4 years ago

Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019

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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.


WE ARE ALL MUSIC’S CHILDREN SOME OF APRIL’S CHILDREN Robert Aitken, Nova Scotia, circa 1935 MJ BUELL We launched this contest in September 2004 (VOL 10 No.1) in an article called Music Education: Choosing a Path. We ran this photo of four-year-old Robert Aitken and the clue ”An early taste for his instrument.” Aitken was in fact licking whipped cream off an egg-beater but holding it just exactly how a little kid might hold a flute, with the kind of focused pleasure we hope to see when children first experience music-making. It’s kind of amazing, but that was nearly 15 years ago, and here we are in April 2019. Since then in almost every issue we’ve tempted readers to identify a member of the music community from a childhood photo with a chance to win concert tickets and/or recordings. We follow up with a profile that looks at music in that artist’s childhood, and announce the contest winners. Where we all win is in better understanding the many things that can make a difference in their early years if people are to have musical lives. Some simple examples follow. In April 2006, conductor David Fallis talked about Lloyd Bradshaw, the choirmaster of St. George’s United Church Boy Choristers. “Through him I became a founding member of the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus, and had such fun in the O’Keefe Centre in La Bohème, Carmen, Turandot etc. A very outgoing charismatic musician, great with kids and youth, he was the first to suggest I should consider conducting.” In April 2010, pianist Serouj Kradjan described his earliest musical memory: “ … my father ceremoniously taking the vinyl disc out of its sleeve, putting it on the disc player, the sound of the needle falling and suddenly, music filling the room. My excitement related to this process had no boundaries.” In April 2012, conductor Lydia Adams said, “CBC was a musical lifeline to us in Cape Breton, as well as in most parts of the country, I suspect. We listened to everything: Elmer Iseler conducting Handel’s Messiah each Christmas; the Christmas Eve service from King’s College, Cambridge, with David Willcocks conducting; the marvellous voices of Lois Marshall and Maureen Forrester, people I later knew and worked with …” In April 2016, soprano Mireille Asselin said, “My own strongest memory is my father picking me up and dancing me around our living room to the Temptations: “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May …” NEW CONTEST Let’s check back in on a few of APRIL’S MYSTERY CHILDREN Siblings: operatic baritone and singer/songwrite. Him: Cosi fan tutte at COC in Feb 2019. Upcoming with Soundstreams’ Hell’s Fury in June! His sister: currently in Germany touring her show MODERNE FRAU. Catch this musical tribute to the women of 1920’s Berlin when she returns at The Jazz Bistro, April 28. 1958, Ottawa Mezzo soprano, equally at home in any outfit. If you missed Barbara Croall’s Miziwe …(Everywhere…) with Pax Christie you can hear her upcoming in Against the Grain Theatre’s Kopernikus, April 4 to 13. 1980, Newmarket Violist, busy chamber musician, educator and arts administrator. Six years with Toronto Summer Music. He’s at Georgian Music (Barrie) April 7, Scotia Festival (Halifax) in May and June. 1967, Frankfurt, Germany Versatile pianist with a special affinity for music of the 20th and 21st centuries, and a true “Friend of Canadian Music.” Upcoming with Kindred Spirits Orchestra, May 11 and June 29, performing André Mathieu’s Fourth Piano Concerto. 1975, Mississauga A high tenor with astounding diction. In Idomeneo with Opera Atelier, April 4 to 13; Bach’s Magnificat with Tafelmusik in May, and Beethoven’s Mass in C, May 25, with the Bach-Elgar Choir (Hamilton). 1961, Toronto Think you know who they all are? WIN PRIZES! Send your best guess by April 20 to Previous artist profiles and full-length interviews can be read at Or – you can view them in their original magazine format by visiting our online back issues 68 | April 2019

