Jens Lindemann Triumph
Jens Lindemann Makes History at the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto
Read Review in Musical Toronto
Although I am President of the WMCT, I assure you that the following is written from the bottom of my heart and not simply to promote the WMCT. I feel strongly that we should have a record of this unusual and quite marvellous concert in the 117th season of Music in the Afternoon.
In all honesty, I hadn’t really known exactly what to expect, though Simon Fryer, our superb Artistic Director, assured us that it would be a wonderful event, if a little different from the usual WMCT concert fare. However, with a concert not just on trumpet but accompanied by drum set and even electric guitar, we certainly seemed to be testing the waters, to put it mildly. Moreover, when I learned of the musical program I didn’t see a lot of tried-and-true “classical” composers in the mix – other than two very short pieces by J.S. Bach and Debussy.
It turned out to be absolutely mesmerizing from start to finish! Not only a brilliant musician, Jens is a consummate performer who draws in his audience from the moment he walks onto the stage. He was warm and very funny in his introductions (for example, noting that this was the first time in 117 years a drum set had graced the WMCT concert stage). His pacing and timing – in music and speech – was just perfect, not to mention his landing into the splits on the climactic last note of the piece before intermission, Suite Hellenique by Pedro Iturralde, with Jens arrangements.
In fact, this concert was full of surprises: his initial entry from the back of the hall as he played La fille aux cheveux de lin; positioning the Earl Haig Secondary School students around the hall as additional “sound” with long, brightly coloured whirly tubes in Gilliland’s piece; and the very touching final piece Prayer by Kristian Alexandrov that segued into Louis Armstrong’s signature song What a Wonderful World, which I know brought tears to the eyes of a few WMCT members.
Most importantly, this concert was a resounding success for its superb musicianship and delightful choice of repertoire. Jens’s collaborators were first class, and all worked together as a tightly-knit team smoothly transitioning in and out of composed and improvised musical zones. In particular, I was impressed by the young (41 seems young to me!) pianist/composer/percussionist Kristian Alexandrov who was featured in nearly every piece.
All in all it was a musically joyous occasion led by the stunning musicianship and personality of Jens Lindemann. The title of the concert, Brassfire, was certainly no exaggeration!
Annette Sanger, WMCT President