Views
1 year ago

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.

She is so totally

She is so totally engrossed that the music simply doesn’t want to end. But where she really strikes home is Pines of the Via Appia, a tremendous tour de force depicting an ancient Roman army emerging from distant haze marching towards us, and the music just builds and builds. A gradual crescendo exploding in glorious fortississimo without ever becoming bombastic or overpowering. Brava! Janos Gardonyi MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY Invitation – Trios for Clarinet, Violin and Piano Christine Carter; Duo Concertante Marquis Classics MAR 81489 (marquisclassics.com) !! Having to declare an interest in the subject of a disc review is an unalloyed pleasure when said conflict involves praising the work of a former student. Together with Tim Steeves and Nancy Dahn (Duo Concertante), clarinetist Christine Carter has released Invitation, an album of trios for clarinet, violin and piano. Alongside the witty and spirited Suite by Darius Milhaud is Aram Khachaturian’s almost emo Trio; Tango, a chestnut by Canadian Patrick Cardy (1953-2005); and last of all, Francis Poulenc’s L’invitation au château. The latter is new material to me, as I’m sure it will be to many listeners. It’s a curiosity, beautiful raw material that Poulenc never got around to turning into a suite, unlike his colleague Milhaud. Both composers wrote the music on this disc as integral backdrops for plays by Jean Anouilh, but where Milhaud sifted his score down to four movements, the Poulenc remains in its original form of 16 musical installments, some extremely short, others stretching to between one and two minutes in length. Nothing detracts from the pleasure of listening to the performances on this disc. The Khachaturian stands out as particularly compelling, but no doubt others will find their own favourites. Tasteful style, courteous and elegant musicianship, and technical ease are featured throughout by all three performers. One supposes, or hopes, this won’t be their last such collaboration. The liner notes are helpful, packing a good deal of information into an interview format. Max Christie Excess Lori Freedman Collection QB CQB 1923 (actuellecd.com) !! On Excess, distinguished Montreal-based clarinetist Lori Freedman presses the boundaries of contemporary musical discourse, challenging the clarinet’s, the individual composer’s and her own expressive depths. Pressing a point, she focuses on bass and contrabass clarinet, perhaps the most vocal of orchestral instruments, with every pitch ready to bend and break, a spray of overtones seemingly ever at the ready. Oh, yes, she challenges the listener as well. The program is bracketed by its most radical and expansive adventures. British composer Richard Barrett’s Interference requires the performer to sing over a fouroctave range and play a kick-drum as well as turn in a virtuosic explosion of wild burbling lines from the contrabass clarinet. It’s shamanic work, an invocation of spirits, a depth of expression that tests the limits of performance. At the opposite end of the CD, there’s French composer Raphaël Cendo’s Décombres, a work of “saturation” that fills the sound space with roaring contrabass clarinet and abrasive electronics. In between, Freedman reaches back to Brian Ferneyhough’s daunting Time and Motion Study I (1977) and explores three recent pieces. Freedman worked closely with Vancouverite Paul Steenhuisen on Library on Fire and Paolo Perezzani on Thymos, the former mixing vocal sounds with bass clarinet, the latter the sonic potential of the contrabass, elephants and all. It’s her own Withwhatbecomes that’s most remarkable: almost unvoiced, it’s filled with the quietest, most fleeting, evanescent sounds, more challenging in its own way than anything else here. Stuart Broomer Petra Stump-Linshalm – Fantasy Studies Various Artists Orlando Records or 0033 (orlando-records.com) !! The technical ability of the players on this new disc is enough to bind the listener to the chase of sounds they produce. A collection of different works for (mostly) winds, and most among them the various sizes of clarinet, the CD is named for its final multi-movement work, written by composer Petra Stump-Linshalm. This piece calls for four players dealing with 11 instruments between them (flutes, clarinets, recorders, cello, some also playing percussion). The performers produce eerily beguiling songs and dances. Tonality is a ghost of its former self, pale-to-vanishing. Stump-Linshalm is more concerned with finding voices to utter her thoughts that no one has heard yet, colours and consonants fresh from a finetuned imagination. Movement is mostly ordered but gradual, although some movements pop and spark with sudden furtive gestures. Nowhere is the dance faster than a lively funeral march. Fantastic indeed, and beautiful; and terrifying. Opening the disc are eight short movements for solo contrabass clarinet, which seems to be having its moment in new music. Uisge Beatha is an exploration in sound of the variety of flavours found in good peated scotch. My unmixed love of single-malt scotch whiskey is not matched by my feelings for the contrabass clarinet. I certainly admire the playing ability of Heinz-Peter Linshalm, who is featured on most of the disc, and his mastery of the double-length bass. There’s a mad take on The Teddy Bears’ Picnic as well; I leave the listener to find it. Max Christie Simon Martin – Musique d’art Quatuor Bozzini; Pierre-Alexandre Maranda QB CQB 1922 (actuellecd.com) ! ! Simon Martin is a younger Quebecois composer whose work is intimately connected with music’s relationship to materiality. His earlier work Hommage à Leduc, Borduas et Riopelle focused on specific works of three great painters, setting each segment with a small group of like instruments: a saxophone quartet, a trio of classical guitars and the string quartet, Quatuor Bozzini. Here the quartet turns to a more ambitious Martin work. Musique d’art is similarly concerned with meaning, with relationships among music, sound and noise and the philosophical and material status of the musical work, its title a play on the expression “objet d’art.” It’s a work of substantial scale, over an hour in length, and also great sonic mass. Quatuor Bozzini is extended to a string quintet here with the presence of double bassist Pierre- Alexandre Maranda. In some of the work’s five movements, his is the central voice. The first part moves from silence to a consonant drone that’s gradually engulfed in a gathering dissonance only to return to silence. Maranda’s role comes to the fore in the second part, his harsh, low-register bowing suggesting grinding tools. At another point, his savage, whipping glissandi feel as much 76 | April 2019 thewholenote.com

