Review: Toronto’s Esprit Orchestra in new works by Norman, Scime, Evangelista

Posted on: December 5, 2019

At a Sunday concert by Toronto’s Esprit Orchestra at Koerner Hall, “it was nice to escape the already overwhelming presence of holiday music,” writes John Terauds in Tuesday’s (12/3) Toronto Star (Canada). “The small and enthusiastic audience was served bracing intellectualism. It was a lot like going to an exhibition of modern art…. Alex Pauk, Esprit’s founding music director and conductor, had chosen the evening’s program with great care. Titled ‘Sustain,’ after the final and longest piece of the concert [Andrew Norman’s ‘Sustain’], the program was a study in forms fed by washes of orchestral color set up in counterpoint to often complex rhythmic skeletons…. Montreal-based composer José Evangelista gave us an engaging peek at the power of time and rhythm in ‘Accelerando,’ which had been premiered by Esprit in 2016…. Built on tonal intervals, the piece not only plays with time and rhythm, it is a compelling study of tonal colors, neatly overlaid. This is an expertly structured piece of music that deserves to be heard yet again. Young Toronto composer Adam Scime offered the evening’s premiere … ‘Afterglow’ … a 17-minute violin concerto [with] virtuosic violin soloist Véronique Mathieu.”

Posted December 5, 2019