Tonight is the Subversion Project with Eric Paetkau’s chamber orchestra, group of twenty seven.
I have known Eric for many years now, first as an excellent violist, then as a young conductor. I felt that I really got to know how gifted he is when he led our Canadian Concerto project this summer, recording 6 new works under challenging conditions (late delivery of music, tropical temperatures, bassoon breakdown). He kept his cool at all times and tirelessly drove the orchestra forward into our best playing even in the final minutes.
He started his own orchestra about 6 years ago and has kept it going despite the almost insurmountable obstacles raised in front of any classical arts group.
Tonight is going to be one of our most interesting concerts… actress Vanessa Avruskin will be the voice of the muse as we present and contrast ideas of order and subversion. I would tell you more, but I am only dimly aware of all that will happen… the magic of live performance is that this will come to life at 8:00 tonight!
We start with Prokofiev’s sparkly Classical Symphony, then John Zorn’s avant-garde “Cobra” performed by strings and percussion. After intermission, we will play Glenn Buhr’s “man will only grieve if he believes the sun stands still” for solo bassoon and strings. Vanessa will perform and improvise with the poem by Margaret Sweatman that was the inspiration for this work. And we end with Beethoven’s First Symphony.
This group of players came together last night to rehearse the programme and we have two rehearsals today. The rehearsals are focused and intense, everyone listening keenly to what Eric has to say, but at the same time, strangely relaxed. We play kind of as if our lives depended on it, yet the breaks are filled talking and laughing and flat-out practising… professional inhibition seems blissfully absent.
Come join us tonight at 8:00 in Grace-Church-on-the-Hill (300 Lonsdale Rd, TO, M4V 1X4)
— there are $5 tickets for students and if you really cannot afford it, please come anyway (we’ll let you in!).
Let’s see what happens!
And I am very excited to be soloing, even briefly, with this stellar group.