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Mozart in Salzburg

Roy Thomson Hall
01/15/2014 -  & January 16, 2014
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219 "Turkish" – Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339: "Laudate Dominum" – Missa in C major, K. 317 "Coronation"
Hilary Hahn (violin), Leslie Ann Bradley (soprano), Lauren Segal (mezzo-soprano), Lawrence Williford (tenor), Gordon Bintner(bass-baritione)
Amadeus Choir, Lydia Adams (artistic director), The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Peter Oundjian (conductor)

L. A. Bradley (Courtesy of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra)

The second set of concerts in the TSO Mozart Festival, this time featuring works from the composer’s years before he moved to Vienna, got off to a dazzling start with Hilary Hahn performing the fifth and last of the violin concertos composed when he was 19. It is a cliché to write about a violinist’s “singing tone” - but in this case inescapable. The work gained its nickname thanks to the rivetting eruption of Turkish-style tonalities and rhythms in the third movement. Ms. Hahn handled it all with total aplomb, rendering the work not just beautiful but worthy of serious contemplation as well.

By the way, she played cadenzas composed by the legendary Joseph Joachim. She also gave a rivetting encore: the Bourrée From Bach’s Partita No. 3 in E-major.

The vocal part of the evening opened with Leslie Ann Bradley performing one of Mozart’s “greatest hits”, the “Laudate Dominum” from Vesperae solennes de confessore. She achieved a seemingly artless soaring simplicity that is exactly what serves the piece best. The 70-voice choir’s contribution lacked the ultimate in refinement. In both this work and the following mass they spent far too much time singing mezzo-forte.

Ms. Bradley was again nicely featured in the Coronation Mass. The other lead vocalist in the piece is the tenor, and here Lawrence Williford’s laser-like voice contributed just what the work requires. The rich voices of Lauren Segal and Gordon Bintner provided strong support. Peter Oundjian gave precise shape to each of the mass’s six sections.

The third and final set of Mozart concerts will feature Louis Lortie as pianist and conductor.

Michael Johnson



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