7 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 4 - December 2004

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  • Toronto
  • December
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  • February

As for french horn:

As for french horn: that's where the door has revolved most of all; Jeff Nelsen is the founh horn player to work with the Brass since founding hornist Graeme Page left in 1983. using on this parnde of hornists, m a chatty 1993 book on the Brass by Rick Walters (called, what else, The Canadian Brass Book) trombonist Gene WattS said: well they're really a different breed - different insll'\Jment, different technique. different auitude. I mean in orchestra literallJtC they're often gemng to be a hero, playing some famous noblt solo, and we're sitting in the lxtck row counting our 242nd measure of rest .. . We've come up with rules for hiring horn players ... they have to look far more phot0genic tran I.he rest of us. And !hey have to wear a it.e 40 suit· (To complete the record, the other three other men who have worn Page and Nelsen's sii.e 40 homist's suit are Manin Hackleman ('83-86) : David Ohanian (86-98), and Chns Cooper (1998-2000). I tNTERVlEWtD TUBA Pl..A YER Chuck Daellenbach for this article right at the beginning of November just before the Brass hightailed it out of town on the European leg of a tour designed to suppon the new CD. I commented on how easy it had been on the Brass website 10 figure out who the various members of the group had been. "There's a real sense on the site that they still belong" I said. "I'm delighted to hear you say that" he said. "It's something you hope people will notice, but you can't know for sure. One of the things that has made the Brass what we are is that throughline of genuine affection." Since talking that day, the Brnss have been to Europe and are now packing again. "From U.S. giving to New Year every year 1s nonstop" Chuck said. ·we still do better than a hundred concertS a year." Teir pre-new ycar swing bears out his words. Between the time this anicle gocs to press (Nov 27) and their Dec 23 Toronto da t e they will do a 27-day, 18 concn. 16 city tour that takes them clear across the continent and back. ranging from an appearance in Toledo. Ohio with the Toledo Symphony, to an appearance at Avery Fisher Hall with the Philharmonic Brass. ew York It's what wc've tx..oen doing from day one Chuck says. 10 "Schools, universities, Carnegie Hall. I guess we've always had the feeUng that it shouldn't make a difference." Tn£RE'S A TEMPTATION when doing a good-news story, wh.ich Lhis one mstly is, to ask about "turning pomts", t11osc little "if it hadn't been for .... " momentS, lf External had had 0,000 in the 1977 tour pot instead of .000, for example, who'd have gone to China instead? Or "if Chuck hadn't gone to Toronto 10 teach ... ". So I asked. Chuck didn't hesitate for a moment. "If it hadn't been for Betty Webster and the Hamilton plan" he said "then I'd say none of this would have happened." Betty Webster, who went on 10 head Orchestras Canada until her etiremem from that organization LO 200 l , and now sits on the board of Boris Bron's National Academy Orchestra, was, from 1969 to 1974, executive director of the HPO (Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.) "Her plan, the Hamilton Plan, was to arrange for at least three different professional musical ensembles y ar to .visit every single school Wtthtn a thmy mile radius of the city of Hamilton, and to use that as a way of building tile orchestra." Chuck explains. It was brillianlly simple. Hire professional section leaders for the HPO at a decent wage, then make them earn their keep by sending them out into the schools. "I think it was strings that can1e first, then winds, then us. It was a pretty fair wage for the time. ,000 a year. enough to lure Fred Mills away from Ottawa." There was one significant hurdle, though. It had been fairly easy for Beuy to sell the powers that be on the idea of creating ensembles made up of orchestral section leaders. "A string quartet was a no braincr," says Chuck "and a wind ensemble -- even trumpets. trombone and horn. But a rubar The orchestra was basically a chamber orchestra still, and the idea of a chamber orchestra with a resident tuba player was a tougher sell. Eventually it was Chuck's PhD in education and stint at the U of T that did it. Given that they were planning this ambitious school campaign it made sense to have an educator in the group! Bt:TTY WEBSTER confirms Chuck·s recollection. "Our first ensemble was called the Ci.ech Quanet" she said. "Milan Vitek, Rudolf Kalup. Jaroslav Karlovsky, and Zdenek Konicek. They had been the Prngue Quartet, but came a year after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovalda in 1968. The Ontario ArtS Council made their coming possible. The cellist Zdenek Konicek is still a stalwan in the community - a story in his own right." I mentioned to Betry Chuck's cont about the Hamilton plan as havmg been formative for the Brass ... Yes." she says, "but only because they were musicians with a cenain kind of conuniunent. "For some musicians the kind of stuff we were doing was hard," Chuck says, "literally three hundred shows in a school year. Some people's inclination would be to walk through it. But I can honestly say we never saw it that way. Children are honest. If you can have a child not only sit quietly through three minutes of Bach but x rience the musician's pleasure m 11. then what audience are you not ready for? School gym. Carnegie Hall. We just never saw it as a contradic1ion." "The more typical musician's attitude" Betty says "is that somehow this kind of community stuff detracts from their professional Status. The things that work wheo musicians see themselves as builders of an orchestra don·t necessarily work once they think of the orchestra as having been built for them . .. T1t£ HAULTON Pt.As, rr HAS TO BE SAID, is no more. and music in the schools is at a low ebb. "Back then the union, the AFM, used to put money into school concertS if you can believe it," Betty says. "Now the union itself is in financial trouble. What's in Lhe schools now is pathetic. Hamilton doesn't even have a fully funded coordinator of music ... But the plan gave the Brass five years. and for five years it gave thousands of people, young and old, the unique gifi of the Brass. The ensemble emerged from it with a sense of musical mission that has given the ensemble a durable. sustainable idemity through the years. even as individual musicians have come and !!One -- the mission of having pe;ple experience the joy of music. WWW. THEWHOLENOTC.COM V101.1sr Dol·cus PERRY. for one. studied with them in Hamilton at the shon-livcd Hamilton Institute a school for young professional ' musicians which Chuck and Gene added 10 their already full work- load. "It was an amazing year,. says Douglas. "I met Takemitsu, Shumsky, Perlman, Nexus. and others, played some fantastic mtsic, from experimental (a viola solo piece, topless with a mask and with music hanging from the ceiling) to 'high brow' serious, all ver intimate and musically pos- 111ve circumstances. The most signicant thin_& that l came away w1Lh was be responsible for your life and your career. My university time fme-runed my perfo skills, but I really knew nothing else. The Institute showed me that to realize my dreams I must think, act and be respoible for au aspects of my music life. From the music you play, t0 what you say on stage. to how the PR looks, etc .... " And to conclude, this: from a WholeNote colleague reflecting on the "big schtick, soft talk" title we saddled the story with before 11 was written - the cover of the magazine goes 10 the printer before the story geLS written . you see. "I'd call it sucking and blowing" she said. "First they'd suck you in :- lure you imo listening to something you couldn't have imagined hearing, like Flight of Lhe Bumblebee on a tuba, or some genre you'd already decided you couldn't stand. . .. And then having sucked you LO, they'd blow you away with the pure brilliance of what they did. The perfect ensemble work, the sheer vinuosity, the thrill of how mu h fun they were having and gettmg you to have, Lhe way they could take a piece of music where the structure necessitated instruments trading themes, and rum it into a game of stealing themes and then chairs from each other according to what the music dictated. And never miss a beat. "But I'll tell you even more what they did for people like me. They set in motion the liberation and the vindication of the bandroom geek. Tons of us out there by their example, discovered we1 were entitled 10 arrange things for ourselves. Not just the pieces of music. but the places 10 make music happen. We didn't need a conductor to play together. heck we didn't even need a room. "By their example we discovered ensemble playing and put it on like a cloak of visibility!" They're still sening Lhat example. And it's wonh taking in. • DfCfMBfK 1 2004 -FEBRUARY 7 2005

