7 years ago

Volume 17 Issue 7 - April 2012

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Chorus
  • Singers
  • Choir
  • Vocal
  • Musical

“I think that is a

“I think that is a brilliantToy Piano Composers.quote” says Petrowska Quilico.“Christopher and I have met manytimes during the year and beganwith a first rehearsal in September.It was a revelation for the dancersto perform with live music. Theyhad previously been using myCentrediscs CD of the completeRivers. I felt an unbelievableelectricity while playing. AlthoughI couldn’t really watch the dancersI felt the vibrations of their movementsor their stillness. This is realchamber music, intimate, structured yet spontaneous in a mutualgive and take. The dancers take their cue from my music and tempoand I adjust the music and tempo to their movements.”Southam’s music, she says, is what makes it all possible. “I believethat this is her masterpiece, written in her prime and showingher mastery of fast and slow music. I love performing these piecesmore than any other of her works. I never tire of the changing patternsand the spontaneous and improvisatory mood of the music.”House and Petrowska Quilico collaborated on the choice of musicstructuring it so there is an ebb and flow. Rivers will play as anhour long piece “with swirling fast sections and reflective intimateand introspective segments” Petrowska Quilico says. “I can’t wait toperform with the dancers.”As mentioned, Rivers will play at the Fleck Dance Theatre,Harbourfront, April 25–28.See the listings for details.By comparison, Eve Egoyan’s evening of Ann Southam this monthwill be a very intimate affair, with all eyes on the piano, and in avenue entirely befitting the piece. Of Egoyan’s earlier performanceof Simple Lines of Enquiry in November 2009, reviewer StanleyFefferman wrote, for, “being in the concertUnheard OfMemoirs of aCanadianComposerJohnBeckwith.95 Paper • 408 pp.74 b/w photos, 8 music examples978-1-55458-358-4Life Writing seriesIn this fascinating personal and professional odyssey,John Beckwith delivers rich cultural history, openinga wide window on Canadian musical and educationalinstitutions of the mid-to-late twentieth century. Thebook’s wryly modest title reflects its author’s gentle wit,but don’t be misled: Unheard Of chronicles a life of highprofessional visibility and intellectual engagement.– Carol J. Oja, Department of Music,Harvard UniversityWILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY | 1-866-836-5551 | www.wlupress.wlu.cahall while Eve Egoyan plays the12 movements of Ann Southam’sSimple Lines of Enquiry for solopiano is like being in an art gallerywhere 12 abstract canvases hang onwhite walls. Just as the experienceof visual art occurs in a silentgallery, so these sound paintingsgenerate an atmosphere of silence.This results in a kind of melting ofthe affections, as if Ms. Egoyan’sconcentrated discipline developsa musical posture that enables asense of fluidity to flow towardsrelaxation and the possibility of bliss.”Fitting, then, that this performance should actually be in a gallery,with paintings on the walls. Gallery 345 continues to develop as amusical venue, attracting an eclectic range of performers with itsintimacy and (literal as well as metaphoric) lack of veneer. Great,too, that the event is a benefit for MusicWorks magazine, a trueoriginal and one of the best little magazines around.Speaking of intimate events, I’ll be holding my breath that theToronto Public Library labour dispute resolves itself speedily (andsatisfactorily), because the Toronto Reference Library is gettingset to host the second annual New Music 101 — four consecutiveMonday evenings, in the Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium, commencingApril 23. The series, devised and curated cooperatively by theToronto New Music Alliance, was hosted last year by music journalistJohn Terauds, formerly a Torstar standout, and now, amongother things, the host of one of the better (and busier) musical blogsaround — “The only reason I’m not back thisyear is that I’d committed myself to teaching on Monday eveningsbefore they asked me to return for this year’s series” Teraudsexplained. “I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s series. It ended up providinga cross section of new music genres and performance styleswhile also providing people with an intimate setting in which tointeract with the artists.” (This year’s host will be another Torontojournalistic standout, Robert Everett-Green.)Format this year will be the same as last year: the events runfor one hour, with two new music presenters sharing the time. Ashort work, or work in progress, is introduced and performed, withtime for discussion afterwards. April 23, for example, New MusicConcerts will reprise a commissioned work for two accordions,performed by Joe Macerollo and Ina Henning, from their openingconcert of the season. And the Array Ensemble will serve up selectionsstill being rehearsed, for an upcoming concert (in partnershipwith Toy Piano Composers), April 28 at the Music Gallery.“This [approach] is, in my opinion, the best way to break downmany of the inhibitions people have about sampling new music,”Terauds says. Best of all, because the Library itself does the outreachto its members, the series reaches a genuinely new audience.So, as I say, I’m holding my breath that the current ugliness ofcity hall politics doesn’t cut off at the knees a truly hopeful initiative.Getting back to the aforementioned Array/Toy Piano Composerconcert at the Music Gallery April 28, Toy Piano Composers maysound like a flippant name, but the collective’s intentions, whileinfused with light-heartedness, are certainly not flip. Formed byMonica Pearce and Chris Thornborrow in July 2008, TPC is nowa a ten-composer group, has presented 12 concerts and 85 newworks, and has collaborated with TorQ Percussion Quartet, junctQínkeyboard collective, and the Sneak Peek Orchestra to name a few.Co-Founder Thornborrow had this to say about the upcoming MusicGallery event. “We are honoured to be collaborating with the ArrayChamber Ensemble. They have been dedicated to the performanceof new music for 40 years and it’s very exciting for us to be writingfor an ensemble that has been so inspirational with their daringconcerts and composers’ workshops. I think the audience is in forquite a memorable evening.”David Perlman can be reached at April 1 – May 7, 2012

