Young and Old Flock to Montréal for the Concours Musical International

06/06/2017

Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Hawkins, R. Strauss, Shostakovich, Bartók: Zoltán Fejérvári (piano), Serhiy Salov (piano), Measha Brueggergosman (soprano), Benjamin Beilman (violin), Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal / Claus-Peter Flor (conductor), Symphony Hall, Place des Arts, Montréal, 12.5.2017. (LV)

Brahms – Piano Concerto No.2 Movement 1
Saint-Saëns – Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
R. Walter Hawkins – Goin’ Up Yonder
R. Strauss – Four Last Songs: ‘Im Abendrot’
Shostakovich – Festive Overture
Bartók– Piano Concerto No.3

For 15 years the Concours Musical International de Montréal has been a great place to hang out if you like classical music’s most glorious, cruelest event, the competition.

This year, it was the week of May 8 when six finalists each played a full concerto with the Orchestre Symphonie de Montréal (OSM) conducted by Claus-Peter Flor. The six performances were split over consecutive nights and revealed a range of talents.

On May 9, Albert Cano Smit broke hearts with his poetry but fell under the weight of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No.1. Zoltan Fejérvári completely reversed the situation, playing Bartok’s Third with serene command and dazzling chops. Giuseppe Guarrera took full possession of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 from his opening, thundering chords, and rarely relinquished the spotlight again; it was always breath-taking, never boring.

On May 10, Yejin Noh astonished the audience with her own version of an extravagant Tchaikovsky First with something that was more passionate as if she were the one being possessed, like the woman floating away from the piano in this year’s Concours logo image. She was followed by Jinhyung Park in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, who was poetical, precise, blended well with the orchestra, and charged brilliantly into the ending.

When Stefano Andreatta concluded the night by playing Liszt’s Second Concerto, it was like a return to a far-off, previous century when elegant phrasing and seamless virtuosity blended to create an authentically exasted feel from the composer’s tawdry fabric.

The three winners were excellent choices: Fejérvári took first prize and $30,000, plus $50,000 as recipient of the Joseph Rouleau Career Development Grant. Guarrera took second and $15,000, Andreatta third and $10,000. Except for the Best Canadian Artist Award, given to Teo Gheorghiu, all the other special prizes, including the People’s Choice Award, were awarded to Guarrera.

No matter how gala the Gala, you always leave wishing you could have heard at least the top three prize winners again. But who could complain when the entertainment was supplied by past winners Measha Brueggergosman singing a spiritual and “Im Abendrot” from Strauss’s Four Last Songs, Serhiy Salov in the first movement of Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, and violinist Benjamin Beilman playing Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.

After intermission came some serious sounds, with the OSM finally playing like a world-class orchestra in Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, and then Fejérvári reprised the Bartok with more wide-ranging command, and a more brilliant personality – deeply beautiful and profound.

The gala concert was sold out, filled with talent scouts from the world’s major record labels, competitions, and orchestras checking out the young virtuosos – including 70 attendees from the 61st General Assembly of the World Federation of International Music Competitions, and 200 from the International Federation of Musicians’ triennial conference. Not to mention that the city of Montréal is celebrating its 375th birthday, all year long.

But that’s what makes classical music in Montréal so irresistible – young and old at the same time.

Laurence Vittes

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
 in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Sunday International Concerts Series in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! Salzburg Whitsun Festival 7 – 10 June 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bolshoi Ballet 2018/19 UK Cinema Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Holland Park’s 2018 Season Begins Soon __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018-2019 Geneva Grand Theâtre Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Hallé Season in Manchester __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 CBSO at Symphony Hall, Birmingham __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 BBC NOW in Cardiff and Swansea __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018/19 Birmingham Classical Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe Star in The King and I at the London Palladium __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 BBC Proms __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with Nicolò Isouard’s Cinderella __________________________________
  • NEW! Pop-Up Opera’s 2018 Mozart Double Bill __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Abandoned Liszt Opera Sardanapalo Premieres in Weimar in August __________________________________
  • NEW! THE TENOR RUSSELL THOMAS IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! RAFAL BLECHACZ IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! MARKUS POSCHNER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Massenet’s Thaïs at the Cadogan Hall on 23 June __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli Sings for Chelsea Pensioners, at Cadogan Hall, and Signs for Sony/ATV __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • NEW! MICHAEL SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! Trinity Laban Moves to Abolish All-Male Composer Concerts __________________________________
  • NEW! ARABELLA STEINBACHER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! THE CONDUCTOR LAURENCE EQUILBEY IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH LISETTE OROPESA AS SHE RETURNS TO LA OPERA FOR ORFEO ED EURIDICE __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ANDREA CARÈ AS HE RETURNS TO COVENT GARDEN AS DON JOSÉ __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month