ANALEKTA FOUNDER Mario Labbe Who am I? In the early 80's; I was responsible for the interna- 11onal career of the Ballets Jazz de Montreal and was SNAP. Shot acting as an impn.:sario in Canada, bringing ovcr major acts such as the Kirov Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company. Kiri Tc Kanawa, Philip Glass and the Red Army Chorus In 1988 I formt:d the classical recording company Analekta. In 1hosc days. there ""ere nm many recording companies in Canada. I lclt thi country produced an exceptional number of outstanding musicians, artists of 1nterna11onal calibre. and I wanted to offer them a platform to showcase thcir t:ilen1. My desin: to promote our best musicians grew into a passion, and became my artistic mission. Analekla quickly becamc the most important Canadian classical recording compan). \ llh a cruising rhythm or around 25 releases a year. Nowadays. a top-quality recording is a musician's calling card. an indispensable tool. Our goal is to build a discographic career for the country's greatest musicians, which will help them emerge on the international scene. So Analckta can be llescribcd as an "artistbranded . . company. promollng Canadian musicians. Today, Analekia artists act as cultural ambassadors world-wide. making all of us proud After all. Analcl..ia is a Greek word which roughly translates as ·a collection of the best works', so we try to live up to the name! One of the 20 independent classical recording companies in the world. Analekta has been recognized by mtcrnational accolades, including two Cannes Classical Awards in 2002 and 2004. What am I doi11g right 11ow? Presently Analekta focuses on two points: We are consolidating our imernational distnbution in North America. Asia. the Pacific Rim and Western Europe, with particular emphasis on our t::

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