8 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 3 - November 2005

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  • Toronto
  • November
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  • December
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  • Concerto
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opening fandango, the

opening fandango, the marizapalos, and the even more exotic cumbees and zarambeques of African descent. The 8-member Ensemble Kapsberger plays a variety of Baroque plucked strings, positiv organ, and percussion. The combination of all these, including the colascione (3- stringed bass lute) and chitarrigliaas well as the more typical Baroque guitars, creates a fascinating soundscape; and the group's predilection and skill for improvisation, as well as their respect for directions from the source, makes their performance a delight from start to finish. Lislevand in particular performs several solos with a remarkably broad palette of expressive colour and intensity. Alison Melville century but set up to send forth their sound in any present-day concert hall. Ornaments are tastefu lly executed but kept to a minimum. The playing is virtuosic, though with some curious rhythmic unsteadiness and a few lapses in intonation too. But there are gems in this recording that will delight cellists seeking new repertoire to explore: listen to the de! ightful Balletto for two cellos by Giacomo Facco, an early and charming foray into the possibilities offered by the fledgling instrument in duet. The Andante Gracioso by Pablo Vidal is a beautifully expressive lament; and it is a pleasure to hear three Boccherini sonatas other than the usual very famous one. In complete contrast, Geminiani's six Opus 5 cello sonatas dance with lightness and elegance throughout the recording by the hugely talented baroque cellist, Alison McGillivray, and her group. This is a very different approach to cello playing, one that is thoroughly immersed in the early 18th century Italian style. Geminiani's already florid forms are expressed with such richness in embellishment that one can barely make one's way through them sometimes, and the colourful accompanying continuo - second baroque cello, harpsichord and the delightful strumming of a baroque guitar - make the music richer still. Interesting interludes, i and a different way of hearing the = ..... =....a-;.;...., music, are provided by Geminiani's Gem iniani - Sonatas for cello own reworking for solo harpsichord and continuo of some of hi s pieces for violin or Alison McGillivray cello. Advice from the composer is Linn CKD 251 printed in the jacket: "the performer ... cannot fail to be [inspired] if he Boccherini - Cello Sonatas chooses a work of genius, if he Joseph Bassal and makes himself thoroughly acquainted with all its beauties; and if while Wolfgang Lehner Naxos 8.557795 his imagination is warm and glowing The sound of the cello is a sound of he pours the same exalted spirit into intoxicating beauty. But the cello has very distinct voices, and these two recordings are magnificent examples of just how different the approach to cello sound and performance can be. All the music on these discs was composed in 18th century Europe, at a time when the instrument was just coming into its own. For the 21st century performer, the choice is whether to take the pieces back to the sound-world of their origins, or to bring them forward to the soundworld of today. At one end of the spectrum is the rendering of cello sonatas by Boccherini and three of his lesser-known contemporaries, composers associated with the 18th century Spanish court. The two cellists, Bassal and Lehner, take the modernist approach to cello playing, performing with a full , lush sound on cellos made in the 18th his own perfom1ance." That, indeed, is what McGillivray has done. A fascinating look at cellos, smiling at each other across three centuries. Simone Desilets Domenico Scarlatti - Sonatas Vincent Boucher, organ ATMA SACD2 2341 76 WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM Back to Ad Index v, Vincent Boucher is clearly one of the finest organists to appear in Canada in decades. Most recently the winner of the Conseil quebecois de la musique 's January 2005 Opus Award for "Discovery of the Year", he is also, surprisingly, an accomplished financier. His debut recording for theAtma label of 18 of Scarlatti 's 555 sonatas is refreshing, intelligent, slyly whimsical and thoroughly enjoyable. One does not often encounter the music of Domenico Scarlatti, so closely identified with the harpsichord, on the organ. Yet from the evidence here it's clear that the sustained tones of the organ greatly enhance the fugal textures of many of these works. To be sure, Boucher is judicious in his selections, and has dodged the more flamboyant and fiercely