|Charles "Chip" Hamann|
(Photo by Pat McGrath)
|Violin vs. Viola|
Zukerman started playing the viola at 15, when at a summer camp his teacher said, "it'll be good for you". He demonstrated different bowing techniques between how he'd play a violin vs. the viola. Essentially the viola had longer strokes, and slower movements.
The actual piece, in 4 movements (I thought concertos were usually 3, but I suppose there are no rules) had its lively and slow sections. It was neat that TSO cellist Winona Zelenka was sitting first chair and provided great support to Zukerman's viola solos which were almost like duets with the cello at times. For years the TSO bassist was Joel Quarrington, who now plays with NACO, and they were chatting during the stage layout switches. I wonder how much it actually feels like old times to be playing with someone you used to.
Principal NACO cello Amanda Forsyth joined for "Brandenburg Concerto No. 6", which is written for no violins. Zukerman thought Friesen sounded too sad when he said that, rather than excited to not have the "screeching fiddles" (his term) around. There were about 6 violas, 3 cellos, a bass and harpsichord. I really liked the cello trio sound and the two violas chasing each other in a round, one started just a fraction of a beat after the other. The violins were not missed as the typically lower, supporting instruments took centre stage with lively as well as darker sounds.
Being a casual concert there was a party in the lobby afterwards. A few of the musicians were wandering around, I caught I glimpse of Zukerman, concertmaster Yosuke Kawasaki, associate Jessica Linnebach, and principal trumpet Karen Donnelly. With Mr. Millard recently passing over the reins as host of the NACOcast I was hoping to see him and chat for a moment about it, but alas, no such luck.
Thanks for making another trip to Toronto NACO! Looking forward to next year.