Monday, January 30, 2012

UPDATED: Concert Listings January 31 - February 6

Thursday February 2, 2012 7pm FREE Masterclass with Duo Aperio, Andrew Mah, guitar, Renée-Paule Gauthier, violin. Alberta College, Room 421 10050 MacDonald Dr.

Thursday February 2, 2012 7:30pm Brass Quintery - Robin Doyon and Russell Whitehead, trumpets, Hallene Hackleman, horn, Kathryn Macintosh, trombone, Scott Whetham, tuba. Music by Gabrieli, Samuel Scheidt, Symphony for Brass, Victor Ewald, and Four Pieces for Brass Quintet, Malcolm Forsyth. Convocation Hall, UofA. $20, $15, $10.

Friday February 3, 2012 8pm Edmonton Classical Guitar Society, Duo Aperio, violin and guitar. Andrew Mah, guitar, Renée-Paule Gauthier, violin. Ms. Gauthier plays on the Taft Stradivari, on loan from the Canada Council. Muttart Hall, Alberta College. Contact Tix on the Square, $25, $20.

Saturday February 4, 2012 7:30pm Edmonton Opera The Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan). Jubillee Auditorium.

Saturday February 4, 2012 7:30pm St. Albert Chamber Music Recital Series – Five of a Kind, brass quintet. Wendy Grasdahl, Clarence Samuelson, trumpets, Laura Snyder, horn, Eila Peterson, trombone, David Wiley, tuba with guest Chris Miller, trombone. Tickets $25,$20 available at Don’s Piano Warehouse (8 Riel Drive St. Albert ) or the Art Gallery of St. Albert. Each concert will be catered with fine wine and “tasty treats”.

Sunday February 5, 2012 2pm Made in Canada. Alissa Cheung, violin. Music from Canada includes Still Meanders and Groove 2.0, Alissa Cheung, Bellatrix, Jeffrey Ryan, and Sonate, Raymond Daveluy. PCL Hall, 5th floor, Alberta College, 10050 MacDonald Dr. $15, $10.

Sunday February 5, 2012 3pm Alberta Baroque Ensemble, Central European Gems. Elizabeth Koch, flute. Biber, Battalia, Muffat, Concerto Grosso in A, Fux, Suite in D minor, Benda, Concerto for Flute in E minor. Robertson-Wesley United Church. Tix on the Square or the Gramophone.

Sunday February 5, 2012 5:30pm Opera Nuova Dinner Cabaret Series – Romantic MiniaturesFrederic Beaudoin, Natalie Fagnan, and Adam Fisher. Music by Strauss, Hahn, Brahms. Location – The Marc, contact

Sunday February 5, 2012 8pm FREE Mayron Tsong, piano. Works by Haydn, Chopin, Scriabin and Rzewski. Convocation Hall, UofA.

Monday February 6, 2012 UofA Monday Noon Music FREE 45 min, student concerts from western classical to world music. Don’t forget to bring your lunch! Convocation Hall, UofA.

Monday February 6, 2012 8pm Poulenc for Winds - Dept of Music Faculty Recital Series. Shelley Younge, flute, Janet Scott Hoyt, piano, Allene Hackleman, horn, Julianne Scott, clarinet, Lidia Khaner, oboe, Matthew Howatt, bassoon. Convocation Hall, UofA. $20, $15, $10.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012-2013 Edmonton Opera Season Announced

Edmonton Opera 2012-2013 Mainstage Productions


Juliet Kiri Palmer
World Premiere of Shelter

November 15-18, 2012
Co-produced with Tapestry New Opera
Co-presented by U of A's Festival of Ideas

Shelter: a nuclear family adrift in the atomic age. Since Prometheus stole fire from the Gods, we have flirted with the dangerous beauty of science. In the invisible shadow of Fukushima, how will we survive when knowledge so outstrips understanding?

In this fable a father protects his family at any cost, a mother chases storms, and a nuclear physicist is midwife to a child who glows in the dark… When the dashing Pilot enters, our world is forever altered.

Ana Sololovic
Svadba - Wedding

January 12, 13, 16, 18, 19, 2013
Produced by Queen of Puddings Music Theatre

The night before a wedding, girlfriends prepare the bride-to-be in a ravishing and cathartic Balkan rite of passage. An intoxicating a cappella tour de force for six female opera singers, sung in Serbian with English surtitles, by Ana Sokolovic (The Midnight Court).

