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Volume 17 Issue 9 - June 2012

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and Düsseldorf. It is a

and Düsseldorf. It is a schizophrenic “anticoncerto”for flute and chamber orchestraexpertly performed here by the SinfoniaFinlandia Jyväsklä, sympatheticallyled by fellow flutist turned conductorPatrick Gallois. This is an entertainingyet thought-provoking disc that repaysrepeated listening.—Daniel FoleyEditor’s Note: As a long standing friend of thecomposer, Canadian flutist Robert Aitkenwas invited to share the soloist’s role in thecreation of Kagel’s Das Konzert, alternatingthe first performances with Michael Faustand giving the Düsseldorf premiere. Aitkenwent on to give the world premiere performanceof the concert version of the work withEsprit Orchestra in Toronto in January 2004.Saariaho – Works for OrchestraVarious OrchestrasOndine ODE1113-2Q!!There must besomething in thewater in Helsinki.For a country ofjust over five millionpeople, Finlandseems to producea disproportionateamount of musicaltalents —instrumentalists, vocalists, conductorsand composers. Kaija Saariaho is nostranger to Toronto audiences: the COC producedthe hauntingly beautiful L’amour deloin this season, along with notable performancesby the TSO and Soundstreams.In a sparsely populated Nordic country,an artist feels connected to nature and light(or the lack thereof). Many of the works onthis compilation — Lichtbogen, Solar, Orion,Notes on Light —look to the cosmos, andSaariaho’s writing is starkly beautiful. Heruse of electronics is meticulously intertwinedand delicately masterful — undoubtedlythe result of her time at IRCAM in Paris,and the influence of spectralism pioneersTristan Murail and Gérard Grisey. But it isthe diptych Du cristal and …à la fumée thatconfirms this composer’s inimitability: asin a crystal, macroscopically the structureseems complete, but upon closer inspection,we see not only detail, but growth. Herpolymorphic textures progress like an etherealsublimation.Saariaho’s connection to the voice is mesmerizing:she integrates text into her orchestrationsin a strikingly unique way. Cinqreflets de “L’amour de loin” revisits the musicfrom the opera, but in her process, she hascreated a completely new work. Grammairedes rêves sets poems of French SurrealistPaul Éluard (not to be confused with herother great vocal work, From the Grammarof Dreams). The voice is treated as instrument,and the ensemble as voices in a texturethat rivals (and perhaps surpasses) the greatvocal works of Berio. Of all the fantasticsinging, I would be remiss not to mentionMirage, featuring the powerful lyric sopranoKarita Mattila, whose luminous soundis more often heard in the world’s leadingopera houses.For me, the highlight of the set is undoubtedlycellist Anssi Karttunen, wholends his acrobatic and nuanced virtuosityto four substantial works. But it is difficultto single out a star player on this Finnishpowerhouse team that includes conductorsEsa-Pekka Salonen (with the Los AngelesPhilharmonic), Jukka-Pekka Saraste (withthe Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra) andHannu Lintu (leading the superb Avanti!Chamber Orchestra).I could say that Saariaho’s orchestralwriting fuses the stark grandeur of compatriotSibelius, with the stratified textureof Stravinsky, with the slowness of processheard in Ligeti —but it would not do hermusic justice. Over 20 years of music on fourdiscs reveals a distinguished voice in contemporaryorchestral writing; I look forwardto hearing the next 20. And she is welcomeback to Toronto anytime.—Wallace HalladayJAZZ & IMPROVISEDEspresso Manifesto –The Songs of Paolo ConteDaniela NardiIndependent!!Paolo Conte is aniconic Italian singersongwriterwhosework epitomizes acertain style andera in European popculture. DanielaNardi is a Torontobasedsinger who,when searching for a way to pay musicalhomage to her Italian roots, landed on puttingtogether a collection of Conte’s songs.Covering work by a singer with such a strongmale presence as Conte —he’s a little like theLeonard Cohen of Italy —is a challenge for afemale singer and Nardi rises to that challengeby finding the universal themes oflonging and loss (and gelato!) in his songs.Also, Nardi travelled to Umbria to recordthe disc with a handful of Italian musicians,which lends an authentic feel. EspressoManifesto opens with the most well-knownof Conte’s tunes Via Con Me (Come Awaywith Me), a light-hearted plea about givingoneself over to adventure, then movesthrough a charming but sometimes darkexploration of life and love.Like the drink manifested here, Nardi’svoice is deep and earthy and singing inItalian brings out her expressiveness. Lyricsand liner notes explaining the songs for thenon-Italian speakers are not included withthe CD but available on you can read up on each song to understandwhat it’s all about or you can just letthe album wash over you like a seductiveMediterranean wave.