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Volume 10 Issue 6 - March 2005

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  • Toronto
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In her tirst recording

In her tirst recording of the third concerto I regret that Argerich is hampered throughout by Abbado's rather pedestrian tempos. beginning with a lack-lustre introduction. Argerich is not playing for a jury to win some prize but playing a live concert with the freedom !O break with convention and do anything she wants to do with the score. In the second movement she, too, is introspective but the orchestra is too cut and dried for a perfect match and their merely nice playing is not good enough. The dry acoustic around the orchestra doesn't help. In the second concerto, taken down Ii ve four years earlier, she is deliciously exuberant and obviously enjoying every note. Abbado provides splendid suppo11 and the whole concerto comes off in sparkling fashion. This vivid recording was made by RIA-Radio, who seems to know the same venue in Ferrara better than the crew from the Emile Berliner Studios who recorded the third concerto. Tchaikovsky - Suites for Orchestra Bmce Surtees Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra; Kazuhiro Koizumi Eloquence (CBC-Universal) EQCBC5145 Tchaikovsky's four orchestral suites have been so overshadowed by his symphonies that they are hardly ever heard at concerts anymore. This Lockriclge HiFi •Authorized Dealer of: Exposure, Klipsch, Living Voice, NAO, PSS, Raysonic, Studiolab and Tannoy. neglect is unfortunate because not only are there many beautiful melodies here, but new harmonies and innovative orche tral colours as well. In contrast to many of Tchaikovsky's works heavily' laden with torment, these sunny compositions are guaranteed to dispel gloom and put a smile on anyone's face. Suite No. I is the more ambitious of the two included here. Between the prevailing dance movements. a happy scherzo, a bouncy gavotte and a cheerful little march all on winds, (somewhat reminiscent of the 4th Symphony) comes a very moving, bittersweet Andante full of Slavic melancholy. The Suite begins with an eerie, wistful bassoon solo interspersed with violin trills soon followed by a magisterial Fugue that the Master seems to whip up in the spur of the moment. *Extensive CD, SACD and DVD Collection *Buy and Sell Used CD, LP & High-End Audio Equipment *Now Featuring: Tannoy Prestige Series Kensington Loudspeakers, only pair in GTA! TAJ\NOY.'. - 50 Lockridge Ave Suit(7·14>rr: Markham ON L3R 8X5 (905) 475.6300 info@lockridgehifi.com http://www.lockridQehifi.corrl •. , . .. ' . ·, . .' -_ ,-_. ,_ ·, Suite No. 4 is nicknamed "Mozartiana" because the composer, as a tour dejorce, tunes into the spirit of the great son of Salzburg.· Note the last movement, a set of most ingenious and innovative variations, lasting nearly 15 minutes, on a rather simple theme. The closing bars pro- "' "' c: :.a 'O 0 0 3: N r 16th Ave '* "' · "' Cl 'O ·c: .>< u 0 -' "' c: "' 'E "' 3: I pel to a cheerful and brilliant finale. The Winnipeg Symphony performs these pieces lovingly, with spirit and virtuosity under Kazuhiro Koizumi, its music director in the 1980's. He was obviously in love with the score and it shows. Originally issued on CBC records, now at bargain price, the sound is excellent. Very enjoyable and highly recommended. N•--"Yw_, ......., ...,...._ ...... -........ '·... .. Janos Gardo11yi Goossens - Chamber Works London Chamber Music Group Chandos CHAN10259 Sir Eugene Goossens Ill, born into a musical family in London in 1893 was well known as a conductor of the modern works of his day but he also composed operas, symphonies, tone poems, orchestral pieces and lots or chamber music. Following postings in Rochester and Cincinnati, in 1947 he became conductor of the Sydney Symphony and director of the New South Wales Conservatorium,just a stone's throw from where the famous Sydney Opera House now stands. Goossens was a driving force behind the construction of that edifice, but never saw its completion. Alas, in 1956 he left Australia, hounded out because of events surrounding his most bizarre affair with a seil·-styled Witch. His career continued to some extent, including