like a side effect of industry as a musical technique. The final movement alternates groups of sustained harmonics to develop a state that’s simultaneously tense and suspended, gradually creating a sense of timelessness. A kind of stable mystery, Musique d’art can only grow in significance. Stuart Broomer Samuel Andreyev – Music with no Edges HANATSUmiroir Kairos 0015025KAI (kairos-music.com) !! Before you even read the booklet notes that speak of a late work of Marcel Duchamp in relation to Samuel Andreyev’s sublime modernist composition, you realize – in the rhythm and stroke of reeds, strings and percussion – that the Canadian composer now living in France is a visualist musician. It is clear from the very first few bars of Vérifications (2012). Then rifling through the booklet as you might be tempted to do, the discovery of his scores reveals more of his method. Of the three scores depicted, only one is on staved paper; another is on a black sheet and the third is on graph paper. The notes are meticulously written, ramrod straight. But clearly Andreyev does not mean for them to sound that way. This is, after all, Music with no Edges. Fingertips holding bows and mallets are meant to be extensions of paint brushes, perhaps just as pursed lips on piccolos and other reeds become extensions of musicians painting with sound, rather than engaging in some aural activity. So, for instance, on Cinq pièces, Stopping, Passages and, indeed Music with no Edges, and the final Strasbourg Quartet, the steady drip, drip, drip of sound as if wet from a paint brush seems to fall from the ensemble HANATSUmiroir onto blank canvases creating vivid pictures of sound emboldened with emotion. Andreyev seems to write not only with a pencil but with his nerve endings as well. Raul da Gama Concert note: New Music Concerts presents the North American premiere of Andreyev’s cantata iridescent Notation (2017) featuring soprano Maeve Palmer at Betty Oliphant Theatre on May 26. Giya Kancheli – Sunny Night Frédéric Bednarz; Jonathan Goldman; Natsuki Hiratsuka Metis Islands 2019 MI-0009 (metis-islands.com) !! I get particular satisfaction from listening to an album rendered stylishly by gifted Canadian musicians. A good example is Sunny Night, a collection of 17 miniatures originally scored for the cinema and theatre by Giya Kancheli (b.1935) recorded at McGill University in Montreal by the duo of Frédéric Bednarz (violin) and Natsuki Hiratsuka (piano). The well-known Georgian composer Kancheli, currently living in Belgium, is an unabashed romantic when it comes to composing music. “Music, like life itself, is inconceivable without romanticism. Romanticism is a high dream of the past, present, and future – a force of invincible beauty which towers above, and conquers the forces of ignorance, bigotry, violence and evil,” states Kancheli in the liner notes. The highlights on Sunny Night are the two works for violin, piano and bandoneon (Jonathan Goldman), an instrument closely associated with the tango. Earth, This Is Your Son for the trio is episodic and dramatic, dominated by minor key tonalities. At just over five minutes it is also the most substantial work on the album. It’s more a concert piece than incidental music. Not only unapologetically melody-driven, romantic and tonal – often gently drawing on early 20th-century vernacular genres such as the tango – the musical language on Sunny Night also seeks to capture a single mood befitting the music’s original theatrical function. In that it succeeds admirably, though sometimes the effect verges on overt