Saturday, May 5, 2012
The ESO heads to NYC
Last night I had the opportunity catch the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra's Carnegie Hall performance before they leave for NYC. They assembled a program showcasing Canadian talent and delivered it in their most colourful ensemble to date: vibrant shades of spring coloured-shirts for the men and multi-coloured scarves for the women. It was like seeing the show choir uniform equivalent for orchestra. They are definitely ready to make an impact at Carnegie Hall for the Spring for Music Festival this coming Tuesday.
Only one of six orchestra invited to perform, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) is going to present US premieres by three Canadian composers: Robert Rival, John Estacio, and Allan Gilliland. Rival's "Lullaby" began with a pulsating string bass line while the other orchestral parts overlaid a dissonant tension, the musical soundscape eliciting feelings of childhood reminiscence rather than tune to lull a child to sleep. The Triple concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano, written by Estacio, was last performed at the inaugural opening of the Winspear Centre back in September 14, 1997. It has not been performed since that time. Estacio detailed that for its Carnegie Hall debut this May, he edited the piece into a more cohesive form. The three soloists, Angela Cheng, Juilette Kan, and Denise Djokic, were quite remarkable as they all introduced their own concerto themes throughout the piece before they merged into a solo voice and built up to a frenetic peak. While the Martinu Symphony No. 1 was an enjoyable programmed symphonic work, I think one of the showcase work was by Gilliland's "Dreaming of the Master III," with soloist, Jens Lindemann, on the trumpet, flugelhorn and coronet. Dripping charisma on stage, Lindemann unveiled his brassy blue trumpet and his initial showmanship definitely did not dissipate throughout the performance. Gilliland's piece showcased the range of Lindemann's brass color from New Orleans blues, big band Swing and Latin beats. Lindemann was successful in creating a grooving rhythm microcosm on stage and brought the trumpet section to their feet. Also, did I mention there were whirly tubes in Gilliand's piece? The tubes creating a haunting echo throughout the hall.
Furthermore, the ESO provided an encore fitting as a musical send-off to NYC: Leonard Bernstein's "Mambo" from West Side Story.
The ESO is embarking on an exciting journey east, as the NY Times already stated, "Edmonton stands as the prefestival favorite for strongest local support, with some 1,000 listeners said to be ready to make the long haul to New York." There is no time like the present to acknowledge the local orchestral talent within this city and no better time to support our ESO as Edmontonians. ESO: Break a leg in NYC!
Until next time readers, take care!