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March 2007 - Nr. 3


The Editor
In Canada, eh?
"A Matter of Trust"
KW & Beyond
More of KW & Beyond
The Threepenny Opera
Erhard Matthaes
Dick reports...
AutoShow 2007
Have a (Healty) Heart
Welcome Al Gore!
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
Ewa Podles at Roy Thompson
Nathaniel Dett Chorale
April Listings
Good Shepherd Wins
The Blind Boys of Alabama
Don't Let The Pigeon...
Planet in Focus Call
Aretha Franklin
Red Elvis
Organics Growing in Ontario
Canada's Food Aid
VW Seeks to Tempt US Buyers
Tempelhof to be Closed
Transatlantic Ties
Baby Boom
Germany's Dirk Nowitzki

KW & Beyond

  by Irena Syrokomla

Irena Syrokomla

Masterpiece Series – K-W Symphony in The Centre in the Square.

Some of the Masterpiece Series concerts are classic and pleasant, some offer us a new experience of compositions not previously heard, some are unique and not to be missed. The 5th concert of the Masterpiece Series on February 9 and 10 was of a kind "not to be missed". The focus piece was Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in f-minor, which is played less frequently – the other, in e-minor being more preferred, by both pianists and orchestras.

The conductor of the concert was Alastair Willis. The soloist was Todd Yaniw, a 21-year old native of Edmonton presently a student at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Two years ago he was a student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, apparently familiar with the region and The Centre in the Square. He is young, a little stiff or overwhelmed by the audience and their enthusiasm. The ovation was well deserved: he played clearly, without notes, and with a wonderful sense of pace and emotions. This was the third time that I have heard Chopin’s concert played in Canada – the first being about 15 years ago at Roy Thompson Hall played by Janina Fialkowska, the second time at Centre in the Square, perhaps in 1999 by Piotr Paleczny and now by Todd Yaniw – and this thought came to my mind: how come Chopin is so infrequently played and why does it take a Slav to play? Obviously it takes a very good – exceptionally good – pianist to express the Slavic moods and Slavic melodies. The performance was spectacular; the orchestra matched the quality of the pianist, with violin solo parts played by K-W Symphony’s Concertmaster Stephen Sitarski. It was a treat.

Two other compositions played at this concert were: Peter Paul Koprowski’s "Ancestral Voices", a modern work for string orchestra commissioned by the Guelph Spring Festival, only 14 minutes long, much influenced by Renaissance polyphony, Gregorian church music and some Polish folk dances. Mr. Koprowski was interviewed on stage and admitted that he composed it in the week preceding the Festival and had no time to polish it or even review it before it was presented. Since then it has been played all over the world with much appreciation and success. So here it was.

After the intermission we were offered Jean Sibelius Symphony No.2 in D major – what a complementary piece it was to wrap up such a great evening.

To stress the significance of this concert and expectations in the music world, let me add that it was recorded by CBC Radio Two.

The next concert of this series is planned for March 2nd and 3rd and will feature Beethoven Symphony No.6 "Pastorale" and Shostakovich Violin Concerto.

Musically SpeakingEspana conducted by Raffi Armenian with Anya Alexeyev on piano.

Another K-W Symphony series worth mentioning and running at The Centre in the Square in Kitchener is Musically Speaking, consisting of four concerts on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 and very much appealing to both more mature music lovers and parents intending to teach their children appreciation of classical music. The series used to be called "Sunday Light Classics" and a day after Masterpiece Series I found myself in the middle of a Spanish theme concert featuring Rossini’s overture to Barber of Seville, Emmanual Chabriers Espana and Bizet’s Carmen Suite No.2 with melodies so familiar and so easily recognized.

Many years ago, being a mother inclined to educate my child to appreciate fine music, I took my 12 year old daughter to the opera Carmen. When the orchestra began playing the overture and the famous habanera filled St. Lawrence Centre, my little twit stood up and exclaimed "I know this music! This is great!"- to the joy of the audience and my embarrassment.

Well, K-W Symphony played Habanera and The Song of the Toreador and several other Spanish influenced pieces to the joy of the public, Anya Alexeyev has a great future ahead of her and the audience welcomed Raffi Armenian back to Kitchener – even if for only one concert.

Tom Allen’s light humour and knowledge of music were much appreciated.

Both concerts were a pleasurable break in this snowy winter. Another month of snow and freezing temperatures and the much anticipated March break is coming and Florida calls – at least to some of us!


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