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Volume 15 Issue 8 - May 2010

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  • Toronto
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“It’s not

“It’s not far-fetched to imagine opposinggenerals (and therefore their musicians) meetingbefore battle for dinner. And then, after a toughday of slaughtering people, you’d want to goback to your tent and hear some lute music.”All three of the projectsshe mentions (Galileo, Mar-a certain curatorial style incommon. At Toronto Con-- bassist Alison MacKay’s. a “real life” couple doesn’tin on a moment when historiesconverge, and then illuminatethose moments in all their inter- and cross-cultural diversity.The relationship between oud, pipa and lute presents one suchopportunity for illumination.“Oud means wood in Arabic,” Bassam Bishara explains, “andexcept for the decoration this instrument is fundamentally the same-a series of convergences over centuries. -musical schools in Spain,” Bassam explains, “for oud and singers.This was the most complex poetry in all the Arab world. His audiencewould have been both Europeans and Arabs, and the contextsfor performance would have been primarily entertainment and cer-l’oud” (or“You have to remember” McKenna says, “they were very formalposinggenerals (and therefore their musicians) meeting before battlefor dinner. And then, after a tough day of slaughtering people, you’d diencewas high class, courtly. She was in fact not allowed to playchose. She lived in his house her whole life. And played every day,for rituals, ceremony, entertainment.” was in the service of the pope at the time and travelled with hisentourage. There are famousletters from the time –somebody writing about anentertainment and sayingMilano came to entertain,and we were transported bythis playing.’ They didn’tnothing, and it was a titlereally interesting how docu-of light on how to interprete the music. We have no verbal guidance,paintings.”Today we often come to music with the sense that composer andof being a master musician was, metaphorically, being able to showup at the palace at 4:30pm, with something to play,” McKenna says.“So better write it yourself.” Putting differences of centuries, modes,instruments, cultures aside, all of these masters could do just that.Just as interesting as the evolution of the instruments and themusic written for them is the evolution of the systems of notationpipa a lot of it was oral, passed from teacher to student, until the17th century at which time notation based on Chinese calligraphywas employed, followed, in the middle of the last century, with asystem of tabulature, eerily similar to the “tabs” favoured by manyDavid Perlman, The WholeNote’s Publisher, is occasionallypressed into service as a feature writer. His more usual perch ison page 62.PHOTO AIR’LETH AODHFINJeunesses Musicales Ontariopresents two of its star alumniworld-renowned violinistJames Ehnesaward-winning pianistJamie Parkerin an intimate one-hour recital of worksby Beethoven, Bach, Schumann & BrahmsHosted by broadcaster & arts writerEric FriesenThis fundraising event begins with a 7pm cocktail receptionTuesday, May 18Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street WestTickets , available atwww.jmontario.ca or 416-536-8649A limited number of patron tickets areavailable at 5 each, which include aninvitation to an exclusive post-eventreception with the artists ($150 tax receipt).For more information:heidi@heidimckenzie.cawww.jmontario.ca10 THEWHOLENOTE.COMMay 1 - June 7, 2010

Beat by Beat / Classical & BeyondRevisiting the 20th CenturyALLAN PULKERImagine that we’ve just learned that some concert is a special event for WholeNote readers.)a number composers have been discovered turedon this disc were not victims of the– and the names of these composers are Men- response might wellbe along the lines of“What an important discovery!The history ofEuropean music in the19th century will haveto be rewritten to incorporatethese previ- nomenonof newly dis-different angle, what,then, is our response tothe news that the musicof a number of verygood early- to mid-20th century composershas actually been discovered, performed andrecorded? The names of some of them areBusch, Braunfels, Kahn, Reizenstein, Rönt-not familiar names, it’s easy to dismiss themas “minor composers.” seven years ago the Royal Conservatory appointedguitarist Simon Wynberg artistic dir-ARC (Artists of the Royal Con-been doing the programmingand research for ARC, and hasbeen in contact with musicologists,record labels and institutionswho are researching less-century, many of them victimsof the Holocaust.ARC gave its inaugural performancesin the 2002-03 season.Since then it’s given concertsnot only in Toronto but2011, and concerts at the Concertgebouw.bleto continue to perform and record unjust--alupheavals of the 20th century, as well asarycomposers. current news from ARC is the release of itsthird CD, , on the morningof May 6, with a short performanceof excerpts from this disc. (The free mini-The Royal Conservatory’s ARC Ensemble.ARC Ensemble artisticdirector Simon Wynberg.in very different ways. One of them AdolfBusch, was not Jewish, and the form histhe other, Walter Braunfels, was half Jewish,and survived the war by hiding in a churchin the German village of Überlingen.Consequently the reason their music hasbeen forgotten is not because it has beenfact the by Braunfels was actuallypublished in the 1950s.Wynberg bought a score andset of parts for the ensemblefrom the publisher – brand newbut yellow with age. The by Adolf Busch, despiteBusch’s having made quite aname for himself in the USA asa violinist and as a co-found-never published – more a casualtyof the exigencies of life,and the disruption of forcedemigration than anything else.The ensemble’s performancesand recording were all donefrom a hand-written manuscript,presumably by the composer himself. liner notes, written by ARC artistic director,Simon Wynberg, on the reasons for theobscurity of these two composers and theirwar,” he writes, “there was an understandabledesire to protect and encourage theled eventually to “the hegemony of the avantgarde”and the dismissal, particularly in universities,as reactionaries “those who had followedtraditional musical avenues.” Braunfelsand Busch were both masters of traditionalesprit orc h estraAlex Paukno reasonto pan icSUNDAY, MAY 16, 20108:00 p.m: Concert7:15 p.m: Pre-concert talkJane Mallett Theatre atthe St. Lawrence Centre for the ArtsconductorsopranoProgramme:OrionVermeer Pictures(concert suite for orchestra fromthe opera Writing to Vermeer)No reason to panic(for wind ensemble and six basses)Gitanjali (for soprano and orchestra)Tickets:41 6.366.77231.800.708.6754OR WWW. STLC.COMWWW. ESPRITORCH ESTRA.COMMay 1 - June 7, 2010 THEWHOLENOTE.COM 11

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