Sunday, April 23, 2017

Two Quintets

I've been running around a bit too much this weekend, so I decided to skip Toronto Cold Reads in the end.

Saturday I needed to go get a new bathing suit for my daughter, and I wanted to get a new skillet as well, so we went off to the mall.  Then we went to work, though not for a very long time (and not as long as she hoped to be at the office).  Since there was such a long wait for the 72 bus at Pape, we ended up walking south and dropping in at the library along the way.  There was just enough time to go to Matty Eckler and put in 30 minutes in the pool.  I'm trying to get her more confident while being in the water, since both her current school and middle school have swimming as part of the phys ed requirements.

I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to leave the house in the evening, but I had donated to Scaramella's fund-raising campaign, so I set off for Victoria College.  They announced that between the fund raiser and the ticket sales, they were going to break even for the season, which is good, though it mostly shows how hand-to-mouth most arts organizations are these days.  The first half was quite good, though the highlights were in the second half when there was an interesting bass and cello duet by Rossini and Hummel's Quintet.  The orchestration is the same as Schubert's Trout Quintet.  I don't think I had heard the Hummel Quintet before, and it was played very well.  It turns out the library has a copy of the Melos Ensemble playing it, so I hope to borrow that soon.

Then today, I had a number of tasks, but in the afternoon, I set out for the Mooredale Concert with my son.  The highlight was Schubert's String Quintet.  I had seen this a few years back in Vancouver, but this time I had a better view of the ensemble and could really see when the second cello was doubling and when he was doing something else (like plucking his strings).  It's quite an amazing piece, and it is particularly remarkable that it wasn't publicly performed until many years after Schubert's death.

As it happens, the last time I went to a Mooredale Concert was just over a year ago to see the Afiara Quartet (plus Joel Quarrington on bass) doing Dvorak's String Quintet.  That was good, but not at the same level, since the Quintet was broken up and played movement by movement.  So I'll keep on the lookout for an opportunity to see the piece played again in full.

Anyway, it was an awful lot of music back to back, and next weekend might be more of the same (with a concert at the library and then Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time!) and then late May I am again going to concerts back to back.  Toronto's chamber music scene is very much alive and well, I am happy to report.

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