The Thaddeus Lake Music Foundation for Disadvantaged Children

 An important new post from Sound and Noise - University of Alberta Students on Music

On November 26th, 2011, in the early hours of the morning, my cousin Thaddeus Lake and his two friends Kole and Brad were headed home to rest when they were hit from behind by a drunk driver. All three boys – Thaddeus at 22 years old, Kole and Brad both 18 – were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

I will always remember Thaddeus for his smile, his passion, his energy, and his lifelong enthusiasm for music. An accomplished musician himself in the local circuit, Thad jumped over the municipal fence and took off last year, touring across Canada and into the United States.

Shortly before his passing, Thaddeus had set out to conquer a task much bigger than himself. Since music had been a crucial guide in his own walk of life, Thad wanted to ensure that others could have the same chance. A native of Leduc who put countless hours of effort into putting on shows and getting people involved in the music scene, he looked to take that desire just one step further.

In his passing, his family carries on his goal and has set up the Thaddeus Lake Music Foundation for Disadvantaged Children. It is a foundation whose primary goal is to remove economic barriers that may prevent our local children from participating in music. “Through recommendations of the Leduc and area music teachers, children may be provided funds as required to attend lessons or nationally accredited competitions or the provision of musical instruments.”

As long as I live, I know that I will never forget the feeling of that phone call. It’s the kind of spin kind that leaves you sick and begging for air.

Once the dust begins to clear, I know that I must do all that I can to make true his intention. Reader, I ask only for whatever form of support you can honestly contribute. As a university student, I understand what it’s like to have little or no money around. If you find yourself unable to make a donation, all I would ask is that you help to spread the word about my cousin’s noble pursuit. Perhaps you or someone you know has an instrument fallen silent in storage that could be well appreciated by a child in need.

So far we’ve received overwhelming support from the community and are incredibly thankful for the work being done. Together, we can each do our part to ensure that this cause is not ignored; that this brave voice not fall silent.

Please do what you can.

You can find any information on the charity’s Facebook page.

My sincerest regards,

Sam Maroney

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Concert Listings January 24 - 30

Tuesday January 24, 2012 7pm Opera - Sublime and Ridiculous. Opera scenes by Alberta College Conservatory's Vocal Arts Program. Music includes excerpts from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan. Muttart Hall, Alberta College, 10050 MacDonald Drive. Admission by donation to support the student scholarship fund.

Wednesday January 25, 2012 12pm Edmonton Opera presents their 2012-13 Season Launch with musical excerpts by next season artists Teiya Kasahara and Ileana Montalbetti. Go to the pedway between City Centre Mall east and west near Tim Hortons.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8pm Rossetti String Quartet – Henry Gonnier, violin, Sara Parkins, violin, Thomas Diener, viola, Eric Gaenslen, cello, with Rina Dokshitsky, piano. Dvorak, Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 5, Franck, Piano Quintet in F minor, M. 7. Convocation Hall, UofA. Tickets - Tix on the Square, The Gramophone, or the Edmonton Chamber Music Society. $20, $15, $10.

Friday January 27, 2012 7:30pm and January 28 8pm Edmonton Symphony, Gregory Vajda, conductor, Alexander Korsantia, piano. Rachmaninoff, Third Piano Concerto, Mahler, Adagietto from Fifth Symphony, Shostakovich, First Symphony. Winspear Centre. 2011Carnegie Hall Info Session, Studio (enter through stage door) 6pm (Jan 27) and 6:30pm (Jan 28).

Friday January 27, 2012 8pm UofA Music – Contempo New Music Ensemble. Convocation Hall, UofA, admission by donation.

Friday January 27, 2012 8pm Early Music Alberta – Gilbert Martinez, harpsichord, Josephine van Lier, viola da gamba. Music - Pièces de clavecin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, la Reveuse et l’Arabesque, Marin Marais. $15 for members, students and seniors, $20 for non members, $5 for student members. Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 10037 84 Av. The church will be lit by candlelight for a more authentic performance.

Saturday January 28, 2012 8pm Edmonton Chamber Music Society presents Joseph Lambert Massart and His Time. Guillaume Tardif, violin, Roger Admiral, piano. Convocation Hall, UofA. $20, $15, $10 tickets available at the door.

