CAST Philomusica Orchestra - Spring Festival Concert

By Irene Huang

On January 27, 2018, a concert took place in the Tyndale and Seminary Church on Bayview Avenue in Toronto.  By 7:30, the magnificent church was filled with a large audience, waiting for the CAST (Chinese Artists Society of Toronto) Philomusica Orchestra to perform a Spring Festival concert celebrating the Chinese New Year.  The concert program consisted of both Chinese and western music pieces, which aimed to bring the eastern and western cultures together in a special night.

 The opening piece, a Symphonic Suite “Colorful China”, was recently composed by the orchestra’s conductor, Erhei Liang. Its four movements, “Eastern”, “Southern”, “Western” and “Northern”, represent diverse cultural characters of four major regions of China.  The first movement, “Eastern - Street Ditties”, started off with the brass instruments playing a melody that was meant to represent a phrase for street selling in old-time Shanghai, the largest city in the eastern coast of China.  A significant characteristic of this section was its changes in tempo, which happened several times throughout the section.  It finished with a very energetic fortissimo part.  The second movement was “Southern - Dance of Dream”.  The oboe had various solos throughout the movement, playing beautiful melodic tones popular in southern China.  The oboe player, who was new to this orchestra, played these solos skillfully.  The end of this section was pianissimo, and was quite a contrast to the previous movement.  The third movement was “Western - Songs from Plateau”.  The section started with two trombones playing a low passage, simulating the sound of Tibetan horns.  This technique was challenging because the passage was very long, with no breathing permitted for the trombones players.  The two trombonists in the orchestra accomplished the passage.  The end of this section was connected to the next by the timpanist, whose tremolo passage led the piece straight into the last section, “Northern - Holiday Amusement”.  The last section, helped by the timpanist, was remarkably exhilarating in spirit.  He kept a steady beat and emphasized the exciting character of this piece.  The time signature became complicated when the brass instruments (lead by the trumpets) played a very fast figure.  This fast figure was meant to represent a famous Chinese tongue-twister about eating grapes without spitting out the skin.  The brass players in this orchestra really managed to pull off this fast figure with impressive skill.  The Symphonic Suite “Colorful China” was masterfully written, and each movement contrasts very much with the others.  It was truly fun for the orchestra members to be the first orchestra to play this piece.

 Following “Colorful China” were the first two movements of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor played by the cellist Chris Chan.  Chris played beautifully, and led the orchestra very well with his clear movements and expressions.  He managed to bring the audience into a new world with his captivating performance. The first movement started with a cello solo, which was played with a lot of emotion and clarity to the chords.  The most exciting part came after Chris played the ascending scale passage, and the entire orchestra brought the melody together.  The second movement was more peaceful than the first.  In the middle of the second movement, Chris played an unusually short cadenza with a number of chords, leading into a new tempo change.  Chris’ performance was spectacular, and surely moved many of the audience members.  

 “Non Piu Andrai”, from the opera “Le Nozze di Figaro” by Mozart, was a particularly interesting piece because the concert date coincided with Mozart’s birthday.  Daniel Robinson, the baritone singer, performed in numerous acts of this concert.  This piece has a joyous and light character, in contrast to the more romantic and dramatic Elgar Cello Concerto.  Daniel, like Chris, was clear with his motions to lead the orchestra.  The piece was well accomplished by both the soloist and the orchestra on their part.  Daniel then sang another famous piece, “Les Toreadors”, from the opera “Carmen” by Bizet.  The shifting and intonation in this piece was tricky for the strings, but was nonetheless, wonderfully played by the orchestra.  Most of the audience knew this piece by heart and Daniel’s performance was well received.

 The audience was then treated to a Chinese song, “Time of Thinking Home”, performed by the soprano solo Yiping Chao, and the baritone, once again, Daniel Robinson.  Daniel’s mastery of the Chinese lyrics was surprisingly impressive, gaining a cheer from the audience.  They were accompanied by the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra Women’s Choir.  The melody in this piece was very sweet, and reflected on, as the title implied, someone missing home.  Yiping was a wonderful singer, and her voice easily blended with Daniel’s lower pitched voice.  For an encore piece, “Wisteria Flowers”, by Shi Guang Nan, was performed.  Like the previous piece, “Wisteria Flowers” consisted of a beautiful melody, and the choir was particularly helpful at accompanying Yiping and Daniel as they sang the solo melody part of this song.

