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Volume 17 Issue 8 - May 2012

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  • Choir
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Choral
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Beat by Beat | In With

Beat by Beat | In With the NewOut Like a LionDAVID PERLMANSometimes by may the new music season is starting to sputter abit. But not this year. Thanks in part to an astonishing numberof events at the two “Galleries” there’s no shortage of sonicsolace for adventurous ears. But even without Gallery 345 and theMusic Gallery, there is much on offer. The season it seems is goingout like a lion.Once again, music theatre columnist Robert Wallace, has scoopedme on a story with serious new music credentials, Coleman Lemieux& Compagnie’s From the House of Mirth which runs, with variousstart times, May 9 to 13. (Wallace’s treatment of the show startson page 15.) Of particular interest for this column are the RodneySharman/Alex Poch-Goldin score and libretto. My awarenessof composer Rodney Sharman’s work in the genre goes back tothe opera Elsewhereless, with Atom Egoyan in 1999. LibrettistPoch-Goldin comes to mind, most immediately, for his work withcomposer Omar Daniel in The Shadow, probably the most strikingfull-length work of Tapestry New Opera’s 2009 season. BothElsewhereless and The Shadow, in fact, are the product of partnershipsthat were struck in Tapestry’s unique composer/librettist laboratory— the “LibLab” as it is called — and came into being throughnumerous iterations over an extended period of time.It’s not surprising, therefore, to see another Tapestry alumna,composer Abigail Richardson, drafted for a recent “wordy” TorontoSymphony Orchestra commission. “The Hockey Sweater,” based onthe iconic Roch Carrier short story, will premiere Saturday April 12at the child-friendly hour of 1:30pm, with Carrier himself deliveringthe text. Richardson’s compositional ability to stick-handle music andtext is well earned. With librettist Marjorie Chan, she won a 2009Dora Award for outstanding new musical/opera for Sanctuary Song,inspired by the true story of an elderly elephant’s journey to freedom.While the show officially “premiered” at the 2008 Luminato festivalit too went through successive Tapestry-fostered stages of developmentafter Chan and Richardson first met at “LibLab” in 2003.COntinuum: Returning, for a moment, though, to ColemanLemieux: Laurence Lemieux’s name caught my eye a second timewhile working on this month’s column, in the context of yet anotherinteresting, musically significant show coming to the 918 BathurstCentre, which is rapidly coming into its own as an alternative venuefor ambitiously scaled productions. In the fall, 918 Bathurst hostedbcurrent’s production of Nicole Brooks’ Obeah Opera, profiled inthe November WholeNote. Now, from May 27 to May 29, it will behome to Continuum Contemporary Music’s “Contes pour enfantspas sages: 8 cautionary entertainments.” (Caution: The middle twoof the four performances are daytime school shows.) “Contes” isbilled as “wisdom and bewilderness from the animal kingdom: amulti-layered, multi-media setting of all eight fables of French poetJacques Prévert by Canadian composer Christopher Butterfield.” Notsurprisingly the British Columbia-born Butterfield has other operaticand multi-media fare under his composing belt. During 15 years asa performance artist in Toronto, he played in a rock band (Klo) andworked as a freelance composer and conductor.It is not surprising to see Lemieux involved in the project, either.For one thing she and Butterfield have collaborated extensively before.For another, the show’s combination of zany edginess and potentiallycumbersome large forces (Choir 21, Continuum Ensemble,tenor, soprano, light show) make it a perfect challenge for Lemieux’sdeftness at mise-en-scene. David Fallis, no mean musical traffic copeither, will conduct.While on the subject of Continuum, I should also point out thatat time of writing there are still two of the four “New Music 101”Monday evening events to go (May 7 and May 14) and Continuum is“at bat” during the May 7 event, along with Contact ContemporaryMusic. Jointlypresented by theToronto NewMusic Allianceand the TorontoReference Library,and hosted bywriter/critic RobertEverett-Green, thetwo music presentersbringing worksto each lecture/demonstration asoften as not bringslices of worksin progress. Sono guarantees,but attendees atthe May 7 eventmight just get asneak preview ofContinuum’s ambitious new work.Forty years of Foley at Gallery 345: composerDaniel Foley, at last year’s Labour DayIntersections event, Yonge-Dundas Square.Contact Contemporary Music also has a show this month, May 12at the Music Gallery, titled “Short Stories,” and billed as “anexploration of the symbiotic relationship between sound and vision,from narrative to abstract storytelling.” Expect some insight into thatone, too.And speaking of the Music Gallery, check our listings (or theirwebsite), for Saturday May 5, Monday May 7 and Tuesday May 15,all at 8pm, for three events, two of them with out-of-town partners,reflective of the Gallery’s mission and mandate.CHOral TO THE FOre: One of these years someone betterqualified than I will do a thesis on the subject of the role choirs andchoral music play in keeping a culture of contemporary classical andpost-classical composing alive. So in honour of The WholeNote’stenth annual choral Canary Pages, here’s a head-spinningly denselist (the “Begats” we call them round here) illustrative of thischoral/new symbiosis: May 5 at 7:30pm, Toronto Children’sChorus’ “Mystery and Mastery” includes works by Daley, Halleyand Patriquin; May 5 at 8pm, Da Capo Chamber Choir presents“Celebrating Home,” including works by Schafer, Chatman andother Canadian composers; May 5 at 2pm, King Edward Choirpresents “Feathers on the Page” the world premiere of a commissionby playwright/composer Leslie Arden; May 7 at 7:30pm, the ElmerIseler Singers’ “Get Music! Educational Outreach Concert” is largelybuilt on Canadian works; May 12 at 8pm, Bell’Arte Singers present“Communal: Ways of Being” including a newly commisioned workby Sirett; also May 12 at 8pm, Oriana Women’s Choir’s “Earth, Air& Water” includes works by Telfer, Smallman, Daley and WatsonHenderson and premiered works by Barron and Sawarna; May 13at 4pm, the Canadian Men’s Chorus’ “Out of the Depths: AnExploration of Sacred Music” offers Murray’s Book of Lamentations(a world premiere); May 16 at 7:30pm: Toronto Choral Societypresents “Civic Spirits,” song and story inspired by Toronto’s ghosttales including a Finley premiere and other new works; June 2 at7:30pm, Mississauga Children’s Choir’s “City Scapes” comprisesmusic exploring sounds and sights of modern cities including a newwork by M. Coghlan; June 2 at 8pm, Jubilate Singers “A World inCanada” is built on music by Canadian composers with various culturalinfluences, including Glick, Raminsh, Robinovitch and others.All that being said, I’ve not mentioned perhaps the nerviest newmusic choral offering of the lot, namely a performance in Waterloo,Saturday May 5 at 8pm, of Christine Duncan’s Element Choir. Theensemble sometimes consists of 75 singers or more, augmentedby percussion, bass, trumpet and organ. For those who think that“choral” and “improvisational” go together about as well as a fishand a bicycle, this is a performance not to be missed. “With theseextraordinary sonic resources in these capable hands, the ElementChoir promises to be a spectacular experience, a joyful celebrationof the human voice in creative music” says NUMUS’ own blurbSN BIANCA24 thewholenote.com May 1 – June 7, 2012