Beat by Beat /Music TheatreA Capella Alchemyrobert wallaceFans of a capella singing are in for another treat. Following faston the heels of Obeah Opera, whose unabashed vocal prowessthrilled audiences and critics last month, another new play filledwith similarly skilful, unaccompanied singing opens this month(April 18) at Toronto’s Factory Theatre, courtesy of Artistic Fraud,the innovative Newfoundland company known for its large-scale,chorus-based work. Created by founding members Jillian Keiley,artistic director and director, and Robert Chafe, artistic associateand playwright, the company’sproduction of Oil and Wateropened in St. John’s last yearPHOTOS PAUL DALEYRobert Chafe and JillianKeiley. Artistic Fraudof Newfoundland’sOil and Water atFactory rave reviews; nowit is touring Canadaand Newfoundland tostanding ovations.Oil and Water,like Obeah Opera,unites disparatemusical traditionsin an original score(composed specificallyfor this production byAndrew Craig) that relies on an unlikely blend — Newfoundland folksongs and African-American gospel. More an underscore than songswithin scenes, the music augments the emotional impact of the scriptby Robert Chafe (2010 Governor General’s Award winner for drama)that uses a cast of ten to dramatize the true story of Lanier Phillips,the sole African-American survivor of the USS Truxton, a militaryship that sank off the shores of Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsulain 1942. “Often the cast stand in the shadows singing wordlesslyor humming, which is moving enough in itself,” critic Rob Ormsbywrites of the show. “But when we hear, for instance, ‘There is aBalm in Gilead,’ the power of the words and the longing for deliverancewith which they are conveyed are simply overwhelming.”Indeed, Oil and Water concerns much more than the wreck ofthe USS Truxton. Rather than merely document Phillips’ terrifyingexperience of the disaster, Chafe expands the narrative to depict themess-hand’s desperate efforts to send his daughter to an integratedschool in Boston two decades later. As well, he introduces Phillips’great grandmother’s live as a slave to counter-point the harsh existenceof the St. Lawrence mining families who rescued 46 of theTruxton’s crew. His aim, Chafe explains in an interview with CBCRadio, is to contrast the villagers’ acts of kindness with the racistattacks that Phillips and his family suffered throughout their lives inthe United States.Ironically, until the 1980s, many Newfoundlanders were reluctantto talk about the heroic deeds of the people of St. Lawrence onthe fateful night of the ship-wreck, if for one reason only: VioletPike, the woman charged to clean the oil from Phillips’ body afterhe was rescued, kept scrubbing needlessly at his skin becauseshe didn’t realize it was black. “For a long time the experienceApril 1 – May 7, 29

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