Symphony No. 40, one of the three late symphonies written in a six-week time span in 1788, is a favourite of mine, and last night’s performance further cemented my opinion of this masterpiece. The familiar opening with its energy, passion and restless abandon was delivered with a gripping intensity that carried over through the remaining three movements. The Trio section of the Menuetto movement offered tranquility in the otherwise driving spirit. The finale had all the electric energy that one has come to expect. 

Tafelmusik will repeat this program in performances tonight, September 22nd 2018 at 8pm and tomorrow, September 23rd 2018 at 3pm at Koerner Hall. There will be a pre-concert chat by Rick Phillips, one hour before each concert.

The early works were filled with energy, sparkle, wit, humour and expressive beauty. The middle movements showed Mozart to be a lyrical genius even at a young age. One could hear in the overture suggestions of the yet to be written Marriage of Figaro. One could imagine them sung. Indeed the superb playing of Citterio and bassoonist Dominic Teresi in their respective solo performances were phrased and shaped like superb vocal arias. Citterio’s cadenza’s, written for her by her brother Carlo Citterio were more musical than virtuosic. Teresi’s dark, warm tone was striking. In both works, the orchestra balanced the soloists with caring sensitivity.

Elisa Citterio performs Concerto for violin in D Major, K.218
​with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; Photo credit: Jeff Higgins

Music Director Elisa Citterio with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
​Photo credit: Jeff Higgins

​​Review by David Richards
Toronto ON September 22nd 2018

Dominic Teresi performs Concerto for bassoon in D Minor, RV 481
​with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; Photo credit: Jeff Higgins

Tafelmusik: spellbinding in its year 40 opener with an all-Mozart program!​


Music reviews of the finest concerts in Toronto and beyond!
- ​symphonic, choral, opera, chamber, jazz and period music​ -

It’s not the first time that Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra has delivered an all-Mozart program, but perhaps the first time this fine period orchestra has opened a new season and celebrated a major milestone such as its 40th Anniversary with anything other than Baroque offerings. I caught the second of four performances of the mesmerizing program last night at Koerner Hall

Music Director Elisa Citterio had the orchestra in mid-season form. (This was no exhibition game like the one simultaneously going on down the road). The core ensemble, mostly intact from previous years was expanded to a Mozart-sized orchestra of twenty-seven players with twenty of those in the string section. New to the core group is violist Brandon Chui while long-time double bassist Alison Mackay has announced that this will be her final season. There is no doubt that it is in Citterio’s deft handling of the ensemble that Tafelmusik continues to create magical evenings like last night. Both as soloist and orchestral leader she guided the orchestra with style, precision and delicate phrasing.

The program demonstrated the contrasts of Mozart’s early and mature musical styles. The first three works on the program were composed when he was in his late teens while working as Konzertmeister in the court of the Archbishop of Salzburg. The main work on the program, Mozart’s Symphony No. 40​ in G Minor, K.550 was written at the age of 32, just three years before his death. The early works included a seldom heard overture to the opera buffa La finta gardiniera, K.196 + 207a and two contrasting concertos, Concerto for violin in D Major, K.218 and Concerto for bassoon in B-flat Major, K.191.