February is the shortest month of the year – but you wouldn’t know it from perusing The WholeNote. There are over 500 concert listings in this issue of the magazine.
And February is also the month of Valentine’s Day. This annual celebration, falling on the 14th of the month, can be credited as a source of musical, as well as amorous, inspiration. Unlike Christmas, Easter or even St. Cecilia’s Day, not much repertoire has been written specifically for the occasion. Yet although there are no “Valentine’s Day cantatas” (Are there?), musicians have come up with various ways to honour the day.
For instance, down at Roy Thomson Hall, soprano Karina Gauvin will sing a recital of love songs by Scarlatti, Chausson, Bizet, Ravel and Weill. And up at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, you can hear the Richmond Hill Philharmonic play a concert called “Dressed in Love”: a programme of classics, opera and jazz. Soprano Leslie Fagan is the guest vocalist.
A little further afield, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony is jumping the gun, with “Music of Love” on February 11, 12 and 13. They must be keeners – or maybe they all have something better do to on Valentine’s Day. On the 14th, the Guelph Symphony Orchesta offers “Music of Love and Romance,” with soprano Mary DuQuesnay. And on the same day there’s also Orchestra London’s “Valentine’s Pops” show, featuring jazz, Broadway, light opera, and popular love songs. Soprano Sonja Gustafson will sing – it seems you can’t do a Valentine’s Day concert with a contralto – violinist Mary-Elizabeth Brown will perform, and the London Youth Symphony will also make an appearance.
As well, The WholeNote will mark the day, with a surprise on our website. Go to www.thewholenote.com on February 14, to see a special Valentine’s Day posting.
This year, however, there’s an added twist to the celebration of February 14: it’s also Chinese New Year. The City of Toronto is saluting the Year of the Tiger with a free New Year’s Celebration at Scarborough Civic Centre. And in the spirit of international diplomacy, Toronto’s New Music Concerts has decided to present a contemporary programme (works by Christos Hatzis, Chinary Ung, Chan Ka Nin, and Alice Ho) that pays homage to both special days.
Speaking of contemporary music, I’d like to mention something you won’t find in this magazine – but rather on our website. The well-known broadcaster and contemporary-music expert Larry Lake has written an in-depth article on the foreign composers who are visiting Toronto this winter. Already, Zygmunt Krauze has been to town. (You can read about his concerts in Andrew Timar’s blogs, also on our website). Still to come are Krzysztof Penderecki, Osvaldo Golijov, Gerald Barry, Steve Reich and Jonathan Harvey. As Lake says, it’s “A Perfect Storm” of famous composers.
One of those composers, the Argentinean Osvaldo Golijov, is featured in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations Festival this year. His works can be heard at Roy Thomson Hall on February 25, 27 and March 3. Soundstreams also has a Golijov concert, on February 24, and there’s a Soundstreams “Salon 21” on February 22. Finally, Golijov will speak at the University of Toronto on February 26. For more details on these events, see the the Listings section. And for blogs on Golijov’s visit, keep an eye on our website, www.thewholenote.com.