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Volume 12 - Issue 8 - May 2007

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  • Jazz
  • Toronto
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EDITOR'S CORNER by David

EDITOR'S CORNER by David OldsWhile the recording industry re-invents itselfas a web-based'phenomenon and the "majors" slashA&R, personnel and advertisingbudgets, padding their catalogues with endless re-issues, there is still awealth ofnew material crossing my desk each month. In actuality,about three quarters of the discs that we receive must go unnoticed dueto space and budget constraints. Some people have asked why weseem to only print good reviews. The answer is simple - we receive somuch good material, more than we can possibly make room for, that itwould be a shame to devote space to discs we cannot recommend.Much of the material we receive is independent, artist-producedproduct and that of smaller commercial labels. Thanks to the WorldWide Web, individuals can now make their CDs widely availablewithout depending on commercial distributors or retailers and that iswhy you will find website addresses accompanying our reviews ofindependent releases.The first disc I'd like to talk about thismonth is just such a case in point. FourTrees in Winter (www.anumi.ca) is asolo classical guitar release featuringoriginal music composed and performedby Stephen Zurakovsky. Zurakovskystudied at the University of Toronto andwas nominated for a Kitchener-WaterlooArts Award for his previous recording. Itwas in fact the K-W Regional Arts Fundwhich made this current project possible.The CD is dedicated to "the souls affected by the Great UkrainianFamine ofl932-33". In the very personal program notes Zurakovskytells us "Four Trees in Winter is a musical Ukrainian/Canadianreflection based on personal healing and family history ... My 'fathersuffered through one of the worst ethnic cleansings in history, whereseven to ten million Ukrainians died in an orchestrated famine. Thetragic emotions created an unbearabie silence that has permeatedgenerations ... Healing begins when we are silent no more. Let the· passion of music warm our hearts .. . Somehow and somewhere, mynew compositions released in me the power to look at life with joy,compassion and gratitude." I'm not sure that without the program notesI would have realized the tragic inspiration of this music, becauseZurakovsky seems to have genuinely overcome the grief and personaldepression that led to the creation of these works which successfullyembody his hopeful vision of the future.Another significant portion of the discs.we receive are produced bydedicated, independent labels which have established significant nichesin the marketplace. Channel Classics is a quality record label based inHolland. The director, producer and recording engineer is C. JaredSacks. Having grown up in Boston Massachusetts, schooled at OberlinConservatory and the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music with 15 yearsexperience playing French horn, Jared decided to turn his hobby ofrecording into a profession in 1987. The label started in 1990 with thename Channel Classics coming from the street he lived on inAmsterdam. · ·Jared and his Dutch wife Lydi Groenewegen form the core of thecompany which has grown to include an extensive catalogue of severalhundred releases with distribution in more than three dozen countriesaround the world (including Canada through SRI). One of Channel'sprime artists is the outstanding cellist Pieter Wispelwey, who firstcame to my attention with his 1990 period instrument recording of theBach's ci;llo suites which still ranks among my favourite recordings ofthese seminal works. With the release of his 24th Channel ClassicsCD, Brahms Sonatas (CCS SA24707), Wispelwey has captured my ·heart once again. In a bold move heand pianist Dejan Lazic have chosento include only one of Brahms' originalcompositions for cello and piano, Op.38 the first of the two cello sonatas,supplemented with (my favourite) atranscription attributed to Brahms ofthe Op. 78 violin sonata representingthe composer's middle period andWispelwey's own transcription of the late clarinet (or viola) sonata Op.120, No. l. In this cleverly programmed disc with program notes thatinclude a philosophical overview of Brahms' career by Wispelwey anda scholarly treatise on the works themselves by Clemens Romijn, weare presented with a convincing case for Brahms as a consummatechamber composer and exceptional performances to clinch the debate.As successful as Channel Classics has become in recent years, mostwould concede that the cream of the crop of smaller "high end" recordlabels with an extensive international catalogue is the Swedish BISlabel (also distributed by SRI). Founded by Robert von Bahr in 1973,BIS is still in many ways a one man operation. Oh to be sure he has anexpert team at his disposal, but every one of the now more than 1, 700releases is personally approved by Mr. von Bahr. The most recent to .peak my interest includes two concertos by the Finnish modern masterKalevi Aho, one for contrabassoon and one for tuba (BIS CD-1574).I must confess that I don't think I have ever heard a concerted workfor either of these instruments, andAho's writing makes me wonderwhy. I am personally drawn to the growly sound ofultra-bassinstruments - you just can't beat the sound of a baritone sax for myears, except with that truly rare animal, the bass saxophone - and Iwish that they would be given centre stage much more often. ListeningRepresenting the largest collectionof Restored Steinway Pianos in Canada.Genuine Steinway parts used.Restoration by Wayne Chen, German Steinway. factory trained technician.Here is our partial Steinway inventory:Steinway Model K - Pol/EbonySteinway Model K - Sat/MahoganySteinway Model S - Sat/WalnutSteinway Model S - Sat/EbonySteinway Model M-Sat/Ebony (w/QRS Player)Steinway Model 0 - Sat/WalnutSteinway Model L - Sat/MahoganySteinway Model A - Sat/EbonySteinway Model B - Sat/EbonySteinway Model D - Sat/EbonyCONTINUES ON PAGE 62,995,995,000,000,995,000,000,995,000,000We offer top price to buy and trade Steinway pianos.For a particular model, finish, style, or forSales, Service & Concert or Recording Rentals,please call 905-709-2771 or 1-866-879-6741.70 East Beaver Creek Road (Hwy. 7/404)www.pianokeyboard.com10 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM MAY 1-JUNE7 ·2007