concerts with the highly regarded CBC Symphony Orchestra here in Toronto. He died in England in 1962. WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COM The pieces included here present no technical challenge. nor are they intended to be profound. They are in essence, beautifully crafted, atmospheric little pictures from pensive to exuberant, written in a style that has faded from fashion. They certainly could be mistakenly identified as early 20th century French. The instruments of the London Chamber Music Group are flute, oboe, violin, cello, harp, and piano. It is the flute that plays in every piece but there is no first among equals. The overall impression is of listening-in to friends coming together for the joy of playing music that gives them pleasure. It certainly pleased this listener who will keep this disc close at hand for a while. Bruce Surtees Mahler: Symphony No. 5 Chicago Symphony Claudio Abbado Deutsche Grammophon Entrce 4747692 Holst: The Planets Chicago Symphony James Levine Deutsche Grammophon Entrce 4775010 Rossini: Overtures Orpheus Chamber Ensemble Deutsche Grammophon Entree 4775012. Stravinsky: Rite of Spring, The Firebird Chicago Symphony; Cleveland Orchestra; Pierre Boulez Deutsche Grammophon Entree 4717412 Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 Berlin Philharmonic Herbert von Karajan Deutsche Grammophon Entree 4775006 Since 2002 Deutsche Grammophon has allowed a trickle of recordings (40 to date) to leak from its catacomb of great performances to appear anew on its Entree series of mid-priced re-issues. This is excellent news, as DG's recordings are justly famous for their luxurious sonic standards and prestigious artists. The series is meant. to allow the music lover to assemble a small library of standard, mostly orchestral repertoire. There are the expected MARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2005

warhorses by Brahms, Beethoven, and Mozart of course, but there are less often performed works on offer as well. Claudio Abbado's 1981 Chicago recording of Mahler's Fifth Symphony bas since been eclipsed by bis later DG recording with the Berlin Philharmonic. The Chicago Symphony seems comparatively heavy and recalcitrant at times, with some uneven ensemble playing near the end of the scherzo, but this is otherwise a quite solid and sensitive performance, spectacularly recorded. James Levine engenders a more sympathetic response from the Chicago Symphony and Chorus in a spirited 1986 digital recording of Gustav Holst's 1917 orchestral masterpiece The Planets. Holst's grandiloquent orchestrations seem the ideal vehicle for the Chicago orchestra's sometimes blustery approach. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra appears on this album as well in a pair of familiar string orchestra works (the Greensleeves and Tallis fantasias) by Vaughan-Williams. This unique New York ensemble performs without a conductor, yet demonstrates an uncanny sense of collective rubato. They have recorded some 60 albums for DG over the years and are also featured in an entertaining collection of Rossini overtures. Pierre Boulez restrains the Chicago bravado with a strong-willed rendition of the complete Firebird ballet music by Stravinsky. However, it is bis magnificent 1992 performance of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring with the far more nimble Cleveland Orchestra that makes this album a must-have item. No conductor's star shone brighter or sold faster in the DG roster than the magisterial Herbert von Karajan. His insightful 1975 analog recording of Bruckner's Fourth Symphony with the Berlin Pbilbarmonic, though powerful, is uncharacteristically distantly recorded, as if through ceiling microphones. Questions of provenance were my only reservations about these recordings. Though the tasteful monochrome packaging of the Entree series include trilingual program notes about the cuisine, there's not a clue about the chefs. Daniel Foley MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY Claude Vivier - Chants CLAUDE VlVlE& Les Jeunes Solistes; Rachid Safir Foundation & France Telecom S 206-NT103 Canadian composer Claude Vivier was just thirty-four years old when be was murdered in Paris in 1983. Since then his