Great Weather, Great News, Great Concert

….it’s been a wonderful weekend and I can finally share my big news

1. Finally a beautiful weekend, weather-wise. Sunshine and warmer temperatures. I managed to get out on Saturday for a walk with the dog and took some photos of the neighbourhood.

2. Also on Saturday, my husband and I picked up our youngest daughter and her dog Lucy and brought them back to our house. G’s husband was on a business trip so she was looking for some company and she needed a break from packing boxes. This Friday they will be moving from their tiny apartment in uptown Toronto to a 4 bedroom Victorian semi in Hamilton. It’s a move they need to make because they needed more room to accommodate the new baby that they are expecting in October. Yeah!!!!!!!!! I’m finally going to be a grandmother. That’s my BIG news!

3. Today my friend DM invited me to a concert downtown. The Women’s Musical Club of Toronto hosted a live competition to present the Career Development Awards. The concert featured the three finalists who were chosen from a pool of 10 candidates chosen by CBC regional producers. Usually a jury of musical experts from across Canada rank all the entries based on written and audio materials and select a winner but because this was the tenth anniversary for the award (given every three years) a live competition was held. Prizes of $20 000., $10 000 and $5000 were awarded for first, second and third place.

All three competitors played magnificently. There were two pianists and one cello player. First prize went to Charles Richard-Hamelin on piano, second prize to Stéphane Tétreault on cello and third prize to Pierre-André Doucet on piano (my personal favourite).

I’ve found Pierre-André Doucet’s performance of Carl Vine’s Piano Sonata No. 1 on YouTube.

Stéphane was the youngest performer at 22 and played this beautiful arrangement of Hayden’s Divertimento in D Major.

I couldn’t find the exact piece that Charles Richard-Hamelin played today but here is a sample of Chopin.

Music in the Afternoon – Trumpet, Piano, Bass and Drum

…..a great concert featuring Jens Lindemann

On Thursday of this week I had the pleasure of attending the third concert of a series, Music in the Afternoon, put on by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto. I didn’t know what to expect. I only knew that the featured artist, Jens Lindemann, played the trumpet. It turned out to be my favourite concert to date.

The concert started with a piano and trumpet duet. Jennifer Snow (who is also Jens’ wife) appeared on the stage and began to play. From the back of the auditorium the unmistakable sound of the trumpet joined in. Slowly Mr. Lindemann made his way to the stage while he played.

Even though the concert started on a serious note, we quickly learned of Jens Lindemann’s  fun side. Born in Germany, he introduced himself with a heavy German accent. He asked the audience if there were any other Germans amongst us and I quickly raised my hand. I had no idea that I would be the only other German born person to raise her hand and he immediately asked me, in German, where I was from. I told him Frankfurt and he told us that he came from an area close by. There were two other German speaking audience members but they were from Austria and he made a joke that with one German and two Austrians we had a party. I was nervous that he would ask me more questions in German but he moved on to talking about Tim Horton’s and all of a sudden his heavy German accent disappeared and he spoke in a natural ‘Canadian’ voice. The audience loved it.

I should have known that he was putting us on because I had read that he came to Canada as a baby. He was raised in Edmonton and studied at McGill University and The Juilliard School. He’s won numerous awards as a celebrated soloist around the world and in 2014 he received The Order of Canada.

For most of the show Lindemann was accompanied with a piano, bass and drums. Apparently it was the first time in the WMCT’s history that a drum set appeared on stage. The ensemble was made up of the celebrated and talented musicians of  Kristian Alexandrov, Mike Downes and Ted Warren. We were treated to a range of musical styles from classical (Bach and Debussy) to Jazz (Duke Ellington), Tango (Piazzola) and contemporary composers (Sting, Alexandrov).

The show ended softly just like it started but Lindemann featured his pianist, Kristian Alexandrov, with a number that he composed himself. Kristian’s Prayer brought tears to my eyes. At the end Jens joined in with a lovely rendition of What a Wonderful World. I bought Prayer from iTunes and I was able to find a video on YouTube of Kristian and Jens performing What a Wonderful World at McGill, four years ago. Enjoy!