DISCOVERIES | RECORDINGS REVIEWED DAVID OLDS Some of my favourite memories are from road trips taken with my dear friend André Leduc. We met in the lobby of Jane Mallett Theatre at the intermission of an Esprit Orchestra concert sometime in the mid-1980s. I was already well versed in the 20th-century canon, and was quickly drawn to the outgoing personality of this musical naïf whose curiosity about the subject seemed boundless. I told him about my radio show Transfigured Night on CKLN-FM and he told me about his work as a commercial photographer. We became fast friends and later travelling companions. Our journeys most often have contemporary music at their heart – Montreal for the founding of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community, Ottawa for QuartetFest, Montreal again (and again) for a number of festivals and conventions – although our trip to Quebec City and on up the north shore to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré and beyond to see the arrival of the snow geese, was strictly a pleasure outing as I recall. But there is always an aspect of modern art involved too, with gallery visits an integral part of our adventures. One memorable trip around the turn of the new millennium combined these two shared loves in a most wonderful way. The timing of our visit to Montreal on that occasion coincided with a retrospective tribute at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to Jean-Paul Riopelle who had died earlier that year, and a concert by Quatuor Molinari featuring one of our shared favourites of the genre, Lutosławski’s String Quartet. An unintended highlight of that trip was meeting the artist who was the namesake of the quartet, Guido Molinari and spending time in his studio. This was at the instigation of founding first violinist Olga Ranzenhofer who, charmed by my friend, encouraged us to “give Guido a call” when she found out our interest in contemporary visual art. We did, and found him to be a most amiable host, generous with his time so long as we were willing to wait while he put a few more brush strokes on “before the paint dries.” That is when André took the photo seen here of Molinari at his work bench. On many of our trips, and during two decades as photographer for New Music Concerts before retiring, André captured some of the most significant musical voices of our time. You can find his book of Canadian composer portraits, Composers In My Lens, at I believe it is safe to say that the Molinari String Quartet is the most active chamber ensemble in Canada devoted almost exclusively to the performance and propagation of contemporary music. They have just released their 13th disc on the ATMA label, as well as having contributed to portrait recordings of Jim Hiscott and Otto Joachim over the years. In addition, the Molinaris have been a prime factor in the development of the genre by hosting, since 2002, a biennial international string quartet competition for composers under the age of 40. Three of their ATMA discs have been devoted to early laureates of the competition. Their most recent release, following discs of music by international luminaries Gubaidulina, Kurtág and Schnittke, features four works written between 1988 and 1996 by American John Zorn (ATMA ADC2 2774 The disc begins with what has become Zorn’s most frequently performed work, Cat O’ Nine Tails, a pastiche often reminiscent of a Roadrunner cartoon. Although in one movement, it is constructed of many brief fragments, in the words of Ranzenhofer: “By turns sparkling or gritty, virtuoso improvisations, musical allusions, harmonic sequences and sonic mash-ups – all these components freely combine in this dazzling, disconcerting Guido Molinari and droll work.” Zorn himself suggests that the next work, The Dead Man, is “like the soundtrack of a sordid and sadomasochistic film set in a gloomy New York or Tokyo basement.” Although divided into 13 movements, again they are brief fragments ranging from 20 to 90 seconds, juxtaposing wild mood swings. The final two works are much darker. Momento Mori is presented as an emotional autobiography composed in 1992 and is dedicated to Zorn’s longtime collaborator Ikue Mori. At 27 minutes it is by far the most substantial work on offer here. While it too juxtaposes a plethora of moods, from meditative repose to extraordinary tension, there is none of the comic flamboyance of the preceding tracks. The final work, Kol Nidre, was written “in a single 30-minute burst of inspiration” according to Zorn, and Ranzenhofer says it “uses music stripped of all impure sonorities to reveal a world of inner peace.” For its seven-minute duration we are drawn into an almost medieval stasis of entirely tonal, gentle unison melody more suggestive of Arvo Pärt, or Shostakovich in his more contemplative moments, than the Zorn of the earlier works. Throughout the disc the Molinaris are superb, finding just the right balance between abrasive exuberance, virtuosic hilarity, quiet desperation and haunting beauty as required. One of my “trips of a lifetime” on which André did not accompany me, was a ten-day visit to Iceland in 2012 with my wife Sharon at the invitation of New Music Concerts’ colleague Robert Aitken and his late wife Marion. Of course there was music and art involved – Bob seems to know every composer and musician on the island and is also an aficionado of modern art – but also museums. Iceland seems to have a museum for everything, including expected topics like Vikings, glaciers, volcanoes and whales, but some surprising off-beat subjects as well, like punk music, herring and penises (Icelandic Phallological Museum) – we did not visit that one. It was an amazing trip in the last days of June and early July, with the sun barely disappearing below the horizon for an hour each night. Although we did not circumnavigate the island, we did travel to many of the (incredible) landmarks including Snæfellsjökull, a 700,000-year-old glacier-capped stratovolcano which was the starting point of The Journey to the Centre of the Earth in Jules Verne’s novel; Thingvellir National Park, home of Althing, the world’s first parliament which was convened there in 930 and continued on that site until 1798, and is also the meeting point of ANDRÉ LEDUC April 2019 | 69

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