Tonight at the Glenn Gould studio, I was lucky to hear “Tangorium“: a “Tango fusion show for full Orchestra” with clarinet and accordion soloists Kornel Wolak and Michael Bridge.
The energetic, virtuosic, and intensely creative fusion pieces were an impressive demonstration of what some people accomplished during the pandemic, and the rapport on stage between the composers had a little of the mischief of Vaudeville or a buddy comedy. Attending felt like being present at one of the forefronts of world culture, though with the benefit of a medium and mood that was inviting and mood-lifting rather than alienating or cerebral.
There is immense cleverness and application in how Kornel, Bridge, and their conductor slash composer-arranger Charles Cozens have combined classical with tango and other musical styles, and the hosts’ facility with languages and foreign names is impressive. I don’t have the musical sophistication to say much about what they actually did, but I found it all to be a concert like no other and a compelling and gratifying thing to witness.
I am still new to orchestral appreciation, but I must also extend my appreciation to the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, who gave power and substance to the written music and leading instruments and applied their talents skillfully to show how music from broadly separated traditions can speak in duet and with many voices at once.