Sunday, November 25, 2012

Beethoven Triple Concerto

There's a wonderful magazine in Toronto about all things music called The WholeNote.  Each month they publish, there's a Music's Child feature.  On this page is a picture of a musician as a child, and a rhyme or short clue about them.  Readers then take their best guess as to who the person might be.  The remainder of the page contains an interview with the previous month's "child".  Very rarely do I have any idea who the person is, however September's was the new Toronto Symphony Concertmaster Jonathan Crow.  On a lark I sent in my guess.  I was surprised when I got an email saying that I had been one of the people to guess right and would I like tickets to the TSO concert that would feature Jonathan Crow in Beethoven's "Triple Concerto" for piano, violin and cello.  I readily accepted.  So thank you very much to The WholeNote for treating me to a night of music!

The concert on Nov. 15 was headed by TSO conductor Peter Oundjian and in addition to featuring Mr. Crow, had guest pianist Andre Laplante, and guest cellist Shauna Rolston, Canadian's all!  However, before the Beethoven, there was a piece by Pierre Mercure called "Triptyque".  Written in 1959 it was pretty good for contemporary music.  I'd like to see the score and actually compare the opening Adagio with the concluding Adagio since the final one is the exact reversal of the first, or retrograde in musical terms.

Up next was the Beethoven.  It's an interesting choice of instruments to feature and the only concerto Beethoven wrote for multiple solo instruments.  The more prominent of the solo parts is also given to the cello, rather than the violin or piano.  The dynamic contrasts in the orchestra were exceptional, the pianissimos were barely heard.  Of the trio I think I liked the piano part the best, even if it was limited.  I heard the piece described as having some of the bubbliest music Beethoven wrote, I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it was all pleasant with a fun trading/echoing of parts between the instruments.  It was also funny that even standing on the podium given to the cellist, Ms. Rolston was about the same height as Mr. Crow who was standing on the floor.  His violin looks so small in his hands.

The evening concluded with the not often played Shostakovich "Symphony No. 12" subtitled "The Year 1917".  I've heard recordings of Symphony No. 11 and found it emotionally exhausting with the heavy and sad subject matter.  No. 12 used a few of the same themes and while the slow movements were smooth and mesmerizing I liked the finale.  The power that crashed over you with 8 basses, 5 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, 3 oboes, 3 bassoons, loud timpani and cymbals, and a full compliment of violins, violas, and celli all playing at the same time was thrilling.  It also woke me up enough for the drive back home.  It was a great conclusion to a long day.    Thanks WholeNote!
Full stage and full house, great to see

No comments:

Post a Comment