8 years ago

Volume 8 Issue 10 - July/August 2003

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  • Bach

Celtic dances in a most

Celtic dances in a most interesting and creative way. I wish this was the crossover album here presented. Instead we have 15 tracks (50 minutes) of Bach each given a "pop" make over by composer Magnus Fiennes. Nowhere is the origin of the Bach movements listed, instead there are titles such as Echo or Bombay Minor. This dearth of information is in striking contrast to the plethora of glossy images of St. John on the liner booklet. If you love Vanessa-Mae, and feel that this sort of tarting up of Bach makes it more accessible, then you will love this CD. It seems a very high price to pay, though - does it make the music more accessible or will the listener only then be disappointed when he hears Bach minus guitars and rhythm section? Does the sex appeal add to the music, or is it a deliberate tactic to draw attention away from the artistry? It seems so much better to find an original voice (ironically, this is what St. John has when she lets the music stand on its own - leaves her ego out of it), wh_ich is what Parmela Attariwala has achieved on her CD, "Sapphire Skies". Attariwala is someone who has ohviously taken seriously the exploration of her cultural and musical roots. By choosing like-minded performers who seem equally at home in mixed idioms (James Campbell clarinet, Ed Hanley tabla and singer Lisa Lindo among them), she has examined traditional South Asian music and the result is a contemporary forn1at that fuses Eastern/ Western -Traditional/Classical styles in a crossover that is both satisfying and extraordinarily beautiful. Attariwala weaves as delicate a sound from her compositions as she does from her violin and viola. This is a recording to treasure. Kevin Mallon 40 Editor's Note: At a time when Sony Canada has closed its classical department it is especially worthy of note when a Canadian artist like Lara St. John is signed to an exclusive international contract with Sony Classical in New York. We can only hope that this will draw attention to, and perhaps even lead to a Sony release of St. John's earlier independent recordings of Bach's solo works and concerti. Concert Note: Lara St. John is featured in a "mostly Mozart" concen at the Brott Music Festival in Hamilton on July 12. WORTH REPEATING Lothar Klein - The Philosopher in the Kitchen and other vocal works Maureen Forrester; Roxolana Rosiak; Joel Katz; Orville White; Monica Whicher (Independent) RDRCD 7780 This excellent anthology of the vocal music of the Toronto composer and educator Lothar Klein spans five decades and employs as many languages. Maureen Forrester is at the top of her game in the delightful title track, The Philosopher in the Kitchen. The bilingual text, in French and English, is derived from thought-provoking culinary essays by the legendary gourmet Brillat Savarin. A live performance from 1975 with Boris Brott leading the short-lived CBC Summer Festival Orchestra, it is a must-have for any fan of this great singer. Soprano Roxolana Roslakjoins pianist William Aide in a sensitive performance of Klein's 1975 Emily Bronte settings, Three Melancholy Songs. For those who enjoy cock and bull stories, there's Hemingway, in the form of six key passages from The Old Man and the Sea. The late American baritone Orville White contributes a magisterial reading of the work, though the 1965 era sound quality leaves something to be desired. Coruscating percussion and exotically tuned harps fo1111 the backdrop for Joel Katz's fine performance of the Holocaust "memorial meditations", Hachava. A companion piece, the remarkable Harmonic Symphonies of Celestial Revelation, features soprano Monica Whicher and violist Max Mandel. Part viola corlcerto and part song cycle, it is a sometimes thorny, involved work which rewards the listener with a sublime apotheosis. Daniel F_oley INDIE LIST L'adieu au s.o.s. Monique Jean empreintes DIGITALes IMED 0366 Jalons: Francis Dhomont empreintes DIGITALes IMED 0365 Anyone interested in electroacoustic and acousmatic music in Canada 1s already familiar with the EMPRE­ INTES DIGITALES label and its catalogue of excellent artists and CD's. Jalons and l 'adieu au s.o.s. are no exception. Jalons (meaning "milestones") is a collection of more obscure, lessperformed works from Francis Dhomont's output between 1985 and 2001. A master of the acousmatic field he sowed and cultivated, Dhomont is also a sensitive recycler, recontextualizing and reworking the sound materials he carefully kneads. Some sources tire (the water sounds, the requisite footsteps, etc.), while others sparkle (the strings in Un autre printemps, and the guitar-based timbres of En cuerdas). These are sounds we know' materials we hear or confront every day in the natural world, here explored in great depth. From John Cage we learned to the extreme that every sound can be music, and from Dhomont we learn that every sound is a doorway to elsewhere. an ambiguous and mysterious portal. Experts will recognizi:: the software and processes employed on the sounds - the trademarks. icons. and (at worst) cliches of the style - all the while remaining appreciative of the special care taken by the artist, and the attentiveness of his compositional ear. In a related vein, composer Monique Jean's L 'adieu au s.o.s. (A farewell to S.0.S) explori::s a similar technical world, and a contrasting expressive voice. The difference between the two composers is that while both are capably occupied with frenetic and colourful textures, Jean is more likely than Dhomont to i::xtend further into quiet, into a concentrated, multi-faceted stasis. Francis Dhomont's materials tend to be clipped in a quick, hright inhalation at the end of a phrasi::. while Jean allows her mati::rials to settle, to breathe a touch longi::r. In the accompanying liner notes, Jean herself outlines aspects of this difference, writing that in Danse de l 'enfant esseulee, the form "develops around the idea of the stoppage of time, or more precisely. its suspension ... that of a momentary pause of sound, as much tilled with tension as are points of suspension, inconclusive." While her music explores similar sonic terrain as othi::r acousmatic composers, Jean's unhurried approach through her chosen soundscape and greater than usual comfort level with softer dynamic levels are an integral part of her individual voice. While her colleagues may have equal or superior technical skills in the electroacoustic music studio, her attention to the subtleties separates her work from the crowd. Paul Steenhuisen Music for Cello and Piano (Franck, Vierne, Kuerti) Kristine Bogyo/ Anton Kuerti Doremi DDR 71141 Anton Kuerti is acknowledged by critics and his peers to be one of the great ones in his field. Recently he drew his fans' attention to the music CONTINUED ON !'AGE 4~ July 1 - Sept 7 2003

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