Christina Volpini: deep subject: Celebration Prelude; Ligeti: Atmosphères; Wagner: Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin; Haydn: Symphony No. 39 “Tempesta di mare”; Unsuk Chin: subito con forza; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3. Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Gustavo Gimeno, conductor, Yefim Bronfman, violin. Roy Thomson Corridor, October 12-15, 2022. Tickets right here.
Typically orchestras veer away from the sturdy one-two-three formulation of overture, concerto and symphony. Gustavo Gimeno on Wednesday oversaw a largely profitable experiment with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Roy Thomson Corridor.
There have been a number of tweaks. The concerto, Beethoven’s Third for piano, got here not within the center however on the finish, a placement that had the impact of redoubling the appreciation of the gang for the soloist, Yefim Bronfman. One may suppose this previous professional to have stated all he has to say a few rating this normal, however the impression was of spontaneity and exploration ruled by a robust feeling for construction and sense of fashion.
His contact was agency within the Largo however glowing; dabs of rubato within the muscular outer actions by no means disrupted the flowing line. Cadenzas had been mesmerizing. Gimeno led a giant, symphonic accompaniment through which the winds had been allowed to talk. Good timpani, particularly within the finale.
There was a symphony, Haydn’s No. 39 in G Minor, subtitled “Tempeste di mare,” heard earlier than the break. First and final actions had been suitably quick and frenetic, however violins sounded tough. The TSO is less complicated to love at full energy.
Such was the staffing — 14 first violins and 12 seconds — for György Ligeti’s Atmosphères of 1961 and the Prelude to Act 1 of Wagner’s Lohengrin, run collectively to create an 18-minute diptych. Broadly, the shimmering tonality of the latter resolved the nebulous dissonance of the previous, however there was way more to this fascinating presentation.
Someway, Gimeno established each character and momentum within the avant-garde traditional, which reached a large viewers as a part of the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A House Odyssey. Stasis and movement turned interdependent to the purpose of identification. The Wagner additionally was finely balanced and coaxed steadily ahead to a rapturous climax, marked by fantastic cymbal crashes.
Simply why Atmosphères sounded so masterly and Christina Volpini’s deep subject — a celebration prelude heard in its premiere — got here throughout as a handbook of modernist units will not be a query to be answered in a single evaluate. There was one other modern work with a lower-case title, Unsuk Chin’s subito con forza, a five-minute 2020 tribute to Beethoven that appeared to frame on parody. One had the sense that Gimeno obtained the whole lot he may out of it.
The conductor politely requested no applause between Ligeti and Wagner. The viewers complied. There was, nevertheless, an ovation after the primary motion of Beethoven, which Bronfman inspired by taking a bow. Properly, what the heck.
There are repeat performances Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m.
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