Music Toronto’s Celebration Of Small Ensembles: Polished Music Making With A Relaxed Vibe

The Obsidiana Duo perform at Music Toronto’s Celebration of Small Ensembles (Photo: Andrew Ascenzo)
The Obsidiana Duo carry out at Music Toronto’s Celebration of Small Ensembles (Photograph: Andrew Ascenzo)

Music Toronto: Celebration of Small Ensembles. SHHH!! Ensemble and the Obsidiana Duo, April 6, 2024. The Aperture Room, Toronto. Two extra live shows within the collection Might 4 & June 1; tickets right here.

This previous Saturday afternoon, I discovered my solution to the Aperture Room to attend Music Toronto’s first live performance of Celebration of Small Ensembles (COSE) collection. It’s a collection aimed toward presenting chamber music another way. On the venue, snacks and drinks can be found for buy, and some high-top tables have been organized on the again. It was a really relaxed affair, however make no mistake, the music making was skilled.

Two ensembles, which each occur to be duos, offered lovely and thoughtfully curated applications. The SHHHH!! Ensemble, consisting of percussionist Zac Pulak and pianist Edana Higham, carried out first with a program that explored the celestial cosmos. The Obsidiana Duo, consisting of pianist Yolanda Tapia and singer Camila Montefusco, carried out after intermission with a program that explored the human expertise. It was an ideal pairing.

The SHHH!! Ensemble perform at Music Toronto’s Celebration of Small Ensembles (Photo: Andrew Ascenzo)
The SHHH!! Ensemble carry out at Music Toronto’s Celebration of Small Ensembles (Photograph: Andrew Ascenzo)

SHHHH!! Ensemble assembled a fairly small variety of percussion devices that nonetheless made an enormous array of sounds. Apart from one piece, the music offered was composed particularly for SHHHH!! Ensemble; three specifically stood out for me. In Jocelyn Morlock’s Spirit Gradient, pointillistic glowing sounds developed into totally different textures and patterns. Monica Pearce’s rem musically evoked the scientific circadian rhythms of sleep interspersed with lullaby-like moments. Pulak invited the viewers to rise up shut for Paolo Griffin’s Resonant Our bodies in House. On this piece, Higham positioned an e-bow on the strings of the piano that created a relentless drone that had a really pure sound. Then Pulak and Higham every bowed a cymbal at totally different speeds and pressures that created a dynamic spectrum of sounds. Controlling the resonance gave the music ahead movement. This duo carried out with readability and cohesion, with nice consideration to the musical impact of the soundscape.

Obsidiana Duo’s presentation was greater than only a recital of songs. In impact, with the addition of costumes and choreography, it was a theatrical piece that was delivered with operatic depth and depth. Pre-recorded audio components served as interludes between sections, and helped seamlessly tie the whole presentation collectively. The efficiency musically described the non-public tales of Montefusco and Tapia.

Music Toronto’s Celebration of Small Ensembles (Photo: Andrew Ascenzo)
Music Toronto’s Celebration of Small Ensembles (Photograph: Andrew Ascenzo)

This system began from Canada with songs by Alice Ho and Ian Cusson, and traveled again in time to attach with their respective grandmothers from Ibero-America, with songs by Xavier Montsalvatge and Alberto Ginastera. From the franticness of Canto Negro to the tenderness of Canción de cuna para dormir a un negrito, Montefusco demonstrated nice dexterity in how she makes use of her wealthy mezzo-soprano voice. Tapia, an equal accomplice on the piano, additionally lent her voice at sure occasions which created a wonderful impact.

My solely quibble was that the textual content of the songs was not offered. Sadly, my 219 days of Duolingo Spanish was inadequate to cipher the intricacies of textual content. Nonetheless, their efficiency conveyed the theme and essence of the songs.

These two inventive ensembles are at simply the beginning of their careers, and I’ll maintain an ear out for his or her subsequent musical endeavors.

Music Toronto has two extra live shows on this yr’s version of COSE on Might 4 and June 1; every live performance options two totally different ensembles and repertoire. Particulars right here.

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Albert Wong
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