8 years ago

Volume 6 Issue 10 - July/August 2001

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LAST MONTH Jukka-Pekka

LAST MONTH Jukka-Pekka Saraste's two triumphant SRO performances of Schoenberg's "Gurrelieder" rang down the curtain on his seven years as Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. There are now 15 different performances on CD of this mighty work, the last truly monumental cantata of the Romantic Era. The EMI version above was recorded live on 18 March 1968 in the Denmark Radio Studio in Copenhagen and remains one of the best, if not 'the' best, available. The forces are, as expected, immense. Martina Arroyo sings Tove, Alexander Young is Waldemar. Janet Baker, in magnificent voice, is an unforgettable Wooddove and Julius Patzak is definitive as the Speaker. A memorable performance of Gurrelieder requires a great deal more than simply getting the notes in the right order. A conductor must realize the arch of the composition as a whole. Under Janos Ferencsik, who most certainly had the big vision, the entire 100-minute score, which concludes with the most dazzling and uplifting sunrise in all music, passes all too soon. As a little bonus from EMI, The Suite for String Orchestra (1934), conducted by Norman Del Mar, brings the listener down from the dizzy heights rather well. EMI's remastering was expected to be faultless. It is actually exemplary! The enormous tuttis are handled with ease and the finest details are clarified. This recording is quite a remarkable achievement from every aspect. Bruce Surtees INDIE LIST Independent and small label releases BASHAW, Music of Howard Bashaw Various Artists Arktos Recordings 20039140 (2 CDs, Full Price) www ALTHOUGH THE 9 WORKS on this recording span 15 years of Bashaw's compositional output, there is a clarity of technique and idea which binds the music, developing chronologically through the seminal "Hosu," for solo piano, to 1998's "Music for Trombone and Piano." Often involving short, fragmentary bursts of instrumental colour, the music shifts between florid, torrential passages, sparse, elegant gestures recollecting Japanese painting, and mechanical, tense textures in which different tempo streams move simultaneously. Even with the fingerprints of Ligeti and Carter on his approach to rhythm and time, Bashaw maintains a solidarity and unexpected introversion throughout, notwithstanding the sometimes brutally physical piano writing. "Seven spheres" begins with a sequence of slow elegiac canons, each successive movement building on the basic multi-pulse premise, and culminating in the compressed fourth (central) section before deconstructing the music with the pointillist, scalar and celestial spheres that complete the structure. In "Hosu'', the cornerstone of his repertoire, Bashaw draws storms of swirling colour from the piano to create a breathing, poetic soundscape evocative of Liszt and Debussy. In "Music for Organ and Piano," the characteristic piano writing of"Hosu" merges with some of the mechanistic preoccupations of "seven spheres" to create an engagingly peculiar, multi-dimensional piece with "liveelectronics" associations. In the elegantly placid "Eolian Braid" ( 1995) the composer grapples with the question "What is this spell that wind chimes cast so effortlessly on the ear?", answering with intertwined rhythmic strands of great beauty. Five other works complete this excellent portrait of Howard Bashaw's music. Paul Steenhuisen CLASSICAL CD RECORDING PROJECTS Our All-Inclusive pack~ges include: •All recording, production and mixing by our Juno or Emmy award winning producers •All recording done in a world class 24 track digital studio OR live location multi-track recording (8, 16 or 24 tracks) •All artwork/graphics and design by top graphic designers •All final film and colour printing of covers and traycards • Manufacturing of all CD or cassette product • Barcode and catalogue number for your recording •All tape costs (2" analog tape optional), CDR Master and CD Glass Master • Distribution of your finished product to key local or regional retail music stores If you have already recorded your CD, take advantage of our All-inclusive Manufacturing Package which includes all CD art/design, final film, printing and manufacturing. YOUR PRODUCT IS OUR PRODUCT If you are considering a Recording Project call: PEROS MUSIC INC. 4 I 6-25 2-890 I PHONE 1-800-529-1696 TOLL FREE ANYWHERE IN CANADA AND THE U.S. 38 Wholenote JULY 1, 2001 -AUGUST 31, 2001

JULY 1, 2001 -AUGUST 31, 2001 wholenote 39

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