Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/2/2009 (4165 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
No. Instead, she steps alternately on rubber horn bulbs on the stage floor to make different squawking notes while clicking castanets in her hands.
Once again, the WSO New Music Festival gave us the unexpected on Tuesday night. In the fourth concert of the week-long event, Urban Metal, we were treated to a mélange of music for winds.
The horn-honking damsel was Newfoundland-born percussionist Gina Ryan, who performed Percussion Concerto, a piece she commissioned from Canadian composer Trevor Grahl.
Ryan played an array of percussion instruments with the talented Winnipeg Wind Ensemble providing a sort of distorted echo. Wild and wonderful, it combined creativity with a little magic, all the while exploring the versatility of the many instruments. No possibilities were left untouched, as Ryan rang for the concierge on a counter bell, and dangled a ringing old-fashioned alarm clock from her fingers. Rei Hotoda's tidy conducting style kept the ensemble crisp in the many changes of pace the concerto threw at the musicians.
The audience favourite was British composer Nigel Clarke's Samurai, a throbbing and raucous work influenced by Japanese drumming. The work came in waves, with the elegant woodwinds and xylophone of the University of Manitoba Wind Ensemble first lulling us with a gentle melody. But make way for the low brass and percussion coming through with full force! Conductor Alexander Mickelthwate manoeuvred the ensemble through these ups and downs with alacrity and the four young percussionists did a fine job with their demanding role.
It's easy to see why this exhilarating attention-grabber is Clarke's most played work.
Linda Bouchard's Brasier was a percussionist's dream -- offering them no-holds barred, beat 'em, kick 'em, all-out freedom. Depicting combustion, the work whooshed and crashed, flames licking and crackling, with scattering notes flying like sparks. This was a great use of resources; making images of fire in its different stages appear alive. Energetically playing made the picture spotlessly clear.
Trumpeter Richard Gillis seemed to have a hard time with Jacques Hétu's Trumpet Concerto. This enigmatic work presented many challenges with its disjointed phrases and tricky intervals. Gillis struggled with this awkward style, sounding like he was working hard and straining. The U of M ensemble, on the other hand, played this gracefully, and special mention must be made of the excellent flute and oboe solos.
Overall, Urban Metal was a clever piece of programming that left audience members feeling full of life and looking forward to the next concert.
WSO New Music Festival
Centennial Concert Hall
Feb. 3 Attendance: 620
**** out of five
Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.
To those who have made donations, thank you.
To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.
The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.
After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.
If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.
We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.