Sunday January 29, 2012 2pm Maclab Centre for the Arts, TorQ Percussion. Richard Burrows, Jamie Drake, Adam Campbell and Daniel Morphy. Maclab Centre for the Performing Arts, 4308 50 St, Leduc. Tix on the Square.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 3pm Sixtrum Percussion Ensemble presented by Tonus Vivus. Music – Claude Vivier, Pulau Dewata and Aikea, John Cage, Third Construction, and Iannis Xenakis, Pleiades – Peaux. Victoria School for the Performing Arts 10210-108 Av.

Sunday, January 29, 2011 3pm Trial by Fire - University Symphony Orchestra. Stravinsky's Firebird Suite and Schumann's Symphony No. 2 in C. Also featuring the winner of the University of Alberta Concerto Competition (to be announced). $20,$15,$10 at door. Winspear Centre.

Sunday January 29, 2012 3pm Hymn Festival with the Concordia Concert Choir. Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 10037 84 Av.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 3pm Edmonton Metropolitan Chorus Celtic Connections. With the Keri Lynn Zwicker Celtic Band. Music of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany & Canada. Myer Horowitz Theatre, UofA.

Sunday January 29, 2012 7:30pm Les Voix de Ghent, a concert of instrumental music composed by the Loeillet Family in 18th century Flanders. Henri Gauci, baroque flute, Tammy-Jo Mortensen, harpsichord. $15, $10 from The Gramophone, Robertson-Wesley Church office or at the door. All proceeds in support of the Robertson-Wesley Music Society. Robertson-Wesley United Church, 10209 123 St.

Monday January 30, 2012 UofA Monday Noon Music FREE 45 min, student concerts from western classical to world music. Don’t forget to bring your lunch! Convocation Hall, UofA.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Deadline Extension for Mayor's Celebration of the Arts Awards 2012

Monday, January 16 was the deadline for award nominations for our silver anniversary Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts.

The PACE (Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton) steering committee has decided to extend the deadline to Monday, January 30 for all award categories EXCEPT the Northlands Award for an Emerging Artist.

Nominations for the Northlands Award for an Emerging Artist are now officially CLOSED.

Nominations continue to be accepted only for:

• Award for Innovative Support by a Business for the Arts
• Award for Sustained Support of the Arts
• John Poole Award for Promotion of the Arts
• ATCO Gas Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement by an Edmonton Artist
• CN Youth Artist Award
• DIALOG Award for Excellence in Artistic Direction
• TELUS Courage to Innovate Award

Nominators can deliver their nomination packages to the first floor reception desk at City Hall or e-mail them to by 4:30 p.m., Monday, January 30, 2012.

Please click here to download a nomination form:

Review - Smart Programming Makes a Concert

From Sound and Noise - University of Alberta Students on Music

I admit it. I have not yet written a uniformly negative review about the classical music scene in Edmonton. Am I biased because I am happily a part of this scene? Probably. Am I scared to death that I have worked or will end up working with most of the people I review? Oh yes. (I am also a frighteningly people-pleasing Canadian.) At the end of the day, would these factors really stop me from saying what I truly thought about a concert? Absolutely not. Might it be that Edmonton’s classical music is just really good? I have found this to be true so far, but there are more concerts to see.

All of the classical musicians in Edmonton have opinions about each other, though I would venture to say that few of them have to go writing all about their colleagues on the world wide web for all to see. Since I am one of those few, I am grateful that the quality of classical music in Alberta’s capital is generally so high. So, the challenge is truly found in coming up with something to say other than the fact that another concert was good. On Sunday afternoon, the Scona Chamber Singers reminded me what separates the good concerts from the great ones.

Repertoire. This is the component that can make a concert entirely interesting or entirely boring. I have previously mentioned the plight that is classical music’s survival in this technology-obsessed era. When an artist programs a concert, no matter the genre, the choices of repertoire that s/he makes can pre-determine a lot about the number of people that will show up and the number of people that will stay past intermission. This means that an artist who chooses repertoire based on an assumption that s/he is entitled to an audience is doomed to fail. Audiences will feel no love and give no love back if they feel that not a penny of their ticket dollars gave them a say in what they would hear that night.

