Jeff Morton greeted the supportive and sizeable crowd on the evening of Saturday September 13th at the University of Ottawa’s Freiman Hall in an appropriately mixed combination of grey blazer with dirty red sneakers. “There’s a lot to be seen on this stage, but there’s a lot of mystery too,” he enthused, before promptly giving way to the music.
The turnout was good, and even the Music Gallery’s exceedingly uncomfortable pews didn’t detour a wholehearted gathering.
Wagner: Die Walküre
Anita Välkki/Hans Hotter/Jon Vickers/Rita Gorr/Claire Watson
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Georg Solti
Live performance October 2, 1961
All this matters because I really could not have discovered Kingston’s new concert hall, or the Afiara quartet, in a fouler or less generous mood. Despite this spectacular prejudice, the building and their performance completely charmed me. I don’t know Kingston and I can’t say if they need the hall—The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, it is much more than a hall, it is a statement about the arts at Queens University—but I am sure that Canada does. It’s Snøhetta’s first project here, and the Norwegian firm famous for the Oslo Opera have worked with Ottawa-based N45 Architects to produce a serene and unpretentious building; let it be an example to others.
Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by C.M. von Weber/Violin Concerto/Concert Music for Strings and Brass Op. 50
Chandos CHSA 5145 (45:20)
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5/Piano Concerto No. 3
Denis Matsuev, piano
Mariinsky Orchestra/Valery Gergiev
Mariinsky Label SACD MARO549 (70:38)
The annual summer Montreal International Music Competition dinner-concert has become a genuine summer hot spot for Quebec’s classical music community.
Music by Bach, Vivaldi, Cesti, Lully, Frescobaldi, Palestrina and Gabrieli arranged and conducted by Leopold Stokowski with his Symphony Orchestra
Original recordings made by RCA Victor in 1950 and 1952 and restored by producer and audio restoration engineer Mark Obert-Thorn
Pristine Audio PASC 391 (75: 40)
Schubert: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major D. 485 (1816)
Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D major
Chicago Symphony/Riccardo Muti
Orchestra Hall, Chicago Thursday, June 19, 2014