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Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017

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  • March
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
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On our cover: Owen Pallett's musical palette on display at New Creations. Spring brings thoughts of summer music education! (It's never too late.). For Marc-Andre Hamelin the score is king. Ella at 100 has the tributes happening. All; this and more.

I think this means is

I think this means is that there is no real evidence who wrote it but that it is so fine that it has to be Vivaldi. I don’t think that argument would stand up in a court of law but the aria is indeed so good that it would be hard to contradict it. Julie Boulianne, the mezzo-soprano soloist, is moving in the slow arias and very impressive in the technically demanding fast items. Clavecin en Concert is a crack ensemble of 13 players. There is especially fine work from the cellist Amanda Keesmaat and the lutenist Sylvain Bergeron. Hans de Groot Concert Note: The University of Toronto Opera School will perform Handel’s Imeneo at MacMillan Theatre March 17 to 19. Paderewski – Piesni/Songs Anna Radziejewska; Karol Kozlowski; Agnieszka Hoszowska-Jablonska Dux 1246 (dux.pl) !! Not many composers can honestly say that they have changed the world. Ignacy Jan Paderewski has that distinction. Not through his music, but rather through his political and diplomatic activities. He was instrumental in persuading President Wilson to take up the cause of an independent Poland at the Versailles Conference. Quick historical recap: the once-mighty Poland fell to the surrounding empires of Russia, Germany and Austro-Hungary and disappeared from the map of Europe in 1795. No small feat, then, was the recreation of the Republic of Poland after the Great War. Paderewski was also wellknown and regarded in the United States as a virtuoso pianist and his lobbying efforts paid off. He also served briefly as the Polish prime minister, before returning for good to North America in 1922. It is small wonder that in this larger context, his compositional output has been overlooked. This disc is a part of a series attempting to correct that oversight by publishing all of his music. He was not a groundbreaking musician. Rather, he worked happily within an established idiom, adding to the catalogue of Polish songs so monumentally established by Chopin and Szymanowski. Here, the settings of poems by the “Polish Bard” Adam Mickiewicz, and the works of Théophile Gautier and of his sonin-law, Catulle Mendès, are rendered brilliantly (emphasis mine!) by the tremendous tenor Karol Kozlowski and equally formidable mezzo, Anna Radziejewska. A long-overdue tribute to the “Father of modern Poland.” Robert Tomas Schoenberg – Gurre-lieder Soloists; choirs; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Edward Gardner Chandos CHSA 5172 !! This is an astonishingly fine performance of this mighty work composed in the early part of the 20th-century. Along with Verklärte Nacht, Gurre-lieder gave little hint of the path Schoenberg was soon to follow through almost half a century, producing works that many think of at the mere mention of his name. A few months ago I was very enthusiastic about the recent version conducted by Markus Stenz with the Gürzenich- Orchester Köln and now, so soon as Gurrelieders go, here is another new performance to be considered. Stenz has the measure of the work, as does Gardner, but Gardner’s expertise developed during his years in Glyndebourne and the English National Opera serves the entire work perfectly. He builds a more atmospheric, larger-scaled and, to my ears, a better-balanced performance. The mood-setting orchestral interludes demonstrate this perfectly, particularly the important opening prelude evoking the serene lake beside the Gurre castle at twilight and the set-up for the Wood Dove. Without going into comparisons, Gardner’s cast are all very convincing including the now deservedly ubiquitous heroic tenor, Stuart Skelton as King Waldemar whose mistress Tove (soprano Alwyn Mellor) is murdered by the jealous Queen Helwig. The news of Tove’s death is brought to Waldemar in the tragic narrative delivered by the Wood Dove sung by mezzo Anna Larsson. Heard in Part Three are Wolfgang Ablinger- Sperrhacke singing Klaus-Narr, the Fool, and James Creswell as Bauer, the Peasant. The speaker is Sir Thomas Allen. There were 350 performers on stage in the orchestra’s home, the Grieghallen in Bergen over four days of performances in December 2015 comprising, in addition to the soloists, the Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Choir of Collegium Musicum, the Edvard Grieg Choir, the Orphei Dränger, students from The Royal Northern College of Music, musicians from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and, of course, conductor Edward Gardner. This recording is based on live recordings made of these concerts. In this performance, as the sequence of events unfolds, there is palpable tension, holding the listener’s rapt attention through to the awe-inspiring radiance of the colossal choral sunrise. The sound is brilliant. Chandos’ multi-channel SACD recording, heard in two channels in my case, effortlessly captures every nuance of the huge augmented orchestra including four harps, multiple sets of timpani, extra brass, etc. All are heard in their natural perspective, as are the massed voices of the choirs. A spectacular work, a spectacular performance, accorded spectacular sound! Bruce Surtees L/R Like the review? Listen to some tracks from all the recordings in the ads below at The WholeNote.com/Listening L/R One Way Up – Dave Young Blurb - “2017 Juno Nominee: Jazz Album of the Year / Best Group Performance” UPC number: 29982 17716 Ni Eira Marito Marques´ New Album STABILIMENTO,the latest recording of veteran bassist/producer Roberto Occhipinti. Drawing upon wide variety of musical influences, he is joined on this musical journey with a stellar cast of musicians. Johann Gottlieb Goldberg might just be the most famous composer whose music remains largely unheard. 74 | March 1, 2017 - April 7, 2017 thewholenote.com

