Monday, May 22, 2017


Audience in Ecstasy as Enrico Onofri Jump-starts the Musical Joy
  Bourgie Hall, May 21st, 2017

Arion’s closing concert of Vivaldi’s “L’Estro Armonico” was so astounding, the audience could not contain itself.  Vivaldi’s celebrated work brought on applause after applause after applause. 

We were enthralled to hear various segments of this exhilarating masterpiece – specifically no.1, RV 549, No 12, RV 265, No. 8, 108, RV 522, No. 2 RV 578, and No. 9, RV 230. and No. 11, RV 565. Leading the fast and furious passionate pack of musicians was Italian conductor, Enrico Onofri. No stranger to Arion, this violinist has performed before with the ensemble, and has conducted and played all over the world. It’s a sensational experience when Maestro Onofri hits the stage. 

More amazing is the fact that Maestro Onofri rarely turned his back on the audience throughout the program which featured staggeringly difficult but delicious works. Each one offered a minimum of three movements moving gloriously ahead in rhythmic contrasts with dynamic passages of ornamentation, twists, turns and thrilling melodies of harmonic rightness.

Every allegro demanded bionic energy, titanium-like talent spinning speedily in unenviable tempi braced in impeccable clarity and unbridled emotion. The effect was dazzling. The composer’s speedy expressions of fury took off like a galloping stallion. The agility in finger dexterity was remarkable to witness. To accomplish this music, a great variety of moods both subtle and dramatic must fill the soul of each player and be shared in unison as an orchestra.  Arion achieved this. Spritely flirtations, profound sorrows and sublime passages were masterfully communicated due to Arion’s sterling finesse.

The largos and adagios were profoundly moving, even mournful in despair. Such heartfelt sincerity brought us to tears.

This was an evening of great humility where various members of Arion had their moments with Mr. Onofri. So in sync were Arion’s performers with their virtuoso conductor, we took for granted the timing togetherness of the players.

Especially admired was the wondrous flute playing of Claire Guimond, Arion’s artistic director. The two concertos that she performed brought tears to my eyes. Both the A minor with its complexities and the G minor with its sparser yet pretty melodies were accompanied only by a few strings,  being exposed in such a manner requires a true master to pull it off with aplomb. Ms. Guimond gorgeously evoked the delicacy of her instrument with poignancy and power. Her technical brilliance enables her to give remarkable expression to the instrument where breath and fingers agility must work in unison.

Chloe Meyers paired with Mr. Onofri in two works. Each stood at opposite ends facing one another as they played with the harpsichord in between them, with harpsichordist, Hank Knox binding them closer together.  Like two lovers tenderly bidding one another good-bye, the two violinists’ musical connection was inspiring and rare. The audience loved them.

Not much more can be said about the Vivaldi, Arion and Onofri mix. Other than the encore and the endless applause, a standing ovation and the will to not leave without instantly buying a subscription to Arion’s 2017-2018 season.

Vivaldi makes his appearance again with the season’s opening concert on October 5th, 6th and 8th. Titled, “La Double Vie d’ Antonio Vivaldi”, the composer and Arion await you. For all information, call (514) 355-1825. The website is

Note that Arion has just released its 32nd CD! Titled, “Rebelles Baroques”, this remarkable recording features Telemann and Quantz. Pick it up and be transported into a world of godly baroque beauty.

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