music has been performed around the world. But recordings are still few. On this welcome disc the French vocal ensemble Les Jeunes Solistes performs four of bis ·most personal works with outstanding flair. Vivier's texts refer to characters from children's stories and mythology like Merlin and Pinoccbio, nursery rhymes, the Bible, and legendary lovers like Tristan and Isolde. He uses French, English, German, Latin and bis own invented language, freely quoting the Latin Mass and writers like Hesse, Novalis, Virgil, Lewis Carroll, and Shakespeare. Journal is bis most autobiographical work. ln four parts, Childhood, Love, Death and After-Death, he creates beautiful passages like the lyrical duet in Love. Except for some simple percussion, these vocal works are all unriEMOTE CONTriOL On location recordings of jazz and classical music Twenty years of live recording for public radio William Van Ree 97 Highview Avenue Scarborough ON M1N 2H6 MARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2005 phone: 416 694 3505 cell: 416 452 6623 www.williamvanree.com william@williamvanree.com accompanied. The singers achieve a wonderful array of textures and expressive effects. Their responsiveness to each other draws the listener in to their exquisitely blended sound. Yet each individual voice is exceptional. Best of all, they capture Vivier's supersized personality - bis humour, adventurousness, irrepressible exuberance, and darkness. The attractive booklet contains fu11 texts along with two probing essays on Vivier as a tormented genius, "a man suffocated by life". This remarkable disc goes a long way to confirming that Vivier is not just one of Canada's most fascinating composers, but a significant voice in twentieth century music. Pamela Margles Editors note: The Vivier CD, otherwise hard to find, is now available at the Canadian Music Centre, 20 St. Joseph St., and on online at www .musiccentre.ca. George Crumb - Complete Edition, Vol. 7-8 Various Artists Bridge Records Unassumingly remarkable are the best words that I can find to depict the music and wise words that George Crumb delivered during bis 75th birthday celebration at the Chamber Music America meetings this year. Selections from bis Unto 1111111/l/llllllI ; ;,' 314 Churchill Ave; ; ; Toronto, Ontario ; M2R 1 E7 Canada ; ' Tel: 416-224-1956 ; Fax: 416-224-2964 ; ; MIKIOKOSMOS www.mikrokosmos.com ;, ; ; We buy your ;, ; classical LP ; collection ; ; ; (classical, such as ; ; Beethoven, Mozart, ; Stockhausen) ; ; ; ; i we tra vel anywhe re WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM for good collections , 11111111111 ; the Hills song cycle, based on folk materials from the Appalachian region where Crumb was born and raised, were the centerpiece. A close second was the George Crumb Ensemble itself, with the composer playing the usual unusual percussion instruments, and still reinventing himself after all these years. From 1945 through the late 1980's, Crumb produced one or several works annually. Then inspiration slowed. Crumb remained true to bis philosophy that only truly exceptional works should be added to the repertoire. ln the late 1990's, Crumb decided that he bad important things to say. His prize-winning compositions resumed at the previous pace. During the Q & A, Crumb received the inevitable "who's the greatest composer" question: the immediate answer was Mozart, no irony intended. That answer tells us a great deal about Crumb's rigorously structured path to creating, paradoxically, some of the most emotionally wrenching music of modem times. Volume 7 of the landmark Complete Crumb Edition unites THE composition of the Vietnam War era, Black Angels for Electric String Quartet, with the premier recording of the Unto the Hills cycle (2001-2). Bl.ack Angels became a signature piece for the Kronos Quartet's rise to rock stardom in new music, as captured in their fine 1990 CD for Nonesuch. Now the young Miro Quartet, under Crumb's super- GOLD RECORDS JUNO AWARDS STUDIO 92 2" analog/24 bit digital recording & mastering Great live room in old movie theatre Yamaha Grand Piano Hammond M3 & Leslie Milestone Drums per hour 416.467.9597 www.studio92canada.com Call for a coffee and tour

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