8 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 6 - March 2008

Tremblay. Au contraire!

Tremblay. Au contraire! The ensemble wasformed in 2001 as part of the Ottawa/HullJeux dela Francophonie, and since that time has come tobe recognized as a major force among Canadianyouth orchestras.This recording of Bruckner's great Symphony#7 on the Analekta label is the orchestra's seconddisc, and the second to focus on late 19th centuryrepertoire. (The first was a recording of Bruch' sViolin Concerto# 1 on the XXI label.) Brucknerwrote this symphony - his magnum opus - between1881 and 1883, and despite his many detractors,the work was successfully premiered atthe Leipzig Gewandhaus in December of thefollowing year. So what approach does this youthfulorchestra take in addressing such a monumentalGermanic work from the late romantic period?I am happy to report, a very sensitive one, yet onein which a spirit of grandeur - so inherent in thismusic - is apparent at all times. From beginning toend, Tremblay and his group of71 insW a feelingof constant growth, taking the listener on a long(but never tedious!) musical journey. The secondmovement, based on that in Beethoven's Symphony#9, is a true romantic adagio, but the pace herenever plods as in certain other recordings I haveencountered. My only quibble is that the scherzowhich follows could have been a little brisker - itis, after all, marked "sehr schnell", and the temposeems at times a trifle too leisurely. But this is aminor issue, and in no way does it mar a fineperformance. Biens faites, mes amis Francophones- Bruckner, the humble and pious soul fromAnsfelden, would surely have approved!Debussy - ImagesSimon TrpcskiEMI 5 00272 2Richard HaskellIt is hardly surprisingthat Simon Trpceskibrings out the jazzyelements in Debussy'spiano works so deftly.After all, he didchoose to play DaveBrubeck's jazz standard Take Five as an encorein his recital for Music Toronto a few years ago.His latest disc surveys some of Debussy's finestpiano music. Here he captures the playful humourof Golliwog's Cake-walk and the exuberantvirtuosity of L 'Isle Joyeuse. But at the same timehe expresses the rhapsodic dreaminess of Refletsdans J'eau.In Trpceski's hands Debussy's melodies singand his layers of sounds dazzle. Yet the texturesremain clear, allowing you to hear right into thesepieces. Trpceski's palette of tone colours andaccents is imaginative. There's a naturalness tohis phrasing which lends a sense of authenticity tothese performances. This is a memorable andmoving disc.The two books of Images are presented complete,as is the Children's Comer Suite. ButClair de lune is on its own, unfortunately extractedfrom the Suite bergamasque, where it belongs.The booklet notes by Roger Nichols are worthreading. Trpceski writes a very brief tribute to hisnative Macedonia, which he cites as an inspiration66for his work. It is unfortunate that no biographicalmaterial on him is included. But those whoare able and willing to pop this disc into a computerwill find an interesting video of the pianistin Macedonia, talking and playing.Pamela MarglesConcert note: Simon Trpceski returns to theJane Mallett Theatre on Tuesday, March 18 forMusic Toronto. He will play Debussy's Childrens Corner, along with works by Rachmaninovand Prokofiev.MODERN ANDCONTEMPORARYCanadian Composer Portraits -Alcides LanzaVarious ArtistsCentrediscs CMCCD 13007I admit I was unfamiliarwith the nameAlcides Lanza untilrecently, but what anintriguing individual,and a worthy subjectindeed for the latestin the Canadiancomposers Portraitsseries from theCanadian Music Centre. Born in Argentina in1929, Lanza had a somewhat unorthodox musicalupbringing. He began by studying piano andcomposition privately, but graduated from theIndustrial High School in Rosario with a degreein electronics. Lanza later commenced studies inarchitecture, but after a move to Buenos Aires,he developed an interest in composition, particularlythat of the avant-garde movements thentaking place in the US . Further studies at thenewly-formed Centre for Advanced MusicalStudies and later at the Columbia/PrincetonElectronic Music Centre in New York solidifiedboth his musical style and his entire approachto music-making. In 1971 Lanzatraveled further north again to Montreal,where he ultimately became the director ofthe Electronic Music Studio at McGill Universityuntil his retirement in 2002.Interviewed by Eitan Cornfield for the hour -long documentary that introduces this set, Lanzaexplains: "I don't compose too much with notes,or intervals or themes; I think more in terms ofshapes, and variations and the timbral aspects ofthe sound". This approach is discernible throughoutthe 6 compositions featured on disc 2 of theset. Recorded between 1974 and 2002, theworks here constitute a fine representation ofLanza's musical style over a 28 year span. Andwhat a wonderfully varied means of expressionhe achieves! For example, eidesis !I utilizes agroup of 13 standard instruments - brass, strings,and percussion, but with each group tuned aquarter-tone apart. On the other hand, un mundoimaginario from 1989 is based on a text byLanza himself, and is an intriguing combinationof chorus with electroacoustic sounds, using bothstandard, graphic and aleatoric notation.WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMAltogether, this disc is a treat, for those whoare steadfast admirers of new music and thosewishing only to expose the ears to somethingdifferent. Mis felicitaciones, Alcides!Richard HaskellJAZZ--AND IMPROVIZED MUSIC-Piano MusicJean Martin;Evan ShawBarnyard Records BR0303PlumbLori Freedman; Scott ThomsonBarnyard Records BR0305New music often needs new record labels andnew venues, and so it is with the expansion ofimprovised music in Toronto. Case-in-point: BarnyardRecords, which has produced these fineCDs and which is named for the Barnyard Dramaband co-led by percussionistllabel honchoJean Martin and vocalist Christine Duncan.Barnyard is no vanity boutique project however. Although Martin is featured on 10 duets withalto saxophonist Evan Shaw on "Piano Music" -with perversely no keyboard within earshot­"Plumb", an investigation into depth exposures,showcases Montreal clarinettist Lori Freedmanand Toronto trombonist Scott Thomson. Thomsoncurates Somewhere There, an intimate newspace in Parkdale where many creative musiciansperform.Illustrated with a wrench on its cover,"Plumb" would have been better served with aplumber's helper. During the nine duets, bothplayers tug unexpected timbres from the depthsof their instruments. The products of breath-play,lip and tongue contortions as well as unusualfingering, the improvisations are studded withchortles, buzzes, brays, whinnies, growls, rumblesand warbles. Although pressurized overblowingand jagged multiphonics are frequent, so areconnective harmonies.Their skills are such that, for instance, onLeak Freedman sounds both tonal and atonal,constricting her split tones as she plays, whileThomson constructs a counter-line of echoing,double-tonguing. Adding the instruments' woodand brass properties as sound sources, sibilanttongue-slaps and stops from the clarinet evolve indouble counterpoint with the trombone's lowpitchedslurs and whistles, altering the tonal centreas a fmale.Plenty of slurs and growls arise on the otherCD, which is paradoxically more jazzy and moreelectronic than "Plumb". Martin's and Shaw'sinterplay is in Energy Music mode, despite sampledbackground reed echoes that further bondthe players. Someone with mainstream as well asM ARC H 1 - A PRIL 7 2008

