1 year ago

Volume 25 Issue 8 - May / June 2020

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Performing
  • Performances
  • Orchestra
  • Musicians
  • Jazz
  • Recording
  • Toronto
  • Musical
  • Concerts
"COVID's Metamorphoses"? "There's Always Time (Until Suddenly There Isn't)"? "The Writing on the Wall"? It's hard to know WHAT to call this latest chapter in the extraordinary story we are all of a sudden characters in. By whatever name we call it, the MAY/JUNE combined issue of The WholeNote is now available, HERE in flip through format, in print commencing Wednesday May 6, and, in fully interactive form, online at Our 18th Annual Choral Canary Pages, scheduled for publication in print and flip through in September is already well underway with the first 50 choirs home to roost and more being added every week online. Community Voices, our cover story, brings to you the thoughts of 30 musical community members, all going through what we are going through (and with many more to come as the feature gets amplified online over the course of the coming months). And our regular writers bring their personal thoughts to the mix. Finally, a full-fledged DISCoveries review section offers cues and clues to recorded music for your solitary solace!

Beat by Beat | New Music

Beat by Beat | New Music GHISLAINE LANTEIGNE Personal POV on the Pandemic DAVID JAEGER The consequences of a pandemic are, as we have all experienced, incredibly far- reaching. The near complete closing down of life as we had known it has had such a sweeping affect on us all, we barely have any tangible evidence of what we might otherwise have accomplished in the spring of 2020. And of course, the projects we had proposed for this period of time all have roots in the past, with planned steps leading, one after the other, towards the completion of works of art we would have been proud to share with our public. In my particular case, a unique project, several years in the making, was to have seen light of day in both Toronto and in Halifax late this past April. Poetry and Song was designed as a touring program in which I was to join two poets, a soprano and a pianist, to reveal not only recently composed art songs, but also to share the usually hidden processes used in the collaboration that led to the creation of these works. The story of this collaboration begins nearly five years ago, when I first encountered the artistry of soprano Christina Raphaëlle Haldane. Ms. Haldane was pursuing her DMA at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music under the guidance of Professor Darryl Edwards, when I first heard her singing Handel arias. I was so struck by the beauty of her singing, I wanted to compose for her. And once I discovered the inspired poetry of her father, the Irish Canadian awardwinning novelist and poet, Seán Haldane, I was convinced it should be his poetry I should set. The ensuing events are best told by Haldane herself, in the notes to her new recording, ...let me explain. She writes, “I have been musing on Dad’s words my entire life and am delighted to be finally able to sing them! My chance encounter with producer and composer David Jaeger occurred three weeks after my move back to Toronto in the fall of 2015. I was asked at the last minute to sing a recital of Handel arias at the Arts and Letters Club, and David happened to be in the audience that serendipitous day. An enriching collaboration and friendship has ensued, which led to the creation of The Echo Cycle, a song cycle conceived for my solo soprano voice, set to six of my Dad’s poems. David gravitated towards poems with sonic overtones and captured their sense of boundlessness, at times playful, yet at times full of gravitas, with his thoughtful through-composed settings. My delight in virtuosity was duly humoured in this cycle, and these songs fit me like a vocal glove. I premiered The Echo Cycle on May 12, 2018.” The Echo Cycle has subsequently been released as part of ...let me explain on the Redshift Records label. And the publication of Seán Haldane’s newest collection of his poetry this spring only whets the appetite for further songs to come. The collaboration with Haldane, the author, led me to connect with his friend, David Cameron, a Scottish poet and novelist living in Belfast, NI. Cameron is well known, having been awarded the Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry in 2014 for his collected poems published by Rune Press as The Bright Tethers. One of his poems, Night Singing, is in the school curriculum in Ireland. My interest in Cameron, however, was sparked by the inherent music I discovered in his verses, and I composed five songs for voice and piano, on Cameron poems that I found to be irresistible. Christina Haldane gave the premiere of the cycle, given the collective title I Never Knew, last November, in The Piano Lunaire series in Toronto, with pianist Adam Sherkin. Cameron and I have plans for another, larger-scale work, in which both music and poetry will interact. With such a fruitful and, in fact, ongoing collaboration within our circle, it seemed a logical next step to organize public performances with the direct participation of the creators, poets Cameron and Haldane and me, the composer, and the interpreters of the new works, Christina and her accompanist, Carl Philippe Gionet. The opportunity to arrange for audiences to be able to meet creative partners in a current collaborative effort led us to organize performances in which works of both the poets and composers were to be presented. These were to take place in Toronto and in Halifax, where Christina Haldane is now teaching as a faculty member of the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University. Dates with halls had been booked, travel grants were received, and hopes were high that the tour could go ahead. Under the current circumstances, our planned events have been postponed, and can hopefully be rescheduled in the fall. Of course, it’s too soon to be certain about anything, and planning has become an exercise in hypothesis making. Many artists have sought solutions through creative uses of technology, and certainly much will be learned in this respect. Composing and the writing of poetry continues, but its ultimate outlet remains, for now, a question. David Jaeger is a composer, producer and broadcaster based in Toronto. At the Crescent Theatre, Belfast in May 2019: (left to right) Carl Philippe Gionet, Christina R. Haldane, Seán Haldane, David Jaeger C. M., David Cameron 28 | May and June 2020

