8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 2 - October 2003

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  • Toronto
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2003-2004 VIRTUOSO X 7: MUSIC OF ANDERi HILLBORG (SWEDEN) AND PAUL ITEENHUllEN (CANADA) with Alain Trude I, trombone October 22, 2003, 8 p.m. Glenn Gould Studio, Canadia'n B(oadcasting Centre, 250 Front Sc W Co-presented with CBC Radio Two 94.1 Two New Hours Tickets: Adults I Seniors I Students ( L50 group sales) ESTONIAN PHILHARMONIC CHAMBER CHOIR November 7, 2003, 7:30, p.m. Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen St. E Co-presented with CBC Radio Two 94.1 Tickets: Adults I Seniors I Students (.50 group sales) · ESTONIAN PHILHARMONIC CHAMBER CHOIR and E.LME.R ISE.LE.R SINGE.RS November 9, 2003, 7:30 p.m. Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen St. E Co-presen{ed with CBC Radio Two 94.1 In ~ooperation wi'th the .Elmer lseler Singers Tickets: Adults I Seniors I Students (.50 group sales) BEAUTY ON THE. E.DGE.: MUSIC OF MELISSA HUI (CANADA) AND MAJA RATKJE (NORWAY) ' February 6, 2004, 8 p.m. Glenn Gould Studio, Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front St. W Co-presented with CBC Radio Two 94.1 T~o New Hours Tickets: Adults .5 I Seniors I Students (.50 group sales) CANADIAN VOICES: CELEBRATING PROFESSIONAL CHOIRS AT SO AND R. MURRAY SCHAFER AT 70 with Elmer lseler lingers, Elora Festival lingers, Pro Coro Canada, Studio de Mus,ique Ancienne de Montreal, Tafelmusik Baroque Choir, Va~couver .Chamber Choir, and Tonu Kaljuste, principal guest conductor , , · ' Mini Concerts: February 28, 2004, 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen St. E Gala Concert: February 29, 2004, 7:30 PM Barbara Frum Atrium, Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front St. W Co-presented with CBC Radio Two 94.1 Canada's six professional choirs celebrate the country's choral heritage in a festival of concerts. Features the world premiere of R. Murray Schafer's The fa!/linto lighd Tickets (Mini Concerts): Adults I Seniors I Students Tickets: 'Adults I Sen~ors I Students (.50 group sales) FREDDY'S TUNE.: MUSIC OF j.I. BACH, OMAR DANIEL, HARRY FREEDMAN, MELISSA HUI. JAMEi ROLFE, AND PAUL ITEENHUllEN with The Gryphon Trio April 22, 2004, 8 p.m. Glenn Goulfl Studio, Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front St. W Co-presented with Music"f oronto and CBC Radio Two 94.1 Two New Hours Tickets: Adults I Seniors I Students (.50 group sales) SOME.RS FE.ST: HARRY SOMERS' DEATH Of ENKIDU & THE !1ERl1AN Of ORfORD May 26-29, 2004, 7:30 p.m. Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence.Centre, 27 Front St. E Co-presented with Dance Theatre David Earle and the Pierrot Ensemble and Histrions presents HARRY IOMERI' THE fOOL & VIKTOR ULLMANN's THE E/'IPEROR Of ATLANTIS June 2-4, 2004, 7:30 p.m. Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence.Centre, 27 'Front St. E Tickets: Section A I Section B (.50 group sales) 15% Somel'Ifest discount for Senion and Students Ticket: Sales: 4 16.366. 7723 tor on l en rt s~.:ou ri c t: A • ,,, . ' ., " ._, ~, .,: W ~ ~ .. > • ' 94.~ The.Julie-Jiggs Foundation l~~+ •''=~.1;.;.. iJ!J Bank Financial Group 111c SOCAV foundatioll The Koerner Foundation The Laidlaw Foundation I'm Sterling Beckwith, a singer, choral conductor, music professor, voice coach, and concert organizer, working for the past 30- odd years out of York University, and with the Russian Studies Centre atU ofT. Right now? Three things: Organizing a concert of rare vocal works to be given during U ofT' s Festival of Soviet Jewish Culture, October 25-27. Teaching a new graduate course in Russian vocal . . repertoire at the Faculty of Music. Recording a CD of Shostakovich songs fo; bass, with pianist Cecilia Ignatieff. · Since returning from a research trip to Leningrad in the 1960s-my topic was the survival of church music and choral culture under the Soviet regime-I've taken on the mission of making RW)sian vocal music, and the \yonderful sounds of the Russian language, more accessible to North Americart'. perfonners, especially those who haven't spent years learning the lariguage iis I had to. Things have changed, of course, since the '60s. There are now plen: ty of native speakers in our midst, and many non-Russian concert singers now feel obliged to include a Russian group in their programs. So it's high time (9r the Russian repertoire to come into its own, and I'm delighted Lorna Macdonald and.the U ofT Voice faculzy are so supportive of this year's venture. · · Follow-up The Oct 25-27 Festival has two cO[ICens. Yours is "Three Generations of Vocal MasteJWorks ", the other is "Klevner behi.nd the Iron Qmain. " iwiat links · "hi.ghbrow" and "lowbrow" in this festival? .': How do minorities make their talents.heard and their cultural influence felt, despite all kinds of official and unofficial discrimination? This question should , concern observers of Canadian culture too, not just oddball students of things Russian like me. The SOVIET & KOSHER festival U ofT is presenting this · month (we should have added a question-mark to the title!) offers a great opportunity to explore the question in depth, through live music and film as well , as scholarly discussion. Our two concert programs include klezmer rarities; folksong, operetta, jazz, hit tunes from old movies, and avant-garde settingsjust as all kinds ,and levels of culture are up for expert analysis and discussion at the conference Anna Shtemshis has organized around them. . As it happens, the most memorably Jewish-sounding piece to come out of .~· · Soviet Russia was not written by a Jewish composer! Shostakovich's famouS .~. · song-cycle From Jewish Folk Poetry~which the Moscow audience at its premiere in 1955 was too afraid to applaud~has up to now been done here only in German or Russian, using the published versions. We're.going to remedy that, substitUting the original texts his translators drew on (not available until . recently). And we'li provide a context ofrelevant Soviet~ra music by other . talented composers which should make his remarkable achievement shine · even brighter. You 're working on acd of Shostakovich songs with Cecilia lgnaJiejf; you sing . Shostakovich on your Oct 25 concen program; and in March 2001 you helped· organize a mini-coriference on Shostakovich at U ofT. Is he a lifelong thread if} your work? There are precious few top-notch composers of any country who have written so much or so well for us bass singers. And none whose life and work are so deeply and painfully intertwingled with the entire course of Soviet history. Shostakovich has lately become a hot topic among scholars, especially in Brit~ airi_. In fact, the first international Shostakovich Conference we put on here· ' back in 1988,,in cortjuncticin with the COC' s Canadian premiere of his power~ . ful opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, helped start the trend. So for me, Shos~ takovich's music was a natural choice, though I'm not really an authority on him myself. · You lrU{n!ion thaJ thi.ngs have changed since the sixties in regard to Nonh American attitudes to thi.ngs Russian. iwiat would you say is ripe for dismantling in terms of society, culture and music now? What isn't! It has fascinated me throughout my career to see how often re- 10 October 1 - November 7 2003 ( >1'1U

