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Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Performing
  • Musical
  • Quartet
  • Jazz
  • Symphony
  • Theatre
  • Arts
  • Toronto
  • April
Arraymusic, the Music Gallery and Native Women in the Arts join for a mini-festival celebrating the work of composer, performer and installation artist Raven Chacon; Music and Health looks at the role of Healing Arts Ontario in supporting concerts in care facilities; Kingston-based composer Marjan Mozetich's life and work are celebrated in film; "Forest Bathing" recontextualizes Schumann, Shostakovich and Hindemith; in Judy Loman's hands, the harp can sing; Mahler's Resurrection bursts the bounds of symphonic form; Ed Bickert, guitar master remembered. All this and more in our April issue, now online in flip-through here, and on stands commencing Friday March 29.

Beat by Beat | Early

Beat by Beat | Early Music The Bigger Picture Exploring Art’s Contexts MATTHEW WHITFIELD Under the Stairs Jacobs, who will also be the music director for the show, is well known as an award-winning composer and music director for companies including the Stratford and Shaw Festivals as well as being the “Fine Furneaux Director of Music” for the Musical Stage Company, where he creates the musical reworkings of iconic songs for the annual Uncovered concerts as well as music directing regular shows in the company’s season. Playing the role of the mother in Under the Stairs, is Neema Bickersteth, one of our most versatile and accomplished cross-genre performers, known for her classically trained beautiful soprano voice, rich acting talent, and for her multidisciplinary theatrical work. When I asked her what it is like performing the “mash-up” of text, poetry and music in this show, and knowing that she will be playing to younger audiences, she said that in contrast to some of her other work this show is a natural extension of her everyday life: “It is all mashed up so beautifully! When I’m at home with my kid, all our games are a mishmash of one thing flowing to the next. And in the moment, it all totally makes sense.” This points again to the inherent ability of music to connect with all of us, and how it is a part of our lives even if we don’t specifically notice from moment to moment. Theatre creators are drawing more and more on this intrinsic power of music as a universal language, continuing to push the boundaries of how words and music can be combined together in a myriad of different ways uniquely appropriate to each theatrical story. MUSIC THEATRE QUICK PICKS !! APR 1 TO 16: Under the Stairs. YPT. !! APR 3 TO 21: Angélique. Factory Theatre. !! ONGOING: Dear Evan Hansen. Mirvish, Royal Alexandra Theatre. The almost entirely Canadian cast is just one of the reasons to see this multi-Tony Award-winning pop musical by Pasek and Paul. !! APR 9 TO 11: The House of Martin Guerre. Theatre Sheridan. Canadian composer Leslie Arden’s 1993 version of The Return of Martin Guerre seems to be making a comeback now that its rights, which were tied up for years, are available again. It had a successful concert performance at the Charlottetown Festival last September. !! APR 9 TO MAY 5: Beautiful: The Carol King Musical. Mirvish, Princess of Wales Theatre, another chance to see the luminous Canadian star Chilina Kennedy reprise her Broadway triumph as Carole King in this biographical musical. !! APR TO MAY 19: Next to Normal. Musical Stage Company. Ma-Anne Dionisio, continuing her season with the Musical Stage Company, leads the cast as a mother trying to deal with bipolar disorder in this urgently contemporary rock musical Jennifer Parr is a Toronto-based director, dramaturge, fight director, and acting coach, brought up from a young age on a rich mix of musicals, Shakespeare, and new Canadian plays. Art cannot exist in a vacuum, independent, immune, and untouched by the innumerable facets and fluctuations of the world, for all art is created at a specific time and in a specific place. The artist, without exception, exists in a society with its own concerns, issues and goals, and it is these chronic yet changing problems that play a large part in the creation of new works. Whether due to war, famine, personal poverty, or forced relocation, each piece of music that we perform or listen to has its own context and purpose. We must wonder if much of the art that we now consider great would have been created at all, had it not been for the struggles that come with living in such an imperfect world. Perhaps the most poignant and radical example of this socialartistic reactivity was in the 20th century, when the abominations and mass destruction of World War II necessitated the creation of a new aesthetic to reflect the forever-changed and irreparably damaged global community. Artists of all types were forced to flee their respective countries and seek refuge elsewhere, many coming to North America to escape the dangers of the European continent. Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Hindemith are only a few of the significant composers who relocated to the United States, a career move that, far from being planned, was forced by external factors. While some musicians went less far afield, choosing to flee their homelands in favour of another European state, others involved themselves in the defense of their country by picking up arms, sometimes with tragic results. Jehan Alain, the French organist and composer, was killed in battle, and Olivier Messiaen was captured by the Germans and held as a prisoner of war. Messiaen wrote his Quatuor pour la fin du temps while in German captivity and it was first performed by his fellow prisoners; it has come to be recognized as one of his most important works. The deconstruction of music’s essential components through serialism was a significant and reactive measure to the postwar world, a highly ordered approach to composition that served as a juxtaposition to external chaos and is one of the most recognized movements of the postwar musical aesthetic. Renowned serial composer and conductor Pierre Boulez was perhaps the most outspoken advocate of music as a social and political vehicle, giving such memorable quotes as, “I assert that any musician who has not experienced – I do not say understood, but, in all exactness, experienced – the necessity for the dodecaphonic language is USELESS. For his whole work is irrelevant to the needs of his epoch … All the art of the past must be destroyed.” For artists who witnessed the destruction of their national histories and cultures with their own eyes, such sentiments likely seemed far less radical than they now appear. Although the discussion of serialism might seem strikingly modern within the context of an early music column, the sociopolitical catastrophes that precipitated serialism’s formation are not at all new. The Thirty Years’ War, for example, lasted from 1618 to 1648 and was one of the most destructive conflicts in human history resulting in eight million fatalities, not only from military engagements but also from violence, famine and plague. Conflict between the Catholics and Protestants created an unstable social environment, which resulted in a myriad of responses from composers and performers, including Heinrich Schütz. As Kapellmeister to the Elector of Saxony, Schütz had to provide music not only for standard liturgical ceremonies but also for special occasions, which was complicated by reduced performing forces as the war progressed. In fact, members of his church ensemble dropped one by one so that from 1632 to 1639 the number of members 28 | April 2019 thewholenote.com