dissonant sonatas. The Karl Wilhelm organ on which Boucher plays was bui It in 1993 for Montreal!; Eglise du Tres-Saint Redempteur. A modest instrument of 15 stops, it is of excellent quality and very well su ited to this repertoire. The distinctive "chi ff' of the instrument's reeds lends a suitably Spanish lisp to the cantabile themes of the Sonatas K287 and K6 l, while the amusing twitter of its Usignoli stop makes a single, endearing appearance in the Sonata K9. The SACO recording is quite vivid, perhaps excessively so; the opening of theselections are cut so close to the bone that the characteristically "blossoming" attack of the instrument is obscured. Daniel Foley Concert Note: Vincent Boucher and trumpeter Stephane Beaulac perform in several Ontario churches this month courtesy of Concerts Desjardins: November I at St. Joseph's Church, Grimsby, and November4 at Saint Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Prescott. TAFEL!,~ USI I( Concerti Virtuosi Tafelm usik Baroque Orchestra; Jeanne Lamon Analekta AN 2 9815 Tafelmusik 's most recent recording brings an assortment of concerti from Antonio Vivaldi, Leonardo Leo, Johann Sebastian Bach, Pietro Locatelli, Johann Friedrich Fasch, and George Frideric Handel - all con- temporaries. Vivaldi's three-movementA-minor concerto for two oboes (played by John Abberger and Christopher Palan1eta) is a model most commonly associated with the word "concerto" (a slow movement framed by two fast movements). Here, the meticulous attention to structure and phrasing, marked by dynamic contrast, give both rhythmic flow and gentle buoyancy to the performance. The sweet tone of Christina Mahler's cello is well-suited to the lyricism of Leo 's Cello Concerto. Locatelli 's vibrantly colourful Concerto Grosso pays homage to Corell i's famous "opus 6" whi le Fasch 's refreshing sonorities in his Bassoon Concerto (soloist Dominic Teresi) is enhanced by the addition of two oboes. Although there are no extant solo wind concertos by Bach, the "new" concerto for oboe d'amore created by Lamon from three Bach arias, retains its musical integrity and finds new beauty in this format. There is something very familiar and very special about hearingTafelmusik 's performance of Handel's music, particularly the Concerto Grosso in A minor. They were made for each other. And finally, Vivaldi 's effervescent £-minor Concerto, for four wellmatched violinists, reminds us of the abundance of talent in th is fine ensemble. Frank Nakashima Concert Note: Tafe lmusik presents "English Baroque - The Thames Revisited" with music of Handel, Purcell, Boyce and Avison at Trinity-St. Paul 's, December 1- 4 and at George Weston Recital Hal I December 6. CLASSICAL AND BEYOND t•,m·""-'· ~ Brahms/Jenner - Sonatas for Clarinet and Piano Andre Moisan; Jean Saulnier ATMA ACD2 2358 Artistic inspiration can come from many directions, and for composers one important source has always been the singing or playing ofa particularly NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2005

fine perfom1er. Such was the case when Johannes Brah111s, having infor111ed his publisher in 1890 that he was done writing 111usic, encountered the clarinetist Richard Mi.ihlfeld, a star 111e111ber of the Meiningen orchestra. One contelllporary likened Mi.ihlfeld 's tone to the sensation of biting into a ripe peach. The possibilities of this re111arkable 111usician inspired Brahms to write a Trio, Op.114 and a Quintet with strings, Op.115, and in 1894, two Sonatas Op. I 20. These are beautifully crafted works for clarinet and piano, and their lyricis111, passion, war111th and ease of co111munion between the performers 111ake the111 a joy both to play and to hear. Two Montreal 111usicians Andre Moisan and Jean Saulnier are clearly enjoying the111selves in this recording, with 111any subtle turns of phrase, especially in the slow 111ove111ents where the dyna111ic nuances and cantabile lines are extraordinary. Passionate energy is also in evidence at the appropriate 111oments, and I especially I ike the te111po and grazioso feel of the landler 111ove111ent in Sonata # I. While Mr. Moisan 's tone may be perhaps 111ore re111iniscent of apricot in the upper register, he displays great tonal flexibility, and Mr. Saulnier 111akes the typically Brah111sian fistfuls of notes and rhythmic intricacies sound effortless. The disc includes a clarinet sonata by Brah111s' student Gustav Jenner, a serene and expressive work, not quite on par with the 111aster's, but worthwhile listening nonetheless. Colin Savage Rubenstein - Piano Concerto No.4, Schwarenka - Piano Concerto No. l Marc-Andre Hemelin; BBC Scottish Symphony; Michael Stern Hyperion CDA67520 SAC­ DA67508 Remove the CD fro111 the package and one wi 11 notice a great photograph of French-Canadian pianist Marc-Andre Ha111elin laughing as he sits at the