Alain Trudel press reviews
Maestro Trudel, pianist Rowe pack the house: debut as guest conductor highlighted by
UVic professor’s virtuosity on piano
Times Colonist, Victoria, October 6, 2008
Maestro Alain Trudel conducted the Victoria Symphony yesterday in his first concert since being announced
the orchestra’s principal guest conductor.
The performance indicated the relationship will be energy-infused and of interest to Symphony patrons — the nearly 1,000-seat venue was well-packed.
.... The overall highlight was the connection and energy of the musicians and the prominence of rhythm. Not a surprise with Beethoven — the original rocker — starting and ending the concert with the Overture
to Coriolan, op. 62 and Symphony No. 1 in C Major, op. 21. Beethoven is also one of Trudel’s favourite composers to conduct.
It is always a treat to see a Beethoven Symphony performed. The First is not his most famous and begins with an awkward minor [sic] chord that gives it the feeling of being in medias res. Kudos to the violin section on this one — their tight, legato lines were electrifying.
— Sarah Petrescu
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On Sunday afternoon, I heard the CBC Radio Orchestra, an amalgam of VSO staffers, Vancouver Opera players and freelancers, under the baton of Alain Trudel, the Montreal-born trombone virtuoso who has reinvented himself as a conductor (he is also music director of the Laval Symphony Orchestra). The crowd was middle-aged and tweedy, clearly well fortified with UBC types and CBC Radio 2 listeners.
They were very quiet, as well they might have been, during a Valentine “love” theme concert that boasted some of the smoothest, most luminous and — bottom line — best-tuned string playing I have heard in years. We do not lack for chamber orchestras in Montreal, but to hear 32 dedicated players deal softly and sweetly with Mahler’s Adagietto, Respighi’s Il Tramanto (Anita Krause was the rich and expressive mezzo-soprano), Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night and Aaron Jay Kernis’s agreeably minimalist
Musica Celestis is to know what an ensemble of 15 or 16 just cannot do.
A boyish figure on stage — no one would confuse him with Otto Klemperer — Trudel can communicate romance with his expressive left hand. He appears to enjoy the trust and affection of his orchestra. Note to self: Check out his work in Laval.
—Arthur Kaptainis, The Gazette, Montreal, 8 February 2008
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VANCOUVER — The stylish effervescence of baroque music was the theme of the CBC Radio Orchestra’s Sunday concert at the Chan Centre. A truly international style, what made baroque music unique can be seen across the board in all the arts, from architecture to painting, sculpture and drama.
The program was all chosen by audience request, and even by normal standards of
popularity what the audience came up with was popular: the Four Seasons, Handel’s Water
Music, the third Brandenburg Concerto … it was a Baroque hit parade. And much of this music was as popular with its original audiences (at least with the aristocracy) as The Ventures’ Wipe Out was popular with its own.
But popularity didn’t predicate an excuse for bad playing. Nothing had the feeling of being a knock-off or a no-brainer, it was beautiful playing overseen by conductor Alain Trudel, who is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to the orchestra since it was founded 70 years ago by Jack Avison. The music was overridden by a sense of style just as it was informed by a precision in such little matters as agogics, the little accentuations that are too small to be notated on paper.
No tempo is marked for the beginning of the third Brandenburg but Trudel’s speed was just right, as was the balance between violins, violas and cellos for which this concerto democratically devotes
its reason for being…
—Lloyd Dykk, Vancouver Sun, 6 January 2008
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The National Arts Centre’s Southam Hall was barely half full last night for one of the most interesting concerts given there in recent memory.
The program was given half to Bach and half to Stravinsky, the latter represented by one of his subtlest and most intriguing masterpieces, The Soldier’s Tale.
Things got under way with Bach’s Concerto in C for two harpsichords. The soloists were two of Canada’s finest practitioners of the instrument, Thomas Annand and Luc Beauséjour. Pinchas Zukerman led the orchestra from the first violin chair…
The real plum in last night’s musical pudding was the Stravinsky…Zukerman played the violin, but did not lead the performance. That task fell to Montreal conductor Alain Trudel. A conductor at the head of a seven-piece ensemble is an odd sight, but never mind. There was little left to be desired in the interpretation or the playing. The tiny ensemble of NAC Orchestra principals was simply outstanding.
—Richard Todd, The Ottawa Citizen, October 5, 2007
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Scotia Festival of Music ended a highly successful 2007 season with a massive blow-out in the Sir James Dunn Theatre on Sunday night. The two-week festival has been playing chamber music to packed houses since May 28 — 13 concerts over 14 days.
Chamber music is intimate and small, but there was nothing tiny about the 85 musicians who jammed the stage Sunday night for the live CBC Radio Two broadcast of two world premieres by festival conductor-in-residence Christos Hatzis and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra.
Conductor Alain Trudel explained to host Heidi Petracek that since Hatzis’s Tongues of Fire with solo percussionist Beverley Johnston and his Rebirth with solo violist Steven Dann were both concertos,
he thought he should program a concerto for the orchestra alone. Thus the fiercely difficult Bartok, which features all the instrumental sections of the orchestra in both individual and ensemble solos.
It was a daring choice. The Scotia Festival Orchestra is made up of master players and students and is, essentially, a pick-up orchestra whose rehearsal time is limited. But the gamble paid off. While a little scuffed around the edges, the Bartok scored a tour-de-force for the orchestra, featuring some truly outstanding solo work from the many experienced players, including a large contingent
of Symphony Nova Scotia’s brightest and best and bringing the audience to its feet for multiple curtain calls.