City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra, Usher Hall, Review


By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 24 October 2014

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National Arts Canada Orchestra 01.JPG
Show Details
Venue: 
The Usher Hall
Company: 
Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra
Production: 
Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis; Estacio, Brio: Toccata and Fantasy for Orchestra; Bruch, Violin Concerto No 1 in G minor; Beethoven, Symphony No 7.
Performers: 
Pinchas Zucherman (conductor, soloist)
Running time: 
138mins

In the centre of Ottawa sits the large building that houses Canada's National Arts Centre. Built in 1969 there's car parking underneath for 950. They are needed, for as President and Chief Executive Peter Herrndorf told me he controls a staff of 900. Their symphony orchestra has been directed by violinist and conductor, Pichas Zucherman for the past fifteen years - this is his final year.

Under the patronage of The Prince of Wales, Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra tour began in Edinburgh and goes on to Nottingham, London and finally a poignant concert in Salisbury Cathedral - close to Salisbury Plain where so many of the 600,000 Canadians who came over to fight in the First World War were trained. 60,000 were killed. Every member of the Orchestra was wearing a poppy.

As if this was enough reason to be sad, just after the large party of musicians, executives, sponsors and benefactors had left Ottawa, just steps from The National Arts Centre was the scene of a fatal shooting rampage. The news quickly hit the world's press.

After an on-stage introduction from Christopher Deacon, the Orchestra's Managing Director, and Dale Roy from the Prince's Trust Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis was an appropriate and thoughtful opening work. Canadian composer John Estacio was in the audience to hear his Brio: Toccata and Fantasy for Orchestra - an interesting and sophisticated work. It was derived from listening to a wide range of toccatas and in the centre, the fantasy, written on the day after he learned of the death of fellow Canadian composer Malcolm Forsyth to whom the work is dedicated.

The highlight of the evening without doubt was the Bruch Violin Concerto No 1 where Pinchas Zuckerman not only played the solo part but conducted too. The audience loved it. Beethoven's Symphony No 7 after the interval consolidated a fine programme. But Pinchas Zuckerman appropriately told us that they would play the slow movement from Elgar's Serenade for Strings, expecting no applause at the end, in memory of the soldier killed earlier in the week, Corporal Nathan Cirillo.

Concert: Thursday 23rd October 2014 at 7.30pm

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