Esprit Orchestra At Koerner Corridor: Ligeti 2, Richter No Rating

L-R: Violinist Mark Fewer (Photo courtesy of Leaf Music); Esprit Orchestra (Photo courtesy of Esprit Orchestra); Composer György Sándor Ligeti  (Photo courtesy of Esprit Orchestra)
L-R: Violinist Mark Fewer (Picture courtesy of Leaf Music); Esprit Orchestra (Picture courtesy of Esprit Orchestra); Composer György Sándor Ligeti  (Picture courtesy of Esprit Orchestra)

Esprit Orchestra. Violinissimo II. Max Richter: The 4 Seasons Recomposed (Mark Fewer, violin). Ligeti: Continuum (Wesley Shen, harpsichord). Ligeti: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Mark Fewer, soloist). Alex Pauk, conductor. Koerner Corridor on March 28, 2024.

Alex Pauk and his Esprit Orchestra may be relied on to maintain the avant-garde religion. Among the time. Thursday night in Koerner Corridor they proved true to the calling after intermission, with the invaluable help of the violinist Mark Fewer.

Occupying the primary half of this live performance titled Violinissimo II was The 4 Seasons Recomposed by Max Richter, a post-minimalist (or post-something-or-other) British composer whose ambient exploits embrace an eight-hour work meant to be heard when you sleep.

His 2012 transforming of Vivaldi’s well-known suite of violin concertos just isn’t so bold — constructed, as it’s, largely of repetitive extensions of the supply materials with occasional rhythmic hiccups. This system notes spoke of electronics. None materialized. There have been, nonetheless, drones within the decrease strings with harp onsets that sounded digital.

Recomposed? Extra like reupholstered, besides within the center motion of Winter, which was stripped naked. Reharmonized? Overlook about it. Richter offers no indication of figuring out greater than the fundamentals. Fewer and the orchestra underneath Pauk performed properly, however their stalwart efforts served primarily to remind us of the superior drive and readability of the masterpiece Richter has presumed to switch.

Then got here György Ligeti — to the rescue. The centenary of the late Hungarian grasp final 12 months impressed numerous tributes, right here and overseas. By programming the five-movement, half-hour Concerto for Violin and Orchestra after the birthday celebration was over, Fewer and Pauk in impact affirmed its repertoire standing.

Written for an orchestra of 26, this rating provides a potpourri of sonorities and rhythms. Devices are out of tune nearly as typically as in. Wind gamers double on ocarinas. There are evocations of Hungarian folks music and the Renaissance in addition to bursts of hardcore modernism.

Someway the motley components cohere, with the soloist as a binding agent. Whether or not pumping out the semiquavers of the opening motion or flying excessive at the start of the Passacaglia, Fewer was equal to the technical calls for of the music and true to its adventuresome spirit. He additionally provided his personal cadenza. There have been many superb contributions from the orchestra, duly overseen by Pauk. This was a joint success.

Earlier than the concerto we heard Ligeti’s Continuum, a pulsing four-minute toccata for solo harpsichord that achieves the impact promised by its title by speedy repetition. Wesley Shen was the suitably decided and fleet-fingered performer.

There have been cheers for everybody, however particularly Fewer. Presumably his college students at U of T helped fill the parterre. The following Esprit live performance, on April 25, matches John Adams’s Harmonielehre (1985) with R. Murray Schafer’s Adieu Robert Schumann (1976), the latter that includes mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabo.

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Arthur Kaptainis
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