At the end of September I headed back to the Maison Symphonique to hear an evening of tango - Una Noche en Buenos Aires - with the McGill Chamber Orchestra and Victor Simon. Victor Simon, an Argentinian pianist and composer who fell in love with our city and founded Montreal Tango, is a master of spontaneous tango. Watching him play is a humbling experience for any piano student. He makes the intricate, finger-flying rhythms seem effortless, possessed digits weaving the seductive sounds, classic tangos as well as his own compositions. According to his web site, Victor didn't take up tango composition until he left his home for Montreal, an impulse the audience surely appreciated. The McGill Chamber Orchestra with Boris Brott played marvelously and the joy of the musicians was obvious. Tango is fun, and passionate, and freeing. The hall was tuned for the evening - seating was reduced and the ceilings were lowered and the musicians all sat on a single level. The sound was very good, the hall seems designed for the piano - the clarity of the Steinway in the new hall is delicate and clean and sharp. I cannot wait to hear more pianists to hear if there is a difference with a full hall. For the second half of the concert, the piano was moved from the front of the stage to the back to accomodate dancers who occasionally appeared from the wings to dazzle the audience with giros, ganchos, and sacadas. I have recently fallen completely in love with this dance (I'll share that in an upcoming post), and it was all I could do to keep myself from leaping out there and failing to dazzle everyone with my very basic step. Oh! And guess where I was sitting? In the CHOIR! When there is no choir, the seats are used for regular patrons and so I jumped at the chance to face the audience and get a new perspective on the orchestra. Sound is great in this area, but any talking using the microphone is garbled and difficult to make out, so skip the opening speeches.
There are many performances of Tango Montreal coming up and they've just released a new album, so check out their site.