JWR Articles: Live Event - Masterworks Series (Featured performer: Andrew McCandless) - November 29, 2005

Masterworks Series

3.5 3.5

Critical proclamations and one reform

Following Sunday’s Niagara Symphony Masterworks concert, be it hereby proclaimed that:

  • As aptly demonstrated in Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto, repertoire of the Classical period best suits the size of the orchestra and the acoustical challenges of Sean O’Sullivan Theatre;
  • Andrew McCandless is a musician of the top rank. Fluid, clear tone; discreet use of vibrato; extraordinarily detailed phrases and articulation all combined to make his contributions the hands-down highlight of the afternoon;
  • NS horns and brass (as their string colleagues did during violist Rivka Golani’s bowing master class two years back—cross-reference below) would be well advised to learn from McCandless just how to set, breathe and deliver their attacks without bumping the musical fabric or stalling their entries;
  • The emotional intensity and level of commitment demonstrated by Swift, Candless and the orchestra in Bloch’s magnificent Proclamation ought to become the benchmark against which all future forays into “modern” music should be measured;
  • Chatman’s Barber-laden Over Thorns to Stars ought to slip quietly away from concert programs or undergo yet another (edited) reincarnation;
  • Cheque presentations or raffle draws have no place on the concert stage—particularly following one of the most sublime symphonic creations ever penned; the post-concert reception was invented for such important, but comparatively mundane events;


Several times in recent concerts, the audience has either en masse or ever so tentatively interrupted the artistic flow of multi-movement performances by bursting or drifting into applause. For many, this is an unwanted interruption, destroying the mood of one section while anxiously anticipating what is next to come. It is a fact that many in the crowd are hearing these masterpieces for the first time, so may not be aware that the final cadence of the “Allegro” is but a step on the road to greater glory.

With respect and love, we humbly request that Maestro Swift adjust his body language to cue a temporary halt, rather than the typical “arms drop dead” that, for some, cues the pressing of palms. We’re all in this together, do help us along the path to an even greater artistic experience. JWR

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Conductor - Daniel Swift
Featured performer - Andrew McCandless
War March of the Priests from Athalie, Op. 74 - Felix Mendelssohn
Concerto for Trumpet in E-flat Major - Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Over Thorns to Stars - Stephen Chatman
Proclamation for Trumpet and Orchestra - Ernest Bloch
Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Niagara Symphony Orchestra The Business Link
Cross-reference(s): Please click on the image link(s) below
for related work: