8 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 8 - May 2006

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Toronto Symphony at Roy

Toronto Symphony at Roy Thomson Hall on June 20 and 21 and will be Alfredo in the Canadian Opera Company production of La Traviata next season. The COC's complete Ring Cycle, designed by Michael Levine, opens the new Four Seasons Centre in September. The cycle begins with Das Rheingold, which Levine also directs. the auditorium. Lighting and effects range from subtle to spectacular. Subtitles are in seven languages. Extras include a synopsis, cast gallery, and an introduction to this unusual production. Bruce Surtees Concert note: As noted above, Das Reingold opens the COC's complete Ring Cycle at the new Four Seasons Centre next September. but worth the effort. This is a live concert recording and the international rostrum of soloists far outshine the chorus. Worth checking out for the curious at heart. Heidi McKenzie "r.t .. 1; "-.. O·tlt1 '" Wagner - Das Rheingold John Brocheler; Henk Smit; Graham Clark; Reinhild Runkel; Chris Merritt; Jiirgen Freier; Residentie Orchestra; Hartmut Haenchen OpusArte OA 0946 D Those who come to the opera house to experience The Ring, or parts thereof, for the first time and are utterly perplexed by and pre-occupied with some unfathomable, enigmatic but terribly clever staging must surely be at a loss to grasp what is happening to whom and where and why. The entire audience shouldn't require a Freudian justification from the set designer. No matter what the staging, the cycle is an allegory created by Wagner, the revolutionary, in part as a condemnation on the distribution of power in the Europe of his day. The words and the equally important orchestra tell us all we need to know (if one pays enough attention) about these all too human characters. For this 1999 production from the Muziektheater in Amsterdam the idea was to eliminate the sets entirely, providing only various planes on which the cast sing and act out their roles. There are appropriate props, of course. The immense hanging platforms and their deconstructed supports are omnipresent but have no subject matter of themselves. The orchestra is visibly located within the vast stage, so that singers may sometimes have their backs to the conductor and occasionally almost faceto-face with the audience. Conductor Haenchen keeps his streaming interpretation "lean and slender" while maintaining the work's dramatic and emotional content. The casting is exemplary with some familiar names. The surround sound is very natural, exactly as one would hear it in 66 Mozart - Requiem K.626 "1791 Vienna - Rio De Janeiro 1821" La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy; Kantorei Saarlouis; Jean-Claude Malgoire Telerama K617180 Every time I review a CD I like to listen to it a few times before I read the liner notes. While "auditioning" this album I was really struck by the originality and "definitely-not-Mozart" feel of the final track, the Libera Me . It's not Spanish or Latin by any means - and the disc is somewhat misleading on that account in its marketing. Sigismund Neukomm did compose this edition's conclusion to Mozart's Requiem while he was in Brazil - but, he was a wellhealed European composer originally from Salzburg who studied with Michael Haydn (whose own first Requiem influenced Mozart's masterpiece), who introduced him to his brother in Vienna; Neukomm ultimately joined a consortium of artists who were dispatched to the New World to impress upon it the "deep and useful traces of French art." A month before he arrived in Rio, a local composer, Garcia Nunes had conducted Mozart's Requiem, such that it was in 1819. The two great musicians met, sparks flew, and Neukomm wrote his version of the ending. The work was buried in a church in Rio for decades - and now we have, quite calculatingly I presume, the CD release of "the Brazilian version" during this, the Mozart 250 celebration year. The 5,500 word essay in the liner notes was tough to compress. The music was a little tougher to digest, Mozart - Mass in C minor Philippe Herreweghe Goulash! A Bartok-infused stew Harmonia Mundi HMX 2961393 Matt Haimovitz; Uccello Oxingale Records OX2007 Mozart never completed his last mass setting. Apparently, it was Cellist Matt Haimovitz is the driving performed in its incomplete state force behind these two musically (only theKyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and contrasting releases from Oxingale, Benedictus), in Salzburg on 26 October 1783. er Luna Pearl Woolf. a label he co-founded with compos­ This work is a wonderful example of Mozart's inexhaustible gen­ McGill University, Haimovitz has A professorof cello at Montreal's ius. In it you'll hear the exquisite had an illustrious international career. lyricism, dramatic contrast, and soloists' dialogue with chorus as in the cello performances - alongside ap­ His creativity extends beyond his Christe; the soprano duet Domine pearances with such greats as John Deus in which the imitative voices McLaughlin, James Levine and are equally beautiful; the acknowledgment of Baroque masters Hanstrumental in bringing classical mu­ Daniel Barenboim, he has been indel (imagine "in excelsis" replacing sic into alternative venues, working "hallelujah" in the opening of the with artists outside of the classical Gloria) and Bach (in the contrapuntal craftsmanship in Cum Sanctoand standard repertoire. world, and bringing new insights to the Osanna); and a variety of textures - from solos to double cho- Mozart belonged to the Mason broth­ It is common knowledge that ruses. erhood, so it is no surprise that the The Laudamus te, in traditional Masonic philosophies would show opera style, presents extraordinary up in his compositions. In "Mozart singing by Jennifer Larmore whose the Mason", Haimovitz has chosen astonishingly rich powerful voice to record Mozart's Divertimento in traverses Mozart's almost-suicidal E flat, K563 for violin, viola and angular writing with ease. cello which, as the liner notes state, Clever rhetoric abounds throughout. Et in terra (And in earth) - debolic numbers". Along with fellow feature "Masonic ideals and symscending softly - contrasted within Montreal-based musicians Jonathan excelsis (in the highest) - ascending Crow (Concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony) and Douglas Mc­ loudly. In Qui tollis (Who takes away) a deeply expressive chromatic progression. The name Jesu department at McGill), the trio per­ Nabney (Chair of the performance Christe is gloriously proclaimed. The forms the six-section work with compassion and intelligence. Though not mystery of Christ's birth is elegantly-stated in the soprano solo Et incamatus est, a gift from God to us tions, the performance is convinc­ one my favourite Mozart composi­ through the music of Mozart. ing - Mozart's wit and compositional brilliance shine as the trio master­ Frank Nakashima fully weaves the three voices in balanced and stylistically accurate performance. These same qualities are Mozart the Mason: Preludes and Fugues, K404a; apparent in the other work on the Divertimento K563 disc, Mozart's Preludes and Fugues, Jonathan Crow, Violin; K 404a. These transcriptions from Douglas McNabney, viola; J.S. Bach's organ sonatas and The Matt Haimovitz, cello Art of the Fugue constitute the only Oxingale Records OX 2008 other complete work for string trio in the Mozart's catalogue. WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM MA Y 1 - ) UNE 7 2006