How does one artist include so many people in selecting repertoire before they all enter the building? It is not about a particular song that you think everyone wants to hear; it is about recognizing that the repertoire you choose immediately tells your audience how smart you think it is. I am going to come right out and say it (even at the risk of dissent from my colleagues): some famous composer’s signature on a score does not make it a good piece of music. If you program a boring or, frankly, bad piece of music, you better have a really good story behind it or your audience will wonder why you have wasted its money. Random concert programming is the death knell for classical music; there is more than enough mediocre repertoire out there to inspire yawns from the audience if the music is not given justification. Thankfully, Sunday’s concert drew far more applause than it did yawns.

John Brough, Jolaine Kerley and their Scona Chamber Singers are all part of an increasingly strong early music movement throughout Edmonton and Alberta. Early music is probably the toughest repertoire to sell to fast-paced society, yet they have done admirably well. Their concert, “Music of the Sistine Chapel,” showed once again how they can manage to fill Holy Trinity Anglican Church on a regular basis. There is no point detailing the quality of the choir; they consistently produce one of the finest sounds for a 16-voice choir I have heard in all of my years in choral music. It is just that simple. What kept me hooked to their concert was the connective tissue that bound the music together from start to finish.

Beyond the fact that all of the composers were either directly attached to the Sistine Chapel or inspired by those who were, the major linking feature was the opening piece by Luca Marenzio, entitled “Che fa oggi il mio sole.” Gregorio Allegri wrote a mass with Marenzio’s piece as its theme, and the choir interspersed the various movements of this mass within the other pieces. Add in one part famous tune (Josquin des Prez’s “Ave Maria”) and one part definitive Renaissance composers (Thomas Louis da Vittoria and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina), and you had yourself an accessible concert whose storyline could have easily enticed the most stalwart opponent of early music. John Brough’s pleasant explanation of the thoughtful programming was a welcome bonus.

When I began writing for Sound and Noise, I was not planning to write on a theme of classical music’s survival. After several months as a contributor, I have come to realize the importance of recognizing artists and ensembles whose performances will only have a positive impact on the future of a genre that is so important to me. Yes, my reviews have been consistently favourable, but this is because I find joy in acknowledging the work that my colleagues do to tell the world why classical music will be eternally important. It is an honour I do not take lightly, and it inspires me to remember that I have a responsibility in my own performing to do exactly the same thing. We all do.

-Mark Wilkinson

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review - An Act Of Courage: Kemal Gekic at the Winspear

From Sound and Noise - University of Alberta Students on Music

Kemal Gekic is the kind of musician who would cause riots in a less polite culture than ours. From the moment his fingers touch the keys, the audience is on edge: his fortes are bolder than any other pianist, his pianos more tender. The way he plays light, quick sections is incredible – each note distinct, each phrase communicative, and yet it is a head-spinning whirl.

His specialty is Liszt, which speaks for itself. Only the most virtuosic performers would even attempt a piece like Liszt’s transcription of Berlioz‘s Symphonie Fantastique - “the Witches’ Sabbath” is a hellish movement to play in its original orchestral version, let alone after Liszt added his madness to the mix. Massive choral themes are condensed to octaves on the piano, so that it must be played with as much intensity and volume as a 150-piece orchestra and bellowing choir. Simultaneously, the pianist is expected to hammer out approximately ten thousand notes per second. At other moments, the pianist must cross hands at a great rate; a technique which involves playing steadily in the middle register with one hand, while the other hand leaps back and forth to play both high and low registers.

All this was done by Gekic with intense emotional involvement. They were not just techniques, but expressions of turmoil or sweetness, anguish or joy. In an in-concert interview with conductor Bill Eddins, Gekic claimed that courage is what a pianist needs most to play Liszt. One needs quite a bit of courage just to listen to it.

Another of the selections was a rarely-played Liszt transcription of Beethoven’s “Ruins of Athens”. Despite the distraction of a piano which was unfortunately out of tune – through no fault of Gekic – the composition was fascinating. Both Liszt and Beethoven have unique styles, and somehow Liszt managed to incorporate themes that are distinct to each. At times there is no question where the transcription came from, during one of Beethoven’s sweeping melodies or ground-breaking chord progressions. At other times, Liszt’s wild form of Impressionism breaks through in all its untamed glory, swallowing up Beethoven’s more traditional method.

