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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Concert appreciation: Intense and friendly launch for Euphonia at Lula Lounge

By John Terauds on April 15, 2013

Conductor Simon Capet chats with bass player Jordan O'Conor about his arrangements of five Beck songs for Monday's concert at Lula Lounge (John Terauds phone photo).
Conductor Simon Capet chats with bass player Jordan O’Conor about his arrangements of five Beck songs for Monday’s concert at Lula Lounge (John Terauds phone photo).

Conductor Simon Capet and the 18 founding members of his Euphonia chamber orchestra can be proud of their inaugural concert at Lula Lounge on Monday night.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds

It wasn’t as much a concert as a club gig, with a programme divided into three sets separated by time to chat with friends, order another round of drinks, or to duck outside for a quick smoke.

Instead of playing from the stage, Euphonia performed from the central dancefloor, surrounded by a roomfull of interested onlookers — a group that included the kitchen staff once they shut down for the evening.

Capet interspersed the music with informal, spoken introductions. I arrived about halfway through the first set, which consisted of Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 3. The background noise of clinking glasses and shuffling feet quickly faded into the distance under the power of this mesmerizing music.

Euphonia bass player Jordan O’Conor created effective arrangements of five songs from Beck’s Song Reader album. Capet played piano as well as conducting members of the orchestra and vocalist Gillian Margot.

Beck has a fine way with a melody, and the songs were well performed, but the overall downtempo mood of these pieces made for a bit too much sameness in feel as well as texture.

The evening ended with the Chamber Symphony, an adaptation of Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8. It has intensity as well as contrast. It also tests the ability of the string players to really focus their playing and sound — something that didn’t always work out on Monday night.

But that wasn’t the point — at least not this time.

Euphonia is about showing how classical music can fit comfortably into a non-traditional environment and engage an  audience. In this, the evening was a runaway success.

The orchestra returns to Lula Lounge on the second Monday of every month. The next concert, on May 13, will feature music by Spanish and Latin American composers. You can find Euphonia’s Facebook page here.

John Terauds

 

 

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
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