8 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 3 - November 2006

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  • Theatre
  • Toronto
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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10CORNER(CMCCD 6499) an additional track was added which featured Louis­Philippe Pelletier performing Nu it to complement an already stellar castof RobertAitken, Denise Lupien and the Accordes string trio.Papineau-Couture, Quebec's equivalent "dean of composers" toOntario's John Weinzweig, is done proud in this recording... \ \Hl • \l•'\!I' "•I..... l•'lBruce Surtees!) It was a treat to find the same performances includedon the 1993 Centrediscs release in a scratch-free digital format.Another celebration undertaken that year, under the auspices of theOntario Region of the CMC, was a tribute to John Weinzweig on theoccasion of his 80th birthday. A recital was held at Walter Hallfeaturing a host of luminaries and the performance was later releasedas "Weinzweig in Concert" (CMCCD 5295). Highlights for me includeJoel Quarrington's performance of Refrains for contrabass and pianoand Steven Dann's Tremologue for solo viola.For me however, the real jewel in the crownfrom that decade is the Orford Quartet's"Schafer: 5" (CMCCD 39/4090). I rememberattending the Music at Sharon festival inJuly 1991 for the farewell of the Orford StringQuartet which, although disbanding after 25years, was going out with a bang, not a whimperThe weekend included two concerts - the(then) complete cycle of five R. MurraySchafer string quartets and a recreation of the quartet's first concert,originally given at Mount Orford in August 1965, which included worksof Haydn, Prokofiev and Mendelssohn. It was a moving experience thatmarked the end of an era as Canada's premiere chamber ensembledecided to "hang up its skates". The Orford had produced an extensivediscography over the years, including two complete Beethoven cycles,one on vinyl for the CBC and a compact disc version for the Deloslabel. "Schafer: 5" was, I believe, the last recording project the quartetundertook - a set that would become their legacy. It seems very fittingthat this consummate Canadian chamber ensemble would choose themusic of the quintessential Canadian composer for its swan song andthe recording continues to hold a cherished spot in my collection.r;"""1:>1.r,"'f>"tUl".~""tr""P'"A

VOCAL AND OPERAPurcellKarina Gauvin; Les Boreades;Francis ColpronATMA ACD2 2398One could not imagine anyone moreworthy to crown as Canada's ownFairy Queen than Karina Gauvmwith her tone so brilliant, yet so fullof warmth and natural charm. Andwith this collection of Henry Purcell'stheatrical songs on thethemes of Love, Night and Madness,we can easily shift our imaginationfrom the nocturnal Titaniato the noble and tragic Queen Didoor even the goddess of love herself,Venus singing the praises of Purcell'sown homeland.Equally matching Karina Gauvin's artistry and agility, LesBoreades de Montreal surely andeasily cause 'sweet cupids to claptheir wings'. Many of Purcell'sinstrumentals for the theatre areinterspersed amongst the vocal selectionsand feature the ensembleled by recorder virtuoso FrancisColpron. As for madness, it findsits perfect expression in From rosybowers, an air within which fivecontrasting sections provide thequick and abruptly-changing rangeof the (comically) distressed mmd,which Gauvin and company parodymost expertly.The plays and masques set to musicby Purcell are timeless in theirportrayals of wit, wisdom and humanfolly, and the interpretatwn ofsuch requires great art and skill.Karina Gauvin certainly deliversall that is needed.Dianne WellsConcert note: The Tafelmusik BaroqueOrchestra and ChamberChoir are joined by guest soloiststo present Purcell's The FairyQueen in four performances November29 - December 3.Mozart - Die ZauberfloteRoschmann; Milosa; Strehl;Pape; Muller-Brachmann;Arnold Schoenberg Chor;Mahler Chamber Orchestra;Claudio AbbadoDeutsche Grammophon 477 5789This is, surprisingly, Claudio Abbado's first recording of Mozart'sThe Magic Flute, and it's wonderful.It's lyrical, in the best Viennesetradition of the classic Bohmand Klemperer recordings. But ithas the transparent, detailed texturesthat make the period-instrumentrecordings of Christie andGardiner so compelling. Abbado'sphrasing is so buoyantly natural thatthe whole performance flows withdelightful inevitability. He maintainsthe exhilarating momentumright from the energetic overturethrough to the very grand finale.The cast has no weak link. Thestandout is Dorothea Roschmann.She has a big, richly expressivevoice, yet she makes a poignant, dramaticallyconvincing Pamina. HannoMi.iller-Brachmann's Papageno isfull of character. Christoph Strehl'syouthful Tamino has the requisitebeauty and ardour, while the splendidRene Pape brings warmth andhumanity to the role of Sarastro.A coloratura soprano can pull offan effective Queen of the Night justby singing all the notes in tune and ontime. But Erika Mikl6sa managesa lovely sound even on those notorioushigh F's. The three boys fromthe Tolzer Knabenchor are a treat,contributing a vibrant yet otherworldlypresence. The small-scaleMahler Chamber Orchestra andthe Arnold Schoenberg Chor are elegantand responsive. .This recording was taped live lastyear during performances in Modena,Italy. The recording qualtty isremarkably realistic. The only tipoffsthat this is a live recording arethe laughter during the dialogue,and the clapping and shouting at theend. The dialogue, given almost infull is indeed entertaining, butsho~ld be on separate tracks.Pam Marg/esPerformance note: Opera Atelieris presenting The Magic Flute withthe Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestraat the Elgin Theatre November 17- 26. Other Mozart opera performancesthis month include The CanadianOpera Company's Casi FanTutte November 1, 3 and Sand OperaYork's The Marriage of FigaroNovember 16 and 18.11 .. ','•• 1:1.1·.,• ! .... . ,, '· ·· II'.'=Wagner - Die WalkiireGambill; Jun; Rootering;Denoke; Behle; Vaughn;Staatsoper Stuttgart;Lothar ZagrosekNaxos 8.660172-74Up until the late 70's Wagner'sRing was the property of the nch,the international jet-set who couldafford to travel to Bayreuth for thishallowed, once-a-year event. In1979 at the centenary of the cycle,'French director PatriceChereau completely revitalized andreassessed the Ring and with the adventof the DVD, it became accessibleto many. Several revivals tookplace afterwards. One of these is thefamous, or infamous, "StuttgartRing" where four different directorsundertook the task to "deconstruct"Wagner, bringing it to the modernera with rather controversial results.The music, however comes outunscathed as is proven by this extraordinary,vivid live performanceof Die Walkure. Lothar Zagrosekis mostly responsible for its success.He conducts with swiftspeeds, with a grand vision of thework and paces it so well that thereis not only a great deal of excitementbut also much beautiful lyricismand expansion when required.Also notable here is the singers'emphasis on clarity, elocution, deliveryand empathy to Wagner's text.Perhaps the strongest member of thecast is Robert Gambill, as Siegmund,a strong Heldentenor but with anunusual and appealing vulnerab1lttyin his voice that sets him apart fromother Wagner tenors. With AngelaDenoke, a passionate and beautifullysung Sieglinde, they make awonderful pair of Walsung twins.WWW. THEWHOLENOTf.COM

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