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More Mozartian magic with Bernard Labadie

Koerner Hall
01/17/2018 -  & January 18*, 2018
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Overture to Die Zauberflöte, K. 620 – Sinfonia concertante in E-flat Major for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra, K. 364/320d – Overture to Der Schauspieldirektor, K. 486 – Symphony No. 36 in C Major, K.425 “Linz”
Jonathan Crow (violin), Teng Li (viola)
Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Labadie (conductor)

J. Crow, T. Li, B. Labadie (© Jag Gundu)

The second of this year’s Mozart Festival served further to show off the TSO’s adept way with Mozart, especially under the leadership of Bernard Labadie - and made even more special in the ideal acoustic of Koerner Hall.

One wonders how many times Labadie has conducted the overture to Die Zauberflöte. If this is his routine way of doing it, it is a great routine, with delicacy giving way to robustness, then a bit of solemnity, ending briskly.

In his 16 years leading the TSO Peter Oundjian has carefully hand-picked new members, notable among them concertmaster Jonathan Crow and principal violist Teng Li. Their handling of the Sinfonia concertante in E-flat Major can only be described as a complete realization of one of Mozart’s top masterpieces. (I realize “masterpiece” is overused re Mozart. There’s no avoiding it.) The second (Andante) movement transported one to a dreamlike reverie.

The pause after the slow movement was lengthened a bit while we were forced to wait for someone to quell his/her cell phone. Aside from that the audience was attentive and appreciative.

The overture to Der Schauspieldirektor gave us a bouncy little gem in contrast to the stately introduction that opened the following Symphony No. 36. Once again Labadie led the orchestra through the work’s myriad twists and turns, culminating, like the Sinfonia concertante, in a dazzling Presto. Amazing to think it was composed in four days!

Throughout the program the orchestra displayed marvelous precision in a manner that seemed relaxed and unforced - artistry concealing its own artfulness.

Michael Johnson



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