Review Posted Monday, November 18, 2013
[Excerpted below – View the complete article here.]
The concert on November 17th, Rhapsody in Blue, was a marrying of two genres—classical and jazz. On stage with the Orchestra were guests maestro Airat Ichmouratov, clarinetist Kornel Wolak and pianist Chris Donnelly. It was an immensely energetic, comedic and virtuoso display of musical talent.
Some of the most timeless and ever-popular works played were Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom”, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons Concerto No. 2 in G minor “Summer” and, my personal favorite, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”. Wolak and Donnelly were witty and charming with hilarious banter between their shared performances. Together they took a Bach piece to the next level with, none other than, spoons. That’s right—two stainless steel Ikea spoons! Donnelly could get himself a second Juno-nomination for his amazing percussion abilities. He held on to a variety of intricate rhythms while Wolak played illustrious Bach melodies, while managing not to pass out from a lack of oxygen. The crowd loved every second of it.
Each song was carefully curated for that specific concert. Audience members were treated with the first-ever live playing of Torontonian Hilario Duran’s “Suite Latinoamericana”, a piece that was specifically commissioned for the show…