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Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Performing
  • Orchestra
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In this issue: A prize that brings lustre to its laureates (and a laureate who brings lustre to the prize); Edwin Huizinga on the journey of Opera Atelier's "The Angel Speaks" from Versailles to the ROM; Danny Driver on playing piano in the moment; Remembering Neil Crory (a different kind of genius)' Year of the Boar, Indigeneity and Opera; all this and more in Volume 24 #5. Online in flip through, HERE and on the stands commencing Thursday Jan 31.

of the Diaspora… Hosea

of the Diaspora… Hosea & Friends. Koerner Hall, Telus Centre for Performance and Learning, Toronto. Two of the Finest; One Beautiful Concert The Vancouver Chamber Choir comes to Toronto on its final tour with Jon Washburn as artistic director. “We’re singing the top-tenperformed pieces from the choir’s history,” says Washburn, who keeps meticulous lists of performances and songs performed. “A lot of this repertoire is repertoire that has been toured quite a bit over the years. For example, we’re doing Trois Chansons de Charles d’Orléans by Debussy; we’ve done 113 performances of that piece. The Imant Raminsh Ave Verum Corpus we’ve given 64 times.” The concert will also feature many of Washburn’s beloved, often-performed arrangements including music of Stephen Foster and Rise! Shine!, his setting of four spirituals. “There are so many concerts at home and they kind of fade into each other over time,” shares Washburn. “But when you’re on tour, you associate a concert with a certain hall in a certain community in a certain season of the year. They are very vivid memories. For instance, the Schafer A Garden of Bells, was written for us many years ago. I remember when we did our tour of the Soviet Union in 1989, the incredible reception we got for this piece. We travelled the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the Ukraine, and Moscow, Russia. We finished that tour with the Moscow Chamber Choir in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.” The Choir has performed A Garden of Bells 82 times over the years since it was first written in 1984. Washburn has named the tour and the performances “Music Sea to Sea: The Farewell Tour.” The tour is taking them from their usual home on the Pacific across the country to the Atlantic. Starting in Edmonton, then to Calgary, Lethbridge, Regina, Toronto, St. John’s, Halifax, Antigonish, Wolfville, Truro, Lunenberg, and back to Vancouver over 18 days. This will be the 92nd tour in the last 48 years and Washburn has been on all but one of them. This is his last as the artistic director of the VCC as they continue their search for a new leader. The Elmer Iseler Singers are hosting this particular visit. “[Artistic director] Lydia Adams and I go way back and we’ve just always had a wonderful friendship and so it’s very special to do my last official event as artistic director in Toronto,” says Washburn. “I think there will be a lot of feelings that night.” Adams feels the same. “For me, I’m really looking forward to this time together. I’ve known Jon since the early 90s when I played for the Ontario Youth Choir and he was the conductor. We hit it off. I was so taken by his work with the Youth Choir and the results he was able to get; his focus and attention. He was able to make great music with them, and that’s the case every time we work with him.” The Elmer Iseler Singers, for their portion of the concert, will perform a selection of choral works new and familiar. For the new, Adams has chosen The Spheres, which is the opening movement of Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass. For the old, William Byrd’s Sing Joyfully. Rounding out the program is Healey Willan’s anthem, Gloria Deo, and James MacMillan’s The Gallant Weaver. “It takes a lot to hand over a choir that you’ve taken care of for so long,” shares Adams. She knows herself what it is like to give up the reins; this is her final season at the helm of the Amadeus Choir. “There’s something about coming to the end of something. Things become more intense; every moment becomes very precious and there’s not a moment wasted. There’s nothing thrown away; everything has meaning.” Washburn notes the long history of the two choirs: “We have a great working relationship that has gone back decades. It’s really nice that we have been able to work together on a regular basis.” Adams appreciates this history as well. “The choirs are so meshed,” she says, “when they come together, it’s old friends, with immediate friendship and music making.” March 1, 7:30pm. The Elmer Iseler Singers present the Vancouver Chamber Choir “Music from Sea to Sea: The Farewell Tour.” Eglinton St. George’s United Church, Toronto. See elmeriselersingers.com for more information. The Vancouver Chamber Choir CHORAL SCENE QUICK PICKS !! FEB 16, 8PM: The Guelph Chamber Choir presents “Glory: Music of Light and Joy.” The search continues for a new artistic director with candidate Charlene Pauls taking the reins for this concert. Earlier in the season, Patrick Murray tested the baton. Pauls has programmed Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Somewhere from West Side Story and a host of smaller works including Sid Robinovitch’s Prayer Before Sleep, and Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on this Shining Night. St. George’s Anglican Church, Guelph. !! FEB 16, 8PM:The Living Arts Centre presents “O Happy Day: Ben Heppner and the Toronto Mass Choir.” The Mass Choir has joined Heppner on a few of these concerts over the last few years. Blending the power of Heppner’s renowned tenor with the powerful Mass Choir, this collab is surefire. Living Arts Centre, Mississauga. !! FEB 21 to 24, various times: York University, Accolade East Building. Finale Concert FEB 24, 7:30PM, Bayview Glen Church. The Toronto Mass Choir and guests run the annual PowerUp Gospel Music Workshop. The workshop features an entire gamut of classes from vocal technique, to keyboards, to running a choir, to gospel technique and masterclasses. The Workshop week culminates in a Finale Concert featuring the Workshop Mass Choir, Gospel Chorale and Gospel Youth Choir. Check out the full line up at powerupgospel.ca !! FEB 27, 7:30PM: The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir presents “Handel and Haydn.” Featuring the iconic Handel Coronation Anthems and Haydn’s Mass in Time of War. St Andrew’s Church, Toronto. !! MAR 2, 8PM: The Toronto Chamber Choir presents “Convivencia: Music Across Three Faiths.” With funding from the private Pluralism Fund, artistic director Lucas Harris has assembled a host of music to invoke the multi-religious period in medieval and Renaissance Spain. Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto. Follow Brian on Twitter @bfchang. Send info/media/ tips to choralscene@thewholenote.com. 28 | December 2018 / January 2019 thewholenote.com