Peter Eötvös – Paradise Reloaded (Lilith) Annette Schoenmueller; Rebecca Nelsen; Eric Stoklossa; Hungarian RSO; Gregory Vajda BMC Records CD 226 (bmcrecords.hu) !! In the newly emboldened theocracy, also known as the United States of America, the phrase “God created Adam and Eve” is bandied about to score specific political points. The majority of Biblethumpers forget, however, that at first it was actually Adam and Lilith. Not created from Adam’s rib, rather, his equal and a powerful being. This is Lilith, who we are pressured to forget in favour of the more feminine, easily yielding Eve. Here we have a major revision of Eötvös’ 2010 opera The Tragedy of the Devil and, in effect, it is an entirely new work. The axis is the conflict between Lilith and Eve and an exploration of what might have happened, if the first wife of Adam was not thwarted in her efforts to reconcile with him. Lilith, the exiled demon-mother attempts to reload Paradise, and yet loses again. Eötvös, a composer as highly regarded, as he is at times controversial, in this, one of his 12 operas, draws equally on the Viennese tradition of Schoenberg and Berg and on post-war serialism. The fascinating libretto is the work of the Munich-based writer, Albert Ostermaier. The three protagonists and a cast of other characters are accompanied by the Hungarian Radio Symphonic Orchestra, guest-conducted here by Gregory Vajda. This same podium was shared in the past by such titans, as John Barbirolli, Antal Doráti, István Kertész, Otto Klemperer, Neville Mariner and Leopold Stokowski. Biblical proportions, indeed! Robert Tomas CLASSICAL AND BEYOND Up in the Morning Early – Baroque Music from Celtic Countries Ensemble La Cigale Leaf Music LM 211 (leaf-music.ca) L/R !! Quebec-based early music ensemble La Cigale has a hit on its hands with this collection of Baroque instrumental music from Celtic countries. The tight ensemble playing, sensitivity to style and musical moods, and clear production values, showcase a range of performances from the witty to the danceable to thoughtful to florid. The large number of works featured is mind-boggling and educational for any Celtic music fan. The opening track is the ensemble’s arrangement of the Scottish song John Come Kiss Me Now. Complete with the lilt and bounce of the faster sections, and lyrical recorder in the slower sections, it is a successful combination of classical with Celtic folk traditions, and foreshadows the flavourful music to follow. Scottish music is the big feature, with works by James Oswald, William McGibbon and General John Reid. Five short Scottish lute works from the Rowallan and Straloch Lute Books circa early 1600s are given a breathless rendition by artistic director Madeleine Owen, especially in the waltzing songbird tune The Canaries. Irish composer Turlough O’Carolan’s Carolan’s Concerto is a curious mix of Irish folk and serious Italian art music. The touching closing track is the group’s very loyal, respectful arrangement of the Canadian fiddler Oliver Schroer’s (1956-2008) modern day lyrical Celtic work A Thousand Thank-yous. And more than a thousand thank yous to director Madeline Owen (lute, theorbo, Baroque guitar), Sara Lackie (harp), Vincent Lauzer (recorders), Marie-Laurence Primeau (viola da gamba) and Sari Tsuji (violin) for this joyous music! Tiina Kiik Richard Galliano Mozart Richard Galliano; Bertrand Cervera; Stephane Henoch; J-P Minale-Bella; Raphael Perraud; Syvain Le Provost Deutsche Grammophon 4812662 !! French accordionist Richard Galliano is world renowned for his jazz stylings. He goes back again to his classical