Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Return of the Return of Kronos

I suppose I could have called this Breaking News - Classical pt 2. or "Really Long-term Classical Events" or something.  Anyway, as I mentioned in this post, Kronos Quartet is coming to Toronto in May.

Yesterday I received word that the TSO had released their 2016-17 season and they were trying hard to get people to subscribe early.  So I poked around and saw Kronos Quartet.  At first, I assumed they were just cross listing the concert at Koerner Hall, but no, Kronos is going to be coming back in March, 2017.  Very, very exciting.

In general, this is a fairly interesting season.  They are doing some Beethoven (Symphonies 4, 6 and 7), though I haven't decided if I will go.  Dvorak's 9th and his Cello Concerto (I'll go to both of those concerts).  And Orff's Carmina Burana.  I'm not sure whether I have heard this in concert or not, but I certainly haven't heard it recently.  One of the more amusing duplications is that they are doing Milhaud's La création du monde, just like Esprit Orchestra in March.  The TSO's program is far more interesting to me than Esprit's.  (I know it is a personal failing, but I so rarely enjoy pieces for choir or even choir and orchestra, with Carmina Burana and Beethoven's 9th Symphony among the exceptions that I do enjoy.)  Also, the tickets for Esprit are just a bit higher than I want to pay, particularly for a number of unknown pieces that I suspect I won't enjoy.  So I think I will bail on the Esprit concert in March and check out Milhaud later in the year (early November).

I think the only major drawback is that they are not getting quite as interesting soloists.  Basically it is James Ehnes and Emmanuel Ax.  But that is a relatively minor complaint.*  It would definitely be nice if their seasons continue to be a bit more adventurous.  (I haven't really gotten into all the details, but the season has Britten and Dutilleux and Szymanowski.  Actually the chance to see Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 2 paired with Carmina Burana makes this a very appealing concert.)

Now if only they could make Roy Thompson Hall a bit more appealing...

* Apparently it is a conscious choice to try to focus on Canadian musicians rather than international stars, according to this article on the new season.  Probably not the route I would go, but every so often you run up against Canadian nationalism in these settings.  In some ways, I find it even more problematic at art museums where the need to promote living artists (who need to make a living) ought to be a lower priority than "enduring artistic merit," whatever that is...

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