The Highwayman and Other Travels

Burry 2Most people in the Toronto opera world know Dean Burry principally as a composer of operas for children.  He’s written several and a couple have been mainstays of COC school tours.  It’s perhaps understandable then if his music is seen as approachable and maybe, even (sotto voce), a little unsophisticated.  Last night, a recital of Dean’s works in Victoria College Chapel; part of his DMA program at UoT, provided a chance to hear a number of works in a much broader range of styles.

The concert kicked off with Tussah Heera playing InPerfections for solo piano.  It’s a fully serial piece with the tone rows based on the DNA sequences of various hereditary diseases.  It’s quite striking and way more than a just a theory exercise.  The same could be said for Three Caprices for solo violin played by Dean’s partner Julia McFarlane.  These used a range of extended violin techniques to good effect.

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