6 years ago

Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016

  • Text
  • September
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • October
  • Festival
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Orchestra
  • Theatre
  • Quartet
  • Volume
Music lover's TIFF (our fifth annual guide to the Toronto International Film Festival); Aix Marks the Spot (how Brexit could impact on operatic co-production); The Unstoppable Howard Cable (an affectionate memoir of a late chapter in the life of of a great Canadian arranger; Kensington Jazz Story (the newest kid on the festival block flexes its muscles). These stories and much more as we say a lingering goodbye to summer and turn to the task, for the 22nd season, of covering the live and recorded music that make Southern Ontario tick.


COURTESY OF TIFF La La Land Carmen, Sevillanas, Tango, among many) he has returned to his birthplace, Aragon, where jota had its origins. “La Jota is folk music and dancing so powerful that it has been able to attract renowned musical composers such as Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Falla, Granados and Albéniz,” Saura said in the press notes. “Its influence is evident in the Spanish geography. Its unique rhythm, cheerful and contagious, has kept improving over the years.” Musicians in this music and dance celebration include battente guitar virtuoso Francesco Loccisano, composer and cello virtuoso Giovanni Sollima, flamenco pianist Miguel Angel Remiro and his quartet, world music star and Galician bagpiper Carlos Núñez, guitarist Enrike Solinis and jota singer Nacho del Rio. Terrence Malick, who touched on the origins of the universe in Tree of Life, puts his singular cinematic vision to work in Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey, a documentary look at the same subject that promises to be a celestial experience. Malick has always leaned heavily on classical music as a foundation for his films and this new sound and image poem features a playlist that could serve as a Who’s Who of the music of the spheres. The soundtrack includes excerpts from Giya Kancheli’s Evening Prayers, Bright Sorrow and Morning Prayers, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, Poulenc’s Gloria, Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion, David Hykes’ Hearing Solar Winds (part 8), Arvo Pärt’s Da pacem Domine, In Principio and Litany, Mahler’s Symphony No.2 in C Minor (“Resurrection”), Haydn’s The Creation and Bach’s Mass in B Minor (IV). Malick also makes use of Eleni Karaindrou’s evocative Hecuba’s Theme I, Exodos and Terra Deserta, Keith Jarrett’s Spheres, pieces by Paul Horn, Michael Baird, Francesco Lupica, Simon Franglen, Hanan Townshend and even sounds from the Voyager’s mission to Jupiter’s smallest moon Io. In Past Life, two Israeli sisters, one of whom is an aspiring classical musician, delve into the dark mystery of their father’s former life in Poland during World War II in this new film by Avi Nesher, best known for his highly praised The Wonders. One of the two performers recreating the amorous correspondence (1948-1967) between poets Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan in Ruth Beckermann’s The Dreamed Ones is experimental Austrian musician Anja Plaschg (Soap&Skin). Kevan Funk, who made the genre-defying Vancouver sextet Brasstronaut’s Mean Sun music video, hired its leader, Edo Van Breemen, to score his small-town hockey drama, Hello Destroyer. After making a key contribution to Kenneth Lonergan’s unforgettable You Can Count on Me, stalwart Canadian film composer Lesley Barber is back with the master observer’s latest, Manchester by the Sea, critically acclaimed at Sundance earlier this year. Actor/rapper Nick Cannon wrote, directed, financed and stars in King of the Dancehall about a Brooklynite who visits family in Jamaica and falls in love with the island’s music and culture. Jamaican dancehall luminaries T.O.K. and Beenie Man appear, along with Jamaican-Canadian singer Kreesha Turner, Ky-Mani Marley and Busta Rhymes. Also in the cast is Carl Bradshaw, part of Jamaican film history since 1972’s The Harder They Come. In The Sixth Beatle, co-directors Tony Guma and John Rose profile Liverpool concert promoter Sam Leach who offers a spirited account of his twoyear roller-coaster ride with The Beatles in the pre-Brian Epstein era. In Andrea Arnold’s naturalistic road movie, American Honey, newcomer Sasha Lane plays a teenager who joins a group of magazine subscription salespeople who criss-cross the American Midwest in vans; Riley Keough is her hard-nosed boss and Shia LaBeouf (in a return to early form) a super salesman. The energy of the young cast is reminiscent of Larry Clark’s Kids and the extensive soundtrack, from Springsteen, Steve Earle and Rihanna to country singers Sam Hunt and Lee Brice, Juicy J, Quigley, Mazzy Star and so much more, is the engine that drives it all. Music plays small but key roles in two Japanese films. Hirokazu Kore-eda’s finely observed family drama, After the Storm, took its Japanese title from a lyric by Teresa Teng, the “diva of Asia.” It was a link to the popular music that played in Kore-eda’s home growing up. “Teng’s songs are about dramatic love, which connects with the concept of not everyone being able to become the adult they wanted to be,” he explained. But the movie’s score and theme song were composed by Hanaregumi, a more contemporary pop figure. In Koji Fukada’s chilling Harmonium, a charming ex-con ingratiates himself into the life of family by helping the young daughter learn to play her harmonium. Edoardo De Angelis’ Indivisible is “about Neapolitan Siamese twin sisters who are exploited as a novelty singing act by their father,” reports Screen Daily’s Melanie Goodfellow. “Kept in isolation, outside of their paid performances at social occasions, the girls start to rebel against their reality when one of them falls in love and they discover they can be separated.” The New Yorker’s Richard Brody called Terence Davies’ A Quiet Passion - in which Cynthia Nixon portrays Emily Dickinson - “an absolute drop-dead masterwork.” He continued: “Davies films his literary script with a directorial daring that’s both precise and free, blending delicately composed close-ups and group portraits with audaciously confrontational and uninhibited visual imagination … He also makes exemplary use of Dickinson’s poetry, recited by Nixon, on the soundtrack, playing like a sort of music that meshes with the actual music track, which is dominated by well-chosen touches of further New England audacity, such as Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question.” Davies’ musical ear is evident in a soundtrack that ranges from Bellini’s “Ah non credea” and Schubert’s Nacht und Träume to the haunting 17th-century songs by Thomas Ford and Thomas Ravenscroft arranged by British saxophonist/composer John Harle and sung by British soprano Sarah Leonard, supplemented with snippets of 19th-century piano pieces and Ives’ Decoration Day. I’ve seen ten of the 26 films previewed here and am looking forward to viewing many of the others (and more) during TIFF 2016. Watch for reports on these and other discoveries in my Music and the Movies blog on over the months to come. The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8 to 18. Check for further information. Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. 14 | September 1, 2016 - October 7, 2016

