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Volume 16 Issue 3 - November 2010

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Growing with Canada: The

Growing with Canada: The ÉmigréTradition in Canadian MusicBy Paul HelmerMcGill-Queen’s University Press400 pages; .95Book ShelfPAMELA MARGLESBetween 1933and 1948 a numberof musicianscame to Canada toescape persecutionin their homelands.the Nazis in Europe,but some wereescaping the Communistswithin theconstantly changingborders of the Soviet Union. Paul Helmerto 5000 who came to this country seekingrefuge during that period. Many, though byno means all, were Jewish. But Helmer’sinvestigation focuses less on why they escapedthan how they got out, and what theyachieved after they arrived in Canada.Most landed in Canada with little morethan their talent and whatever contacts theycould come up with. None had willinglychosen to abandon their families, homelands,cultures, careers or schools to endurethe dangers and humiliations that they endured.But Helmer, who taught musicologyfor many years at McGill, shows how theseémigrés retained some control over theirdestinies.The core of Helmer’s book is a series ofinterviews he did with some thirty of theseémigrés or their surviving family members.Though it would be interesting to readthese interviews in full, Helmer has put themto good use here, effectively building up amulti-layered picture.The impact of these émigrés on the Canadianmusic scene was so profound, Helmerargues, that they managed to overturn theprevailing dominance of English musicalculture and introduce their central Euro-positionbut also in music education and theAlthoughHelmer himself is a pianist as wellas a musicologist, he doesn’t devote as muchstyles, although he does note how musicianslike Greta Kraus and Mario Duschenes pioneeredbaroque performance practice in Canada.In any case, the result was the beginningsof musical independence, what couldbe termed a Canadian style, and internationalprestige. faced no real impediments because of race,we acceptHelmer’s controversial conclusion thatthe Canadian immigration department didas much as it could have to save lives threatenedby the Nazis and the Soviets, we feelthe loss of the millions who didn’t make itout, and what they would have further contributedto Canadian music.This is a fascinating, provocative and im-thorough index). Helmer’s celebration of thecontributions of these émigrés to Canadianmusic resonates deeply when he writes, “Wecan only pay tribute to their accomplishmentsby continuing to welcome musicianswho come to Canada from around the worldPatti Lupone: A MemoirBy Patti Lupone with Digby DiehlCrown Archetype336 pages, photos; .99During a showPatti Lupone gavein Toronto lastyear with MandyPatinkin, sheasked the audienceto suggest a titlefor her upcomingmemoirs. The titleshe ended up with,Patti Lupone: AMemoir, sounds decidedlylow-key. That’s surprising, becausethere is nothing low-key about Lupone.In her memoir Lupone is feisty, funnyouslycombative, she is at the same timewilling to expose vast layers of vulnerability.More than once while reading this, I wonderedwhy she was sharing a particularly uncomfortablebit of information.As she details her struggles for goodparts, favourable contracts, and positive reviews,she writes, “I truly believe you learnmore from failure than you do from suc-ending struggles to get into a character especiallyinteresting. But the one thing shehas never had to struggle for is appreciationfrom audiences. In fact, her main battlesseems to be with herself.Lupone’s initial big-time success camewith the premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’sEvita. But after premiering Webber’sSunset Boulevardwas dumped from the Broadway opening infavour of Glenn Close. Lupone was devastat-with Webber as the duplicitous villain. Buther career thrived with hit shows like LesMisérables, Sweeny Todd, and, most recently,Gypsy. Along the way there were smallbut special shows like her now-legendarySaturday midnight cabaret at a New Yorknightclub called Les Mouches while she wasdoing EvitaWebber gets top billing on her list ofdespised colleagues, but there’s also BillSmitrovich, her co-star on a tv show she appearedin for four years, Life Goes On, andThe Baker’sWife. Her list of those she loves is muchlonger. It includes fellow Juilliard studentand former boyfriend Kevin Kline, frequentco-star Patinkin, playwright David Mamet,teacher John Houseman, director ArthurLaurents, who wrote the book for Gypsyand directed her in it, and her husband MattJohnston, who sounds like a remarkably balanced,supportive guy.Lupone can sound either self-deprecatingsentence. But what always saves her here isevery experience, good or bad. That’s oneof the many delights of this revealing andthoroughly enjoyable memoir. Conversationalin style, it reads like an extended interview.In fact, Lupone has recorded it for anaudio CD. I haven’t heard it, but I imagine itwith Lupone’s spoken voice.Evita is completing its run at the StratfordFestival with final performances onNovember 1, 2, 4, and 5 at 2:00pm, andNovember 6 at 8:00pm.Pamela Margles can be contacted by emailat thewholenote.comNovember 1 - December 7, 2010