music roots with this all-Mozart release, the third in a series of performing select classical masters on accordion. Supported by a superb string quintet, Galliano explores new sounds in some familiar works. The strongest performance by far is Mozart’s Rondo alla Turka (Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major K.331). The Turkish Rondo lends itself well to an accordion arrangement – a Palmer Hughes Accordion Course version of it is on the RCM Grade 6 accordion exam repertoire list. Galliano’s version showcases his effortless florid technique and musical nuances. There is nice dialogue between him and the strings, with a solid, never-rushed, low-end support from the double bass. Another appealing dialogue can be heard on the Adagio from Flute Quartet in D Major K.285 where the long tones created by steady bellows pressure are in stark contrast to the strings’ pizzicato parts. More exploration of breaths between phrases would elevate the musicality dramatically. Not too keen on the unison playing of accordion and strings in Eine kleine Nachmusik as the work’s inherent colours are lost by too many instruments playing the same thing. Nice decision to use bandoneon in Laudate Dominum as Mozart is thrust into the 20th century with Galliano’s nod to Astor Piazzolla. Galliano’s Mozart CD is an interesting and satisfying listen to some of Mozart’s compositions from unique instrumentation and arrangement standpoints. Tiina Kiik Freedom of the City The Band of the Royal Regiment of Canada RRC009 (band.rregtc.ca) !! In 1962 the City of Toronto granted the Freedom of the City to the Royal Regiment of Canada to honour the regiment for their 100 years of service. On May 15, 2016, the city reaffirmed this Freedom. As part of that ceremony the band and regiment marched through the streets of Toronto. Production of this recording, with the Pipes and Drums of the 48th Highlanders and vocalist Danielle Bourré, is part of their thanks to the city for a century and a half of support. This CD has a wealth of variety from such works as Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Military March No.2 and Sibelius’ Finlandia to film classics such as The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. The Pipes and Drums of the 48th Highlanders blend in with the band on The Magnificent Seven so well that one could well think that this was the original arrangement. Similarly, Bourré’s rendition of the English folk song O’er the Hills and Far Away is enhanced with blending of the pipes. Among the lesser-known works, I have two personal favourites on this CD. They are The Two Imps, a novelty xylophone duet by Kenneth Alford of Colonel Bogey fame, and Serenade for Wind Band by British composer Derek Bourgeois. This number, written for guests at his own wedding to walk out of the church by, has a very tricky rhythm. In the composer’s words he was “[n]ot wishing to allow them the luxury of proceeding in an orderly 2/4.” All in all this is a fine combination of familiar classics and entertaining music which we rarely have an opportunity to hear. It is well-performed, well-recorded and comes with clearly written program notes for all numbers. Jack MacQuarrie Végh conducts Schubert Camerata Salzberg; Sándor Végh BMC Records CD 201 (bmcrecords.hu) !! Best known as violinist leader of string quartets, Sándor Végh (1912-1997) in later life conducted the chamber orchestra now known as Camerata Salzburg; it attained a high standard as is evidenced by these discs. thewholenote.com March 1, 2017 - April 7, 2017 | 75

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