7 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 3 - November 2010

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  • November
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that currently standsat

that currently standsat four volumes.I must admitBagdasarjanz, nownew name to me, butgiven the standardof her playing onthese two fascinatingunderstand why. features works byBach, Nardini, Mozartand Bartok, recordedbetween1960 and 1969,and demonstratesnot only Bagdasarjanz’sperformance range but also the consistentelements in her playing: a big, warmnot wide) vibrato which is always used intelligentlyand sensitively; and a sophisticatedsense of phrasing. The Bach A minor solosense of line and some remarkably tight triple-stoppingin the Fuga. The big tone isevident in the Nardini D major sonata, theFirst Rhapsody. The piano sound is slightlyfuzzy in the Nardini, but otherwise thetransfers are excellent. CDs, however, is Volume Two, which featuresthe complete works for violin andonly 4 years after the composer’s death, thethree sonatas feature Schoeck’s daughterGisela as the accompanist in performancesthat The Strad magazine rightly called “soauthoritative… that it is impossible to im-part of the standard repertoire and are rarelyperformed these days, which is a real shame;early 1900s, are strongly personal worksreminiscent of Brahms and Franck. Again,the re-mastered sound is excellent. and recordings of her have always beentold to get these CDs; if you don’t know herdisappointed!—Terry RobbinsNew Bilder - Music of James HarleyNew Music Concerts; Robert AitkenCentrediscs CMCCD 16010 -geredCD format isillustrated by the releaseof compilationssuch as this revealingin-depth lookinto the oeuvre ofCanadian composer grammeand biographic notes in the bookletallowing one-stop exploration of thecreator’s mind and life leading up to com-have the star performances of Toronto’s ven-brating40 years of dedication to new musicthis season NMC’s musicians consistentlypresent interpretations of a high level, andlive up to those standards of excellence. As astellar example, NMC co-founder and inter-brilliant performance of Harley’s early soloPortraitof virtuosity in the service of the composer’slyrical musical vision.While the spirit of the Second ViennaSchool is alive in the eloquent and elegantmusic of Harley’s composition NeueBilderis actually based on the music of an earlierAustrian composer. “Algorhythmic-an illustrious aria from Mozart’s opera TheMagic Flute, this work is a testament to themagical possibilities inherent in musicalmetamorphosis in its many forms. ley,who presently teaches Digital Music atthe University of Guelph, has a rare gift forand cello solos in EpanouiTyeeIt’s a gift I appreciate receiving, repeatedly.—Andrew TimarMarc-André Hamelin – ÉtudesMarc-André HamelinHyperion CDA67789MODERN & CONTEMPORARYUp to now, the Montreal-born Bostonbasedpianist Marc-André Hamelin has beenrightly regarded as something of a pianisticsupernova, a musician whose technicalprowess and innate musicality have gonehand in hand with his efforts at promotingpiano music by lesser-known composers.But with this new Hyperion recording,role, that akin to a19th-century “pian-CD is comprisedof original materi-year period, featuring12 Etudes in allthe minor keys, LittleNocturnepieces titled Con intimissimo sentimento, andTheme and Variations. works by other composers, along the linesof Godowsky’s re-creations of the 24 Étudesby ChopinpinÉtude Op.10 No.2, while the third is aclear adaptation of the famous Liszt-Paganiniétude La Campanellaa step further! These pieces are breathtakingmyself can only marvel at the brilliant techniquedisplayed here, which at the same timedemonstrates such subtle nuances of tone andcolour. The Little Nocturnevidesa languorous contrast to the pyrotechnicsof the études, while the pieces from Conintimissimo sentimento are quietly introspective,showing a wholly different side to Ham-than a handful of composers have written-Theme and Variations is a poetic and intimate love-song honouringFor anyone who is sceptical about “pian-evidence for the defence and a highly worthyaddition to the catalogue. We were alwaysaware of Mr. Hamelin’s supreme gifts at thekeyboard, but now he has now shown us anotherdimension of his talents.—Richard HaskellImprints – Music by Colin MackVarious ArtistsCanSona Arts Media CAM09001 ( retrospective discposerColin Mackin chamber music,songs and solo pianopieces. Mack has asensitively and idiomatically for instrumentsand voice, and creates arresting moments.Performances are distinguished throughout.The atonal Starry Night for piano is particularlysuccessful. Beautiful handling ofthe instrument’s resources seems to evokenot only stars but supernovas, constellations,and more mysterious astronomical phenom-64 thewholenote.comNovember 1 - December 7, 2010

