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Volume 15 Issue 8 - May 2010

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Symphony
  • Theatre
  • Orchestra
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  • Trio
  • Choir
  • Musical
  • Concerts

Acoustic interaction is

Acoustic interaction is also featured on May19, with the Dans Les Arbes quartet at theMusic Gallery. Consisting of one Frenchand three Norwegian musicians, it offers thesame sort of extrasensory perception its percussionistIngar Zach brings to Mural Nectarsof Emergence (SOFA Records 528www.sofamusic.no). Interestingly enoughsaxophonist Jim Denley and guitarist KimMyhration.Minimalist and atmospheric, the CD’sseven tracks are built up from pointillistdabs of sonic colors, soaking together withoutabrasion. That doesn’t mean the performanceis modest, just unshowy. Zach for instanceuse wood pops, bowl scrapes, chimingbells and drum-skin rubs to make his points.Meantime Myhr’s guitar preparations allowhim to produce hefty church-organ-likechords in some instances, loops of electrivanessarodriguez.com),a potent package thatalso features Torontonians in saxophonistChris Gale, and drummer Davide DiRenzo.Here’s a bustling session that exploits thefamed tenor-organ combos of yesteryear withgreat aplomb with a pleasing mix of standardsand hard-hitting originals. Players takelong, often bruising solos, notably the versatileGale on the opening Wes Montgom-form as well as constructing clean lines. Thebig-hearted ballad Statement gets a search-throughout the more-grounded Rodriguesratchets up tension when needed to the levelof bristling exchanges. The co-leaders havefun on the happy honker One-Eyed Monsterwhile elsewherethe room’s full ofquick turns of phrase,and runaway grooves,with timely relief oncalmer pieces such asBye Bye Blackbird.AWARD NOTE: The Django Reinhardt tributeband Croque Monsieur has won the CanadianCollectors Congress annual album–ofthe-yearaward given out at the organizationof vintage jazz lovers’ 39th gathering in To-ists- the Happy Pals, Ron Joseph and friends,Dinny and the All-Stars and Braithwaite &Whiteley.EXTENDED PLAYBy Ken WaxmanMore an enhancement than a replicationof Quebec’s Festival Internationalde Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville(FIMAV), Toronto’s VTO2010 festivalcherry picks some of FIMAV’s internationalperformers, presenting them with invitedCanadian musicians. As these CDs indicate,the improvisers are impressive no matter thelocation or formation.One of the most anticipated concerts is theSix at the Music Gallery May 26. An all-starEuropean ensemble, one of its distinguishingcharacteristic is the supportive synthesizerwork of Köln’s Thomas Lehn. CloseUp (MonotypeRec. mono024 www.monotyperec.com)demonstrates Lehn’s skillsproviding the underpinning for BertrandGauguet, a technically adroit French saxophonist,plus Viennese quarter-tone trumpeterFranz Hautzinger. As with the Six, electronicsare part of this trio’s mix. So onClose Up’s three extended tracks blurry intonationencompasses loops of granulatedtones mixed with rumbles and pulses fromLehn, air burbled through the body tube ofGauguet’s saxophones and tremolo buzzingfrom Hautzinger. Building up in sonic fer-vor through the intersectionof synthesizerpitch shifting, distor-wide-bore whizzesand echoing patternsfrom the acoustic instruments,the CD climaxeswith the over26-minute Close Up 03. Cricket-like reedchirps and hand-muted brass vibrations areput aside for spectral processing which addsthey sweep by staccato or glissandi. Whilethe electronics’ wave forms undulate symmetrically,they also output enough percus-The trumpeter’s braying bell-like reverb andthe saxophonist’s feral animal-like squealsconsequently meld with thumping synthesizerColin McLean’s computer processing is alsoprominent on Everything but the Beginning(Unsounds U17 www.unsounds.com). Butso is the prowess of British guitarist AndyMoor, a member of the EX. In Toronto hisMusic Gallery performance – also on May26 – is as part of a long-standing duo withFrench poetess Anne-James Chatton. On thisCD, his technical command of the six-stringis showcased with McLean’s hardware usual-burbles and rebounds.Moor often uses thelaptop undercurrent asa click track, linearlyexposing single-stringsnaps, rough twangsor chuffed reverberations.His improvisingcan be playfullydecorative, as when he seconds the sampleof a squeak toy on Delta Block. In contraston it appearsthat piezo pickups multiply his twangs so thatthe theme is pulsed, pushed and twisted intovoltage-shaking signals.clangs elsewhere andconstant harsh strumming.ThroughoutDenley’s masticatedsplit tones propelhis saxophone pitchesto the patchy edge ofhearing with stridentwolf whistles, tongue slaps and subterraneangrowls, while there’s nothing delicate aboutFlash Expansionis particularly noteworthy. With Myhr’srhythmic rasgueado meeting up with ampli-processed loops bring the narrative in-andout-of-focus,with the sound menacing andmotor-driven one minute, the next as weightlessas waves lapping against the sea shore.A weightier Canadianbalance to the internationalsounds is theexclusive-to-VTO triplebill at the Tranzacclub May 14. TheRent and Hat + Beardare locals, while Shamanfrom Montrealis also on hand. Consisting of Jean Deromeand Joane Hétu on woodwinds, voices andobjects Nous perçons les oreilles (AmbiancesMagnétiques AM 200 CD www.actuellecd.com)exposes Shaman’s strategy ofD-I-Y ethnomusicology. Like ancient tribalhealers the duo expresses itself through verbalscreams, squeaks, murmurs, mumblesand cries as well as inchoate instrumentaltextures. The two recount 12 short narrativeswhich are as much Dada as primitive,wrapped in onomatopoeia that bonds mouthexpressions such as cheers, yelps and gurgleswith slide-whistle peeps, unsequenced altissimosaxophone stridency, key percussion,clipping chromatic timbres and reverberatingbody tube echoes.OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLESBy Bruce SurteesFriedrich Wührer (1900-1975) was anAustrian pianist and academic, sadly almostforgotten today, who is possibly rememberedonly by collectors via his VOX recordingsfrom the vinyl era. His forte was,as might be expected, Beethoven and Schubertbut he played and recorded Chopin, Pro-Tahra hasissued a four CD set of Wührer playingBeethoventos,the Triple Concerto and the last threepiano sonatas (TAH 704-707). As I don’t recalllistening to these performances before,there were no feelings of nostalgia or sentimentalityattached. That said, I was totallyabsorbed into a world where musicians recordedthose works that they understood and60 THEWHOLENOTE.COMMay 1 - June 7, 2010