The two composers are not without similarity; they are known for making some of the same controversial choices, such as the use of triangle, which up until Beethoven’s Eroica in 1803 was associated entirely as a Turkish march instrument. On Saturday night’s program, a very similar theme appeared in both “the Ruins of Athens” and Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto. A pastoral section midway through each piece involved a pair of duets between triangle, piano and flute. In “the Ruins”, Gekic played a light, almost trilling theme at the very top of the keyboard – all the while, sending little smiles to the audience, as though to invite them into a private joke. The flute chimed in to provide a very sweet countermelody. The second time around – Beethoven must have known that once would not be enough – the piano took over the countermelody, while the triangle pinged its agreement. In Liszt’s concerto, almost the same theme occurred, with the piano an triangle trilling along to the flute theme.

The intimacy of Friday’s sell-out concert at the Winspear made it feel rather like a chamber recital. Kemal Gekic might have been playing simply for his own pleasure, and when the 1600 people in the audience happened upon him, he was pleased for the rest of us to enjoy as well. After his fourth visit to Edmonton in a decade, there is no doubt that we do enjoy him very much.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Edmonton Symphony $29 Seat Sale until January 22, 2012

Check out some great prices on upcoming ESO performances here:

Concert Listings January 16 - 22

Thursday January 19, 2012 8pm Edmonton Symphony, Gold Medal Skates - Lucas Waldin, conductor, Toller Cranston, host. Bizet, Excerpts from Carmen, Khatchaturian, Sabre Dance, Steiner, Excerpts from Casablanca, Stravinsky, Infernal Dance. Winspear Centre.

Friday January 20, 2012 7:30pm Maclab Centre for the Arts, Montreal Guitar Trio. Glenn Lévesque, Marc Morin and Sébastien Dufour, guitar. Maclab Centre for the Performing Arts, 4308 50 St, Leduc. Tix on the Square.

Saturday January 21, 2012 9am Alberta Baroque Ensemble Scholarship Competition. Endowed by the Alberta Baroque Music Society. Location TBA – contact UofA Music.

Saturday January 21, 2012 1pm Early Music Alberta – Masterclass with Gilbert Martinez, harpsichord. Auditors – members $10, non members $15, student members are free. Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 10037 84 Av.

Saturday January 21, 2012 8pm Eve Egoyan, piano. Music includes Simple Lines of Enquiry, Ann Southam. Arden Theatre, St. Albert. 7pm pre-show wine tasting and readings from Poets Ink.

Sunday January 22, 2012 11am Edmonton Opera Brunch. Intimate recital by the artists starring in each mainstage production. The Westin Edmonton, $70 Adult, $50 Child. Tickets available at the Edmonton Opera Box Office 780 429 1000

Sunday January 22, 2012 2pm All Broken Up - WindRose Trio. Beth Levia, oboe, Jeff Campbell, clarinet, Matthew Howatt, basson, Sarah Ho, piano. Music by Steinmetz, Franz Reizenstein, Joan Tower, Desire Dondeyne, Jeanine Rueff and Jenni Brandon. Robertson-Wesley United Church, Tix on the Square, $20 - $15.

Sunday January 22, 2012 2pm Edmonton Symphony, Lucas Waldin, conductor, Scott MacIsaac, piano, Robin Doyon, trumpet. Haydn, Trumpet Concerto, Liszt, Second Piano Concerto, Sibelius, Valse triste and Schumann, Fourth Symphony. Winspear Centre.

Sunday January 22, 2012 7:30pm Edmonton Recital Society Gala Concert. Amanda Forsyth, cello, Angela Cheng, piano. Ledcor Theatre, Art Gallery of Alberta. Contact Tix on the Square, or tickets available at the door. $40 - $35. Concert in memory of Malcolm Forsyth.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Call for Nominations - 2012 Edmonton Hall of Fame Inductees

The Salute to Excellence Committee is currently gathering nominations for the 2012 Hall of Fame Induction ceremony being held in June to honour outstanding Edmontonians who, through their participation in arts and culture, community service, or sports, have made exemplary contributions to the quality of life in Edmonton.

The induction ceremony will take place at the Winspear Centre for Music on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.