sourceful musicmakers cross over the presumed boundaries between highbrow and popular, classical and folk, ancient and modem, exotic and mainstream. (Shostakovich himself was a prime example.) That same fondness for breaching arbitrary barriers and concocting diversity is probably reflected too in the way York's Music Department has developed since I helped found it a generation ago. These days, everybody is uneasy about the b3rriers, and trying in various ways to blur or redefine them. (Russia's musicians today are as prone to this as we are in Canada, despite their strong national ~tions.) The big institutions, symphony orchestras and opera companies are all looking for new ways to tap into the energy of other genres and idioms, as their former support base erodes. Commercial youth music is no longer quite the goldmine it once was, and people are hungry for something more authentic and more durable. Predictably, small groups on the periphery are doing the most inventive work, with very limited resources. What will eventually emerge from all this claim-jwnping and cross-dressing is anybody's guess. But it's an exciting time to be alive and making music, for creator8, performers, and educators _too. COUNTERTENOR COUNTER-POINT lost nwnth 's SnapShots featured a somewhat bantering ex~ change with counter-tenor Matthew White (avaiJQbk on our website at George CiveUo responds As a countertenor and on behalf of several colleagues - teachers and perfonners - I must challenge many of Mr. White's comments regarding the countertenor voice. His analysis is both a-historical and misleading. A countertenor sings in the alto range with a fully-developed adult male voice, where the vocal registers function in a particular configuration - un:ommon, but certainly not unnatural! A castrato was a male soprano with ·a voice ofunusual power, brilliance and range - a. phenomenon resulting from an undeveloped larynx but with adult resonance cavities and thoracic capacities. Mr: White confuses the two voicetypes when he talks about the countertenor voice as "an attempt to recreate the magic of a masculine presence married to a more ambiguous v~ colour".) It is simply inaccurate to say that countertenors are a "whole new voice type" created to recapture the eastrato's particular ethos. The vast history and repertoire associated with the countertenor is different from that of the male soprano. Music we sing today as countertenors was intended for countertenors. The only compromises we make, if any, are when we do not fully honour a · composer's intentions by clinging to technical misconceptions and aesthetic biases preventing the music's beauty from being revealed. ' Mr. White's colleagues who maintain that they do not do falsetto singing are correct. He states that we "use a · developed falsetto and reinforce the bottom register by selectively and delicately using our chest voices", and here clearly demonstrates that he lacks an understanding of vocal mechanics. A well-used countertenor . voice uses the entire Voice (chest and falsetto registers) from bottom to top. It is a question of how these primary registers are developed, combined and balanced - and in that order - that determines VOICE of any type. A developed falsetto is intrinsic to every properly-used slnging voice. As to his comment that countertenors do not speak in the same range in which they sing -neither do soprani. He continues with the statement that he is not concerned with the.opinions of other practitioners and doesn't , see "how this relates to the artist". Firstly, how can one not be concerned with the opinions and ideas of colleagues and others in your field? Secondly, these technical issues, which he dismisses as unimportant, · have very much to do with the artist. A highly developed technique provides artists with their expressive palette. When singing, every attempt to communicate with an audience, short of waving your arms around, is a result of vocal technique - faulty or otherwise. Lastly he claims that countertenor voices are limited in range and colour, better suited to smaller venues and to less dramatic repertoire. Would the 18th century Italian sacred oratorios that Mr. White is preparing perhaps then be better suited·to a heftier contralto voice_, being that this rep:­ ertoire is composed in a particularly , colourful and dramatic fashion? Mr. White, despite himself, has succeeded with the aid of good vocal instincts and good instruction. I suspect the outcome would have been different were he to rely on his academic misconceptions. • i ' I i j AN 2 9812 Alain Lefevre, pJCjno I 'M,ATHIF,U Concerto d¢,{2uebec, 'ADDIN,S.EU. Warsaw Concerto, GERSHWIN Concerto i,n F . . "Lefevre's supenor musicality and technique are ,abµnd~ntty effec;tive/' October 1 - November 7 2003 11

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