Marimba MadnessCool Drummings Launch Party!May 22 @ 8 pm Lula LoungeAnne-Julie Caron, Beverly Johnston, Kuniko Kato. Works byChristos Hatzis, Alice Ho (world premiere), Bach, Astor .Piazolla lannis Xenakis, and Keiko Abe.Latin American RhythmsMay 23 @ 8 pm Walter HallTambuco (Mexico) and Celso Machado (Brazil/BC) showcasemusic from Spain, Portugal and the Americas.Latin American DanceMay 23 @ 10:30 pm Lula LoungeToto Barrie!, members of Tambuco and Sal Ferreras performa joyous dance-drum spectacle.Steve Reich @ 70May 24 ·@ 8 pm MacMillan TheatreCanadian premiere of Daniel Variations and Music for MalletInstruments, Voices and Organ and Six Pianos.Nexus and FriendsMay 25 @ 8 pm Walter HallInternational superstars Peter Erskine, Hugh Marsh, andLiam Teague. Works by john Cage, Toru Takemitsu, membersof Nexus, improvisation and ragtime.Percussion TheatreMay 26 @ 2 pm MacMillan TheatreR. Murray Schafer's Tantrika, George Aphergis' Le Corps aCorps and Louis Andriessen's Workers Union.; BrianCherney (world premiere) and Gilles Tremblay.World BeatsMay 26 @ 8 pm MacMillan TheatreSafa Ensemble with Bill Brennan, Autorickshaw with TrichySankaran, Celso Machado, Liam Teague, Kwasi Dunyoand more.Distillery DrummingMay 27@2 pmDistillery Historic District Free concert.Tickets are to . Discount packages are available.Advance ticket sales through St Lawrence Centre Box Office. 416.366.7723 oronline at www.stlc.comToll Free 1.800.708.6754 or in personNoon - 6pm Monday to Saturday at 27 Front Street EastSoundstreams Canada.acknowledges with th anks the support of the fol lowing,torontdartsbouncil'' .,,,.., ""'" ~•••• • '"' cu,.1 """"•.... Canadian Patrimolne f'Cl

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