Fall is definitely in the air in Toronto, and the concert season is off to a great start.
Wednesday night the Toronto Symphony Orchestra presented on of the most beloved works in the orchestral canon: Mahler’s 3rd Symphony, in the, what I like to call, brutalist architecture of Roy Thomson Hall.
You know you’re in for a ride when you walk in the hall and there are 8 horns, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, and a tuba on stage for your orchestra concert - oh, and two harps and at least five percussionists all seated in front of exposed concrete which you know is going to do some serious reverberatory work.
Despite unleashing the full cavalry on us, the TSO brought some highly nuanced music making. The fortississimi were the definition of epic alongside pianississimi that were delicate enough to hear a pin drop.
The piece is a sort of tone poem (I say sort of because in the middle of the second half we get actual poetry) telling the story of the world’s creation through the eyes of Pan, the mythological faun. The first half, which was composed after the second, serves as an introduction to the four-part second movement, which sonically told the story of Pan coming to consciousness and discovering the wild world around him, culminating in a Dionysian procession.
I know I often talk about the immense amount of amazingly talented singers, but I want to go on record and say it applies to all musicians - and last night was proof positive of that. That being said, this was Mahler, so the night belonged to the brass.