Monday, March 02, 2009

Recent TSO concerts

I have been lucky enough to attend two recent TSO performances.

The first was a Wednesday Masterworks with guest Midori. I saw Midori with the TSO about five years ago - and really enjoyed her playing. In the previous concert, she treated the audience to a good eight to ten minutes of Bach's Partitas as an encore.

Well - no encore in this year performance. This was quite understandable - as the Shostakovich Violin Concerto she rendered likely left little in reserve. This was a work I had never heard - live or on recording. The first movement was very slow. One of the reviewers thought it was played TOO softly. For me, that's hair splitting - long orchestral works should have different tempos in different movements. I enjoy the contrast.

The second and fourth movements were especially rousing. Midori plays masterfully. It was disappointing that there were so many empty seats (about 15% seats were not filled) - perhaps the Wednesday performances are like that.

On Saturday, it was Charles Duttoit conducting Berlioz' Damnation of Faust. This was a huge piece - with a full orchestra, multiple choirs and four solo singers. Despite it's length - and lack of a break - I enjoyed this immensely.

The only criticism is that Roy Thomson isn't set up to allow the subtitles to be projected. The audience were provided copies of the libretto. This resulted in a lot of distracting page turning. In addition, it's hard to read the page and focus on the orchestra, conductor and singers - you have to choose.

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