8 years ago

Volume 18 Issue 1 - September 2012

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  • September
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to intermingle. The

to intermingle. The delighted group director Siddall acknowledged,“It is different from anything we have ever performed ... For me, it’slike nature, like a walk in the forest, where there is randomness but asense of organization as well.”The following morning, the music critic Ronald Hambleton of theToronto Star was intrigued, if less delighted, writing in an ironic tone,“They used to praise the poet Coleridge, who could bore his friendsby talking non-stop for hours, for his occasional ‘brilliant flashes ofsilence.’ But John Cage, the innovative75-year old American composer,has a gift for prolonged silencesbroken by a few brilliant flashes ofmusical sound. He stretched thatgift to a full 25 minutes of what hecalled ‘events’ in the eight parts ofhis Haikai ... ”From today’s vantage point, whatdo we make of the legacy of this26 year old work? For one thing, itmarks a rare moment when theEvergreen Club ContemporaryGamelan’s Gamelan Degungat Glenn Gould modernist John Cage connected with a new/world music group,one of his few works dedicated to Canadian performers. For another,Haikai turns out to be Cage’s only composition for gamelan. Radios,turntables, electronics, conches, cacti and paper aside, in much ofhis extensive oeuvre Cage primarily composed for Western musicalinstruments and ensembles. In Haikai, however, he made a significantexception, expressly scoring for an Indonesian gamelan degung.The work stands up as an effective work for the gamelan instrumentsit was written for as well as accurately reflecting core mature Cageianphilosophical notions.As for the Evergreen Club (called the Evergreen Club ContemporaryGamelan since 2000), it has not forgotten Haikai, Cage’s gift. This season,ECCG is celebrating not only its unique connection to John Cageon his 100th, but also surviving 30 years ourselves! ECCG is programmingthree concerts of works later this season, featuring works byCage, Harrison, Tenney and Canadians including Gordon Monahan, tobe performed by the emerging Toronto-based percussion ensembleTorQ along with ECCG’s gamelan.Ashkenaz: Speaking of 30th anniversaries, mazel tov to Finjan, theWinnipeg klezmer revival pioneers! The well-known band plays in theAshkenaz Festival, Harbourfront Centre, Saturday September 1 at 8pmon the Westjet stage. Ashkenaz, in this year’s programming, focuseson the diversity of Jewish music, art and artists from around theworld, straddling the Labour Day weekend, a time which sparks atavisticfears of the end of summer! So visit Harbourfront and enjoy someof the best diasporic music this season before the summer fades altogetherinto a faint pleasant memory.I can only list a few highlights here, so I will focus on music newto me. September 1: Veretski Pass, a trio from California, offersCarpathian, Romanian, Polish and Ottoman styles, mixed with dancesfrom Moldavia and Bessarabia, Hutzul wedding music from Ruthenia,and Rebetic melodies from Smyrna, all woven together with originalcompositions; and Opa!, a hot post-Soviet “world music party band,”flavouring its vodka with klezmer, reggae, ska and funk, rocks outthe night. September 2: the eight-member group Shashmaqam performingclassical and folk music of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and theliturgical repertoire of the Bukharan Jews; Abayudaya, representingthe musical traditions of Uganda’s Jewish community; and IsraeliShye Ben Tzur whose music is pithily billed as “East Indian JewishQawwali.” The festival wraps on Monday September 3 with a performanceby Mexico City’s Klezmerson, interpreting Jewish klezmer musicfrom its Mexican viewpoint. Please visit The WholeNote listings andthe Ashkenaz Festival’s own well-appointed website for details.Two more: Moving on, Sunday September 9, the Music Galleryhosts a concert called Afro-European Soundscapes, featuring WernerPuntigam, Matchume Zango, Evelyn Mukwedeya and Memory Makuri.The latter two Zimbabwean musicians have performed with the starsThomas Mapfumo, Stella Chiweshe, and many regional bands. Partof the Music Gallery’s New World Series, this concert is co-presentedwith Toronto’s Batuki Music Society. It is billed as “an interactiveencounter between South and East African inspirations, Europeantonalities and electronic transformations accompanied by visualcommentary.”On Saturday September 22, the Brotherhood Concert Series presentstwo choruses, the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus (Detroit), andthe Hoosli Ukrainian Male Chorus (Winnipeg) at the Ryerson Theatre.These Ukrainian male choruses, North America’s finest, have as an integralpart of their sound an orchestra of banduras, the zither-lute whichis often called “the voice of Ukraine.”Small World Music: We havebecome so used to Small WorldMusic’s Fall Festival ushering inthe new season with an ambitiousarray of global talent that it is hardto believe this year marks the 11thiteration of the event. Consisting often concerts in six different venues,the 2012 Fall Festival launchesSeptember 20 at Lula Lounge withtwo groups: The Battle of Santiagomashes Afro-Cuban rhythms, rock guitar, dub bass and a sax and fluteduo into what they call Afro-Cuban Post-Rock; and dance-party bandRambunctious, whose lineup is described as “Nine horns + one drummer= dance party” follows. Be prepared to dance!The next day Fanfare Ciocarlia, a 12-piece Roma brass band takesThe Hoxton stage. Beginning as a Romanian wedding band theyhave played over 1000 concerts in 50 countries, featuring an audience-winningformula of high velocity, high energy precision playing,enhanced by close miking and intense PA volumes, and wild virtuosicsolos. Toronto’s Lemon Bucket Orkestra, our own “Balkan KlezmerGypsy Party-Punk Super Band” opens.September 22, Small World presents a daylong free “festival withinthe festival” at Dundas Square. Just a few of the acts: Jayme Stone,Bageshree Vaze, Aline Morales, Kendra Ray, Maracatu Mar Aberto,Lemon Bucket Orkestra and The Battle of Santiago.September 23, the venue is the more intimate Glenn Gould Studiowith a concert featuring Toronto’s Azalea Ray, only student of ghazalmaestro Fareeda Khanum. Armed with North Indian classical vocaltraining, she performs in several Hindustani music genres. But it is herrenditions of poetry-rich ghazal songs in her trademark rich alto thatI am most looking forward to.September 25 at the Lula Lounge the Lisbon quartet Deolinda deliversPortuguese fado music with a contemporary twist. They neitherwear all black, use a Portuguese guitar, nor indulge exclusively in theuntranslatable core ethos of “saudade.” In fact their often humorousand socially challenging songs and performances have been radicallydescribed as “happy.” There’s a concept!Space permits even less detail on the rest: September 26, still atLula, Toronto’s Jorge Miguel Flamenco Ensemble offers “SpanishFlamenco guitar with a Canadian accent.” The following day theyoung cimbalom soloist Yura Rafaliuk performs Ukrainian folk music,along with the ubiquitous Lemon Bucket Orkestra. Javier Estrada,among Mexico’s most in-demand electronic dance music producers,brings his “pre-Hispanic dubstep” to the Wrong Bar on September 27.Toronto-based Vesal Ensemble showcases their repertoire of Persianclassical as well as Kurdish, Lori and Azeri ethnic music at the GlennGould Studio on September 28. And September 30 at the Lula Loungethe Small World Festival closes with rousing party music provided byToronto’s practitioners of two Northeastern Brazilian song and dancegenres: community group Maracatu Mar Aberto offers maracatu, apowerful living tradition of drum, shaker and bell rhythm laced witha through-line of song; and Maria Bonita & the Band perform forró,with its mix of vocals, accordion, fiddle, guitar, flute and percussion.(I attended a party last night at which just a few members ofMaracatu Mar Aberto played. While a friend there told me theirpowerfully loud drum sounds immediately corrected his previouslyupset stomach, I believe my ears are still ringing.)Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer.He can be contacted at September 1 – October 7, 2012