Nomination deadline: February 22, 2012

Music of the Sistine Chapel Sunday January 15, 2012 3pm

Ciaccona! January 13, 2012 noon

Monday, January 9, 2012

Concert Listings January 9 - 15

Friday January 13, 2012 12pm Ciaccona! Italian and English Baroque music. Dawn Bailey, soprano, Tammy-Jo Mortensen, harpsichord, Josephine Van Lier, cello plus surprise guest performers. Includes music by Monteverdi and Purcell. Robertson-Wesley United Church, 10209 123 St. Admission by donation.

Friday January 13, 2012 7:30pm TorQ Percussion Quartet. Morinville Community Cultural Centre, 9502 100 Av Morinville. $25-$20

Friday January 13, 2012 9:30pm Edmonton Symphony, Late Night Romantics. William Eddins, conductor, Kemal Gekić, piano. Music includes excerpts from: R.Strauss, Don Juan, Liszt, Fantasia on The Ruins of Athens, Rachmaninoff, Adagio from Second Symphony, Rossini, William Tell Overture (Arr. Liszt) and Berlioz. Winspear Centre.

Saturday January 14-29, 2012 Seussical (the musical). Young People's Theatre, Shoctor Theatre, Citadel.

Saturday January 14, 2012 8pm Art’s Birthday 2012 – The End of Time (part of a global celebration). Boreal Electroacoustic Music Society (BEAMS) – Agaperaygunexperiment, Phil Jagger, Pocket Universe, Don Ross, Bill Damur, Zombies and Gene Kosowan. Ortona Armoury, 9733 102 St. $5.

Saturday January 14, 2012 8pm Edmonton Symphony, William Eddins, conductor, Kemal Gekić, piano. R. Strauss, Don Juan and Death and Transfiguration, Liszt, First Piano Concerto and Fantasia on the Ruins of Athens. Winspear Centre.

Sunday January 15, 2012 2pm Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Bill Eddins, conductor, Kemal Gekic, piano. Music, Berlioz, Rossini, Liszt and R. Strauss. Arden Theatre, St. Albert.

Sunday January 15, 2012 3pm Music at Language - Richard Van Camp, UofA Faculty of Arts Writer in Residence, William Street, saxophone soloist and conductor, Roger Admiral, piano, Brian Thurgood, percussion, the University of Alberta Saxophone and Percussion Ensembles, live electronics performed by Mark Hannesson, improvisation developed by composers Andriy Talpash and Mark Hannesson. Works include Music as Language by Richard Van Camp, Les 7 Iles for piano soloist and Saxophone Ensemble by Christian Lauba; Smoking Mirrors for solo saxophone by John M Kennedy. Tickets $20,$15,$10 at door. Convocation Hall, UofA.

Sunday January 15, 2012 3pm Early Music Alberta - Scona Chamber Singers, Holy Trinity Church Concert Series. Music from the Sistine Chapel - Italian sacred music of the high Renaissance. 10037 84 Av, tickets at the door, $15 for members, students and seniors, $20 for non members.

Monday January 16, 2012 UofA Monday Noon Music FREE 45 min, student concerts from western classical to world music. Don’t forget to bring your lunch! Convocation Hall, UofA.

Review - Symphony for Kids on Fire

From Sound and Noise - University of Alberta Students on Music

A Wild Symphonic Ride was the usual cheery melee on Saturday, complete with singers, dancers, and noisy handmade rice-rattles. Led by Lucas Waldin, who is a stand-up comedian as well as the ESO resident conductor during the Symphony for Kids series, the afternoon flew by. Audience participation was a must; the kids accompanied the symphony with shakers and shouts in several of the lively pieces on the program. Various guests from schools around the city added colour, particularly the Knock School of Irish Dance, who were a high quality addition to their symphonic accompaniment.

However, despite the liveliness of the program, the symphony did not have much spunk. The issue seemed to be largely due to a lack of volume. Perhaps it was in deference to tiny ears, but not even “The Ride of the Valkyries” was loud enough. There were exceptions – there is a brilliant tuba solo toward the end of that piece which certainly had flair. But the general effect was not too exciting.

At times this serenity was appropriate. “The Internal Dance” from Stravinsky’s 1919 “Firebird Suite” is a minimalistic piece, and best suited to a withdrawn style of performance. It was an ideal choice to pair with aerial silk, which is a very slow form of acrobatics. The orange-clad aerialist climbed up and down a pair of ribbons, wrapping it around herself so that she could swing hands-free 30 feet in the air. Between each of those thrilling moments was an almost meditative process of preparation, narrated by the simple melodies of the Suite.