In a huge listening leap, Haimovitz now turns his musical sights to Transylvania, in "Goulash! - a Bartok-infused stew". Described in the liner notes as "the centre of a flourishing culture crossroads", Haimovitz builds on Bartok's idea that the folk music around him originated from this part of the world. Haimovitz teams up with guitarist John Mclaughlin, violinist Andy Simionescu, the all-cello ensemble UC­ CELLO, the middle-Eastern ensemble Constantinople, and DJ Olive in a varied collection of music from Bartok to improvisation. Though the UCCELLO rendition of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir originally caught my attention, it is the solo work of Haimovitz in his performance of Ligeti's Sonata for Violoncello Solo which stands out. Haimovitz writes of his inspirational meeting with Ligeti about the performance of this work. He has taken to heart all of the composer's suggestions, and the result is a clear and steadfast performance. Matt Haimovitz deserves hearty applause for putting together two solid releases. Tiina Kiik Concert Notes: Matt Haimovitz performs a solo recital at the Perimeter Institute in Kitchener on May 12 [Sold out]. Also on May 12, violinist Ida Kavafian and violist Teng Li join Amici cellist David Hetherington to perform Mozart's K404a at Glenn Gould Studio. Corrette - Les Delices de la solitude Les Voix Humaines Atma ACD2 2307 My first experience with the music of Michel Corrette was in high school. My teacher brought in some books of duets arranged for woodwinds, and as we played through them, I noticed many names that were unfamiliar to me at the time. Boismortier and Corrette always stood out in my mind - the pieces of theirs we played were always quite enjoyable. It wasn't until many years later that I realized: 1) the music M AY 1 - ] UNE 7 2006 hadn't been written for the instruments we were playing and 2) this music was written for more than two bodies. Hearing Les Voix Humaines play Corrette for the first time was quite a revelation. My chamber music interests tend to be driven by my fascination with wind players. There is certainly excellent wind playing here by baroque bassoonists Mathieu Lussier and Kate van Orden. I've enjoyed Lussier's playing on modern bassoon before, and I find myself simply bowled over at the sound and facility that he and van Orden have on what is quite a stripped down instrument compared to the modern bassoon. There is much more than just excellent bassoon playing on this disc, of course. The varying combinations of two violas da gamba, double bass, theorbo, bassoons and harpsichord provide a wonderful variety of tone colour through the six sonatas and one concerto included on this recording. Absolutely sublime! Merlin Williams Schumann - Carnaval Fantasiestucke; Papillons Marc-Andre Hamelin Hyperion CDA67120 A mature artist at the top of his game, Marc-Andre Hamelin offers a collector's "keeper" with this Hyperion release of three piano collections by Schumann. Susceptible only to minor criticism for a couple of tracks that should have been redone after a piano retuning during the recording session, this disc is otherwise terrific. Hamelin profoundly understands what Schumann wrote and delivers it with such honest conviction that his performance surpasses reproduction and becomes as creative an act as composition. Papillons Op.2 is played with wonderful tenderness. Hamelin's keyboard technique is astonishing for the lightness and frequent staccatissimos Schumann requires and the Steinway seems willing and able to give its player everything he demands. Possibly the most memorable track on this recording is the opening Des Abends from Fantasiestilcke WWW.THEWHOL . Op.12. This is a simple piece played with genuine affection and complete lack of pretense. It's quite disarming. Carnaval Op.9 is a serious physical workout and the opening Preambule is as majestic an opening as you hear played by anyone. Its bookend partner, the closing March against the Philistines, is even more energy-charged. Hamelin also takes special pleasure in this cycle's several waltz-time pieces. His rubatos are beautifully and effectively placed without overusing the technique. Schumann's Chopin and Paganini references are clever and amusing. The dance segments alluding to the characters of classical comedy are equally entertaining. Hamelin captures every interpretive nuance, giving us a wonderfully fresh reading of these Schumann favourites. Alex Baran Beethoven - Violin Concerto Maxim Vengerov; London Symphony Orchestra; Mstislav Rostropovich EMI3364032 This performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto is decidedly old-fashioned, but in the best sense: grandly scaled, sonorous, highly polished Nadina Mackie Jackson & Mathieu Lussier, solo bassoons with Musica Franca Fraser Jackson, contra bassoon l(athleen Mclean, bassoon Sylvain Bergeron, thoorbo Terry McKenna, baroquegultar Paul Jenl

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