DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

SCRUTINY | Krzysztof Urbański Draws Uncommon Grace From Common Repertoire

By Michael Vincent on October 15, 2016

Guest conductor Krzysztof Urbanski with the TSO (Photo: Jag Photography)
Guest conductor Krzysztof Urbanski with the TSO (Photo: Jag Photography)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra with Yuja Wang (piano) and Krzysztof Urbański (guest conductor) at Roy Thomson Hall. Thursday, Oct. 13.

The moment I see a program with the Peer Gynt Suite or The New World Symphony, I get a little worried. But for a Thursday night, Yuja Wang and Krzysztof Urbański on the same bill was just too intriguing to pass up.

Where do I start. Krzysztof Urbański, whom I’m betting the house should be the next conductor of the TSO after Peter Oundjian retires in two years, trotted out and stood in front of the Toronto Symphony like he was about to set them on fire. This was not going to be your regular, run of the mill Grieg, Bartók, and Dvořák.

“He’s dancing,” I overheard someone whisper during the”Death of Aase” movement of Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1. Exactly. Urbański has a compelling style that is both unique and bewitching. His grace cast the focus on the moment rather than the direction. While the silence-haunted strings drop low in the bass, then ascend, he did not fall into the trap of being shamelessly lush and over the top. His intent was the focus on the venerable confessions of the silence which ended one minute at a time. It was one of the most tender performances I’ve ever heard from the TSO.

Yuja Wang and Krzysztof Urbanski with the TSO (Photo: Jag Photography)
Yuja Wang and Krzysztof Urbanski with the TSO (Photo: Jag Photography)

Leaving the audience gazing at their shoes, Urbański returned with Yuja Wang for Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The piece has more twists and turns than a corn maze, but Wang seemed uncharacteristically careful for the wild, spitfire virtuoso. Her fingers were all working as they should, but there was a sense she was holding back for something. By the second movement Adagio, particularly the long chordal section, it became clear this was the place she was waiting for. The mood turned dark, and Wang relished in the sequence of chords, whose simplicity provided a much-needed contrast to the busier material. Urbański did a fine job of keeping the orchestra from stepping on her toes, until, as is customary in a concerto, it called for it.

Wang’s visit concluded with a Frankenstein arrangement of Mozart Turkish March that the audience rewarded with cheers.

Evoking the all the wonder of the Big Apple, the TSO and Urbański sealed the evening with Dvořák’s outrageously popular New World Symphony. The TSO again responded well to Urbański’s fictive flair. The brass and winds were layered beautifully against the strings and hung in the air like a like a French perfume. Only a few staggered entrances reminded me this wasn’t a perfect performance.

The program repeats Saturday, October 15, 2016 – 8:00 p.m. Tickets and details found, here.

#LUDWIGVAN

Want more updates on Toronto-centric classical music news and review before anyone else finds out? Get our exclusive newsletter here and follow us on Facebook for all the latest.

Michael Vincent
Follow me

Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. He has worked as a senior editor for over fifteen years and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
Follow me

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

SCRUTINY | Luminato: 'Forget Me Not' Great When You Could Hear It

By Paula Citron on June 12, 2019

Luminato Festival's Forget Me Not, a highly imaginative puppet show by Ronnie Burkett, gets sabotaged by a missing microphone.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

SCRUTINY | Luminato's Tech Driven 'The Full Light of Day' Is Mind-Boggling

By Paula Citron on June 9, 2019

What happens when you put two revered Siminovitch Prize winners together? The answer is creativity to the max with The Full Light of Day at Luminato.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

SCRUTINY | Tapestry Opera's Shanawdithit A Missed Opportunity

By Stephan Bonfield on May 17, 2019

Tapestry Opera's latest co-production with Opera on the Avalon had all the signs of success, but a dragging narrative, mismatched score, and lack of imagination keep this profound story from resonating.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.