—Cathy RichesAll the WaySusie ArioliSpectra Musique!!Susie Arioli andher partner guitaristJordan Officerhave put out anotherfine collection ofsongs true to theireasy swinging style.Although All TheWay opens sombrelywith a soulful, slowed down My FunnyValentine it ramps up a bit from there withan ironic, sax-laden Here’s to the Losers anda nod to Ol’ Blue Eyes with the title track andthen the subtle emotional roller-coaster continueswith the melancholic Forgetful andThere’s a Lull in My Life.Arioli has an understated delivery that’sa refreshing change from the showboatingsinging we hear so much of. Yet she stillconvincingly conveys the sentiment of thesong and leaves the listener able to focus onthe lyrics rather than on how awesome hervoice is, or whatever. With the majority ofthe songs from the 50s and 60s the record isimbued with a Mad Men-esque mood thatmakes All the Way the ideal soundtrack forthe end of a day filled with two-martinimeetings, a pack-and-a-half of smokes andbitter disappointment.—Cathy RichesOne SundayKen Aldcroft; William ParkerTrio Records and! ! The performancesof prolific Torontoimproviser/guitarist/composerKenAldcroft and NewYork City’s doublebass great WilliamParker here leave mespeechless. The twoimprovisers weave a sonic journey throughrhythm, colour, melody and ideas that justgets better with each listening.Both performers utilize their strong jazzroots to foray into spirited uncharted territories.Sweet Beverley, one of two 20 somethingminute offerings, is a doll of a piece. Itslaid back nature sets the mood for a musicalconversation on diverse topics. The phrasingis clear and subtle, allowing each intricateidea, whether long or short, to grasp one’sattention. There is a sound surprise around66 June 1 – July 7, 2012

every corner. Also outstanding is the shortertrack Zum Schneide, where Parker plays atrombonium [an instrument shaped like abaritone horn including its three valves, butwith the bore and tube length dimensions ofa tenor trombone]. The opening passage cleverlyrefers to a classical music fanfare, andthen abruptly changes course to slides, runsand garage band noise. It is a fine exampleof where free improvised music is headed.Parker also performs on shakuhachi on thisfive track release.For listeners unaccustomed to the moreatonal sense of free improvisation, the musichere might be a stretch to understand butworth the patience to experience. Aldcroftand Parker are brilliant masters of theirart form —one may not be able to whistlealong with the “tunes” but it is the collectivesounds of their “in the moment” music creationsthat resonate so impeccably.—Tiina KiikCut a CaperIg Henneman SextetWig!!Negotiating theboundary betweennoted and improvisedmusic, Europeand Canada, is theall-star sextet ofDutch violist IgHenneman whichcan be heard inconcert at the Music Gallery June 24. The tenlimpid pieces by Henneman which makeup this disc are interpreted by a drum-lessensemble whose particularized arrangementsand advanced technical requirementssuggest contemporary new music. But whenBerlin-based trumpeter Axel Dörner garglesaltissimo air through his horn or when theviolist lets loose with airborne spiccatosnatches, the formalism is left aside. As well,there may be canon-like voicing on Moot,but Charles Mingus-like echoes appearon Toe and Heel, while the title tune addsmarching band hops to other sound tropes.Part of this CD’s textural freedom mustbe ascribed to the alternately metronomichammering or sly soundboard stretchesfrom Toronto pianist Marilyn Lerner. Uppingthe CanCon quota is Montreal clarinet andbass clarinettist Lori Freedman, althoughpinpointing which bracing chalumeausnorts or altissimo split tone squeals arisefrom her horns rather than the clarinet ofAmsterdam’s Ab Baars, who also exposesliquid