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Volume 14 - Issue 3 - November 2008

DISSchool. He made his

DISSchool. He made his New York debut in2004, and since then, has appeared in majorconcert halls throughout the world. The NewYork based Suedama Ensemble, formed forpurposes of this recording, is comprised of 25young musicians all brought together by concertmasterArnaud Sussmann.That these concertos - K.175, K.238 andK.246 the "Lutzow" - should be played by ayouthful ensemble seems particularly appropriate,for they were the first original pianoconcertos Mozart ever produced, writtenwhen he was 17 and 20 respectively. Thebuoyant and optimistic mood of the music isperfectly matched by the spirited performance- this is definitely Mozart with a smileon his face! At the same time, it's clear thata great deal of thought went into the interpretation- the phrasing is carefully conceived,and the dynamics perfectly balanced. Forthose who dismiss Baroque and Classicalperiod music performed on modern instruments,this recording is proof that a modernchamber group can serve the purpose well,and that Mozart played on a Hamburg Steinwaycan sound as convincing as on a pianoforte.Highly recommended.Richard HaskellMozart - Piano Concertos 21 & 22Jonathan Biss;Orpheus Chamber OrchestraEMI Classics 2 17270 2In an overcrowdedfield of Mozartpiano concertosthere has to be avery good reason toissue new performances,particularlyof the very popular21st, dubbed "ElviraMadigan" sincethe 1967 film.The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of NewYork enjoys a most enviable reputation as afirst class ensemble that plays without conductor.They are known for well thought out,flawlessly balanced and musically integratedperformances but I did not expect that theircontributions of these two concertos wouldclearly be the best I have heard in theseworks. Beautiful phrasing and a conversational'attitude' between the instruments add anoperatic anticipatory flavour , wherein thelistener hangs on every note.The career of the young American pianist,Jonathan Biss, whom we heard on a fineSchumann CD , is in rapid ascent and he hasappeared with leading orchestras and conductorsin North America and abroad . In these56live performances Biss displays elegance andauthority , yet I couldn't overlook a touch ofnervousness in K467 but perhaps it may havebeen intentional. He settles well into the restof the concerto and throughout the K482where he exhibits and conveys a genuineMozartian spirit, completely dovetailing withthe orchestra.Of course they must have rehearsed, butthe two performances sound charminglyspontaneous. The acoustic of the Lefrak ConcertHall in Queen's University NYC provesideal.Bruce SurteesMODERN ANDCONTEMPORARYBartok - Divertimento;Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste;Romanian Folk DancesLes Violons du Roy; Jean-Marie ZeitouniATMA ACD2 2576Like a giant boaconstrictor crawlingout of its lair inthe primordialdawn so beginsBartok's Music forStrings, Percussionand Celesta ... inPPP with an incrediblylong sustainedcrescendo fugato , twisting and turning withmore and more voices added until the climaxin the middle of the movement, then quicklyreceding into the darkness. This unusual andextremely difficult fugue is a real test for theorchestra, the conductor and recording technologybut in a good performance, like this one, theeffect is literally shattering.Les Violons du Roy , a remarkable group ofQuebec string players only 15 in number, wasformed in 1984 to play the Baroque repertoire,and since then acquired a good reputationin Canada, the US and Europe with theirvirtuosity and dedication. More recently,under Jean-Marie Zeitouni they branched outinto the 19th century and modern repertoireas well.The most ambitious piece on this disc is theaforementioned Music ... , a work of geniusfrom Bartok's middle period when he wasmost influenced by the West and experimentingwith new forms and ideas. It is a bold,brutal work but formidably inventive andimaginative especially in its handling of theorchestra. I give great credit to this littlegroup which plays with great conviction,virtuosity and sounds like a much bigger orchestra.The Divertimento also comes offvery well and the Roumanian Dances in theconductor's orchestration sound atmospheric,incisively rhythmic and full of verve. Excellentlyrecorded, this CD should not take backseat to any other recording of these pieces .Janos GardonyiWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMGubaidulina - In Tempus