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Volume 13 - Issue 2 - October 2007

DISEDITOR'S CORNERDavid

DISEDITOR'S CORNERDavid Mott's Eclipse (Centrediscs CMC­CD 12707), the latest addition to the CanadianMusic Centre's catalogue, is an exceptionaldisc that showcases aspects of this mastermusician of which I for one have not beenpreviously aware. Mott is an extremely accomplishedbaritone saxophonist who has been anintegral part ofYork University and the Torontomusic scene for several decades. I have heardhim perform on many occasions and havealways been impressed by his consummate musicianship and integrity. But Ihad not previously realized that his prowess as a composer extended beyondthe realm of his own performance practice. This CD was therefore anear-opening experience for me. The title track is a piano concerto writtenfor Christina Petrowska and scored for a very unusual ensemble: percussion,double bass, synthesizer, soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones, tabla,dizi, accordion, oud, and the voice ofSuba Sankaran. Beginning with a ColinMcPhee-like piano/gamelan processional, the three movement work takesus on a journey through the vast terrains of Mott's global interests: musicfrom China, Africa, Indonesia and India, with ample portions of jazz andWestern contemporary classical music. What might in other hands havebeen a "pastiche" turns out to be a well-integrated half-hour tour of Mott'smusical psyche. I was particularly intrigued with the way that, late in thethird movement, Mott evoked the spirit of McCoy Tyner in the midst ofmemories ofTaiko drumming, tabla rifling, melodic vocalize and suling-likeflute lines and how Christina Petrowska made it all work. The remainder ofthe disc could simply be described as Three Pieces for Piano, but to do sowould be a disservice. Written between 1987 and 1994, each for a differentartist, they all have a distinct character of their own. Dud Duo was writtenfor music theorist Robert D. Morris and its Persian flavour and palindromicstructures evidently owe a lot to Morris' personality. Tango: Under theWinter Moon was written at the request of the late Ivar Mikhashoff for hisTango Project which engendered nearly 200 new works. The final piece,Dark Masque Masks, was written for Christina Petrowska and takes her"somewhat gothic pen and ink drawings" as its inspiration. It is a testamentto Petrowska 's artistry that she is able to capture all of these diverse stylesin an utterly convincing manner.It is heartening and at the same time somewhatdisconcerting to find a "portrait" disc of aCanadian composer on an American label.Admittedly Michael Horwood is Americanborn, but he has spent well over half his life inCanada, and taught Music and Humanities atHumber College from l 972-2003. Suite andSerious featuring Sinfonia Varsovia conductedby Ian Hobson (Albany Records TROY943)is a collection of orchestral works dating froml 984- 1997. The evocative National Park Suite is every bit as cinematic asone might expect, with its cross-border portraits ofForillon (Quebec), BryceCanyon (Utah), Fathom Five (Ontario), Yellowstone (Wyoming) and Jasper(Alberta) and it is a majestic portrayal of some of the most stunning landscapesour continent has to offer. The Amusement Park Suite was a bit ofa disappointment, with every ride more like a Ferris Wheel than a RollerCoaster to my ear, but the non-programmatic works are much more satisfy­ing. Symphony No. l, while still cinematic in its overall impression, is a well-wood on the accomplishment of getting an orchestral disc of contemporarymusic released in this day and age!Well ifI had any misgivings about the intensityof the roller-coaster ride provided byMichael Horwood, I would warn you tofasten your seatbelts for the next one. WhileI tend to shy away from compilations and"greatest hits", preferring the continuity oforiginal projects, I must say that I fmd TheBest of Edgar Meyer a compelling exceptionto the rule. This consummate double bassplayer, whom we might expect to find most at home in a blue-grass setting,proves himself equally confident and accomplished in a plethora of styles onthis Sony disc (88697-13233-2) where his accomplices range from banjoplayer Bela Fleck and fiddler Mark O'Connor to classical superstars Yo-YoMa, Joshua Bell, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra under the directionofHugh Wolff. Highlights include, oh, well they're all highlights, but I particularlylike Meyer's compositions Please Don't Feed the Bear, ConcertDuo, The Prequel and Uncommon Ritual. And did I mention that he givesan awesome performance of the Prelude and Gigue movements fromBach's fifth cello suite on his unwieldy oversized axe? It makes me want toseek out Meyer's 2000 recording "Unaccompanied Cello Suites Performedon Double Bass" to add to my Bach collection.I' ll finish up with an admission of envy. Furtheron in these pages you'll find Richard!LRAI DMSs mJllill01.• \ 1:1 •,,..,,.,, ,,..,,,"""'"", r,"'",,~, u,,, Haskell 's review of a new recording ofI ...J.J.,,1! ,";ln.il:1,•.d, U r, la '1, ,.\.brln ,\Joiet1 Brahms' First featuring the Pittsburgh Symphony.Now this is one of my very favouriteorchestral compositions and Richard's descriptionof Marek Janowski 's masterfulinterpretation makes me regret my decision topart with the review copy. To compound this Irecently found out that Counterpoint CommunityOrchestra, an ensemble that was kind enough to welcome me to theirranks as a fledgling cellist many years ago, will perform this masterwork onits first concert of the season (December l ). They seem willing to allowme to return to the fold after an absence of a decade to participate in anexperience which I anticipate will rival that of my very first orchestralepiphany - a CAMMAC reading of Bach's St. John Passion (also onoffer this month at the Toronto Bach Festival). I didn't think it would everget any better than that, those goose-bumps I felt when the choir enteredover the pedal bass note I was so engrossed in, but I think being able to sitin the middle of the creation of"Beethoven 's Tenth" will run a close second.As it turns out I won't say that I have gone Mr. Haskell "one better",but I do think I've found a good match. I went to my shelf of discs thathave caught my fancy over the past several years that there simply wasnot room or occasion to review and to my great pleasure found a 2004performance of Brahms Symphony No. 1 by Marin Alsop and theLondon Philharmonic (Naxos 8.557428). As principal conductor of theBournemouth Symphony, and with nearly three dozen CD recordings to hercredit, Alsop's credentials are impeccable, but it was hearing her conductthe Toronto Symphony in works of Aaron Copland and Joan Tower anumber of years ago that really got me hooked. Her Brahms is magnificent- powerful, acute and nuanced. I'm not sure that this recording surpassesmy "desert island" LP with Carlo Maria Giulini and the Los Angeles Philharmonic,but as that recording has fallen long since from the DG catalogueit seems a moot point. And the inclusion of my mother's favourite, theAcademic Festival Overture, that's the clincher! Concert note: TheYork Symphony Orchestra performs Brahms' Symphony No.l and theAcademic Festival Overture on October 20 at Trinity Anglican Church inAurora and October 21 at the Markham Theatre.We welcome your feedback and invite submissions. Catalogues, reviewcrafted and dramatic work. lntravariations, composed in 1997, is the most copies of CDs and comments should be sent to: The WholeNote, 503 -recent composition on the disc. A piano concerto with Joseph Kubera as 720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4. We also welcome your input viasoloist, it is again a very Romantic work but convincing in an anachronistic our website, www.thewholenote.com.way. I realize I may be seen as damning Mr. Horwood with faint praise as David Oldsthis style of contemporary music is not really my cup of tea, but I do feelEditor, D/SCoveriesthis disc is worthy of note and that it would be of interest to any listenerdiscoveries@thewholenote.comwith a neo-Romantic sensibility. And I heartily congratulate Michael Hor-8 WWW.TH EWHOLENOTE.COMBack to Ad IndexMore Reviews on page 58O CTOBER 1 - N O VEM BE R 7 2007