Beat by Beat | Jazz Notes A Kensington Jazz Story BOB BEN For further back than I can remember, Kensington Market has been a hub for multiculturalism, activism, tourism and other assorted -isms. The unique culture of Kensington is one which is, perhaps more than that of any other neighbourhood in Toronto, bursting with a collective love of art that is eclectic and loudly expressed. Buskers flock to Augusta Avenue. Drum circles echo through the Market from Bellevue Square. Paintings, murals, works by highly skilled graffiti artists, cover much of the landscape, including the walls outside of Poetry Jazz Café – one of the nine venues which will be showcasing almost non-stop jazz for the duration of the first-ever Kensington Market Jazz Festival (henceforth referred to as KMJF 2016). KMJF 2016, originally the brainchild of Toronto-bred vocalist Molly Johnson, will reflect the values of the community in which it takes place; rather than featuring large, ethically dubious, multinational corporations – which have been emphatically rejected by the Kensington community in the past – as sponsors, the KMJF 2016 website lists as its friends small, local businesses, well-known individuals in the music scene, arts studios, as well as multiple charities and non-profits which will benefit from the festival. Among these is the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund (AASF), which has, since its establishment in honour of Alleyne’s 70th birthday in 2003, given financial assistance to particularly talented music students who have been primarily, but not exclusively, black. In this way, the AASF honours the late Alleyne (who himself grew up in the neighbourhood), not only musically, but politically, as he was outspoken on Thompson Egbo-Egbo the subject of black representation in jazz. After all, despite the sea of white faces you might see in any given university jazz program, jazz has historically been a music of black creative innovation and black political resistance. KMJF 2016, though it only lasts three days in only nine venues, will feature over 100 artists. (Three with particularly close ties to The Market are featured in their own words alongside this short article.) Unfortunately, it is both physically impossible and financially impractical to attend over 100 concerts in three days (the best you can probably do is nine, or maybe 12 - and yes, you may take that as a challenge), but if you have enjoyed my recommendations before, I may be able to gently help push you in some of the right directions (not that there are really any wrong ones). Two pianists. Neither of the pianists described below is one whose music I’ve experienced in person; they’re players I’ve checked out only through their live and recorded material available online. I will be discovering them alongside all of you on that third weekend of September. Andrew Craig, the pianist, multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, 2016.2017 season highlights Early Music Kammerchor Stuttgart and Tallis Scholars join the Historical Performance Area, Schola Cantorum and Theatre of Early Music Chamber Music Enrico Elisi, Rosamunde Quartet, New Orford String Quartet, ensemble LUX, Cecilia String Quartet, Musicians from Marlboro, Gryphon Trio Opera Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld and Handel’s Imeneo Thursdays at Noon Featuring performances by multiple members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, as well as NEXUS, Joseph Macerollo, Beverley Johnston, Nathalie Paulin, Lydia Wong and Colin Ainsworth New Music Festival With guest composer Salvatore Sciarrino and partners New Music Concerts Download our 2016-17 season brochure at To order tickets, call the RCM Box Office at the TELUS Centre at 416-408-0208 The Faculty of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our presenting sponsors @uoftmusic September 1, 2016 - October 7, 2016 | 15

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)