Smiling at the Symphony: the TSO’s excellent “Afterworks” series

Who knew that Brahms was “tortured from the inside out” and that he wove his famously eloquent lullaby into Symphony No. 2 as a thinly veiled reminder to his lost love?

Through the wonderful storytelling of CBC’s Tom Allen, the audience at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Afterworks program learned about the lives, romances, struggles and triumphs of composers Brahms and Dvorak. Music does indeed stir the soul and hearing about the poetic yearning, the joy and the melancholy, made it that much more accessible and evocative as the notes told the rest of the tale.

The Afterworks series is the perfect antidote to the mid-week blahs, starting at 6:30 p.m. (though do arrive earlier to partake of the complimentary pre-performance hors d’oeuvres). With a length of 75 minutes, it’s just the right amount of time to indulge your senses, tickle your fancy, make you wistful, and make you smile, but still leaves enough of the evening for a late dinner with the ambiance playfully set.

Speaking of playing, the TSO is brilliant as ever and the conducting by James Gaffigan at the October 23rd performance was fabulous to behold.

Loved it. Torontonians and visitors, take advantage when these are offered…I wish I could go every Wednesday!

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