embraced, passingtheir pleasure alongto the listener withoutthe all too pervasivepractice of “listento me”. These performancesunfold likea narrative, drivenplaying. The collaborating artists in the TripleConcerto are Bronislaw Gimpel and JosephSchuster; the orchestras are the ProMusica groups from Vienna and Stuttgart,the Bamberg Symphony and the WürttembergState Orchestra. Conductors are HeinrichHollreiser, Walther Davisson and Jonellybelies the dates of the originals, 1953-1957,being sinewy, lucent and free of artefacts.The booklet promises a further Wührer collection.Reviewing this set has taken far toolong because instead of writing the impulseto simply sit back and listen has been irresistibleas I’m sure it will be for many others.The London Philharmonic Orchestra hasbeen issuing live concerts by their late conductor,Klaus Tennstedt of music by Haydn,Wagner, Bruckner and Mahler, the latest ofwhich is the Mahler Second. The performancedates from 20 February 1989 with sopranoYvonne Kenny and mezzo Jard vanNes together with the London PhilharmonicChoir (LPO 0044 2CDs at a reduced price).Like Bruno Walter, Tennstedt took Mahlerhis total absorption into the score, far beyondthe usual technicalmatters. Thereis an uncommon butperceptible celebra-ingexperience inevery movement. Thisis achieved in part becausethere is a pulse,either heard or felt, and by ever so delicatefermatas both in the music and the rests. Allthis is accomplished without any histrionics.Running 93 minutes, some 10 to 15 minuteslonger than other versions, this is a gloriouspresentation of Mahler’s masterpiece by adisciplined apologist. The archive recordingwas engineered by Tony Faulkner and excelsin every respect including dynamics and perspective.This is a remarkable document.DOREMI has issued a third volume intheir Michael Rabin Collection composedof 14 more live performances (DHR-7970/1,2CDs). The set opens with the MozartFourth Concerto, a work he never recordedcommercially and only infrequently playedin concert. Rabin mayhave thought that thestrict classical repertoirewas not suitabletuosostyle in whichhe was a true champion.Nevertheless, heis graceful and stylistic.The next two concertos, Tchaikovskyand Glazunov, are works that he playedfrequently, heard here in performances ap-legendary 1952 Australian tour were discoveredonly three years ago. The ABC hostedthe tour but did not archive them and forover half a century they were considered lost.Rabin was a frequent guest on the Bell TelephoneHour and the June 18, 1955 items ap-gems with orchestra which he recorded laterwith piano accompaniment.Universal continues to issue The Originals,re-mastered versions of critically acclaimedrecordings from the DG, Decca, and Philipscatalogues. Newly re-energised and dynamicsound make these much sought afterby discerning collectors who look for thebest performances in the best sound. Fromrecent additions here are two that I remem-published...Mahler 9th Symphony played by The BerlinPhilharmonic conducted by LeonardBernstein (4778620). This prize-winningperformance, live from the Philharmonie inOctober 1979, wasseen on PBS-TV accompaniedby Bernstein’spenetrating analysisof the work.From the openingthere is a pervadingaura correctly presaginga performanceof uncommon perception and intensity. Karajanrecorded the Ninth twice with his Berliners,in 1979-80 and then two years later anardent live performance of September 1982was issued. But neither of these could displacethe transcendent Bernstein.WHITE NIGHTS: Romantic RussianShowpieces; Valery Gergiev and the MariinskyTheatre Orchestra and Chorus(4782122). This material suits Gergiev to aT: a crack orchestra and the expertise to galvanisethem to transparent perfection. Selectionsinclude Russlanand Ludmilla Overture;Sabre Dance andthe Adagio from Spartacus;The PolovstianDances; Baba-Yagaand Kikimora; andThe 1812 Overture.These pieces demandlittle more than fervour and technical excellenceto bring down the house and that theydo. This brilliant CD is a model of its kind.Visit our website atthewholenote.com/discoverieswhere you can find added features — direct linksto performers, composers and record labels,“buy buttons” for on-line shopping and additional,expanded and archival reviews, including hundredsof local and independent releases. Our websitecontains over 540 current CD and DVD reviews.Check it out!THETMMay 1 - June 7, 2010 THEWHOLENOTE.COM 61

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2019)

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