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Volume 19 Issue 9 - June/July/August 2014

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  • Jazz
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Beat by Beat | Early

Beat by Beat | Early MusicEarly GetawaysDAVID PODGORSKIThe Canadian summer iswithout a doubt one of theworst seasons anywhere in theTom Beghinworld. Leaving aside the factthat it’s far too short, and waspreceded this year by one ofthe longest, coldest winters inliving memory, it’s still kindof hard to find things to do. Iappreciate that Canadians (atleast the ones in the Canadiancities where I’ve lived) take ita bit easier over the summermonths and let things likehaving a social life or spendingmore time with family takeprecedence over work, but thesame rule also applies to mostarts organizations in the GTA.They all wound down theirseasons in May, and while Iknow there are some exceptions to this rule, and I respect someone’sright to take vacations and take a couple months to prepare their nextseason, I’d like to suggest that a musical ensemble or theatre groupcould get a lot more subscribers if they let their artistic season stretchuntil June or start up again in August.Finding things to do over the summer may be a little less obviousthan in other months, but if you’re looking to catch some exceptionalconcerts to see, I have two words for you. Get out. Seriously.The very best concerts this summer are happening outside the city,and if you can escape Toronto for even a few days, you’ll be rewardedby some fabulous summer festivals and a chance to absorb someculture, as well as hear some great and unique music. Check out thelineup for the Montreal Baroque Festival, taking place in downtownMontreal for the weekend of June 19 to 22. Since its inaugural year in2003, Montreal Baroque has featured some of the finest musicians inthe world performing great works of music in interesting, challengingconcert programs. The festival used to have pride of place as thefirst festival of the summer (it starts every St. Jean Baptiste weekend)taking place in Montreal’s most notorious tourist trap, the historic OldPort. It has since moved over to McGill’s main campus on SherbrookeSt., but I expect it will be no less crowded this year. Montreal has athriving early music scene, and Montrealers come to this festival indroves. If you can make it up to Montreal for the weekend, this festivalis a must-see. Check out Tom Beghin’s performance of Beethoven’smonstrous Hammerklavier sonata on fortepiano (in the MMR Studioon Friday June 20 at 5pm and Sunday at 11am) and let me know whenyou can hear that in concert again. Catch David Monti and Gili Loftusplaying Beethoven’s “Spring” and “Kreutzer” sonatas (in Pollack HallSunday June 22 at 2pm): rare enough as a concert program, but almostnever heard on period instruments in North America. If you’re notinto Beethoven, consider two medieval concerts: Ensemble Alkeniaperforming the music of the 14th-century composer Johannes Ciconia(McGill main campus on Saturday June 21 at 11am) and EnsembleEya’s concert of troubadoursong (McGill main campuson Saturday June 21 at 9am).Add to that the always-solidLes Voix Humaines concertof music for three, four, fiveand six viols (Redpath Hallon Saturday June 21 at 4pm)and you can easily spendthe whole weekend in theconcert hall. This is an exceptionalfestival with some toptierartists playing musicthat you rarely get a chanceto hear in concert. I stronglyadvise anyone reading thiscolumn to consider clearingtheir calendar and vacationingin Montreal forthat weekend.Stratford Summer Music: If you prefer a day trip to Stratford overa road trip to Montreal, Stratford Summer Music has several concertweekends. If you find yourself there on either July 23 or 24, considera couple of concerts by the Folger Shakespearean Consort at 7pmthat will provide you with the soundtrack to Renaissance England.Songs by the Bard of Avon’s contemporaries, namely John Dowland,Tobias Hume and Thomas Morley, were hits very likely enjoyed byShakespeare himself. If Shakespeare was enough of an advocate forthe arts that he couldn’t trust a man who didn’t enjoy music, it wouldbe well worth the trouble to find what sort of music the playwrightliked to listen to.If you’re no fan of Renaissance music (or just don’t trustShakespeare as an arbiter of musical taste) Stratford Summer Musicis also bringing out Tafelmusik for some very fine chamber musicon August 22 and 23. Highlights from these programs include theBach “Wedding” and “Coffee” cantatas, a Vivaldi bassoon concerto,a Telemann sonata for winds and a Bach violin sonata. These bothlook to be solid concerts and between Tafelmusik and the FolgerShakespearean Consort, proof that going to Stratford doesn’t need tomean just going to see a play anymore.Music in the Garden and more: Being stuck in Toronto all summerdoesn’t mean you miss out on everything. If you’re unable to get outof the city, consider visiting the Toronto Music Garden, 479 Queen’sQuay W., a unique concert space by the waterfront that functionsas its own mini-escape from the tumult of the city. This summer,the Toronto Music Garden is presenting a program of early music byI FURIOSIBaroque EnsembleAll concerts in our 16th concert season at Calvin Presbyterian Church,26 Delisle Avenue, Toronto (one block north of St Clair Ave, west of Yonge St)28 | June 4, 2014 – Sept 7, 2014

some young up-and-coming musicians. On Sunday July 13 at 4pm,members of the New York-based period chamber ensemble Gretchen’sMuse will present Haydn’s String Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op.33 No.2(“The Joke”), and Beethoven’s Quartet in C Major, Op.59 No.3. AbigailKarr is the leader of this ensemble and she will be joined by VitaWallace on violin, Kyle Miller on viola and guest cellist Beiliang Zhu.Zhu also holds the singular honour of being the first person ever towin the Leipzig Bach Competition on a period instrument, so it willbe very interesting to hear her perform in a quartet. They will also beappearing the next day at Music Mondays’ free noon-hour concert atthe Church of the Holy Trinity. The Music Garden will also be showcasinganother fine young baroque cellist later this summer – KateBennett Haynes. Haynes is performing Bach’s six suites for unaccompaniedcello in installments at the Music Garden; Thursday August 28at 7pm will see her performing Bach’s Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Majorin a mixed program that includes Britten and Oesterle. Haynes alsohappens to be an exceptional artist, and this concert promises to be anintimate and passionate experience.Finally, a great local group that I’m proud to be playing with willkick off the summer with a concert in Parkdale. Rezonance’s nextconcert, “Birds, Beasts, and Rustic Revelry,” taking place at ArtscapeYoungplace, 180 Shaw St. #202, on June 14 at 8pm, is a program thatexplores Baroque composers’ depictions of nature, and will feature allmanner of musical foolishness from the 17th century, including musicby Veracini, Schmelzer, Biber and Couperin. Rezonance is led by theyoung virtuoso violinist Rezan Onen-Lapointe and will be joined bylutenist Ben Stein and cellist Kerri McGonigle. A chance to hear somebrilliant performances at this concert, and the music on the programdefies anyone to take classical music too seriously.David Podgorski is a Toronto-based harpsichordist, musicteacher and a founding member of Rezonance. He canbe contacted at SEASONPA|iS CºNFIDENTIALNovember 7 & 8, 2014~E LI#LE BA|lEY-CºRNEYuletide Revels from the RenaissanceDecember 12, 13 & 145CONCERTSFROM SPLENDºURS oƒ~E EMPE|oR’S CHAPELFebruary 6 & 7, 2015DºW¬ND IN DUBLINwith Michael Slattery and La NefMarch 27 & 28~E P¬Y oƒ DANIELMay 22, 23 & 24Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, Jeanne Lamon Hall427 Bloor St. WestSubscribe Now and Save! • Call 416-964-6337 • June 4, 2014 – Sept 7, 2014 | 29

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