It was a daring choice for a finale, rather than the more common race to the end with crashes and bangs. Her final move was synchronized with the orchestra. As the Davis organ rumbled to life, she rolled herself higher and higher up the ribbons, until on the final chord, she let go and plunged down like a diving bird, suspended by fiery ribbons.

—MaryGrace Johnstone

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Concert Listings Jan 5 - 9

Saturday January 7, 2012 2pm A Wild Symphonic Ride, Edmonton Symphony for Kids. Lucas Waldin, conductor. Edmonton composer Allan Gilliland incorporates the unique sounds of shovels, pails, empty water bottles, and even squeaky shoes into his work, A Wild Symphonic Ride, to create a rhythmic afternoon of percussive sounds. Pre-concert Activities from 1 - 1:45 pm, Winspear Centre.

Sunday January 8, 2012 3pm Annual tribute concert to Stuart Davis, Michael Unger, organ. Winspear Centre. Sundays at Three – Royal Canadian College of Organists Edmonton. Tickets from Tix on the Square or the Winspear Centre. For information contact

Sunday January 8, 2012 10:30am start. 31st Annual Northern Alberta Concerto Competition Final Round. Muttart Hall, Alberta College. Tickets $10 at the door.

Sunday January 8, 2012 3pm Holy Trinity Concert Series with the Edmonton Recital Society. Dongkyun An, cello, Sarah Ho, piano. Holy Trinity Anglican Church 10037 84 Av, admission by donation.

Review - Winspear acoustics muffles Handel’s angels

From Sound and Noise - University of Alberta Students on Music

“Hallelujah” – a hundred angel-like voices are singing. The whole audience gets up from their chairs (a tradition which goes back to King George II). Christmas lights are blinking, reflecting in the red ornaments from the Christmas trees, creating warmth and comfort, filling our hearts with the spirit of Christmas. I can see faces filled with joy, almost shinning. Everybody seems relaxed and peaceful. Last Friday night we came together to experience one of Handel’s most famous oratorios in the Winspear Centre: Messiah.

Linda Perillo (soprano), Frances Jellard (mezzo-soprano), John Tessier (tenor) and Nathan Berg (bass-baritone) were the four soloists leading us through the night. As an oratorio, Messiah stands out from its fellows. The soloists hardly have to sing real character parts, no story is told in the music. There are no narrative lines, no dramatic actions. This oratorio simply follows the words of the Old Testament books of Isaiah and Malachi, the Christmas story after Luke, the Psalms and the Book of Revelation. It tells the Christian doctrine relative to the Messiah.

I was blown away by the choir. And this one was a special one too: the Oran Chamber Choir, the University of Alberta Madrigal Singers and the i Coristi Chamber Choir were put together to form one massive choir, which led to an amazing experience. Whenever it was time for a chorus and all those voices were singing together, my heart started to race, went a little faster than usual. The sound left me with a nice warm feeling in my tummy. If only I could have had a seat in the middle of the stage. I wanted to be surrounded by all those singers. I wanted the music to touch my ears directly. I wanted it to be louder, with no possibility for the sound to escape. But somehow the acoustics of the Winspear Centre didn’t work out for me as well. It almost felt the tunes had no a chance to spread as much as I wanted them to spread, to fill the room as much as I wanted them to fill the room. It felt if someone would have muted the music on purposes. A little mean gnome who tried to stop the music from entering my body, from going through my veins, from filling my brain with sacred spirit.

Although Handel composed that oratorio for concert halls (there always will be a never-ending discussion of the rights and wrongs of oratorios in concert halls) I wished it took place in a church. Not because I think sacred music only belongs in churches, mostly because I can imagine that the sound would be more amazing. I have a big church made out of stones in my mind. With a huge hall and with enough space for this big choir, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the harpsichord, the little organ and the four soloists. That could have created a very open and widely spread sound and it would have touched me even more than it already did.

“Amen” – a hundred angel-like voices are singing. The whole audience gets up from its chairs, arises. This time not because of tradition. This time because they are touched by the music, by the whole evening and its spirit. They want to thank all musicians: standing ovation.

-Nine Muster