Music

Here are 9 more amazing virtual videos from Canada's classical musicians

Evidently, it'll take more than a pandemic to stop these artists from 'getting together' to perform.

Evidently it'll take more than a pandemic to stop these artists from 'getting together' to perform

Tenor Philippe Gagné (top right) sings a heavy metal performance of an aria by J.S. Bach. (YouTube screenshot)

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada's classical musicians have been using technology to side-step the self-isolation measures currently in effect and post amazing virtual performances online.

Of the more recent ones we've seen, here are the virtual performances that really grabbed our attention.


This touching Intermezzo from the OSQ

The musicians of l'Orchestre symphonique de Québec dedicated this virtual performance of the Intermezzo from Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana to the province's senior citizens, who've been hit so hard by COVID-19.


This Gershwin tour de force from Eric Abramovitz

They say if you want something done well, ask a busy person to do it. So Eric Abramovitz, associate principal clarinettist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, got busy and played this arrangement of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with multiple versions of himself, on a whole array of woodwind instruments.


This maniacal metal treatment of a Bach aria

We love everything about this heavy metal version of the tenor aria "Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn," from Bach's Cantata Christ lag in Todesbanded, BWV 4 — from the gravel in Philippe Gagné's voice and his crazed facial expressions, to the crucifix hanging behind violinist Marie Nadeau-Tremblay, to the ominous, relentless grind of the basses and guitar.


This old-timey song from the Chœur virtuel de l'Acadie

We count more than 100 singers taking part in this lovely rendition of the French-Canadian folksong "Partons la mer est belle" — what a feat! The arrangement allows the different sections of the choir to shine, and the song's gently waltzing tempo will instantly transport you to happier pre-pandemic times.


This 14-cello arrangement of Elgar's 'Nimrod' Variation

Here are 14 fine cello students from the University of Toronto's faculty of music who got together virtually to play Gwyn Seymour's arrangement of Variation 9 ("Nimrod") from Elgar's Enigma Variations. We think they deserve top marks.


This impressive 1st effort from an RCM cellist

Not to be outdone, cellist Eugene Ye enlisted his fellow students from the Royal Conservatory of Music's Taylor Academy for this performance of the "Preludio" from Villa-Lobos's Bachanias Brasileiras.

"I was inspired by the recent videos from musicians around the world to reach out to my fellow cellists from the Academy Chamber Orchestra and put together something neat," Ye wrote. "It's not perfect, it's my first time using any type of editing software, but I hope you enjoy it!"


This Serenade by Strauss from the 1st VSO@Home live stream

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's music director, Otto Tausk, co-hosted his organization's first VSO@Home concert on April 21, which included a virtual performance by the orchestra's winds of Strauss's Serenade in E-flat Major, Op. 7.


This excerpt from the pop opera Nelligan

Tenor Marc Hervieux anchors this virtual performance of "Le Vaisseau d'or" from André Gagnon's 1990 pop opera sensation, Nelligan, along with pianists Esther Gonthier and Marie-Eve Scarfone and a cast of musical theatre stars from Quebec.


This heart-warming effort by 40 young musicians

And perhaps the most inspirational of all, here's a virtual performance of the slow movement from Bach's Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043, from 40 young musicians from across Canada. Representing communities from St. John's in the East to Iqaluit in the North, to Victoria in the West, these musicians are showing us the way forward with their musicianship and collaborative spirit.

Hats off to Kai Chow and Sébastien Tsai for making it happen.

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