Beat by Beat | Music & Dance Quarantine-Fuelled Recalibration JENNIFER NICHOLS Music plays a role in absolutely everything I do, professionally and artistically! It is the reason why I started dancing as a child. I did play an instrument briefly as a teenager, but ultimately using my body as my instrument spoke to me more, and so this is the path I pursued. I danced for ten years with Opera Atelier, which deepened my love of Baroque music and introduced me to the world of opera. Through this exposure, I’ve been fortunate enough to create several choreographic works for opera companies, for both singers and dancers alike. Designing movement that complements vocal phrasing, not just for those who have to execute it, but for those experiencing it, is an entirely unique and satisfying process. My work in television and film allows me to explore music from every different time period and of every genre, and this is thrilling. Often it means playing with the juxtaposition of a movement or dance scene with a very unexpected musical pairing, to achieve a narrative effect. And some of my favourite moments in this work is in the edit suite after everything has been shot, when we’re working with scored music and overlaying it in precise moments to find a cadence that enhances the drama or expresses the choreography in a new light. Music can change not just how you hear, but how you ‘see’ everything. My work as director of Hit and Run Dance Productions involves designing tailor-made performance experiences for any type of event or showcase, and this typically means selecting the music first, to create the mood or vibe. Everything else, including the choreography, follows from there. I’m the type of choreographer who visually designs the basic structure of piece in my mind first once I hear the music. Music inspires and dictates everything I do, rather than approaching it from the movement first and then placing it on the score. And finally, my ballet fitness company relies heavily on music, because all of our classes are conducted to curated playlists. Music is vital here; it has the power to lift the spirit of a room full of people, to give them energy to push through difficult physical exertion and to encourage that amazing endorphin release, the high that comes from movement. This is where I get to really play, to explore every genre of Jennifer Nichols music, to discover new artists, play with rhythm, base line and flow. Curating these playlists and witnessing how they inspire my students is one of my favourite things to do! Of all the things I was doing when COVID-19 hit, the one I have had to let go of completely is dancing in the presence of others. While we can still present work online, live performances with an audience and dancing together in the studio in a class setting or rehearsal is obsolete. This means absolutely all of my professional work has been affected. Last Saturday (April 18) I was to have premiered a new piece for Esprit Orchestra’s New Wave Festival, a solo work for Maurizio Azzan’s “Where the here and now of nowhere is”, with cellist Cameron Crozman. Sadly, this performance (and the entire festival) has been postponed, as have all performances and festivals around the world. Absolutely every artist across the globe has been affected. All of our work for Hit and Run Dance Productions, has also ground to a halt, including an extraordinary site specific performance with conceptual artist Brendan Fernandez, ‘Free Fall’, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which has likewise been postponed. My studio, the Extension Room, is closed for business, as of course we cannot gather to dance and sweat together. Unfortunately, although we are government-mandated to shut down, we (along with other small businesses) are still obliged to pay our rent (which, GENEVIEVE CARON A PORTRAIT OF MATTHIAS PINTSCHER Sunday May 31, 2020 @ 8 Introduction @ 7:15 New Music Concerts Ensemble | Matthias Pintscher Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W. music by Matthias Pintscher (Germany 1971) Jaehyuck Choi (South Korea 1994) Olga Neuwirth (Austria 1968) This concert has been POSTPONED. We are working to provide new concert dates for previously postponed events for our 2020-2021 50th anniversary season. Please consult our website for updates. | 416.961.9594 Neuwirth Choi May and June 2020 | 29

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Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)