Home Classical Music The Orchestra Meets Wildlife In Dan Brown’s Wild Symphony

The Orchestra Meets Wildlife In Dan Brown’s Wild Symphony

The Orchestra Meets Wildlife In Dan Brown’s Wild Symphony


Graphic from Dan Brown's Wild Symphony (Courtesy of the TSO)
Graphic from Dan Brown’s Wild Symphony (Courtesy of the TSO)

Dan Brown: Wild Symphony (A Younger Folks’s Live performance). Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Trevor Wilson, TSO RBC Resident Conductor; Ramona Gilmour-Darling, Narrator. Roy Thomson Corridor, March 3, 2024.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is not any stranger to revered conductors, however ask any of the kids at Roy Thomson Corridor this previous Sunday and they’d seemingly champion one: Maestro the Mouse.

Whereas a cartoon rodent didn’t technically conduct, exceptional as that will have been, the younger aesthetes-in-training nonetheless acquired the message. In spite of everything, the intent behind Wild Symphony, a musical ebook written and composed by Dan Brown (sure, of The DaVinci Code), was largely to garner curiosity in classical music amongst youngsters. The kids’s poetry ebook, first launched in 2020, tells the story of Maestro the Mouse as he gathers a bunch of musical mates from the animal kingdom to play in his orchestra. Amongst them are good bats, dancing boars, and anxious ostriches — every with a complementary rating.

The round foyer of Roy Thomson Corridor provides a little bit of this wildlife in particular person. Wild Ontario, an academic program primarily based out of the College of Guelph, was on-premises with Mowat the barred owl doing reside demonstrations. Different pre-show actions embody Lengthy and McQuade’s instrument discovery zone and a particular efficiency by Brampton’s Youth Orchestra.

The live performance itself options 21 actions in whole, none longer than two minutes. Trevor Wilson, the resident TSO conductor, leads the orchestra whereas Ramona Gilmour-Darling (previously of The Huge Cozy Sofa) narrates the present. It’s unusual to see an opulent armchair on stage alongside orchestra chairs and music stands, however that is the place Gilmour-Darling removes her heeled sneakers and opts for a pair of fuzzy slippers. As she opens the ebook and begins studying, we’re transported to a day storytime session.

Two screens mission Susan Batori’s ebook illustrations to information us from one animal to the following. The musical items are impressionistic — in “Woodbird Welcome,” hole percussion harking back to woodpeckers and upbeat strings simply mimicked a chicken chirping at daybreak. “Clumsy Kittens” is a sly tune that inched ahead like a cat ardently stalking prey. Brown notably shines as a composer throughout the items dedicated to underwater creatures. “The Ray” is gorgeous, with a gliding, subtle gait. “Wondrous Whale” does one thing comparable, honouring the good-looking cetaceans with a dramatic, nearly ominous ballad. Actions like these are elegant and complex, however Brown by no means veers too removed from his viewers. There are many springy, trombone-heavy items (“Bouncing Kangaroos,” “Blissful Hippo”). These are foolish and kooky. The youngsters eat it up.

Nonetheless, it’s typically onerous to maintain the eye of principally 4 to eight-year-olds for an hour. Whereas consideration sometimes wavers, one specific motion stands out because the afternoon’s favorite judging by crowd response. “Keen Elephant” is an amusing illustration of a calf trying to match the grandeur of a mature elephant’s fanfare. Every trumpet sequence is mimicked by a timid, shaky violin. The group erupts in laughter every time the violin makes one other try at matching the register. Ultimately, the younger elephant good points confidence and girth, and the piece flies into concord.

The tip of the present is signaled by the winding down of tempo, nearly as if the live performance is scoring a whole day from morning to nighttime. A dulcet, delicate “Swan In The Mist” leads right into a reflective and somber “Cricket Lullaby.” If this weren’t a present for kids, it could be a dramatic strategy to finish.

However this isn’t that sort of present. “Maestro Mouse Reprise” brings us again into one last swoop upwards. The symphony welcomes the group as a part of the ultimate motion with a decrescendo, making area for the viewers’s rhythmic clapping. That is the enjoyable — and even the purpose — of an interactive present. Gilmour-Darling reminds us that “life’s a symphony.” Go wild.

By: Radiyah Chowdhury

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