Friday, July 11, 2014

Podcast Encore: Mario Bernardi (1830-2013)

Our Summer 2014 Friday Blog and Podcasts reach into past musings. Today's post is a repeat of a Friday Blog and Podcast from November 8, 2013.

The podcast (No. 130 in our ongoing series) can be found in our archives at

Some of the post's content and illustrations were changed to fit this month's thematic arc.

pcast130- Playlist


Brilliant, driven, demanding, passionate, precise – these are the words people use when remembering Mario Bernardi, one of Canada’s premier conductors and a renowned builder of cultural institutions. Mr. Bernardi, who died [...] at 82, was known for conducting superlative Mozart, developing top talent, championing Canadian composers and, above all, for creating from the ground up a flagship orchestra in the nation’s capital that fostered Canada’s coming of age in terms of musical excellence.
When I think of Maestro Bernardi, I think of him as Canada’s unofficial Kapellmeister,  and this title comes well deserved: his long association with the National Arts Cenre orchestra (1968-82, later as its Conductor laureate) and the CBC Radio Orchestra in Vancouver (1983-2006) being his most noteworthy assignments of national scale. He was a fixture on the radio, as attests this CBC Music playlist assembled from archival recirdings: In a career that spans almost six decades, we heard him on the airwaves and in person consuct all of Canada’s major orchestras, and accompanying some of Canada’s leading soloists from Leopold Simoneau and Pierrette Alarie, to Angela Hewitt, to James Ehnes, and so many more!

The montage features Bernardi at the helm of the three orchestras he led as Music Director in Canada -the two aforementioned and the Calgary Philharmonic (1984-92) - in works by Respighi, Schumann, and of course Mozart - his composer of predilection for who he dedicated a special annual concert at the Footfhills of the Rockies "Mozart on the Mountain".

From Bernardi’s many Mozart performances, I retained a pair of “Turkish” selections – his recording of the overture to The Abduction at the Seraglio (with the Calgary Philharmonic) and a great performance of Mozart’s Turkish violin concerto accompanying Steven Staryk with the NAC Orchestra.

In tribute to Bernardi’s commitment to Canadian music, I chose the recording he made with the NAC orchestra of André Prévost’s Evanescence. It flows effortlessly into one of his last recordings with the CBC Radio Orchestra, the second movement from Shostakovich’s Tenth that was filler to an excellent compilation of Shostakovich Jazz-inspired works that included his two piano concertos.

I think you will love this music too.

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