Farewell to Oundjian

Wouldn’t that make a really good title for a pipe tune?  But that aside Peter Oundjian is marking the end of his long run as Music Director of the TSO with a series of three Beethoven 9ths with Kirsten MacKinnon, Lauren Segal, Andrew Haji, Tyler Duncan and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir joining the TSO.  I caught the second yesterday evening.  It’s always a bit odd listening to a piece one has been familiar with for years.  Will I hear or learn something new tonight?  Will this performance probe the nature of the piece like I have never heard it probed?  The Tafelmusik performance and recording of this piece did just that.  I felt I was hearing it for the very first time.  Alas, the only new thought I had last night was about how repetitive certain sections are.  So there it was, an OK run through but no more.  The soloists were fine, though perhaps possessing a weight of voice better suited to Tafelmusik at Koerner than the TSO in full cry in the unforgiving sonic deserts of Roy Thomson.  I did think Ms. MacKinnon and the sopranos of the choir managed the fiendishly high setting of their part (probably a good job that Beethoven didn’t have to listen to complaints from his sopranos) very well.  Nice work from the piccolo accompanying them too.  Otherwise it was a bit unremarkable though that didn’t stop the obligatory idolatry from the RTH audience.  Heaven knows what would happen if they ever heard a truly great performance…

MacKinnon, Segal, Haji, Duncan, Peter Oundjian (@Nick Wons)

Photo credit: Nick Wons

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