about the event. And they’re probably right.GALLERY 345: last, I want to return to a topicI started the “regular” season with: kudos toGallery 345 at 345 Sorauren. Between FridayMay 4 and Sunday June 3, I count no fewer thanten events (May 4, 9, 11, 13, 22, 24, 25 and 26,and June 1 and 3), that are likely to be of interestto readers of this column.Again, check our listings for details, or scrollthe Gallery 345 website. It’s very functional.You will find yourself viewing in microcosm theastonishing range of performances and eventsthat keep the new music scene ticking along. Iwill single out only one, because it exemplifiesthe aspect of community that places likeGallery 345 serve to foster: Sunday June 3, at8pm, in celebration of composer Daniel Foley’s60th birthday, Gallery 345 presents “40 Years ofFoley” featuring chamber works by Daniel Foley composed over thepast four decades, in celebration of his 60th birthday, and performedby the likes of Robert Aitken and Dianne Aitken, flutes; ScottGood, trombone; Joseph Petric, accordion; Trio Poulet (violin, cello,piano); Tiina Kiik, accordion; Richard Herriott, piano; and others.The event is free.David Perlman can be reached at publisher@thewholenote.com.Open Ears, in collaboration withthe Wilfrid Laurier University andthe rare Charitable Research Reserve,PRESENTSBeat by Beat | Jazz NotesA Tale ofThree Citiesjim gALLowayor WHERE the DICkENS Am I?Since last month I have been in three cities, New Orleans,London and Vienna. Of the three, New Orleans is the leastrepresentative of the country where it is located. London isunmistakably British, Vienna with the Danube and echoes of theHapsburg Empire is as Austrian as Wiener Schnitzel. But N.O. or“The Big Easy” is unique among American cities with its backgroundof European, African and Caribbean influences and is far from one’simage of a typical American city.In case you are not familiar with its history, the territory ofLouisiana was claimed for the French in the 1690s. In 1718 the cityof New Orleans was founded and in 1803 Napoleon sold Louisianato the United States, (828,000 square miles for less than three centsper acre!).The most famous street is Bourbon Street, the focal point of nightlifein the French Quarter. Once a hub of New Orleans jazz withbands playing in clubs and bars along the length of the street, thetide of progress has washed that away, with the exception of a fewplaces, making way for souvenir shops, clubs, bars and strip joints.There is still some jazz but you have to seek it out.I have to mention Fritzel’s which lays claim to being New Orleans’ENVIRONMENTALRHYTHMSA WEEKEND OF PERCUSSIVE SOUNDSOF & IN THE ENVIRONMENTFriday May 11The Turret, Wilfrid Laurier University75 University Ave. W, Waterloo8 pm/Jesse Stewart & FriendsSaturday May 12rare Charitable Research Reserve1679 Blair Road, Cambridge1 pm/Talk by Morris Palter followed byInuksuit by John Luther Adamsfor a very large group of percussionistsMaureen Forrester HallWilfrid Laurier University75 University Ave. W, Waterloo8 pm/Natural ResourcesBuy all three and save!/OUR SPONSORSTHE KITCHENER AND WATERLOOCOMMUNITY FOUNDATION· Community Fund· Musagetes FundMay 11 & 12, Waterloo RegionEmergents IIIfeaturing Daniel Morphy & Diego EspinosaA percussion double headerMay 5 | 8pm | /Miles Perkin Triofeaturing Benoit Delbecq & Tom ArthursPart of the Jazz Avant SeriesExpat Canadian bassist returns to TorontoMay 15 | 8pm | / adv Ticketweb.caListen to and watch Radio Music Galleryon Studiofeed.comSt George the Martyr Church • 197 John St. • Toronto416-204-1080 • www.musicgallery.orgMay 1 – June 7, 2012thewholenote.com 25

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