Tuesday, 12 August 2014

From Mellow to Majestic, The Tuckamore rolls out the goods

“Midsummer Majesty” with Dov Scheindlin, Aaron Berofsky, and Tuckamore faculty

I like precision.  A good sharp knife, a punctual Swiss train and a very good musician.  They really are precise instruments with a well-honed purpose.  The Tuckamore Festival brings with it such an exuberance of concerts and opportunities to get inside the heads of musicians.  When I heard Jon Kinmura Parker say to his charge at the keyboard, "could you try putting more weight on the third finger of your left hand please", I knew we were seeing into their world.  I started watching for the relationship between the hands next.  And with day after day of concerts I had the opportunity.

Patrick Boyle and his trusty trumpet.

At first when I noticed the addition of Late Night Jazz to the Tuckamore line-up I thought it was simply inspired programming that would broaden the demographic for both the genres of classical music and jazz.  After attending the session on creativity and improvisation led by Patrick Boyle and Bill Brennan I think there was something going on that was bigger than transplanting the musical interests of the audience.  Yes, it was improv but it had limits, like compose five songs in thirty seconds.  It was every bit as precise as the classical drills.  And it was all energy being passed around the room.  The audience was learning to listen.

Bill Brennan at the keyboards.

At the lunchtime concert the following day, I spied one white haired woman whom I'd seen playing Boyle's circle games with the young artists.  I asked her what her impression was and she said, "I didn't expect the level of music would be so high".  Bill Brennan and Pat Boyle said the same thing to me immediately after the session.

Back to the Late Night Jazz at The Rocket Room, by the way, it was great to hear the mellow duo play their own compositions.  The last time I had heard Brennan play it was with a Salsa band and in Boyle's case he was groovin' with an African group.  So, it was a welcome opportunity to hear the boys play their comfortable if at times wistful jazz.  This week it really felt like the genre walls were coming down.

 From mellow to majesty, Midsummer Majesty…a chock-a-block offering specially assembled for the occasion: Duo Concertante Nancy Dahn, violin, Timothy Steeves, piano, Aaron Berofsky, violin, Dov Scheindlin, viola, Kathryn Votapek, viola and Vernon Regehr, cello.  That is a staggering amount of talent on one stage!  It is hard to have too much Beethoven or Brahms in your life but the Schnittke String Trio was the stand-out of the evening.  Complex textures, discordant emotions, lots of structure but no shortcuts.  Simply, haunting music.

And the Tuckamore is not finished yet!http://tuckamorefestival.ca/

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