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November 2003 - Nr. 11


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Toronto Connection


Rachel A.I. SeilernA Night of Melodious Imagery and Inspiration at Roy Thomson Hall

On the evening of Wednesday October 14th, Annie Scully and I were chauffeured down to Roy Thompson Hall to enjoy a lovely evening of music.

The concert began with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra directed by the young accomplished conductor, Keith Lockhart. The hall was filled to capacity and all was silent as a soft mist of sound rose up from the violins and violas: the dawn of Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite. The velveteen melody mounted gradually into a soaring frontierish theme that took us high above the Great Appalachian Mountains; lush and green. I could see the wagon trains cutting a trail through the wilderness to the west. We could hear the courage, the determination. I could feel the pioneer spirit. Finally, the well-known pioneer song, "Simple Gifts", wove through the finale. I wanted to sing along. (Annie did.)

The highlight of the concert came next: Midori, the Japanese violinist, famous for her petiteness in size but hugeness in talent, accomplishment and generosity towards youth music programs. Midori played the very beautiful Mendelssohn Concerto in a stormy E minor with much expression and feeling. She created the atmosphere of a pensive, mysterious, windy autumn night---a night in which you might find the Highwayman "tlot-tlotting" over the moonlit purple moor. With effortless liquid dexterity she played, and moved as if she herself, was being played by the music.

The second half of the concert consisted of the entire Firebird Ballet Suite by Igor Stravinsky. I admit I haven’t acquired a taste for Stravinsky as I find his delight in utilizing primarily acidic dissonance rather unpleasant to the ears (and obviously abrasive to the nerves of the poor lady sitting next to me who leaped a foot in the air as the ten-minute long whisper came to the biggest crash of sound without the slightest bit of warning!) Annie, however, really enjoyed this portion of the evening as she was imagining exactly how she might interpret the drama and chaos in dance!!

Yes, this concert, with Midori as the highlight, certainly inspired Annie and me as violinists in our own studies, which happen to be culminating this very season toward our Royal Conservatory violin examination. What a good introduction to the difficult upward climb toward musical perfection now ahead of us. Preparing for a grade 10 exam is not only the mastering of 200 intricate scales and technical requirements or the memorizing of 20 pages of music, more blackened with notes than white, but the conditioning of the mind and body so that it has the gymnastic energy required to perform the feat of 47 straight minutes of arduous violin playing. To reach these conditions I’ll need many hours of practise---difficult but really rewarding! The final grind has begun; therefore, I’ll be taking a little intermission from writing to you over this time.

Frau Sänger, my greatest fan, I’ve heard you’ve been enjoying my writing? Thank you! Don’t worry; I’ll be back in the New Year!

By: Rachel A.I. Seilern


Comments to: rachel@echoworld.com


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