tenor saxophone runs and narrowedshakuhachi puffs, is nearly impossible.Fellow Netherlander Wilbert De Joode holdsthe disparate sections together with steelfingeredstring slaps that at points expandthe polyphony with braced sul tasto or collegno slides.Beside Cut a Caper, where Lerner’spercussive echoes could as easily fit a per-formance of Morton Feldman as Mingus,another stand-out track is Narration. Witha post-modern novel’s nonlinear form, thisnarration meanders among sections thathighlight glottal echoes from the trumpeter,StuARt BroomerWith A Meadow in December ( Toronto singerLara Solnicki has crafted an unusuallycompelling debut, avoiding all of theusual pitfalls. Solnicki isn’t an aggressiveimproviser —there’s no scatting here and shedoesn’t take great liberties with melodies.What she does do is focus on lyric, sound andrhythmic insinuation, investing 11jewels from the Great AmericanSongbook with her own personality.Her classical training is immediatelyevident and she has apoet’s ear for nuance. She’s fine atup-tempos, but it’s the ballads thatare most memorable, as Solnickitackles challenging fare like LazyAfternoon, creating a dream-likestate with subtle shifts in pitch,all aided by the haze of MichaelDavidson’s vibraphone and TedQuinlan’s guitar. The concludingSoftly as in a Morning Sunriseis almost as good —it may bethe first time I ever noticed thelyrics. Solnicki is aided throughoutby a stellar cast, includingPat LaBarbera, a tenor saxophonist ofgreat lyricism.Montreal-based saxophonistJoel Miller doesn’tover-record. After a flurryof CDs early in his career,Swim (Origin 82613) is just hissecond recording as leader since2004’s superb Mandala. It’s wellworth the wait, for Miller is anoutstanding tenor player, gracingthe modern mainstream with alight touch, fleetly evanescentlines, and a shimmering, metallicsound that can hint at StanGetz, John Coltrane or CharlesLloyd. That playing is stronglyforegrounded here, with Millerbacked by the sturdy rhythmteam of bassist Fraser Hollinsand drummer Greg Ritchie. Geoffrey Keezer,though, provides far more than solid support.He’s an explosive, virtuoso pianist —hissolos sometimes burst into two-handedinventions —who matches Miller’s playfulprecision at very fast tempos, as on the briefStep into My Office.Another Montreal reed player, JeanDerome is best known for more experiknife-sharpplucks from the violist, hornsharmonized until their tones splinter intotongue slaps or intense trilling plus the bassist’sassured pedal-point ostinato.—Ken Waxmanmental projects, but his explorations of jazztraditions are imbued with both passionand joy. Trio Derome Guilbeault Tanguay withbassist Normand Guilbeault and drummerPierre Tanguay is a stripped-down machinefor maximum propulsion. On Danse al’Anvers (Ambience Magnétiques AM 205 CD)they mix Derome originals witha series of tunes by iconic jazzfigures —among them DukeEllington and Roland Kirk.Derome is fluently brillianteverywhere here, whether he’splaying funky baritone saxophoneon his own Half-wayHouse, flying brilliantly onflute and alto respectively onEric Dolphy’s demanding 17 West andStraight Up and Down, or singingenthusiastically on BillyStrayhorn’s I’m Checkin’ Out,Goom-Bye. Veterans of thisminimalist format, Guilbeaultand Tanguay are forceful, inventivepresences, creatingwaves of energy as well as distinguishedsolos.Recently emerging on the vigorousLatin jazz scene in Toronto’sWest-end, Roland Hunter is aguitarist of taste and rhythmicacumen. On Toronteros ( he immediatelyinvokes the great JimHall, with whom he’s studied,showing something of thesame warm sound, harmonic insightand melodic reserve. It’s a spare stylethat dances readily over Latinrhythms. You catch the effectespecially in the truncatedphrases and use of harmonicson the title track, while Hunter’smelodic invention shines onWayne Shorter’s Infant Eyes.Pianist Ali Berkok is a consistentcomplement, soloing as wellwith aplomb, while bassist Paco Luviano,drummer Mario Allende and congueroJalidan Ruiz create a dense polyrhythmicfoundation. While it’s often a relief to heara CD that settles for the old 40-minute LPlength, Toronteros presses the virtue of brevity,coming in at a shade under 30 minutes.Guitarist Avi Granite, originally fromToronto, has been resident in New York sinceJune 1 – July 7, 67

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