Praesens:Bach - Violin ConcertosAnne-Sophie Mutter; London SymphonyOrchestra; Valery GergievDeutsche Grammophon 4777450This is the firstrecording of Gubaidulina's secondlarge-scale workfor violin andorchestra, Intempus praesens,and it is stunning.The writing forviolin is idiomaticand precise and the conversations set upbetween the soloist and various combinationsof orchestral instruments and sections arefascinating. While short on practical detailsabout the piece - we 're told merely that it's infive sections - the essay in the CD bookletgives insight into Gubaidulina's inspiration:the figure of Sophia (the first name of bothcomposer and soloist/dedicatee), "the personificationof wisdom who has laid the foundationfor all creativity .. . the fountainhead of artand of the artist's engagement with the lighterand darker sides of human existence." Thisheady inspiration has produced a finely-crafted32-minute one-movement work that isjam-packed with drama, excitement, intensityand great beauty, described (perhaps a tactbombastically) by both the composer and thesoloist as a "triumph over fate" .Gubaidulina should thank her lucky starsshe has such champions of her music asAnne-Sophie Mutter and Valery Gergiev.Their performance, along with the fine playersof the London Symphony Orchestra, iscaptivating and committed. Mutter's playingis free and expressive and a strong reminderof why she is one of the great violinists of ourage.By contrast the Bach performances areperfunctory at best, but the Gubaidulina concertois more than worth the price of thisrecording.Larry BeckwithSo You Want To Write A Fugue?A Celebration of Glenn GouldVarious artistsCentrediscs CMCCD 13208T. Patrick Carrabre - FirebrandGryphon Trio;Winnipeg Chamber Music SocietyCentrediscs CMCCD 13408N OVEMBE R 1 - D ECEMBER 7 2008

A little over a year ago a cross-section ofeleven Canadian composers were commissionedby CBC producer Neil Crory to createshort piano works (nominally in the form of aprelude and fugue) incorporating the handfulof "musical" letters in Gould's name: G-E­G-D. These in turn were performed by tenToronto-based pianists in Glenn Gould Studiofor a September 25, 2007 recital observanceof what would have been Glenn Gould's 75thbirthday. The choice of composers for thisproject reveal few surprises as they are forthe most part familiar names who have benefitedfrom CBC exposure in the past. Let ushope that their contributions (performersincluded!) do not prove to be their swansongs, now that the CBC has so drasticallycut back on its commitment to art music.Given the paucity of the musical motive thecomposers were assigned - a mere threepitches outlining the nucleus of a pentatonicscale - it is surprising that the results revealsuch variety, at least in the prelude sectionsof the works. I for one have always found thecanonic classroom fugue an academic anachronismof scant relevance to the contemporarycomposer and confess experiencingconsiderable boredom following the predictablesequence of events in this donnish genre. Iwas won over however by Gary Kulesha'sthoroughly convincing Fugue and Prelude,and pleasantly amused by the cheeky goofinessof Chan Ka Nin's take on the form. Bestof all for me were those composers whosubverted their assignment, notably AndreRistic's kinetic Prelude and Fugue and theintriguing Nostalgia for Airs Unheard by theexpatriate Kati Ag6cs.Among those few still holding the fort fornew music at the CBC is Winnipeg composerT. Patrick Carrabre, one of the hosts of thehodgepodge late-night radio broadcast knownas The Signal . His album "Firebrand" featuresexpert performances of two piano triosby the redoubtable Gryphon Trio along withthe quintet A Hammer for Your Thoughtsperformed by the Winnipeg Chamber MusicSociety. For the most part Carrabre writes inan accessible style, often featuring repeatingfigures and dance rhythms which draw thelistener in without sacrificing a moderatelyedgy level of dissonance. Structurally theworks are based on traditional models, mosteffectively realized in the expressionistic2002 trio, From the Dark Reaches. Productionvalues are respectable considering thatboth CDs are live performances marred bymoments of Restless Audience Syndrome.Daniel FoleyRenew'd at ev'ry glance -Music of Hope Lee and David EagleAccordes; Joseph Macerollo;Banff Centre Ensemble; New MusicConcerts Ensemble; Robert AitkenCentrediscs CMCCD 13708This is the second release pairing musicwritten by the inquisitive and prolific Calgary-basedcomposers, David Eagle andHope Lee. Two works from each composerN OVEMBE R 1 - D EC EMB ER 7 2008are featured in thiscross-section ofcomposition andperformance highlightingsome ofCanada's very bestmusical and artistictalent from roughlythe past two decades.David Eagle is a systematic composer whois able to capture an improvisational attitudein clearly notated scores. The title trackRenew'd at ev'ry glance (1985) is composedfor a mixed 3 to 10 instrument ensemble.This 1991 recording has the Banff CentreEnsemble successfully taking on the challengeof melding their own sensibilities withEagle's finely tuned tonal awareness. Incontrast, Breath (1998) is a more maturecomposition in which the Accordes StringQuartet plays with soundfiles based on outdoorsounds created by the composer and hisdaughter.Two tracks from Hope Lee's Voices inTime cycle provide a unique aural glimpse inthe development of a composer. Voices inTime (1992-1994) is the fifth work in thecycle . This 1994 broadcast recording of theNew Music Concerts Ensemble, soundfilesand live electronics, is a fine performance ofan excellent compositional idea. This ideacomes to fruition in the superb Fei Yang(2000), an emotional and virtuoso powerhousepiece performed with unbelievablepassion by Accordes and accordionist JosephMacerollo. This is ensemble writing andplaying at its best.Though at times challenging aurally, it isthe beauty in texture and rhythm whichmakes Renew 'd at ev 'ry glance a tour deforce showcase of two of Canada's mostdistinctive composers.Tiina KiikConcert Note: New Music Concerts'November 30 performance at the MusicGallery includes David Eagle's Breath andHope Lee's Fei Yang with Accordes andMacerollo.JAZZ AND IMPROVISEDGridjamLina Allemano FourLuma Records LM 2008-3( www .myspace.com/linaallemanofour)Now here's a wholly captivating, unconventionalrecording that manages to push boundariesin an invitingway. In this minimalistchord-lessf1f ,:'setting, each playercontributes enormouslyto theproject's success .The Lina AllemanoFour consists of theleader on trumpet,"' "' ,.."""" ...WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COMBrodie West on alto saxophone, AndrewDowning on double bass and Nick Fraser ondrums. Allemano is an admirable, daringplayer. Armed with a richness of tone, sheisn't afraid to squeal, squeak or growl accordingto the given moment; West wailssimilarly , often with fiery pizzazz. The twocomplement each other so well that at timesit is hard to tell them apart. Fraser's tastefulbrushwork is also outstanding throughout thealbum.All of the music is original, mostly pennedby Allemano, and is it ever far out! Dissonant,twisted and angular, these are tunesThelonious Sphere Monk would definitelyhave dug. Nick Fraser composed Also - asolo trumpet feature - and Andrew Downingthe concluding Recall. Haunting as everycomposition is , one almost forgets all aboutthem once the free improvisation sectionsstart. Gridjam, Cameo and Recall all containmoments of awe-inspiring interplay. Ironically,this innovative recording was created liveoff-the-floorthe old-fashioned way, withoutusing headphones or even a bass amp. Thisaccounts for Downing sounding a little low inthe mix, but also for the genuine sense offreedom in the air. Fascinating and full of theunexpected, this recording should win theLina Allemano Four scores of new fans.Ori DaganThe Sound of SongsSteve Koven TrioBungalow Records SK 007 2(www .stevekoven.com)Toronto is a city rich with great jazz pianists.Passionate andplayful, Steve Kovenis one who neverfails to please anaudience. Supportedby Rob Cluttonon bass and AnthonyMichelli ondrums, his trio hasbeen swingin' hardsince '93. Backthen the group was focused on interpretingstandards, but on this, their seventh release,Koven has composed 100 % of the material.Definitely file this one under jazz, but thereare several other influences here, from traditionalto classical, reggae to folk. Logicallycrafted, these songs range from good to excellent;The Universe Loves Lily, LittleDance and Honey-Do are particularly memorableslices of good taste. Although this trioarguably specializes in tunes that beckonfingers to snap, the closing ballad Faith 'sDream proves they can be absolutely poignantif they so wish. Also clear to hear is thatthese guys have toured the world together; theensemble playing is picture perfect.Koven' s accessible delivery is animatedand intense, only enhanced by Clutton's appetizinggrooves and Michelli's perpetual solidity.The disc is further spiced up by the lead-57

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