Reviews

Barker, Deryk (2018) “I’ve Got a Little Liszt”. Concert review, University of Victoria Orchestra, Ya Ping Huang, Ajtony Csaba. November 30, 2018. On: Music in Victoria. Available at http://www.islandnet.com/miv/reviews/r2018-11-30-dgrb.html.

[…] The third movement may not strike today’s listener as particularly avant-garde, but the prominent use of the triangle was seen in some quarters as outrageous when the concerto was first performed in 1855 (Liszt was the soloist, Berlioz the conductor). The distinctly unprogressive critic Eduard Hanslick dubbed the work Liszt’s “Triangle Concerto”. Here the movement came across as distinctly playful, with a vitality and delicacy which were irresistible. And whoever was playing the triangle ([…] Cashton McGillivray […]) did a splendid job of making it sound fresh without dominating the sound to the point of being overbearing. The finale positively scintillated, with excellent communication between Csaba and Huang, who clearly had technique to spare. The close was every bit as exciting as I imagine Liszt intended.
The concert opened with an excellent performance of the overture to Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride. The famous introduction was taken at a measured pace, but this, in terms of articulation, was all to the good.
The detailing of the individual lines as the music built to its first tutti was most impressive; string tone was full and rich and the winds were delightfully perky.[…].

Monkmann, Martin (2018) “The Last of the Great Romantics”. Concert review, University of Victoria Orchestra, Claire Dresselhuis, Ajtony Csaba (cond.), April 7, 2018. On: Music in Victoria. Available at: http://www.islandnet.com/miv/reviews/r2018-04-07-mm.html.

 […] I was struck by the consistency of tone and balance in the orchestra, particularly in the many quiet passages.[…]

Barker, Deryk (2017) “School of Music 50th Anniversary Gala Concert”. Concert review, University of Victoria Chorus and Orchestra, Merrie Klazek, Arthur Rowe, Timothy Vernon (cond.), December 2, 2017. On: Music in Victoria. Available at: http://www.islandnet.com/miv/reviews/r2017-12-02-dgrb.html.

[…]From its strong opening, with deep, rich tones from the orchestra, the performance put nary a foot wrong. […]

Barker, Deryk (2017) “A Tribute to Maureen Forrester”. Concert review, University of Victoria Orchestra, Noa Frenkel and Benjamin Butterfield (voice), Ajtony Csaba (conducting). On: Music in Victoria. Available at: http://www.islandnet.com/miv/reviews/r2017-10-27-dgrb.html.

[…]As I observed earlier, Csaba directed the work well, with sensibly-chosen tempos and a firm hand on the architecture of the lengthy final movement. His orchestra also played extremely well: the horns at the opening of the work were very fine, woodwinds were delightfully colourful if not always, as at the opening of the second movement, quite soft enough. The brass came into their own in the great funeral march at the centre of Der Abschied and rose to the occasion. […]

Barker, Deryk (2016) “Mythological Zoo”. Concert review, University of Victoria Orchestra, Evan Hesketh, Ajtony Csaba (cond.), April 2, 2016. On: Music in Victoria. Available at: http://www.islandnet.com/miv/reviews/r2017-12-02-dgrb.html.

[…]From the lugubrious bassoons and pizzicato lower strings of the opening to the exuberant finale this was a rhythmically vital performance, excellently played. I particularly enjoyed the third movement, with its counterposing of the piccolo and contrabassoon, and the ethereal strings and unearthly winds of the fourth movement. […]

Barker, Deryk (2015) “Please, sir, can I have some more?”. Concert Review of University of Victoria Chorus and Orchestra Concert. March 28, 2015, conducted by Ajtony Csaba. On: Music in Victoria. Available at http://islandnet.com/miv/reviews/r2015-03-28-dgrb.html.

[…]The first “half” of the programme consisted of a performance which showed the orchestra (considerably larger than in the Haydn) at its best, from the colourful, easy-going opening to the terrific final crescendo.[…]

Berlin, Peter (2015) “Mischief Set To Music”. Review of University of Victoria Orchestra Concert. January 30, 2015. On: Music in Victoria. Available at: http://www.islandnet.com/miv/reviews/r2015-01-30-pb.html

[…]With the average age of the musicians in their early 20’s, the UVic Orchestra offers spark and enthusiasm with no trace of grey-haired complacency. In terms of musical excellence, it is right up there with the Victoria Symphony, the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra and the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra. Lucky Victoria et environs, with its population of only half a million, to have access to such musical wealth over and above the many renowned chamber orchestras and choirs![…]

Barker, Deryk (2010). “A New Broom at Uvic”. Concert Review, University of Victoria Orchestra, Ajtony Csaba (cond.). October 29, 2011. On: Music in Victoria. Available at http://www.islandnet.com/miv/reviews/r2010-10-29-dgrb.html.

[…]Music this recent has been something of a rarity at UVic Orchestra concerts and so it was gratifying to observe that not only were the players themselves clearly revelling in the piece but the audience themselves, if their response was any indication, also enjoyed it greatly.[…]

Suspicions that Csaba must have had a reason for leaving the Mozart overture until last were confirmed as soon as the music began: those sombre, sonorous “Masonic” opening trombone chords were magnificent and the subsequent fugal allegro (based on a theme from a piano sonata by Clementi, a composer Mozart claimed to consider a “charlatan”) took off like a rocket. Coincidentally, a day or so later I heard a performance of the overture (by the Calgary Philharmonic, although the “dumbed-down” CBC apparently no longer feels it necessary to inform us who was conducting). While that was in no wise a slow performance, this one left it standing, yet the playing was every bit as good and ensemble, even at such a tempo, was all but immaculate.[…]