LSM-ONLINE-LOGO2JPG.jpg (4855 bytes)


Back Issues
LSM Issues
LSV Issues

Throat Doctor
Concert Reviews
CD Critics
Books Reviews
PDF Files


About LSM
LSM News
Guest Book
Contact Us
Site Search
Web Search

La Scena Musicale Online Reviews and News / Critiques et Nouvelles


Visit La Scena Musicale Online Reviews. [Index] Critiques de La Scena Musicale Online

Amici Closes Season on a Triumphant Note

By Joseph So May 13, 2001

May 11th 2001
Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto
Joaquin Valdepenas, clarinet
David Hetherington, cello
Patricia Parr, piano
Brett Polegato, baritone
Scott St. John, violin
Max Mandel, viola
Edward Tait, contrabass

In a season of many highlights, the Amici Ensemble concert last evening ranks among the best of them. An eclectic program that juxtaposed the old and the new, it featured several guest artists, including a rare appearance by Toronto baritone Brett Polegato as soloist in the world premiere of a new work by Canadian composer Malcolm Forsyth, Songs in Time of Crisis (1999-2000), the centerpiece of the evening.

Commissioned by the Amici Ensemble with funding from the CBC, Forsyth sets to music three poems by Tennessee Williams, Sylvia Plath, and Dylan Thomas. The composer came onstage to introduce his work, commenting on how it revolves around the theme of death. At that precise moment, the loud moan of a woman could be heard in the theatre. "I didn't know my remarks could prove fatal – wait till you hear the music!" quipped Forsyth, bringing gales of laughter from the startled audience. Dark and forbidding, the work benefited from the total musical and dramatic involvement of Polegato, whose interpretation of the pain, anguish and despair inherent in the text is nothing short of galvanizing. Forsyth's musical idiom is suitably austere and economical, yet accessible and lyrical in its writing for strings and voice. This work deserves to be heard again and again.

The rest of the evening is made up of lighter fare drawn from the Romantic repertoire of Schubert and Schumann. Three Schubert lieder, with the familiar and beloved Die Forelle contrasted with the heartbreak of Die Liebe hat gelogen finally ending in the masterful Aufder Bruck, Polegato sang with consistent beauty of tone, vivid imagination, and a depth of feeling that surely makes him one of the premiere lieder interpreters today. The Three Romances (Op. 94) by Schumann received most stylish playing by Amici members Joaquin Valdepenas and Patricia Parr. The second half of the concert was made up of a single piece, Quintet in A major, D 667, "The Trout". It showcased the precision and ingratiating tones of the Ensemble members, particularly those of David Hetherington and Parr. A warmer, mellower sound from the virtuoso violin of Scott St. John would have been welcome, but as it were, the concert on balance was surely one of the finest of the Season. For those not able to be present at the sold-out performance, it was taped by the CBC Radio Two for broadcast on Take Five and In Performance at a later date.

Visit La Scena Musicale Online Reviews. [Index] Critiques de La Scena Musicale Online

(c) La Scena Musicale 2000