Beat by Beat | Classical & BeyondFour PlaySHARNA SEARLESeptember is kind of an oddball month around here: the summerfestivals have wound down, for the most part, and the season ofregular concert series doesn’t really get under wayuntil October. So, what’s a classical music columnist towrite about this month? Plenty, actually: there are thoseexception-to-the-rule summer series and festivals totake us into the end of September (look for Colours ofMusic and SweetWater in our Beyond the GTA listings),and the gutsy presenters who are first out of the startinggate each year with season launches in September. See,nothing to worry about!September’s septet of quartets: You can’t talkabout quartets in Toronto without talking about MusicToronto. For 40 years, this venerable organization hasconsistently presented some of the most sublime, memorableand musically satisfying evenings of chambermusic, many of which have involved one major, or upand-coming,string quartet or another (in addition tooutstanding trios, duos and soloists). Here’s a nonexhaustivelist: Juilliard, Guarneri, Orford, St. Lawrence,Jerusalem, Kronos, Tokyo, Lafayette, Cecilia, Molinari,Bozzini, Brentano and Amadeus.The person who, with little fanfare, has beenshepherding Music Toronto since 1990 — first as general managerand since 2006 as both GM and artistic producer — is Jennifer Taylor.Roman Borys, artistic director of Ottawa Chamberfest, and cellist withthe Gryphon Trio (Music Toronto’s ensemble-in-residence from 1988to 2008), sings her praises during a June 12, 2012, video interviewhe did for The WholeNote’s Conversations@TheWholeNote YouTubevideo series: “Jennifer Taylor, Music Toronto, there’s an organizationand a particular individual ... one of the great foundations in chambermusic in this country ... who understands the genre, who understandsthe business of presenting music, presenting concerts, and who,luckily, also has great stamina!” Borys adds that Taylor gave theGryphon “wonderful opportunties to continue to develop our ownskills as chamber musicians and learn from one another.”For Music Toronto’s 41st season, Taylorhas assembled yet another superb lineup ofquartets, trios, pianists and other soloists,with concerts at the Jane Mallett Theatre — itsregular venue since its inception. Firstup of the quartets, on September 13, isthe Brentano, with a fascinating 20thanniversary program called “Fragments:Connecting Past and Present.” They havetaken six fragments by great composers fromthe past, and invited six living composersto respond to them. In their Music Torontoconcert you’ll hear “fragments” of Schubert,Bach, Haydn, Shostakovich and Mozartjuxtaposed with “completions” by BruceAdolphe, Sofia Gubaidulina, John Harbison,Stephen Hartke and Vijay Iyer, respectively.Also on the program is a work by CharlesWuorinen, based on the music of Josquinand Dufay, the earliest music in the“Fragments” project.(You can also hear — but only hear, not see — the Brentano Quartetin a film titled A Late Quartet. It’s one of several featured films onoffer at this year’s TIFF to “use music in interesting ways,” accordingMusic Toronto presents the BrentanoString Quartet at Jane Mallett.CHRISTIAN STEINERSeptember 1 – October 7, 2012 17

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