2010: concerts of the year
So much mind-shattering music:
Janos Sandor – Orchestral Favorites
When a concert has the finale of Beethoven 3 as the second piece on the program, well, that could just be luck. When the first half ends with the finale of the Firebird, we could still be in the realm of coincidence. When, however, the second half is a custom-built symphony that goes from Mahler through Brahms to the jaw-dropping clockwork majesty of Sibelius 2, you can be sure that you’re at Janos Sandor’s (first) farewell concert, and that you will be doing a lot of clapping for a rightfully legendary conductor.
Heather Harker – Graduating Recital
My friend Heather has my favorite voice and sings all my favorite songs to utter perfection. (Ave Maria, Barber’s Hermit Songs, Ain’t Misbehavin’, etc).
Shostakovich – Symphony No. 15
As played by the Konzerthaus Orchestra in Berlin, Shostakovich’s final symphony is exactly the sound of a old man dying alone in Soviet Russia. It’s soaring, tragic, and heartrending, to say nothing of being a tour de force of quotation, allusion, and orchestration.
Nick Piper – Locus Iste / Daniel Brandes – Different Windows
A graduating recital by two of UVic’s composition grad students: Daniel’s piece was intimate, personal, quiet, and subtle. Nick’s was exactly the opposite. Daniel’s was performed in the nave of Christ Church Cathedral, and had the audience holding their breath for the whole thing. Nick’s was performed in the hall, complete with organ, bells, and a surround sound ensemble, and had us sitting with our mouth’s open in awe.
Margaret Ashburner – They Let Their Brushstrokes Show
Not to be outdone, Margaret put her piece across three rooms of Victoria’s art gallery, with blown-up pieces of the score as artwork. I had the honor of recording it, and let me tell you, it’s a bit of a wonderful piece.
Honorable mentions to: Max Murray & Mason Koenig’s grad recital, Alex Granat’s grad recital, Ensemble Modern’s Different Trains, and the youth orchestra / conducting party that did the Concerto For Orchestra and a monumental Beethoven 5.