Esprit Orchestra

On Sunday night, John and I went with a bunch of Western students to Toronto to see the Esprit Orchestra perform some 20th century works.

I think people in London are in denial about how long it takes to get to Toronto. "Two hours" is a bit conservative - it really takes more than that to get anywhere in town.

I wasn't much help with the directions.

I kept saying, "Oh - look at that!"
That building is CN Tower - or "the Space Needle," as John kept calling it.

They also have a shoe museum! With contemporary shoe art!!!

I don't think I can convince Dave to go there when he and Carla visit next month (yay!), but I might try.

This building is part of the Royal Conservatory (I think it's a museum? Canadians, help me out here).

The more modern section of the building is connected to the other end of the block, where the concert was. You can see those white cafe tables on the lower level, on what used to be the outside the older building.

The hall is brand new, and really beautiful.

I was really in love with the ceiling.

Daisy road in our car, which was flattering; after 18 hours total for our Montreal adventure, she was willing to ride somewhere with me again.

The program had a piece on it about the Nunavik people in Northern Canada.

I couldn't decide what I thought about it.

The Inuit throat singers (on the left) were really interesting, but it felt like they were sort of thrown into the piece, not "integrated" in the way the composer said. The conductor basically turned them off and on like a tape loop, and the whole thing seemed really exoticized.

Then there was a piece by R. Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer. His piece was my favorite part of the program. His program notes were intense - he describes how technology, machines, corporate life and white people have "raped the North" and its identity, and that the North and East are the only two directions that he cares about, what with the south representing humidity and laziness, and the west that's just full of "cowboys and chopsticks." The piece was for orchestra and snow mobile, and that aspect made me think I would hate it.

But I actually thought it was really affective. My criticism was the way they used the snow mobile. Based on the program notes, it was meant to represent all of the problems with the technological invasion of the North, etc, and it's supposed to be turned on at a climactic moment in the piece. But when the percussionist came to the front to play it, he put on a snow hat and really exaggerated riding it, and it made the whole audience crack up. It seemed like the complete opposite of the intended effect, but oh well. His writing for percussion was really cool.

And loud!


  1. Seeing modern shoe art sounds fun to me, Abby. Also, I loved the program note about "cowboys and chopstick". It made me laugh out loud this morning. :)

  2. That shoe museum looked really cool, and there's also the Art Gallery of Ontario that we could see. His program notes were over the top, but they seemed really honest. Even if you disagreed with him, he got his point across.

  3. how dare you question my ability to appreciate high art in shoe form!

  4. I just assumed you would say "I luv shoooooeesss" in my crow voice. I think it'd be an awesome place to go.