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May 3, 2012

Bach and the Violin - May 3, 2012

Patricia Ahern (violin)

We had our first performance of the Rachel Podger programme last night, and it was great fun! From the very first notes of the Bach's E major violin concerto, Rachel happily and energetically led us with all the same brilliance and detail that we worked on in rehearsals. Our recorder/flute soloists Alison Melville and Matthias Maute were virtuosic and a treat to hear in a Telemann concerto and then also in Brandenburg Concerto #4.

During the dress rehearsal we told Rachel that even though she would tune up her violin backstage before the Vivaldi, she should tune again on stage, just to see if the audience would notice that the violin was tuned differently. I think our audience passed the test! During intermission, our bassoonist Dominic Teresi and oboist Marco Cera (they are not playing in this concert, but came to see the show) both came backstage with their families (there are cookies there for the's always a desired destination for the little ones) and it felt like a big family reunion for all of us. After intermission, I was free to go out into the audience and watch the Telemann Concerto for 3 violins, as it has reduced instrumentation. I was so proud of my colleagues and friends Cristina Zacharias and Julie Wedman, standing there next to Rachel and all playing with such flair and personality. I'm in love with that piece now, and I hope we can start playing it more, since it is Tafelmusik! I ran out of the hall when the applause started and joined everyone just in time for the Brandenburg, which of course called for a standing ovation. For the encore, Rachel chose the last movement of Brandenburg Concerto #2, which normally requires a trumpet player and oboist, but Chris Verrette played the oboe part on violin and Matthias played the trumpet part on recorder. Suddenly there were no problems with balance!

I was very happy to see some of the students that I met while coaching the school orchestra of Bloor Collegiate in the audience. Some of them have only been playing their instruments for a few years, but they were eager to come to our Tafelmusik concert. I'm always glad when students get inspired by and/or interested in baroque music, especially Tafelmusik! After the concert, the orchestra topped off the evening with a small informal party of cava and cheese, and it was great to just sit and chat with Rachel and everyone. It was another one of those concerts that I finish and pinch I actually get paid for doing this?


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