piano. This is exactly how I i111agine he felt recording the two piano concertos featured here. The 111usic is full of ro111antic era nuances, flavours and stylistic references, yet there is a hu- 111ourous undertone to both the co111- N OVEM BER 1 - D ECEM BER 7 2005 Back to Ad Index positions and perfor111ances which 111ade 111e also want to chuckle as heartily as Hamelin. Both Xaver Scharwenka and Anton Rubinstein were first and foremost pianists, and this is reflected in their composing. Scharwenka's Piano Concerto in B flat minor Op. 32 is not a strong co111position, but the co111poser 's knowledge of the piano 111akes it a work to experience if only to appreciate his understanding ofro- 111antic piano 111usic. Rubenstein 's Piano Concerto No. 4 in D 111inor Op. 70 is a stronger work. The Russian pianist's writing illu111inates his great 111usicianship. A fun work to listen to but, as the liner notes quote fro111 the 1889 first ed i­ tion of Grove's Dictionary, Rubinstein's co111posing features "... the fatal gift of fluency, and the consequent lack of that self-criticis111 and self-restraint which alone 111ake a composer great." In other words, too 111uch ofa good thing! Ha111elin 'splaying is top notch, as to be expected. The BBC Scottish Sy111phony Orchestra, under conductor Michael Stern, is excellent. This is not earth shattering 111usic but it is easy on the ears and well worth sampling. Violonchelo Espanol Yuli Turovsky; I Musici de Montreal Analekta AN 2 9897 Tiina Kiik Having recorded close to 50 discs for Britain's Chandos label , cellist Yuli Turovsky and his acclai111ed Montreal ense111ble appear here for the first ti111e on the Quebec-basedAnalekta label. There is little discemable difference to be heard in the end product however, as it was recorded in the enselllble's preferred ecclesiastical venue in La Prairie, Quebec with si111ilar, hyper-realistic sonic engineering of the 15 me111ber string ense111ble . Violonchelo Espanol features soloistTurovsky having a Seiior1110111ent in a light program oflberian diversions, both real and illlagined. A third of this 60 111inute disc is devoted to the archconservative compositions of the 20th century Spanish cellist Gaspar Cassad6. Suave, conventional and expertly conceived for the instru111ent, they please but do not linger long in the 111ind. For three of the co111posers represented here, the Russians G lazunov, Borodin and Shchedrin, the distance to the Spanish coast represents quite a challenge. They bring considerable baggage along with the111 and are on their best behaviour not to offend. Shchedrin, the only living composer among the111, proves hi111selfthe most convincing stylist in his robust A la maniere d'Albeniz. The authentic Sangria is saved for last, in the form of Manuel de Falla's Ritual Fire Dance and his radiant suite of Seven Spanish Folksongs, both in i111pressive arrange111ents by violinist Madeleine Messier. Daniel Foley Ysaye - Sonates pour violin solo Thomas Zehetmair, violin ECM New Series 1835 80003038-02 Ysaye's re111arkable Sonates pour violin solo. The 111ovelllent which opens the second sonata, Obsession, starts with a direct quotation fro111 Bach.ViolinistTho111asZehet- 111air takes Ysaye 's leggiero lllarking to its extre111e, giving the quoted passage a 111ysterious, unearthly lightness. What follows as Ysaye ruminates on Bach's 111usical ideas is rhapsodic, llles111erizing, and unlike anything you have heard fro111 a violin. The presence of Paganini in these works is also tangible. Like Paganini, Ysaye was the 111ost flalllboyant virtuoso of his own ti111e, and like Paganini 's Twenty-four Caprices for solo violin, Ysaye's Sonates explore, indeed exploit, the technical lilllits of the instrulllent he obviously loves so passionately. When he wrote these works in 1923 and 1924, the Belgian violinist, conductor, teacher and co111poser was in his early sixties, and his playing was affected by illness. He dedicated each sonata to a younger colleague, like Jacques Thibaud, Georges Enescu, and Fritz Kreisler, and incorporated the personal characteristics of the individual 111usician. Salzburg-born violinist and conductor Tho111as Zehet111air captures the particu Jar nuances of The voice of Bach suffuses Eugene each of these works. His virtuosic GLOBE AN D MAIL DAVI UJC[H] U~ DER CD RELEASE CErLEBRAT~ON featuring PERRY WHITE GREG DE DENUS PETER LUTEK BARRY ROMBERG ROBERTO OCCHIPINTI LEVON ICHKHANIAN and more .. cd produced by ROBERTO OCCHIPINTI AND DAVID BUCHBINDER (',.111ad;/ TORONTO STAR :]. 0 The REX~ Jazz Bar ~ z 194 QUEEN ST W : 416-598-2475 ~ Thur,Nov.10/9:30pm ! Fri, Nov.11 / 9:30pm ~ ADVANCE TICKETS z Ticketking 416-872 .. 1212 ;: ~ u CD DISTRIBUTION a. ; 0 ... WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COM 77 u < 0 r a.

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