MRDe-music Review: The Hearer of the Music
3. The Return of the Tenth

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra
f. Andrey Boreyko (conductor)
and Janine Jansen (violin)

Jun. 3 2006 (Sat.) 8 pm
Roy Thomson Hall

Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 2, op. 129
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10, op. 93


"Fishesssesesessssss ... mmmm ..... "

"Mmmmmmm .... fishesesesess ... do you have the preciousssses tickets?"

"In my pocketseseseseseseseseseesesese ... "

"show them to me ..."

"Bite me ... the preciousesesesesessesesesesesesesesesese are in my pocktseseseseseeseseses and there they will stay"

"Bite you I shall ... "

"You're not Yoda, you @#%^@#$$%#@$ @#(%$%(!@$!)@%."

" Sorry ... I forgotsesesessssss. Buts if you losesessssss themseeesss, I won't hear the ssssshow ... "

"I'm sure you won't missss much ... "

"Cruel you are .... "

"Have sssssome more fisheeessesessssssssssssssss Yodsey-boy .... "

Book VI
I. The Tower of Roy Thomson

The Music-hearer's companion shifted fitfully in his comfy chair. For a moment he wondered where he was, then the alchohol-induced haze fell over him again and he really didn't give a Rat's @$$ any more. He sank back further and opened his ears.

Far below he could hear the clamouring of musicians warming up, but soon they stopped and the concert master came out. It was clear at any rate he couldn't go for another drink, he might have to wait for minutes before intermission for that. He no longer had any doubt of his duty ... he had to sit there and enjoy the ticket the Music-hearer had given him or get bored and listless in the attempt.

"The wanting the drink is more likely," he muttered.

"Shushssssssesss .... the ssssssoloisssstsssss ... "

"Yeah, what are you going to do? Drop me over the balcony?"

"Nahhh ... you'd enjoy that, I suspect. You're the Ring-wearer of the pair here though ... so in reality I should bite off your ring finger and then allow my natural gracelessness and haplessness result in me falling off the balcony."

Violin Concerto 2 was far more tightly played than the 1st (see prior review); and , I'd say it's also a tighter piece. Janine Jansen was a little distracting to watch ... hair flying, moving a lot ... she's a squirmy performer (visually, I preferred Maxim Vengerov's performance on Wednesday, although performance wise i think things were sharper with Jansen), yet accurate and skilled. In particular, the contrapntal solo writing (in the first movement I believe) was very well realized.

Really, comparing the two performers is a little unfair; the pieces themselves were very different. Oddly, the personalities of the soloists onstage suggests that they were given the "wrong" concerto ... Vengerov's static presence may have reflected the more interior, less flashy second; Jansen's expressive body language may have been more at home in the more overt 1st.

All in all ... a reminder that the visual presentation, even in the staid classical concert envoironment, has an effect on a audience's experience. And with that ... I think this review wins the "Overtly Self-Evident Award."

After the intermission, back to the hall and into the seat to hear the Shostakovich Tenth Symphony ... AGAIN.

Hearing the same symphony twice by the same orchestra on two nights ... luxury. There seemed to be little difference to the performances, but Boreyko was far more entertaining on the podium this evening, particularly in his little podium dance in a lively moment of the final movement. The orchestra was equally focused, although tonight did have a kack in the brass section and some gear was dropped in the lower strings. It's nice to know these great performers are human as well.

All in all, I sometimes wonder a bit about the pacing of some of Shostakovich's works ... but that's more in retrospect, as these works tend to hold you in the moment. That said, particularly since I'd heard the work twice, listening intently, in under a week, I was still left feeling that I'd shape a first movement differently. The tenth builds to a magnificient climactic moment, brasses blazing, percussion hammering ... then takes a very long time fading away again, only to be followed by a fast, rambunctious second movement. But ... if I think that, why not stop picking on the works of a great composer (oh, my temerity) and instead just put my thoughts into sound, and see if they work?

Maybe later ... I'm dead inside and can't write right now. Those who can't, teach ... and those that can't teach just crank out annoying reviews online. And here sit I ...

"I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of the symphony ... ohhh look ... another FREAKING STANDING OVATION! I'm glad you're here to restrain me ... STOP IT YOU EASILY IMPRESSED ID .... unfffhfhhhhhhhh"

"Owwww .... you bit me ... "

"Oh, your poor hand."

"Well, it's all over ... save for the painful tetanus treatment ... let's get out of here."

"Yes, the music hearers should go together. Let's get mores fisheseseesssssss ... "

"Uggghhh."

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