 For those who are fans of Chinese instruments, the Chinese flutist, Chun Jie Wang, performed “Happy Reunion” composed by Feng Zhi-Chun and arranged by Erhei Liang.  The sound of the Chinese bamboo flute was delicate, yet clear.  One interesting feature of this piece was that the beginning started with a pizzicato tremolo passage, which is not frequently used in Western music.  For the encore piece, Chun Jie played “Spring to Lasa”, another piece arranged by Erhei Liang. The exciting ending to this piece was a perfect complement to the holiday season and brought the concert to intermission.

 Following intermission, soprano Yiping Chao and baritone Daniel Robinson were back on stage to perform a few songs accompanied by a chamber ensemble.  The first song performed by soprano Yiping, was composed by her son, the young composer and cellist Kevin Zi-xiao He.  Kevin also acted as the MC for the concert.  He first introduced to the audience the background of the song, with lyrics based on a poem by Ouyang Xiu in the Song dynasty almost a thousand years ago.  Kevin conducted the small chamber group consisted of two violins (David Lin and Frank Fan), an oboe (Gillian Howard), a viola (Anan Guo), a cello (Brenton Chan), and a piano (Jessica Zhang). Yiping sang it in a melancholy manner, which deeply moved many of the audience members.  For a change of mood, Daniel sang another Chinese folk song, “Evening of Prairie” in a warm and joyful spirit, and finished his performance with Yiping, singing a happy duet, “A Lovely Rose”.  

 The ending piece of the concert was the 3rd movement of Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E minor.  The piano soloist was Coral Solomon.  The Piano Concerto in E minor is one of the only two piano concertos written by Chopin and is the more popular of the two.  This incredibly beautiful piece was another one of the audience’s favourites.  Coral played with a lot of expression, captured the spirit of the movement, and definitely led the orchestra very well.  Some of the tricky, fast passages were played at great ease.  The orchestra also did a wonderful job by following the soloist and helping make the music flow.

 This concert was, by many, considered as one of CAST’s best concerts. The boundaries between eastern and western cultures seemed rather blurred and mixed, just like the fast changing world today.  The universal language of music brings people of different background together, and the world will become as one. 



加国无忧 51.CA 201824 10:40

 127日晚,多伦多华人艺术家中心瑞犬迎春2018春节音乐会Tyndale University College & Seminary奏响,青年作曲家贺子潇又一次担任音乐会主持,中国驻多伦多总领馆副总领事洪红出席音乐会并致辞,文化领事赛晶晶女士、艺术家中心理事长侯伯治先生、理事沈谢元女士以及音乐界部分人士也光临音乐会现场。


紧接着,音乐会即为听众奉献了一首西方古典音乐的经典作品:英国作曲家埃尔加的E大调大提琴协奏曲第一、二乐章,由来自多大的青年大提琴手陈祖善(Christopher Chan)演奏。这首乐曲是大提琴协奏曲的代表作之一,除了需要很高的演奏技巧,对乐曲的理解与处理更是对演奏家极大的考验。年轻的Christ与梁二黑指挥的交响乐队配合默契、相得益彰,很好地诠释了乐曲的意境,让听众领略了他那如泣如诉、思绪万千的琴声。两首大型器乐曲之后,来自多大的研究生、优秀的青年男中音Daniel Robinson演唱了两首西方经典歌曲中的咏叹调:莫扎特《费加罗婚礼》中的《你不要再去做情郎》和比才《卡门》中的《斗牛士之歌》。Daniel Robinson嗓音优美,充满男中音的磁性,具有极强的穿透力。他的演唱极具感染力,在古典风格和浪漫风格之间切换自如,受到在场听众的热烈欢迎。士嘉堡爱乐乐团女声合唱团(SPO女声合唱团)演唱了男女声二重唱与女声合唱《想家的时候》,梁二黑先生改编,由女高音钞艺萍与男中音RobinsonSPO女声合唱团及艺术家中心爱乐乐团协作完成。改编后的合唱版,提升了歌曲的艺术性,更加浓烈地表达了大家内心深处的思乡情绪。