CD Editor’s CornerDAVID OLDSI’d like to begin this month by welcomingtwo new reviewers to theWholeNote family. Singer/songwriterBill MacLean is no stranger to reviewingin his capacity as Entertainment Editorwith the Beach Metro News, and youcan read his take on Adi Braun’s maidenvoyage into singer/songwriter territoryin our Pot Pourri section. Sharna Searleis a pianist with a Music History degreewhose subsequent Law studies and call tothe bar in both British Columbia and-ATMA recording debut in concertos ofEarly,Classical and Beyond.My own choice recordingthis month is anotherdisc of piano concertos onthe ATMA label, featuringJanina Fialkowska. Lastmonth’s review of Fialkow-Sonatas and Impromp-these were new recordingspostdating her recoveryfrom the cancer whichChopin’s bicentennial of recordings madewith the devastating illness. Fialkowska’soutstanding Chopin performances withTafelmusik last month are testament tothe fact that she has indeed overcome hercancer and that her exceptional abilitiesremain intact, as is the recording of bothChopin Piano Concertos with the VancouverSymphony Orchestra under the directionof Bramwell Tovey (ACD2 2643).élan to these performances which literallyjumps out of the speakers. The warmthand depth of sound capture the music inall its grace and grandeur and none ofthe nuance is lost. Fialkowska and Toveyare both in their element here and togetherthey bring out the best in the membersof Canada’s third largest orchestra, muchto the delight of the enthusiastic audience.In fact the audience is so enraptured ofthe performance that even listening on myfull frequency range headphones I was notaware of their presence until they burstinto applause. With this latest releaseATMA is proving itself a truly trans-Canadianlabel and with the sheer number andlabel of international importance.There are a number of other discs Iwould have liked to tell you about thismonth, but they will have to wait untilDecember. After lamentingthe demise ofthe “record store as weleaguesI was taken totask by reviewer JanosGardonyi who chastisedme for not embracingthe brave new worldof the Internet and thewealth of retail possibilitiesto be found there.I subsequently invitedhim to write the following guest editorial,a layman’s guide to shopping on theWorld Wide Web.We welcome your feedback and invitesubmissions. CDs and comments shouldalso encourage you to visit our website,, where you canto performers, composers and recordand additional, expanded and archivalreviews.David OldsDISCoveries Editordiscoveries@thewholenote.comThe DigitalRevolution:New Optionsfor the RecordBuyerJANOS GARDONYIclassical recordings in stores in recent yearsprompted me to write this article. In the fewremaining retail outlets with their dwindlingsupplies there is hardly any stock other thanthe latest issues which are not necessarily thebest. If you are looking for something fromthe past, highly rated in the Penguin Guide,you’ll encounter blank stares and perhaps awaiting period of nine weeks and top pricesfor special orders. Fortunately, there arenow a number of alternatives for the savvyshopper. ONLINE SHOPPING: Biggest and bestof these is the giant of Seattle,Washington and its Canadian Amazon started in 1994 asan online bookstore but soon expanded intoCDs, DVDs, MP3 downloads, software,video games, electronics and what have you.They have an amazing catalogue of new andused classical CDs and DVDs. Anythingsite’s simple search function which will provideyou all the different issues for the pieceyou want. As Amazon is a large blanket formany sellers all over the world, called theMarketplace, the prices are very competitiveand the item will arrive within two weeks orso in perfect condition. Although shipping isextra, there are no taxes and generally you’llpay less, not to mention the satisfaction ofAnother alternative is Ebay which operateson the same principle except it is anauction site. Here you can submit a low bidCanada’s best classical & jazz onlinegrigorian.comNovember 1 - December 7, 2010 61

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