Thursday, March 02, 2006


I wanted to start doing mini reviews of the concerts I go to, but I am rusty in terms of writing formally about music. Plus I'm also quite lazy. Maybe lazy is not the right term. Overextended.

I went to see Il Divo on the 11th of February and kept meaning to write about it. I'll admit at this moment that as much as I love Classical music, I know very little about and have listened to very little in terms of opera, or any Classical singing. It may be a cultural thing. Classical style singing sounds very foreign to me in comparison to the singing that I grew up with and am used to. So the few artists I am familiar with are of the "light" variety. I think that with time as I grow as an instrumentalist I will come to slowly develop a better appreciation of opera. But anyway, that's a whole other post.

Hayley Westenra opened up for Il Divo and ended up singing for almost an hour. I hadn't heard much about her other than her being young and that purists don't regard her as a serious Classical artist. I actually quite enjoyed her performance. Her voice was strong, clean, and pleasant to listen to. She reminded me a bit of Lorenna McKennit (she even did one of her songs!) but with a bigger sound. She had a tiny trio accompanying her and they did a nice job. The music itself was simple but her singing kept things interesting.

Il Divo, in contrast, was "big" on everything. They had a mini orchestra (yes they had an oboe!) and also a pop style orchestra. The setting was a bit dramatic: Grecian columns and laser lights. The music was at times "big" and so was their singing. I think that individually they have great voices and I especially enjoyed the duos. My favorite of the singers is Urs, the lower tenor. Carlos, the baritone, has such a strong voice that it sometimes distorted. Sebastien, the pop singer is quite good, but it was weird at times when he tried to emulate a more "classical" sound. It felt a bit contrived. I wasn't a huge fan of David, the higher tenor. For some reason he kept making me think of castrati.

Anyway, some of the arrangements were well done, using both the orchestra and the band well. On other songs I felt like we could have used more orchestra (read as: more oboe solos!). Kidding aside, I *was* surprised that there really weren't any real solos from the orchestra. Most times it was all tutti or the singing was so loud when the solos happened that you missed them. What bugged me the most were some of the voice harmonizations. As I mentioned earlier, they sounded really good when two or even three of them were singing at a time. But when all four came together the harmonies would sometimes get muddled. I don't think it was an intonation problem, it was just a matter of the arranger's taste. That, or the boys need to work on their dynamics.

That all being said I did enjoy the concert. Live music is always a blast. And who can resist all that virility?

So my next concert will be Imani Winds on the 25th. I'm looking forward to that because it's a wind quintet. And just today I got a flyer for a concert on the 26th where they will play "Rhapsody in Blue" which I love. Not sure if the hubby will let me go to concerts two days in a row though considering that we're technically living off loans. *sigh* Hopefully by May 2007 I will have money again because I am definitely going to this concert. NY Phil is FINALLY playing Brahms's 3rd! YAY!

Ok back to Organic Chemistry.

But this is what I'm most looking forward

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