Ambitious Kindred Spirits Orchestra

I’m going to my first Kindred Spirits Orchestra concert February 11th , intrigued by their ambitious programs but also because I’ve had a bit of a preview from one of the participants.

In previous months they’ve done difficult works such as Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, Brahms’ epic violin concerto, or Berlioz’s Harold in Italy (possibly my single favourite piece of music: except I missed it..!).  While I don’t know how well they play these pieces, the fact they’re trying them at all is a big deal. These are colossal works that can’t be done in a self-effacing way, but only with big bold sounds.

And this coming week it won’t get any easier:

  • Wagner, Tristan and Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod
  • Schumann, Concerto for cello and orchestra, Op. 129
  • Shostakovich, Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93

My preview was of the Liebestod, in a practice room with soprano Margarete von Vaight. I played through the piano part a few times the week before, totally stoked for what would be my first chance to play this with a real live soprano.  And it was startling, the sound so full and gorgeous it was hard to keep playing, when i wanted to just bask in the sound.

While it will be a different experience with orchestra, I am convinced that hers is a genuine Wagnerian voice, able to handle the challenges of this difficult repertoire.  We heard her sing most of the role of Ariadne –the two big opening arias for example—at Hart House about fourteen months ago, and it seemed effortless.

The  concert also includes Rachel Mercer playing the Schumann cello concerto and the 10th Symphony of Shostakovich, all conducted by Kristian Alexander.  It’s likely to be an epic evening at Markham Theatre.

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