士嘉堡爱乐乐团女声合唱团(Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra Women's Choir,简称SPO女声合唱团),其前身是成立于20165月的艺萍音乐教育中心超艺合唱团,由士嘉堡爱乐乐团大提琴演奏员暨特约女高音钞艺萍教授担任团长、指挥。合唱团自成立以来,先后与数家艺术团体合作,受到主流媒体和业内人士的关注与好评。





青年小提琴演奏家David Lin同在读钢琴博士Jessica Zhang共同演奏了格里格的《小提琴奏鸣曲》第一乐章。David Lin多大小提琴演奏专业硕士研究生毕业。他的演奏音色华丽,热情奔放,在Jessica Zhang的配合下,把格里格音乐浪漫、雅致的特点充分表现出来。David Lin还弹得一手好钢琴,也多次和艺术家中心和其它乐团合作担任小提琴独奏和钢琴独奏,是多伦多华人艺术界的后起之秀,也是多伦多青年音乐家的代表人物之一。

音乐会最后由青年钢琴家Carol Solomon压场,她同梁二黑指挥的CAST爱乐乐团一起演奏了肖邦的《E小调钢琴协奏曲》第三乐章。这首协奏曲思想成熟,技巧华丽,音乐形象鲜明、突出,富于色彩性的对比和交响性的动力发展,对演奏者具有很高的要求。曲中包含大量的克拉克维亚克舞曲的切分节奏,它的重音突出,旋律豪放,充满着勃勃生气和澎湃激情,这也给演奏带来了难度。Carol Solomon被誉为具有杰出的敏感性原生的洞察力,她的演奏令听众激情澎湃,意犹未尽。

音乐会受到现场听众和业内人士的高度评价。梁二黑的《东南西北》被称作是春节的盛宴,宛如让听众品尝了东南西北不同地域的佳美菜肴;《想家的时候》则勾起了大家对家的思念;贺子潇的《蝶恋花》将中国的传统雅乐、戏曲、民歌等不同音乐风格有机地综合在一起,既保留了传统中国音乐的调式结构,又加入了现代西方的和声手法,听起来中西合璧、古今兼收,资深媒体人士Tracy Liu评价为既有小桥流水的媚,也有铮铮傲骨的仙;《可爱的一朵玫瑰花》被评价为在保留东方音乐要素的基础上,采用了现代西方的作曲技法,将歌曲中蕴含的典雅纯朴的爱情意境演绎到了极致

音乐会由多大作曲博士贺子潇担任主持。近两年来,贺子潇还应邀担任了2017年及2018年艺术家中心新年音乐会、20179SPO“东方与西方室内乐音乐会、201711月加拿大演艺联盟庆祝加拿大建国150周年大型联欢晚会“O Canada“和其它一些晚会的主持,被媒体和观众誉为懂音乐的主持人。此次他为音乐会奉献两部新作:《蝶恋花》和《可爱的一朵玫瑰花》,是他在声乐领域新的尝试,标志着他的作曲向纵深发展,这两首新作受到加拿大、中国、美国和以色列众多作曲家及音乐家的首肯。

推广加拿大多元文化,弘扬中华民族文化是艺术家中心的宗旨, 具体实施时要做到求全、求新:全,是指一、音乐会要反映出不同地域的艺术特色,中国各地、亚洲、欧洲、美洲、非洲都要涉及到;二、音乐会要反映出不同时期的艺术流派,像这次音乐会既有古典乐派的经典作品,也有浪漫乐派的代表作。既有为中国的古典诗词谱曲,也有对现代歌曲的重新编配;三、音乐会要力求结合多种形式:声乐与器乐,独唱与合唱,古典与现代,民歌与流行乐等;四、音乐会要尽可能多地包括各族裔音乐家。新,是指一、曲目要创新,要给听众带来清新的艺术享受。此次音乐会,将近一半的曲目都创作于2017年的下半年,且均由加拿大本土音乐家完成;二、要大胆启用新人,让更多的新面孔出现在舞台上。上述这些对于在海外弘扬中华民族文化、促进加拿大多元文化发展起到了重要的作用。

这场音乐有总领馆负责人以及音乐界著名人士出席,也得到各方的大力支持:加拿大华人同乡会联合总会执行主席杨申亲自作音乐会的舞台监督,多伦多长江摄影队(Steven ZhaoDarius Poo)、摄影师周乐昌、独立媒体人赵红军等对音乐会全程摄影及录像,为音乐会提供了宝贵的资料。