Mendelssohn: The Hebrides (“Fingal’s Cave”); Samy Moussa: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra “Adrano”; Chausson: Poème; Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 “Organ Symphony”. Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Gemma New, conductor; Kerson Leong, violin; Jean-Willy Kunz, organ. Roy Thomson Corridor, Sep 29–Solar, Oct 2, 2022. Tickets right here.
Good program. Imperfect live performance. Let me clarify.
The massive merchandise after intermission Thursday evening in Roy Thomson Corridor was the Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 (“Organ Symphony”), a wonderfully pompous work whose extra extrovert passages can’t fail. As carried out by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra they didn’t fail. Strings have been incisive, at the very least within the second motion, woodwinds peppy and brass sturdy, although generally tough. The majestic last pages elicited the customary standing ovation.
This rating additionally has its interludes of introspection, which didn’t fare so nicely underneath the busy baton of Gemma New. The Poco Adagio part was drawn out and artificially subdued. Pizzicati had no presence. For all of the gestures this conductor (accountable for the Hamilton Philharmonic and the considerably extra distant New Zealand Symphony Orchestra), lavished on each bar, the outcomes have been unusually inert. Jean-Willy Kunz was imported from Montreal to play the signature organ half.
Mendelssohn’s masterly Fingal’s Cave was the opener. New balanced the sections lucidly in a low-key presentation. The reprise of the second theme by the clarinet was properly contoured.
Then got here Samy Moussa’s Violin Concerto “Adrano,” a 14-minute piece that earned this Montreal native the 2021 Juno for Classical Composition of the Yr. The nickname references a Sicilian city close to Mount Etna and the fireplace god as soon as thought to reside beneath.
Regardless of the backstory, the prevailing aesthetic is ethereal relatively than volcanic, the violin usually shimmering on excessive. There’s a contact of Wagner in his quiet moods on this music, which nonetheless leaves an unique impression, particularly with its orchestration. Ought to the rising predominant theme, which returns so evocatively on the finish, remind us of Strauss’s Additionally Sprach Zarathustra? My visitor for the night thought so.
Kerson Leong was a delicate advocate of the solo half, and New’s penchant for restraint got here in useful. This younger Canadian was quietly spectacular after intermission in Ernest Chausson’s lush Poème, which he projected with heartfelt phrasing relatively than overt quantity. Strong applause created an event for a solo encore: the Allemande from Eugène Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 4. Once more, the method was considerate. Intonation was excellent.
Oddly, the intermission was positioned after the Moussa, creating a primary “half” that lasted lower than half-hour. Violins have been divided left and proper, a configuration that (for higher or worse) is changing into the brand new commonplace. I just like the previous format.
This program is repeated Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. The TSO is on Star Wars obligation subsequent week. Music director Gustavo Gimeno returns on Oct. 12. Wanting ahead.
Get the day by day arts information straight to your inbox.