Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Evening at the Calgary Philharmonic: Overcoming Adversity


I have to say I spent a fantastic weekend down in Calgary hearing the Calgary Philharmonic (as well as checking out the downtown, which I will elaborate on in my next post.)

The underlying theme of the concert seemed to be the idea of overcoming adversity.  Tchaikovsky's Symphony #6 was played in Leningrad during the winter of 1942 (along with many other works) in defiance of the Nazi juggernaut on their doorstep.  The Sibelius Violin Concerto was a flop when it premiered in 1904.  The composer then re-worked it extensively and when it was re-introduced the following year, it was a triumph....and indeed is a staple among the violin repertoire.  It remains one of my personal favourites.

Even the evening's soloist for the Sibelius Concerto, Augustin Hadelich has had to overcome great personal challenges as he suffered horrible burns as a teenager as the result of a house fire.  He had to set aside his violin for over a year while he recovered before picking it up again.  And lucky for us he did, else we would have lost a wonderful musical treasure.  His interpretation held so much feeling and I thought the second movement in particular was just beautiful.  He ended the piece to a well-deserved standing ovation amid cries of "bravo", three curtain calls and a breath-taking encore by Paganini.

The concert was well-worth the long trip down to Calgary and I absolutely can't wait to hear the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto later on in May.

1 comment:

Angelina Pratt said...

I am sure it was worth it. The piece is so beautiful, to me, it is difficult to reconcile the deep turmoil of the composer's life at the time it was written. I think, this is his best and most profound work.