BYZANTINE 2007FESTIVALByzantine I:Medieval RitualsFriday October 12, 2007 @ 8PMWalter Hall, 80 Queens Park CrescentA mystical program inspired by medieval ritual and earlymusic. World premiere by Michael Oesterle (CAN) andworks by Jonathan Harvey (UK), John Tavener (UK) and 12thcentury chant by Hildegard van Bingen. Featuring UK sopranoPatricia Rozario, viola soloist Steven Dann and a virtuosochamber orchestra conducted by Michelle Mourre.Byzantine II:The Troparion of KassianiSaturday October 13, 2007 @ 8PMPre-concert presentation @ 7PMSt. Anne's Anglican Church, 270 Gladstone AveIn co-operation with the Elmer lseler Singers, Lydia Adams, conductorA glorious choral concert featuring The Troporion ofKossioni by Christos Hatzis with text by Kassia, a ninth-centurypoet, composer and abbess and featuring UK sopranoPatricia Rozario (UK) and the Elmer lseler Singers, conductedby Lydia Adams. Other works by John Tavener (UK) andJonathan Harvey (UK). adult/ senior/ student100/o off with the purchaseof both Byzantine Festival concerts.An Unfinished LifeA SOUNDSTREAMS WORLD PREMIEREcomposed by Brian CherneyTuesday November 6, 2007 @ 8PMYoung Artist Overture@ 7:00 PMMetropolitan United, 56 Queen Street EastIn co-operation with Holocaust Remembrance WeekThe world renowned Hilliard Ensemble (UK) and TafelmusikChamber Choir surround the audience in a poignant worldpremiere by Brian Cherney based on text by extraordinaryDutch author and holocaust victim Etty Hillesum. Also featuresthe Hilliard Ensemble performing works by Jewishcomposers of the Renaissance. adult/ senior/ studentRussia's Academyof Choral ArtsRachmaninoff's VespersWednesday November 28, 2007 @ 8PMYoung Artist Overture @ 7PMSt. Anne's Anglican Church, 270 Gladstone AveSt. Anne's will resound with the glorious sounds ofRussia's Academy of Choral Arts, performing Rachmaninoff'sVespers. Don't miss the Canadian debut appearance of oneof Russia's greatest choirs! adult/ senior/ studentwww.soundstreams.caR::ir.k tn Arl I nrlP.¥

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