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Volume 19 Issue 5 - February 2014

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Violin
  • Bloor
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Concerto

Ladom. Their tight

Ladom. Their tight chamber sensibilities arewell-suited to the Piazzolla cover Fugata.The rousing Pyanić composition The FlyingBalkan Dance is a short yet toe-tappingBalkan selection which features each memberin a lead role and a satisfying mournful, slow,brief cello solo in the middle. Hamidi’s Gorizutilizes his Persian roots especially in thedriving rhythmic sections. In contrast hisNoor (meaning “light” in Farsi) is an exceptionaltrack in that the performers seemto remove their more “classical” performancesensibilities to create a more spontaneous-soundingslower soundscape endingwith Hamidi’s perfect, subtle piano tinkling.Here’s hoping the group will explore more ofthis aspect.Production values are high with thelive quality captured adding an additionallistening dimension. Thanks, too, for notremoving the clicks from register/switchchanges on the accordion! Ladom Ensembleis a great group performing great music in anew world music direction.Tiina KiikConcert Note: Ladom performs a matinéeconcert at Hugh’s Room on Sunday February 16.Old Wine, New Bottles | Fine Old Recordings Re-ReleasedBRUCE SURTEESNot so many years ago in real time, SirAdrian Boult was a name known toconcertgoers and record buyers andthose who were up on the music scene. Todayhis name is almost unfamiliar, althoughhis recorded performances are still highlythought of (by those who think of them atall) and even HMV, the company for whomhe recorded exclusively during the 1930sand well into the post-World War II era is nomore. The decline and fall of The GramophoneCompany, once the greatest recordingcompany in the world, the company thatowned HMV, Angel, Columbia, Parlophone,Capitol, et al, is a cautionary tale but not anuncommon one. Adrian Boult was born inthe north of England in 1889 to a well-to-dofamily who supported him in his interest inmusic. As a youth studying in London, heattended concerts between 1901 and 1908where he heard such luminaries as Debussy,the already famous Richard Strauss, HenryJ. Wood and Arthur Nikisch among manyothers. Still a schoolboy, he met Edward Elgarwith whom he enjoyed a lifelong friendshipand whom he would later champion.Attending the Leipzig Conservatory in 1912and 1913 he was indelibly impressed by theprecision of Nikisch’s conducting technique,although not by his interpretations. Boult’sfirst professional public concert was onFebruary 27, 1914 with members of theLiverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Eclectichardly describes the program… works byBach, Mozart, Schumann, Wagner, HugoWolf and George Butterworth plus, foran abundance of riches and likely thestar attraction, Mrs. Hamilton Harty, thedeservedly acclaimed soprano Agnes Nicholls,who sang arias by Mozart and Verdi.Boult’s repertoire was vast but he wasregarded by many as merely a Britishconductor of British music.A new CD from ICA Classics contains twopreviously unissued performances, a liveElgar Second Symphony from the RoyalAlbert Hall on July 24,1977 and a BBC studiorecording of the Overture and VenusbergMusic from Tannhäuser, both with theBBC Symphony plus the BBC Chorus in theTannhäuser (ICAC 5106). By 1977, Boult hadrecorded the Elgar five times,beginning in 1944, and this wasto be his last performance. Thisis no fading reading of a scorethat he knew so well. The tempiare alert and vital, often moretelling than in the recordings. Theorchestra, his orchestra from 1930to 1950, plays their hearts out forhim. With all this in mind, listeningnow is quite an experience. TheTannhäuser music is essentiallya live performance given inthe BBC’s Maida Vale Studio 1 onDecember 8, 1968. It is an intense,reverent reading befitting the noblesubject matter and the antithesis ofthe pomposity favoured by some. Youmay not be aware of this until youdon’t hear it. The Venusberg ladiesare warmly enticing. Arguably,these may be the best versionsaround of both works. Excellentsound throughout.Curiously, the late piano superstar,Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997) played only two of theBeethoven piano concertos, the Firstand the Third. Both worksreceive splendid performances,recorded live, on Volume 22 ofDoremi’s ongoing treasury ofRichter Archives (DHR-8022/3,2 CDs). The First Concerto comesfrom 1963 with Kurt Sanderlingconducting the Leipzig GewandhausOrchestra and from 1973 Rudolf Barshai andthe Moscow Chamber Orchestra supportRichter in the Third Concerto. Both find thepianist in remarkable shape delivering superbrealizations of the two works. He is magnificentin the lyrical segments and dazzling inthe faster passages. Altogether this is highvoltage musicmaking with both conductorsin tune with the soloist’s buoyant interpretations.This all-Beethoven set includes theDiabelli Variations, the Sonata No.28 andtwo Rondos, Op.51 all recorded at a recital onJuly 3, 1986 in Heide, Germany. Richter is infine form with an unusually cohesive Diabelli.The other piano giant from the Sovietbloc of the era was Emil Gilels(1916-1985). Volume 10 (DHR-8000) of the ongoing Doremiseries contains live performancesof Brahms and Mozart.Brahms’ Second Piano Concertowas performed in 1972 withKondrashin and the MoscowPhilharmonic, four months aheadof the well-known recording withEugen Jochum. I find that the chemistrybetween soloist, conductorand orchestra works far betterunder Kondrashin than it doeswith Jochum. Gilels’ approachis similar but the MoscowPhilharmonic partnership bringsmore sizzle and support. Splendid monosound. The two short Mozart gemsare the Rondo K382 with NeemeJärvi and the Leningrad PO (1968)and the solo Gluck VariationsK455 (Salzburg 1970). All performancesare new to CD.It is always a pleasure to findanother Isaac Stern recordingfrom his early years in the late1940s and 50s. At that time hisartistry and individual sonoritymade him an ideal performer ofthe classics, the romantic and thecontemporary. He always hadsomething special to say. He wasperfect in every detail, the spontaneousaspect of his musicmaking wasengaging, convincing and sweeping. One hasto remember that Stern was rising to fameand influence at the time the violin world wasovershadowed by Heifetz and Oistrakh, buthearing Stern was a special experience forme. He was the classical model of perfectionas a soloist and a chamber musician (checkout his Casals Festivals recordings). Examplesof these qualities may be heard on an AuditeCD (95.624) which has two live performancesfrom the Lucerne Festival that I havebeen playing repeatedly since it arrived. TheTchaikovsky Concerto is conducted by LorinMaazel (1958) and the Bartók No.2 by ErnestAnsermet (1956). These are performancesto treasure.62 | February 1, 2014 - March 7, 2014 thewholenote.com

SEASON PRESENTING SPONSORFEBRUARY CONCERTSGet great seats now!YEFIM BRONFMANTHOMAS DAUSGAARDKENT NAGANOOrchestre symphoniquede MontréalWED, FEBRUARY 12 AT 8:00pmKent Nagano, conductorMahler: Symphony No. 7Beethoven Violin ConcertoWED, FEBRUARY 19 AT 8:00pmTHU, FEBRUARY 20 AT 8:00pmFRI, FEBRUARY 21 AT 7:30pmThomas Dausgaard, conductor (FEB 19 & 20)Rob Kapilow, conductor & host (FEB 21)Jonathan Crow, violinBeethoven: Violin ConcertoNielsen: Symphony No. 3 “Sinfoniaespansiva” (FEB 19 & 20)Bronfman Plays BeethovenWED, FEBRUARY 26 AT 6:30pmPeter Oundjian, conductorYefim Bronfman, pianoTom Allen, hostBeethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4Informative pre-concert chats in the lobby on Feb 12 & 20.TICKETS START AT ROY THOMSON HALLTSO.CA416.593.4828OFFICIAL AIRLINE

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