It began with a crimson-hued romp through the Overture to Roman Carnival by Hector Berlioz and ended with a magnificently sculpted performance of an underappreciated epic, Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2.
The idea for Ensemble Paramirabo to take the works by Toy Piano Composers on tour after a February residency in Banff came from a conversation between Paramirabo artistic director Jeffrey Stonehouse and Toy Piano Composer Chris Thornborrow after the latter’s doctoral recital at the University of Toronto.
The big draw on the programme was Eybler Quartet violist Patrick Jordan’s arrangement of the piano part from Robert Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe (A Poet’s Loves) for string quartet, double-bass and guitar.
Founding violinist Geoff Nutall and violist Lesley Robertson, with Fewer and cellist Chris Costanza vividly demonstrated in a meaty programme that the St Lawrence continues to be about intensely committed performances that are more than fine balance, heaps of technique and great communication.
American violinist Rachel Barton Pine is a powerhouse, in the best possible sense. But her first taste of motherhood reminded her of the appeal of music as a pacifier, not just goosebump-raiser. She channelled that realisation into a wonderful album of 25 lullabies culled from the surprisingly vast repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries.