6 years ago

Volume 15 Issue 7 - April 2010

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  • April
  • Toronto
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  • Jazz
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  • Musical

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also provides a professionally designed frontand back cover with recording details. Rosenand his confreres’ disc is as swinging as it iskinetic, highlighting an impressive admixtureof timbres, not least of which includesmodern gutbucket styling from trombonistRobert. Super staccato, Aesthetic Form forinstance is less aesthetic than acrobatic, asRobert’s rubato whinnies slink and swayalongside Rosen’s two-handed pump in thepiano’s lowest register, until he slips to theedge of the keys to link up with Levallet’ssul tasto runs. Elsewhere Rosen’s hunt-andpecktechnique predominates, along withthe trombonist’s triple-tonguing and mouthgymnastics. The session culminates with Bon,bref et puis… with allegro additions fromeach partner expressed in slaps and pumpsfrom the bassist, cascading comping from thepianist plus foreshortened and jagged basspitchedslurs from Robert.A more cerebral trombone trio is onMeshes (Another Timbre Byways This CD-R,with its welldesignedcover,demonstratesanother methodof distribution.Certain that youngimproviserswouldn’t needthe numberof discs in astandard official CD run, the British labelcreated its Byways CD-R series. Certainlythis gritty and pressured microtonalprogram from trombonist Mathias Forge,electronics manipulator Phil Julianand cellist David Papapostolou is onejustification for the experiment. During twolengthy improvisations, the interaction andtexture-blending is such that it’s frequentlyimpossible to match particular timbresto individual instruments. With Julian’selectronics segmenting into chunky signalprocessedlines, pulsating reverb and flatlinedrones, multiplied shrills flash throughthe narratives like rain showers, when thestatic isn’t undulating underneath. Extendedpassages of extreme stillness also alter thetonal centre so that whistling squeaks fromthe cello – often hewn from the strings belowthe bridge – or blurry triplets strained fromthe trombone bell, tongue pops and flat-lineblowing without valve pushes are moreconspicuous. Although discontinuous in spots,the combined undulations made up of cellostrings held to maximum tautness, rubatograce notes plus tremolo pedal tones from thetrombonist, and electronic drones eventuallyreach a crescendo of inter-connected frictionclimaxing with a conclusive whistle and pop.Brass and an electronic variant are alsoprominent on All Up In There (MrERecords 2 Montreal-based, former Torontonian,trumpeter Gordon Allen, who often playshere. Figuring this concert with FrankMartel on theremin and drummer Michel F.Côté was worth preserving, Allen initiallycreated 79 copies of the disc. With linernotes handwritten ona paper bag and therecord packaged in ahand-sewn cloth bag,D-I-Y is taken toits logical extreme.But the strength ofthe performancesuggests thatmore copies mayeventually be needed. Sounds are cohesiveand wedded to jazz-improv. Although whenall musical cylinders fire at once the resultsappear as a solid textural block, there’sample room for individual expression.Revealed are Côté’s anything-but-regularrhythms, the trumpeter’s choked-throatgrowls, and pitter-pattering string-referencingthumps from the theremin. These bass-likestrokes are even more prominent midwaythrough, when joining the drummer’sassertive backbeat, they create a solid base,allowing Allen’s plunger tones, grace notesqueaks and bovine lows to float above.Proving conclusively that quantity does notmean quality, each session uses unexpectedmeans to get to its intended audiences.OlD wINE IN NEw BOTTlEsfine Old Recordings Re-releasedBy Bruce SurteesIncluded in the list of composers whoseanniversaries are celebrated this year aretwo of the greatest and best loved mastersof the Romantic Era, Frédéric Chopinand Robert Schumann, both born 200years ago. It is only good business then forrecording companies to issue and re-issuefine performances to feed, they hope, theheightened demand for the birthday boys’music.First up is Chopin (March 1) whose entirepublished works fit nicely on 16 or 17 CDs.The absolute pick of the packages comesfrom Deutsche Grammophon (4778445,17 CDs) which also happens to be at anattractive price,particularly forGerman pressings.Every opus numberis representedhere in excellentto superlativeperformances. Onecould not hope fora better group ofartists, mainly pianists, of course, than DGhas assembled from their own catalogue plusDecca and Philips. Krystian Zimerman’sacclaimed 1999 performances of the twopiano concertos with the Polish FestivalOrchestra are on the first disc. Zimermanis heard again in the Ballades. ClaudioArrau is the soloist in the other concertedworks. Maurizio Pollini plays the Etudes,the Polonaises, the Scherzos and the 2ndand 3rd Sonatas. Maria João Pires playsall the Nocturnes and Vladimir Ashkenazyplays the complete Mazurkas, the Waltzes,and a host of miscellaneous pieces. TheBeaux Arts Trio plays (you’ve guessed it)the Trio in G minor. Also heard from areAnatol Ugorski, Martha Argerich, LilyaZilberstein, Yundi Li, Mstislav Rostropovich,Anner Bylsma, and others including Polishsoprano Elzbieta Szmytka in the songs. Thereasonably informative booklet includes abrief chronological table of Chopin’s life,plus recording data. All in all, this is a mostpleasing and very recommendable collection.Robert Schumann was born in Saxony onJune 8, 1810 and his output was many timesthat of his Polish contemporary includingcompositions in every form. Don’t expectto see a “complete” edition from any of themajors but new compilations have appearedthis year from DGand Sony, neither ofwhich I have seenor heard. EuroArtshas issued a Blu-raydisc of on earlierDVD featuringMartha Argerichplaying theSchumann PianoConcerto withRiccardo Chaillyand the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester(EA2055494). Recorded “live” in June 2006the Blu-ray disc presents the entire concert,adding the opening work, the Adagio andAllegro brillante from Etudes Symphoniquesop.13, orchestrated by Tchaikovsky. Theconcerto emerges as an inspired collaborationbetween soloist and orchestra, without peerin this medium for sensitivity and intelligence.For an encore Argerich plays Of ForeignLands and People from Kinderszenen, op.15.Following the intermission, the orchestraplays Ravel’s orchestration for Nijinsky offour pieces from Carnaval, op.9 followed byan enthusiastic and vital performance of theFourth Symphony. The dynamics throughoutare effortlessly true-to-life, making this ayou-are-there experience.There is also a Schumann Fourth in a newboxed set from Profil featuring the lateGünter Wand conducting the DeutschesSymphonie-Orchester Berlin in performancesbetween April 1993 and April 1996(PH09068, 8 CDs). One of the successionof famous conductors and music directorsthat has endowed this world-class orchestra- founded in 1946 by the American Forcesin Berlin as the RIAS Symphony Orchestra- with a proud heritage, Wand lookedbeyond the printed score. His performancesreflect the deepest commitment and focusso that it appears, at least to this listener,that in performance nothing exists but the60 www.thewholenote.comApril 1 - May 7, 2010

composer’s creation. His Schumannunfolds organically with steady tempos anda true pulse. Amply dynamic, it is elegantlydetailed and unusually compelling. Soare three Beethoven Symphonies, one,three and four; Brahms First and Fourth;Bruckner’s Fifth and Ninth; and Schubert’sEighth and Ninth. Brilliantly recorded,these are all from Wand’s favouredcomposers and his signature is on each one.In addition to the revelatory DVD My Life and Music thattraces Günter Wand’s life including his last interview (RCA828766388893, 2 DVDs), there are two essential 4 DVD Wandsets from TDK containing live Festival performances of Bruckner’sFifth, Sixth, Eighth and Ninth, Haydn’s 76th and the Schubert Eighth(TDK cowandbox1) and Leonore III, Bruckner Fourth, SchubertFive, Eight and Nine, and Brahms First (TDK cowandbox2). As Iagain witness the supreme performances enshrined on these DVDs,particularly the Bruckner Symphonies, I realize that to have beenthere would remain the musical experience(s) of a lifetime!But back to Schumann... Music and Arts has issued an inspired twoCD set containing historic recordings with three performances eachof two song cycles from 1840, Dichterliebe and Frauenliebe undleben(CD-1235). Dichterliebe is heard firstly by Aksel Schiøtz, theDanish tenor who recorded this cycle withGerald Moore in 1946 just months beforea necessary surgery left his face partiallyparalysed. Swiss baritone Charles Panzerais accompanied by Alfred Cortot in a 1935recording that was, for many collectors,the criterion... yet Gerhard Hüsch, theGerman baritone, accompanied by HannsUdo Müller, having the advantage ofsinging in his native tongue, sounds themost comfortable and expressive with Heine’s texts. Frauenliebeund –leben with texts by Adalbert von Chamisso is for female voice.Three singers, each indisputably legendary in the very best senseof the word, are each so individual in style that comparisons wouldindeed be odious. Here is Lotte Lehmann live in recital with PaulUlanowsky in New York in 1946 and contralto Marian Andersonwith Franz Rupp in 1950. Finally, Kathleen Ferrier is heard live atthe Edinburgh Festival in 1949 accompanied by... no in collaborationwith... her mentor, Bruno Walter. Excellent transfers make listeninga pleasure. Comprehensive liner notes are included.Visit our website atwww.thewholenote.comfor additional reviews including Janos Gardonyi’simpressions of a new production of Wagner’sGötterdämmerung from Staatskapelle Weimer,Terry Robbins’ take on Gautier Capuçon’sTchaikovsky and Prokofiev works forcello and orchestra with Valery Gergiev,and Andrew Timar’s appreciation of solo pianomusic co-composed by G. I. Gurdjieff andThomas de Hartmann.GlionnaMansellCorporationOpus IThe Elite program is the embodimentof well-articulated musical ideals. Acohesive tonal concept is at the heartof every Elite organ. Like theindividual instruments of a fineorchestra, every stop of an Elitespecification possesses distinctivecharacter that contributes to theformation of well-knit ensembles.To learn more about the Elite programor any of the other fine digital organsfrom Allen Organ Company, pleasecontact Gordon Mansell, Presidentand Artistic Director.Glionna Mansell Corporationrepresents excellence in organ building.TMProud supporter of10www.glionnamansell.com416-769-5224toll free: 1-877-769-5224Leasing available throughFirst Maestra Leasing Inc.April 1 - May 7, 2010 61

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