“…The first Barrie Concert of the 2015 season — the Bridge&Wolak on Saturday — turned all these pre- and misconceptions of both the compositions of classical composers and their 21st-century classical music performers on their ears. The entire evening was, quite simply, superbly professional, relaxed and fun.
This first concert of the Barrie Concerts series played to a packed house at what is arguably the best concert venue in Barrie, Hi-Way Pentecostal Church, and it was an incredible evening. It was billed as a “Bridge&Wolak, from Bach to Benny” featuring music from Bach to the present, and featuring accordionist Michael Bridge and clarinetist Kornel Wolak.
Accordion? Read on, and join the 21st century.
The duo presented a wonderful evening of music (either their own transcriptions or on-the-spot improvisations) from the music of Bach, Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky, Paganini, Bechet, Balkan folk tunes, Brahms, Benny Goodman, de Abreu, Rossini and Acker Bilk.
And their performances were fresh, exciting and fun, dispelling any of the old preconceptions about classical music being stuffy and outdated. This duo brought every composition from the past to 21st century to life. It was a great evening.
The performances by Michael Bridge on the Roland digital accordion throughout were exciting, superbly performed, and perhaps his solo performance of the 1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky), complete with bells and cannon (yes, from his accordion) was the most eye-opening of what this new instrument could do.
It’s one thing to have 21st-century technology available in the instrument, but it’s quite another to have an extremely talented young musician like Mr. Bridge to make use of technology and to explore it’s possibilities for the future. Did I happen to mention he was just having fun in his performances?
Clarinetist Kornel Wolak was superb, and showed why he is one of the best clarinetists of our time. His duo and solo performances were exciting, subtle and so sensitive, his improvisations were exquisite. He is a brilliant performer.
This Double-Double Duo was the best of new, young “classical” musicians opening the windows to fresh air and bringing their own style of intellect, expertise, talent and just plain fun to a new 21st century audience.
The audience at this concert enjoyed every minute. A great start to the Barrie Concerts series.”