diminished by 29 people. Other composers were forced to flee the violence and disease or lost their positions as courts were eliminated or relocated, events that were to repeat themselves three centuries later as Europe’s nations once again took up arms against each other. Dido and Belinda Although the current political climate is far less devastating than in either the early 17th or 20th centuries, contemporary issues continue to affect the way we perform and perceive art. By changing the lens through which we view it, old music can be reinvented and presented in a new way. One method of doing so is through de-contextualization, reapplying an ancient work to tell a new and immediately relevant story. On May 4 and 5, Cor Unum Ensemble attempts to do just this in their collaboration with OperaQ, focusing on Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, re-labelled and reworked as Dido and Belinda. According to Cor Unum’s press release, “Dido and Belinda offers a new perspective on Purcell’s beloved opera, Dido and Aeneas. With the addition of narration from the point of view of Dido’s closest confidante, Belinda, this staged production will emphasize many of the themes already found in the original libretto: the shame surrounding feminine sexuality, the blindness of male privilege and the societal pressure to conform to gender roles.” An additional circumvention of tradition includes the casting of reversedgender roles, with this performance featuring countertenor Ryan McDonald as Dido, Camille Rogers as Aeneas and Rebecca Genge as Belinda. While this may seem like a radical departure from Purcell’s original intention and scoring, Ryan McDonald this novel interpretation should maintain the integrity of the musical score as well as increasing its dramatic poignancy through a contemporary reimagining. Purcell Reimagined Before Cor Unum and OperaQ combine to tackle Dido, Purcell’s music gets reconstructed by Confluence on April 5 and 6. “‘Tis Nature’s Voice: Henry Purcell Reimagined” features arrangements of vocal works by Purcell performed by an extended roster including Anne Atkinson, Larry Beckwith, Andrew Downing, Drew Jurecka, John Millard, Patricia O’Callaghan, Gregory Oh, Alex Samaras and Suba Sankaran. The most renowned arrangements of Purcell’s vocal music were done by Benjamin Britten, whose deliberately pianistic realizations of figured bass launch this harpsichord-based 17th-century music into the piano-focused 20th century. For this concert, however, Confluence associates Patricia O’Callaghan and Andrew Downing bring together some of Toronto’s finest composermusicians to rearrange and perform the music of Henry Purcell. It will be most interesting to hear their perspectives on Purcell’s songs, which run from the simple to the sublime and everything in between. Strangers in Strange Lands Renowned for both their musical finesse and social awareness through novel multimedia presentations, Tafelmusik goes small-scale on April 10 with Strangers in Strange Lands, part of their Close Encounters chamber series. Presented in smaller venues across the city, these concerts are a wonderful opportunity to get an up-close look at the performers that make Tafelmusik the ensemble it is; this session features Marco Cera, Julia Wedman, FOUR UNIQUE CONCERTS! Marco Cera TORONTO BACH FESTIVAL John Abberger, Artistic Director A dazzling showcase of works by J.S. Bach in an intimate setting. With John Abberger, Luc Beauséjour, Julia Wedman, Elinor Frey, and the Toronto Bach Festival Orchestra and Singers. SIAN RICHARDS PHOTOGRAPHY BRANDENBURG FIVE Fri May 24 @ 8pm BACH LECTURE— FREE EVENT! Sat May 25 @ 3:30pm BACH & THE FRENCH STYLE Luc Beauséjour, solo harpsichord Sat May 25 @ 5pm LATE NIGHT WITH BACH Elinor Frey, solo cello Sat May 25 @ 9pm* LUTHERAN MASSES Sun May 26 @ 3pm TICKETS: and up Performances at: St Barnabas-on-the-Danforth & *The Black Swan TorontoBachFestival.org 416.466.8241 Andrew Downing PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FESTIVAL RADIO PARTNER thewholenote.com April 2019 | 29

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
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)