2021-22 SUNDAY MUSIC IN THE GARDEN ROOM

Please Note :

As per the current rules mandated by the Nova Scotia government and by Acadia University for the presentation of indoor public events, the following protocol will be followed :

  • Attendees must show proof of vaccination at the door
  • The names and coordinates of all attendees will be recorded at the entrance
  • Mask-wearing is mandatory throughout the event. With masks being worn, social distancing will not be required.

SUNDAY MUSIC IN THE GARDEN ROOM

OCTOBER  17, 2021, 2:00pm  (Admission to the Garden Room begins at 1:15pm)

WALTER DELAHUNT,  PIANO

A concert in memory of Felicita Kalejs.

Works on the program studied with her:

                                Bach:  English Suite No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807

                                Beethoven: Sonata in E minor, op. 90

                                Schumann:  Fantasiestücke, op. 12

                               

“His musicianship is characterised by tremendous technical command of the instrument, unique sound quality, ease in chamber music, solo playing and accompanying and by a power of communication which immediately involves the listener.”  (pietrasanta in concert, international music festival, Italy).

 

Walter Delahunt started life, and had his initiation in the world of music in Wolfville, under capable hands.  From the age of 15 until the completion of his second year at Acadia’s School of Music, when he moved on to study in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, he was the pupil of Latvian pianist Felicita Kalejs.  In Toronto, he became the student of Pierre Souvairan, and enjoyed excellent training under other professors, such as the Latvian composer Talivaldis Kenins for Form and Analysis.  On graduation in 1978, he received the W.O. Forsyth Graduation Award.  In 1981, he accepted the position of collaborative pianist in the winter program at the Banff School of Fine Arts, holding this position for 3 years. Then came a move to Europe.  He was engaged as a collaborative pianist at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, and continued private studies with György Sebők und Bruno Canino.  From 2010-2012, he was on the faculty of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt, Germany.  .

His life and experience as a performing artist has been broad and far-reaching, travelling as soloist and collaborative pianist throughout the world – North America and Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.  He has been particularly active as a chamber musician, partnering with such renowned instrumentalists as Zara Nelsova, Gidon Kremer, Renaud Capucon, Gauthier Capucon, Truls Moerk, Martha Argerich, and legendary violinist Ida Haendel, for whom he was the preferred partner. On one of their concert tours, in Israel, Walter adopted a stray puppy, who is still with him after 15 years, named Israel at the suggestion of Ida Haendel. He has been a regular guest at chamber music festivals including Umeå Kammarmusikfestivalen, BåstadKammarmusikfestivalen (Sweden). Kuhmo Festival (Finland), Lockenhaus Festival, Salzburger Festspiele (Austria), with Martha Argerich and friends at the Bologna International Music Festival 2009, Progetto Martha Argerich (Lugano), Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Scotia Festival, and pietrasanta in concert, international music festival (Italy),  In more recent years he has been the pianist-in-residence at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (LAMP), where he was instrumental in bringing his friends Martha Argerich and Gidon Kremer to LAMP for concerts.  At academy concerts, he has performed solo, and chamber music with many others, including Mark Fewer, British cellist Adrian Brendel, and Robert Aitken, who, incidentally, was born in Kentville, and played in his early teens in the Acadia University orchestra. Aitken has had an illustrious career worldwide as flautist, composer, conductor, and professor at the State College of Music in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

In 1992, Delahunt received the Andrei Sakharov Memorial medal in Russia.  He has recorded for the BBC, Panton Prague, BMG Japan and EMI Europe (a live recording of Dvorak chamber music, performed at the "Progetto Martha Argerich" in Lugano in June 2002).

He was mentioned in the Who's Who in Music for a performance of Zdzisław Wysocki's music.

A concert review by music critic Stephen Pederson at the Halifax Chronicle Herald, written after a concert in the St. Cecilia concerts in Halifax, probably in the late 1990s, deserves to be quoted in full, even if it is perhaps a mite flowery at times:

 

 " PIANIST DELAHUNT CAPTIVATING ! "

"Even though there are nearly four months to go to the end of the current concert season, it is hard to imagine any future performance will astonish its listeners more than Saturday night’s recital in St. Andrew’s United Church by Wolfville-born Walter Delahunt.

His appearance on the St. Cecilia series is the first time we have heard him play in Halifax in 20 years, though he performed in Wolfville two years ago.  If he were to play again in the next 20 minutes, I don’t think there is one listener in Saturday night’s audience who wouldn’t drop everything to go hear him again.

Delahunt’s playing reaches way beyond technique, though his superb command of color, tone and passage-work was evident at every moment Saturday night.

Rather, his is a technique that serves the creativity of a profound intellectual and emotional imagination.  It is not just that he makes you think as well as feel while he plays, but that you follow his mind as it dives, like a submarine, ever deeper into the artistic free-fall of Ravel, Schumann and Chopin – the three composers whose works he performed.

When you surface at the end, you have forgotten in the profusion of lucid imagery flooding your mind, as in the most vivid dream, that a piano has been playing all the while – just as, when you dream, you forget that you are also breathing.

The three movements of the Ravel Sonatine were the first to reveal Delahunt’s sense of the fragility of Ravel’s imagined melodies.  Delicately compounded of air and light, there is a fragility not so much in danger of fracturing as of evaporating.  A breeze flutters the leaves of the Menuet, while shards of light flash and scatter like reflections glancing off highly polished brass in the bravura of the Finale.

In the six movements of Le Tombeau de Couperin which followed, Delahunt’s detailed subtlety, shading and instinct for color were fused by his will to present each movement as a whole.  Played with his kind of fine-tuning, the piano version of this brilliantly colorful work is superior to Ravel’s own orchestral version – the same notes, but an entirely different piece.

Schumann’s Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17 is rarely played on piano recitals.  There is a good reason – it is ferociously difficult.  The technical problems are themselves an Everest of challenges.  But musically, especially in the first movement, a true fantasy that all but loses its grip on the kind of reality we define by shared experience, to wander in a personal world into which the further it sinks the more it hints at depths and worlds just beyond the range of vision.

Delahunt’s sonic imagery here resorted to a terrifying range of anger, dreaminess, impulsiveness, delicacy and despair.

When he finished playing he looked exhausted.

But he soon returned to play Chopin’s Scherzo Op. 20 and Barcarolle Op. 60, with an unusual firmness and breadth incorporated into the expected technical bravura.

The audience could not resist giving him a standing ovation in which their gratitude was mixed with awe.  Delahunt responded with two encores – the suite of waltzes from the Grand Waltz Op. 18 (Chopin) used in the ballet orchestra version called Les Sylphides, and a quietly reverend performance of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

Let us hope it will not be more than a few months before we hear Delahunt play again."

 

 

The remainder of the 2021-2022 season:

October 24 – Dinuk Wijeratne Trio (piano, percussion, bass – Debut Atlantic)

November 14 – Bouey-Doucet Duo (violin and piano)

January 16 – Jean-Luc Therrien (piano – Debut Atlantic)

February 27 – Stephane Tetreault (cello)

April 10 – Cindy Thong (piano)

April 26 – Spencer Myer (piano)

May 1 – meagan&amy (violin and piano)