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All together now! All you need is love! Everybody! All you need is love, love, love is all you need. Hey, hey, hey, hey. Cue Cupid with his bow, and polish up those Beatle boots because Valentine’s and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s “A Hamilton Beatles Experience” are both headed your way.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Hamilton really loves The Fab Four. After all, not only did upward of 15,000 fans catch Sir Paul McCartney trolling through his back catalogue at the FirstOntario Centre last July 21, but the HPO’s tribute show with guest artists Ian Thomas, Steve Strongman, Hailee Rose, Dan Edmonds, Sophia Perlman, Jamie Oakes, and Dan Weiss all under guest conductor Darcy Hepner at the FirstOntario Concert Hall this Saturday, has been long sold out.
But take heart, music lovers. Love is in the air at a host of other Valentine-themed concerts this weekend.
Stéphane Potvin’s Musikay choir gets it on at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 715 Centre Rd., Waterdown, this Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 (yup, same time as the HPO show) with passionate love songs from the Renaissance like John Wilbye’s “Adieu, sweet Amaryllis,” John Dowland’s “Come again, sweet love,” and others. Tickets: $35, senior $30, under 35 $15, family (two adults with children under 17) $70. Call 905-825-9740.
Valerie Tryon’s playing has warmed the hearts of piano lovers near and far for decades. On Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m., she takes to the stage of the Hamilton Conservatory, 126 James St. S., for her annual Valentine’s recital. Tryon, who just returned from England where she recorded Mozart’s piano concertos nos. 20 and 21 with the Royal Philharmonic, will be performing an all-Chopin first half including the “Ballade no. 1,” and the “Polonaise in A Flat,” plus in the second half, Debussy’s “Claire de lune,” Brahms’s “Intermezzo in A” op. 118 (a work warmly rendered by Stewart Goodyear at his Burlington PAC recital last Friday night), and Liszt’s “Liebestraum” among others. Tickets: $27, senior $22, student $15. Call 905-528-4020.
For those enamoured with the combination of string quartet and voice, on the same day and at the same time as Tryon’s recital, Chamber Music Hamilton presents a “Special Feature: Voice and String Quartet” concert at the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s Joey & Toby Tanenbaum Pavilion, 123 King St. W. The ad hoc string quartet will be made up of CMH co-artistic director Michael Schulte and Aaron Schwebel on violin, violist Keith Hamm, and cellist Paul Pulford.
Among other items, there’ll be George Butterworth’s “Love Blows as the Wind Blows” and Samuel Barber’s “Dover Beach” with bass-baritone Stephen Hegedus, Ottorino Respighi’s “Il Tramonto,” Astor Piazzolla’s “Libertango” (played with panache by the Bandini-Chiacchiaretta Duo at the Conservatory a couple of weeks ago), and the last movement of Arnold Schoenberg’s “Second String Quartet” with soprano Carla Huhtanen. Tickets: $30, senior $27, student $10. Call 905525-7429.
For concert band lovers, on Sunday, February 12 at 7 p.m., Zoltan Kalman leads his Burlington Concert Band in a “Gift of Love” concert at St. Christopher’s Anglican, 662 Guelph Line, Burlington. Kalman and company will open with an arrangement of the “Triumphal March and Ballet” from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, Aida. Unusual for Valentine’s?
“You know how much I miss opera, right. I was in the opera house in Budapest. I’m just missing it so much,” said Kalman to The Spectator over the line from his Hamilton home. “Even though it’s not a real love song, obviously, it’s not even associated with a Valentine’s Day theme, but it has the triumphal feel of it. And then I thought it was a great piece to actually set the tone for the Valentine’s Day concert. There’s a beautiful mix of the ballet music and the Triumphal March. So this is, kind of, you know, just set the tone, and just let the audience, you know, here we are, and we’re going to have an amazing concert.”
But if those selections from Aida don’t send the audience head over heels in a lovey-dovey Valentine’s mood, then arrangements of Leroy Anderson’s “The Girl in Satin,” Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust,” and “Blue Moon” by Rodgers & Hart with the BCB’s Mary Sobota on vocals, ought to.
The bill also includes “Memory” from “Cats,” the “Intermezzo” from Pietro Mascagni’s opera, “Cavalleria rusticana,” medleys from “Hello, Dolly!” and “Beauty and the Beast,” the latter led by BCB assistant conductor Julian Lam, and “Love Potion no. 9” as arranged by the BCB’s Stephen Hewis with improvisations from Brad Yhard on tuba, trumpeter Lisa Liang, and flutist Paula-Ann Simon. Hewis has also arranged “Nessun dorma,” from Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Turandot,” for the BCB’s 10-piece brass ensemble, “Big Brass Theory.” The encore? A Tom Jones blast-from-the-past, “It’s not Unusual.” Tickets at door: $15. Proceeds from the bake sale go to Ronald McDonald House Charities.
So, to end, a cue from The Bard who once wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on.”
Stephane Potvin and the Musikay choir perform love songs Saturday in Waterdown.