contrasting sections, clearly delineated in theconvincing performance by Shoshana Telner.The modest Piano Trio: In MemoriamDimitri Shostakovichsettings of Gwendolyn MacEwen poemsin Shadow-Maker disappoint, despite theirmoving performance by soprano DoreenTaylor-Claxton. For example Dark Pines ismore than a nature poem. It turns an iconicCanadian image upside down, suggestinghidden depths, dark and dangerous. HereMack’s conventional tonal language feelstoo timid for MacEwen’s mystical depth andironic bite.But WinterseenWong, and Claudia Cashin-Mack, makes aphonewriting begins a transformation: fromwinter to spring. Jazz-accented gesturesmove us forward, then magical resonances ofostinato-based conclusion enacts the burstingforth of spring’s new life. I hope that thisdisc will bring to listeners’ notice a compos-—Roger KnoxLutosławski’s Last PerformanceFujiko Imajishi; Valdine Anderson; NewMusic Concerts; Witold LutosławskiNAXOS 8.572450The late Polishcomposer, Witold1994) enjoyed welldeserved recognitionand his musicwas regularly performedand recordedby the world’s greatestorchestras and instrumentalists. A newrontomusicians, the New Music ConcertsEnsemble, under the direction of the composerrecorded at a live concert in the Pre-The program opens with the Partita forcomplex textures are made transparent byboth the crisp ensemble and a well balancedrecording. The quiet and haunting InterludePartitaand an earlier concerted work for violin,Chain 2Imajishi provides a stunning performance.Soprano Valdine Anderson also shinesas she easily manages the nine delightfuland quirky songs comprising Chantefablesthe purity of a boy soprano to broad operaticproportions.Like Chain 2, Chain 1work on this disc, is an amusing piece full ofvitality and humour, somewhat reminiscentof Poulenc or even Stravinsky, executed toperfection by members of the group. months after this concert was recorded forbroadcast by the CBC and this Toronto performancewas his last conducting appearanceanywhere. The recording has plentyof atmosphere, taking the listener right intolyin 1998, it speaks well of founding direc--bring this valuable document to internationalattention.—Bruce SurteesFoxyJon IrabagonHot Cup 102 ( is a thrillingalbum. It madethe hairs stand up onmy neck, with accompanyingshivers.Despite listeningto jazz as a regularpastime, this reactionis not common.Saxophonist Jon Irabagon, who wonis clearly inspired by recordings of SonnyWay Out West? ),leads a powerful threesome through what’stitles merely indicate different approachestaken by his tenor horn to the standard16-bar form. It starts with a roar and chargesrelentlessly from there, backed by furiousdrum assaults courtesy of Barry Altschuland muscular bass from Peter Brendler. It’sa swaggering, avant-garde outing that doesn’trely on honks and squeals but could recallprovis all high energy, suggesting originsin hard bop, swing and the blues. Irabagon,who plays differently and delightfully outsidethis studio context, isn’t breaking newground save in solo magnitude, but he hascertainly created an astonishing tour de forcethat underscores the spontaneity that’s at theheart of jazz. It’s exhausting to hear but it’salso exhilarating. Experiencing it deservesan accompanying T-shirt!—Geoff ChapmanAdditional NotesMartin Küchen; Keith Rowe;Seymour WrightAnother Timbre at29( & IMPROVISEDAbout the furthest sonic distance that canbe imagined from a standard guitar and twosaxophones CD, this noteworthy session ismostly concerned with the matchless musicalpositionof unique and unexpected timbres.British guitaristpearsat the MusicGallery on November30 in the companyof two different,string-playingsound explorers, hasfor years been investigatingthe possibilities of the electrictable-top guitar prepared with add-ons andgizmos. What he does here with dual altosaxophonists Martin Küchen and SeymourWright is subvert the expected sound of hisan inchoate collection of broken chords,ratcheting strings and grinding friction, healternately supplements or showcases thesaxophonists’ tongue-stopped squeaks andshrills. Snatches of static-laden music or verbalphrases he serendipitously locates on anone improvisation into a constantly surprising,layered narrative, replete with concen-A climax of sorts occurs after threequartersof the journey, when a sudden burstof sampled pop-rock guitar excess is swift-intermittent, reverberating distortions. Thisis followed by watery multiphonic runs fromone reed player and a steady, unaccented lineeventually prod tightened saxophone breathsto expand into mouthpiece oscillations andspitethe title, there is no need for additionalmusical notes.—Ken WaxmanSixty Interpretations of Sixty Secondsof Sixty Solo ImprovisersVarious Artists; David SaitAssociation of Improvising Musicians ofToronto AP-04 ( Saitton/Torontoexperimentalguzhengingmusician andthe curator of thisalbum, has “sewntogether back-toback…sixty innovative, forward thinkingthem has provided a sixty second perform-alvoice.While one expects a conceptual and aestheticmusical framework around such a curatingjob, this unique CD has in addition afascinating numerological frame. The organisationalprincipal of the number sixtyis evident on several levels: sixty musiciansperforming for sixty seconds each, carefullycompiled and arranged into ten tracks comprisedof ten suites of six musicians.Moreover the resulting journey isNovember 1 - December 7, 2010 65

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