by Sybille Forster-Rentmeister
The lobby of Toronto’s beautiful Roy Thompson hall served as backdrop for the German National Holiday, the 13th "Tag der Einheit"-Day of Unificaion, October 3rd. Many invited guests had assembled in the north lobby to celebrate the occasion and the "Auftakt" to the 2nd annual German Festival, which was sponsoring the evenings performance of the Toronto Symphony and a famous guest artist, Evgeny Kissin, piano.
For a couple of hours food, wine and good company was enjoyed by all and Consul General Dr. Klaus Rupprecht declared the festival opened after toasting the President and CEO of the Symphony Andrew R. Shaw.
After entering the beautifully refurbished hall it became quickly very quiet. Sir Andrew Davis 3 works by composers: Brahms, Haydn and Hindemith. Johannes Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat Major, Op.83 was the highlight of the concert. The still young but matured pianist Evgeny Kissin performed it with amazing bravura and energy. It could be argued that he is now technically so perfect that poetic undertones take second seat, but that is not quite true. Perhaps he has thought more through the score, is more cerebral about it than in his very young years when he was all emotion. He allows himself to be not driven by the music but instead drives the passages, and the orchestra, conducting in his own way the ebb and flow, something Sir Andrew Davis allowed to happen. The audience responded generously and enthusiastically and caused him to give a "Zugabe". Satisfied one settled back and enjoyed the other musical offerings. Franz Josef Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 in G Major was amazingly delightful and truly the Surprise Symphony it promised to be. Paul Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber forwarded the music closer to present time. The orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis made it sound all so easy, the hallmark of great art anywhere, deserving of accolades, as the sold out house attested to.
A Taste of Germany
The Ontario Club played host to an event designed to allow a peek into the culinary arts of Germany. German wines, spirits and beers could be sampled, same as at other wine tastings in small amounts to accompany a huge array of mouth-watering food planned and executed by the Club’s Executive Chef.
Brochures of German travel destinations and material promoting the Canadian German Chamber and other local institutions allowed visitors to peruse a wealth of information about Germany and services offered to assist in the best possible experience.
This event was unfortunately not as well visited as was hoped for. A lot of the people present were part of the sponsoring body of the festival. That proved to be also true at the Lufthansa Airline ticket draw, when a second draw had to be made.
Nevertheless some other events were very well visited; some
were not. Surely the next time more thought will be spent on broadening the
participating spectrum of possible "consumers" of this festival.
Between the opening Concert at Roy Thomson Hall and the Gala Ball lay many different events, such as other concerts and of course Pioneers Day in Kitchener. Some of these events will be covered on the Internet for lack of available space. But we must mention the ball as a successful venue that attracted about 450 people at a very high ticket price.
At the Gala
Reports indicate that the food was excellent, the mood up and the entertainment too loud. Pretty girls parading around in only the necessities, like at a Rio Carnival, has been done at other big venues successfully, such as the Rio Ball, where it was most suitable. This mass spectacle caused quite a few ladies to leave the room. It was too loud and too long and the second time the group came out it was a waste and lost its initial charm. The Spitfire Band was deemed terrific, yet did not have opportunity to play long and often enough for dance enthusiasts that came to the ball. There were a few other complaints but on the whole the event was appreciated and did raise some money in a silent auction for our local German schools, but not as much as was hoped for.
Perhaps the most pleasant thing about the ball, besides the good food, was the fact that it took place and that the ballroom was beautifully decorated and had an aura of decadence and old world. In the end people go to see and be seen, to be part of such an event adds importance to ones standing. The ball certainly did that, giving the German Festival a fitting ending.
Read more about festival events on the net. SFR.
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