully more sweet than bitter, this intimate afternoon of words and song features two young singers — tenor Isaiah Bell and the winner of last fall’s Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio competition, bass-baritone Gordon Bintner — and wonderful, longtime Aldeburgh collaborator, soprano Monica Whicher. Details here.
  • Arraymusic at the Enwave Theatre, 3 p.m. Igor Stravinsky’s aesthetic ripples get a larger-scale concert presentation at the hands of a great collection of chamber musicians. The programme starts with L’Histoire du soldat, and end with an adaptation of The Rite of Spring score for player piano by John Oswald. In between are new works by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen and Canadian Michael Oesterle. Details here.

John Terauds

 

 

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