sentiment. There are times however when that is just what’s needed. Andrew Timar Reiko Füting – Distant Song Ensemble Vocal & Instrumental New Focus Recordings FCR216 (newfocusrecordings.com) !! Composer Reiko Füting (Germany b.1970), a faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music, offers an intriguing study of a juxtaposition of ancient and modern practice. The first two pieces on Distant Song, performed by AuditiVokal Dresden and Art D’Echo are als ein licht/extensio and in allem Fremden/wie der Tag/wie das Licht, based on works by Heinrich Schütz. The motet Verleih Uns Frieden Gnädiglich is framed by dynamic percussion, spoken word and lush, dissonant vocalizations meant to illustrate, in the composer’s own words, a “continuing compositional interest in time and space.” Meant as an epilogue to the first two pieces, eternal return (Passacaglia) features the Byrne:Kozar:Duo, in an alarmingly engaging duet for soprano and trumpet using text from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Next is mo(nu)ment for C, on the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo in which the ensemble loadbang reiterates “Je suis,” “Ich bin” and “I Am.” Dutch ensemble Oerknal performs Weg, Lied der Schwäne, a “swan song” on the subject of euthanasia based on Arcadelt’s renaissance madrigal, Il bianco e dolce cigno. The same ensemble backs vocal quartet Damask in versinkend, versingend, verklingend which recalls Debussy’s La cathédrale engloutie and quotes the 15th-century German folk song Gesegn dich Laub. In listening to Füting’s compositions, it becomes clear that while focusing on contemporary issues, he brilliantly incorporates musical fragments of memory which bridge present and past. Dianne Wells Empty Words by John Cage Varispeed Gold Bolus GBR035 (goldbolus.com/empty) ! ! Long before John Cage created Empty Words, he was already encouraging the performer of his music to “let go of his feelings, his taste, his automatism, his sense of universal, not attaching himself to this or that, leaving by his performance no traces, providing by his actions no interruption to the fluency of nature.” In their recording of this epic vocal piece the quintet Varispeed, together with ten supporting musicians, seem to have absorbed Cage’s radiant words as they plough through the shard-like composition completely absorbing its incandescence into their hearts and minds – as Cage would have it – to create a deeply committed and meticulously prepared performance, produced with magical results. Cage’s monumentally challenging work calls for invention over and above that precise quality that the composer built into his work. On Empty Words – literally words stripped of meaning – the ensemble uses male and female human voices propelled on a collision course with acoustic (woodwinds, strings, percussion and piano), electronic boards and prepared (glass) instruments. The result turns Cage’s effect of splintering and pointillist sound into an exploitation of a wide range of thewholenote.com April 2019 | 77

Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020
Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
Volume 25 Issue 8 - May / June 2020
Volume 25 Issue 7 - April 2020
Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020
Volume 25 Issue 5 - February 2020
Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020
Volume 25 Issue 3 - November 2019
Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019
Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019
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)