experimental credentials, Martin is an accomplishedtime-keeper, though the time-feel is hardlystandard. Encompassing martial thumps, pressrolls, and cymbal resonation he creates whicheverbeat best encourages Shaw· s story telling.Meanwhile split-tones, reed-biting trills and aviarycries are favoured by the saxophonist.Rattlebag Jimmy is the most spectacularversion of this strategy. Shaw alternates betweenaltissimo squeals and mid-register lyricalphrasing, as Martin brings nerve beats, bell andtriangle pings into the mix. Eventually this brokenoctave exposition allows Shaw space for closelypacked,glottis-expanded reed cadences.While conventional farming may be in decline,the produce from this musical barnyardappears healthy and flourishing.Ken WaxmanConcert note: Lori Freedman is one of thefeatured artists in the Montreal Mash-up editionof "Revolutions: Turning the Tables on DJCulture(s)" presented by NUMUS at the StarlightClub in Waterloo on March 13.POT POURRI - EXTENDED PLAYCubaCuba - The Official Guide to Cubavarious artistsin2music IN2 0118CubaCuba2various artistsin2music IN2 0125CubaCuba 3 The Celebration Continuesvarious artistsin2music IN2 0140 ( Buchbinder/Hilario DuranTzadic TZ 8121 ( ExpressSisters of SheynvilleIndependent SOS 236-2007( compilations dubbing themselves "theofficial guide to Cuba" hit our shores starting in2005 and these discs (CubaCuba, CubaCuba 2and CubaCuba 3) offer a handsomely packagedoverview of the Cuban music scene. Allof the artists are from the legendary EGREMstudios in Havana, so those familiar with theAfro Cuban All Stars and the Buena VistaSocial Club will recognize most of the names.Traditional luminaries like Ruben Gonzalez,Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer and OmaraPortuondo all appear along with a handful ofnewer artists working in the traditional genres(son and bolero mostly). with the occasionalsizzling salsa number thrown in for extra sabor.The booklets are handy, with lyrics set out inboth Spanish and English and gorgeous photosthroughout. Any one of these compilationswould be a good addition to the CD collectionsof neophyte or veteran Cuban music fans.For a completely different journey, we haveMAR CH 1 - APRI L 7 2008•\e f \ace for Better Aut1..' · The Finest IQHigh End Audio Gear AvailableOver 30 Years•Sim audioFine Canadian Audio CompanyOffering a complete line up of Electronics,CD players, integratedamps, pre amps andpower amps(Shown in Silver, also available in Black)Beautiful Styling and Sound that will AmazeFull line available.High EndAudioSpeakersWorldwideRenown forHighPerformanceAnd topCraftsmanshipSonus Faber SpeakersCrafted in ItalyIr-· ·--rFull line ofspeakers­Bookshelf andFloor standingMatching CenterChannel to matchalso available.Upgrade TodayDomus, Cremona and Homage Series AvailableFinished in Fine wood or Black cabinetsd CS Data Conversion Systems: : : : : . l4#4$ij HIT'= New PUCCINI

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