Beat by Beat | Early Music Discovering Ancient Music’s Hidden Gems MATTHEW WHITFIELD History’s pruning shears are aggressively pragmatic, trimming away that which is not tremendously noteworthy, revolutionary, famous or infamous. Music history is no kinder to its members, the pantheon of perpetual fame reserved for those select few on whom we bestow the title of “genius.” In the movie Amadeus, which, by the way, is screening with live orchestra at the Sony Centre February 21 and 22, court composer Antonio Salieri “speak[s] for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint.” He fully expects to be expunged from the record books because of his lack of prodigious talent, surpassed in every way by the young and inexplicably, divinely gifted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Almost as well-known as Amadeus itself is the understanding that (spoiler alert!) the vast majority of the drama in the film is entirely fictitious. Salieri did, in fact, achieve great success during his career, not only dominating Italian-language Viennese opera, but also becoming one of the most important and sought-after teachers of his generation, with such pupils as Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig van Beethoven… not too bad for the “patron saint of mediocrities.” But while this particular instance of historical pruning may be false, there are many other examples of how time can act as an eraser, gradually wiping away traces of people, places, and events. Let us consider, for example, the idea of national “schools” of music, which ebb and flow depending on the time period and corresponding socio-political circumstances of each country. Throughout the history of music there are three countries which consistently contributed to the development of European music from the medieval era to the 20th century: Germany, France and Italy; these nations produced some of the great composers of the past, including Bach and Beethoven, Couperin and Debussy, and Vivaldi and Puccini, respectively, as well as virtuoso interpreters. England has made valid contributions throughout history as well, particularly in the Renaissance and Baroque, with the Tudors and later composers such as Purcell, and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through Parry, Elgar, Howells, Britten and others. Europe, however, is an expansive continent and currently contains 50 separate countries – what are the musical histories of these other nations, the ones that have not received the legacies of Mozarts and Salieris? Who are their “patron saints of mediocrities”? This month’s listings are full of explorations of these lesser-known composers and their works; here are some of the highlights: Poland in the 16th Century On February 21, Gallery 345 presents harpsichordist Corina Marti, playing keyboard music from 16th-century Poland. Poland’s influence on classical music cannot be underestimated, with world-famous composers such as Frédéric Chopin, Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Karol Szymanowski and Henryk Górecki, and renowned pianists like Arthur Rubinstein, Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Krystian Zimerman counted amongst its artistic elite. While these composers and performers are largely from the 19th and 20th centuries, Poland has had a national musical identity since the 13th century, from which manuscripts have been found containing polyphonic compositions related to the Parisian Notre Dame School. During the 16th century, two musical ensembles led a rapid development in Polish music – both were based in Kraków and belonged to the King and Archbishop of Wawel. Music does not exist in a vacuum, however, and a number of Italian musicians were guests at the royal courts in the early 17th century, included Luca Marenzio, Giovanni Francesco Anerio, and Marco Scacchi. During the 17th century, Polish composers from this period focused on Baroque religious music and concertos for voices, instruments and basso continuo, a tradition that continued into the 18th century. This concert is certainly worth exploring, in part because it provides more questions than answers: what will this Renaissance-era music from Eastern Europe sound like? Will it resemble the Tudor school and the pavanes and galliards of Byrd and Gibbons, or perhaps the more fantastical style of Frescobaldi? There is only one way to find out! Convivencia Another country that has not received significant recognition for its musical contributions is Spain where, particularly in the renaissance, creativity and experimentation abounded. The Toronto Chamber Choir delves into repertoire from mediaeval and renaissance Spain with their concert “Convivencia: Music Across Three Faiths” on March 2. Featuring Sephardic folk songs, classical Arabic melodies, and Spanish polyphony, this performance captures the cross-pollination that took place in a country with an unusually rich and complex musical and political history. Over the course of its history, Spain has had more than 2,000 years of internal and external influences and developments that have combined to produce a large number of unique musical traditions, closely related to changing political climates. In the two centuries before the Christian era, Roman rule brought with it the music and ideas of Ancient Greece. Early Christians, who had their own differing versions of church music, arrived during the height of the Roman Empire, while the Visigoths, a Romanized Germanic people, took control of the peninsula following the fall of the Roman Empire. The rule of Moors and Jews in the Middle Ages added another influence to the musical climate, and the style of Spanish popular songs of the thewholenote.com December 2018 / January 2019 | 29

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019
Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019
Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019
Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
Volume 24 Issue 3 - November 2018
Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)