A lunchtime of Mozart, Strauss and Dvořák

Rachel_KrehmSo there’s another free (well almost, $5 suggested donation) lunchtime concert series.  It’s Music Mondays at The Church of the Holy Trinity in Trinity Square (A most worthwhile institution which has long taken a leading role in the fight for social justice in Toronto and, on top of that, I used to play rugby with a former incumbent).  As it happens yesterday saw the last concert of the 2015 season featuring the Canzona Chamber Players, conductor Evan Mitchell, and soprano Rachel Krehm.  The Canzonas are a pretty big band, 53 players yesterday, for a chamber group (I guess they have big chambers in Canzona) and could be very loud in the rather resonant church acoustic.

They kicked off with E Susanna non vien!.. Dove sono.  I really enjoyed it.  Rachel isn’t the kind of soprano who stands there looking pretty and pushing out a lot of beautiful, meaningless sounds.  She’s engaged and dramatic and there’s always passion in her singing.  She can craft a pretty good legato line too.  This was a very fine performance and nice to hear with the richer sound of orchestral accompaniment.

The three Strauss songs were taken from the Vier Lieder Op. 27 which I’ve been a bit obsessed with lately.  Rachel sang Ruhe meine Seele, Cäcilie and Morgen.  I have to say that in the first two songs the band , especially the brass, got a bit overexcited and Rachel never had a chance.  Birgit Nilsson would have struggled to be heard!  Morgen was a whole lot better.  Again passionate but audible, clear and musical.

The Dvořák component was his Symphony No.8 in G Major.  It’s one of those Dvořák pieces that’s chock full of folk tunes and generally pretty rumbunctious.  Evan’s interpretation plus the acoustic very much tended that way too and the overall effect is perhaps best described as “full bloodied”.  Actually it rather reminded me of Charles Ives at his brass-bandiest.

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