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Evaluate: Katherine Chi and CPO convey season to finish with poise and positivity

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There may be at all times a time in an expert orchestra’s yearly cycle of concert events when the music director is away. Virtually all music administrators of any standing have musical duties apart from their principal orchestra.

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That is the case with Rune Bergmann, who has tasks in different places and with different organizations; it’s also a time when the director can visitor conduct different orchestras. And, by ripple impact, because of this the house orchestra, the CPO on this occasion, has to alternative to ask its personal visitor conductors and to present audiences some selection on the rostrum.

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This, too, has its commonplace drill. Normally, the orchestra may have deliberate its collection of soloists, and sometimes soloist and visitor conductor have no idea one another however must put collectively a good live performance on brief discover, one thing that requires a excessive diploma of professionalism from all quarters.

It’s also the case the visitor conductor will get to decide on a serious work they want to conduct. Usually it is a “celebration piece” for the conductor, a piece they know nicely and may conduct with confidence.

All this gave form to the 2 current concert events by the CPO, held every week aside. Within the earlier week, there was an expressive, particular person efficiency of the Elgar Cello Concerto by headline cellist Stephane Tetreault with Ramon Tebar because the visitor conductor. Tebar’s particular piece was Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, expertly carried out on this event, and given one of many most interesting performances of all the season an energized, responsive CPO.

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On Friday, there was one other soloist and one other visitor conductor: Calgary-raised Katherine Chi, the Honens Worldwide Piano Competitors winner was the soloist in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto. The visitor conductor was Mei-Ann Chen, a Taiwanese American conductor, who has lately risen to prominence with a number of well-reviewed concert events which have included stepping in for an ailing Marin Alsop.

Chi is a identified amount in Calgary, and the viewers was glad to welcome her again. As anticipated, she delivered one among her signature polished performances: technically assured however not overtly flashy; subtlety expressive; subtle in supply and expression — all the things, briefly, one may need in a efficiency of this common concerto.

Chi and the orchestra have been particularly profitable within the dramatic dialogue of the second motion, generally likened to Orpheus softening the hearts of the Furies to let him into Hades to rescue Euridice. Whether or not this was really Beethoven’s intent, the efficiency nonetheless had the drama and number of expression that makes this one among his most spectacular concerto gradual actions. The finale, stuffed with quicksilver and interior power, made the conclusion a becoming finish to a effective efficiency total.

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However the perfect was but to return. Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony is considerably uncared for compared to its neighbours, the Eroica Symphony (No. 3) and the well-known Fifth Symphony. Nonetheless, within the fingers of a conductor like Mei-Ann Chen, this symphony sounds wonderful. Chen is a extremely communicative conductor. Whereas she is obvious in her projection of the essential rhythm, she nonetheless goes far, far past beating time in conveying the interior emotional qualities of every phrase of the music, most particularly in all the things to do with rhythm.

On this symphony and on this efficiency, the main target was all on rhythm and rhythmic selection and delivered with a level of specificity and vitality I’ve by no means heard reside earlier than. This was a splendid, even astonishing, account of the work, the viewers spellbound all through. That is the extrovert, glad Beethoven, qualities that inform every motion, together with the cheeky scherzo motion and ebullient finale. Chen’s communication with the viewers was notable all through the night, particularly as she drew from the viewers its appreciation for the effective work of the assorted sections of the orchestra. General, this was the happiest live performance of the season.

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The opening work, commissioned to be a companion work to Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony was Jocelyn Morlock’s Interloper, which had its world premiere. Commissioned by the orchestra earlier than COVID, its efficiency was delayed due to the pandemic. Referencing the Beethoven symphony on the outset, this finely crafted new work supplied reflections on the bizarre parts in Beethoven, a component whose originality has been, maybe, blunted by over-familiarity.

 It’s unhappy to have to notice that between the writing of the piece and its first efficiency, the composer died, nonetheless younger. Her passing is a major loss to up to date Canadian music. However on the constructive aspect, it was becoming that this last work of hers was a part of a live performance that celebrated all that’s constructive and humane on the planet of classical music.


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