Violinist Alexandre Da Costa featured in ‘The Great Musical Impressionists’
If you’re thinking about catching Valerie Tryon at the ivories this Sunday afternoon, you can simply forget about it.
Tryon’s 2 p.m. High Tea recital under the aegis of the Brott Music Festival at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King St. W., has long been sold out. Obviously, the partial list of Tryon’s bill on the BMF website was enough of a tease for patrons. And, well, maybe the High Tea’s scones, clotted cream, finger sandwiches, squares, and English tea had something to do with it, too.
But back to Tryon’s bill. The program she’s chosen plays to her strengths. It includes, in addition to the works listed on the BMF website, the “Spring Song” from Book 5 of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Song without Words,” Francis Poulenc’s “Nocturne in C,” the “Bal des jeunes filles,” completed on Christmas Eve 1933 and included in “Huit Nocturnes,” as well as the “Toccata” from “Trois Pièces.” Plus Tryon will offer up some Chopin, two etudes from op. 10 and op. 25 as well as the “Berceuse” op. 57, the “Polonaise in C sharp Minor” op. 26 no. 1, and the “Scherzo no. 3” op. 39.
Yearning for more? Tryon will make a further appearance at the BMF, on Wednesday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre to solo in Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto no. 5” with Boris Brott and the National Academy Orchestra.
After tonight’s performance of Bizet’s opera, “Carmen,” Brott and the NAO will be back in action on Thursday, July 20 at Mohawk College’s McIntyre Performing Arts Centre, 135 Fennell Ave. W., for a program entitled “The Great Musical Impressionists” featuring internationally acclaimed Canadian violinist Alexandre Da Costa. Oui, the same Monsieur Da Costa who snagged a Juno in 2012 in the Classical Album of the Year: Soloist with Large Ensemble category for his “Daugherty: Fire and Blood” Warner Classics CD with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
Da Costa and his 1701 Stradivarius violin (well, it’s not actually his Strad, but loaned to him as a gift from Guy Deveault, president of Canadel Furniture, Inc. in Louiseville, Québec) will be heard in the opening title from his 2016 “Stradivarius à l’Opéra” Spectra Musique CD, “Apertura: Lo spettacolo deve andare avanti” (Rhapsody on a theme of Freddie Mercury/Brian May) as whipped up by himself and Bobby Cyr, a Québec-based pianistcomposer-orchestrator. He’ll follow up with other titles from that same disc, the “Méditation” from Jules Massenet’s opera, “Thaïs,” the “Spanish Dance” from Manuel de Falla’s opera, “La vida breve,” and the “Valse” op. 59 no. 3 from Richard Strauss’s opera, “Der Rosenkavalier.” In addition, he’ll toss off a bonbon every first-rate fiddler has in his or her back pocket, Vittorio Monti’s “Czardas.”
Canadian composer Pierre Mercure would have turned 90 this year had he not died tragically in a car accident near Avallon, France in January, 1966. Mercure’s symphonic fantasy, “Kaléidoscope,” his firstever orchestral composition was written in 1948 and revised for reduced orchestra the following year. It remains his most frequently played work. It’s popped up on several BMF bills in the past, and is scheduled to open the July 20 bill. True to its title, the work’s evershifting orchestral colours are the musical equivalent to the shifting patterns of colours and shapes that are reflected in a kaleidoscope.
When it comes to Impressionist composers who were masterful, colourful orchestrators, two of the greats are Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Both are represented on the July 20 bill.
Debussy’s 1905 panorama for orchestra, “La Mer” (The Sea), with its three symphonic sketches entitled “From Dawn till Noon on the Sea,” “Play of the Waves,” and “Dialogue of the Wind and Sea,” fits the bill to a T. It was last heard in Hamilton in May 2014. Back then, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s guest conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay emerged from that charged, 25 minute reading as if he’d been sprayed by the sea. But what most in the audience likely didn’t see or pick up on were percussionist Bob Becker’s eight cymbals and the imaginative manner in which he played them. Perhaps the NAO’s percussion mentor, Jean Norman Iadeluca, can pass on those priceless professional pointers to the NAO’s apprentice percussionists?
Last, but not least, Ravel’s “Boléro,” in essence a 15-minute crescendo underpinned by a quasi-relentless, hypnotic part for two snare drummers who combine for a total of 4,647 notes, has been a concert hall favourite since its 1928 première. But c’mon, ’fess up. You remember it from that, ahem, 1979 Dudley Moore-Bo Derek flick, “10.”
Tickets are $32, senior $27, Brott35 $25, student $15. Call 905525-7664.
Internationally acclaimed and Juno-winning violinist Alexandre Da Costa will perform at the McIntryre Performing Arts Centre July 20.