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Volume 9 Issue 2 - October 2003

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plify the important

plify the important contribution er among other notables) to. record made by Jewish composers to con- these eight works. The diverse intemporary music. The composers strumentation includes two pieces• - Ben Steinberg, Paul Ben-Haim, with larger ensembles (Bryce for Milton Barnes, .Lothar Klein, · flute, two harps, marimba and per­ Ernest Bloch, and Brian Cherney cussion, Rain Spell for flute, clar­ - should be familiar names to our · inet, harp, piano and vibraphone) ,. readers. No avant garde/in-your- two trios (And Then I Knew Twas face musical surprises here; each Wind for flute, viola and harp and composition emotes a command of Rain Tree for three percussion technique and harmony . players), one duo (Toward the Sea A collection is a tricky thing, as for alto flute and guitar) and three a sampling may not be enough to solo flute works (Itinerant, Voice spur one's interest for further andAir). listening and exploration. However, The performances are all impecthis is not the case with "Lyra cable-as one would expect from Hebralque" . Even though none of these experienced musicians-and the pieces are longer than 13 offer many subtle delights. For minutes, and, with the exception example, And Then I Knew contains of Barnes' charming harp solo hints of Debussy (one ofTakemit­ Dance of the Poplars, are in three su's favourite composers) but rathshort movements, there is a lot of er than a rich harmony, we have a excellent music here to enjoy o:ve'r leaner collection of sounds which and over again. Tiina Kiik Takemitsu: Chamber Music · Robert Aitken; Toronto New Music Ensemble Naxos 8.555859 ' 't~ Uit.:cfllm S ~ot ·:,_R~h f. Trt.i ·:ltim· MMt­ ·l-'~< Toru Takemitsu, who died in 1996, may be most well known for his scores for nearly 100 films ; including Ran and Woman of the Dunes. The chamber music and solo flute pieces on this CD are more intimate and restrained, walking a tight line between a controlled and linear formalism, and bursts of lyrical exuberance. This

minor, one of Bach's most rhapsodic, yet highly contrapuntal, works for keyboard, elicits interestirig parallels. Kim creates an exciting atmosphere with his dramatically propulsive style and fine sense of pacing. !{is sound is muscul?r, but it tends towards stridency in climactic moments, and his left hand can . become a bit heavy, particularly in accompagnamento passages. But he does create a vivid narrative, . and in the process captures the episodic nature of this work. And he achieves some exquisite moments, especially in the expressive cadenzas. Kim devotes ris whole Liszt, offering a most welcome program. , There is a compelling immediacy to Robert Silverman's live recording that even the occasional cough from the front rows can't dispel. His style is highly articulated, elegant and thoroughly engrossing. He. takes the most time of the three, setting up contrasts of mood throughout while maintaining the momentum, especially in, the fin~! massive fugue. An illuminating commentator, he supplies the interesting program notes which relate this work to the rest of his ·well-thought-out program of 19th century romantiC piano music. Pamela Margles ' Concert Notes: The American Liszt Society presents the Great Romantics Festival from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at McMaster University in Hamilton under the artistic direction of Dr. Alan Walker (see interview in this issue). Further information can be obtained at romantics. html · Renowned Ukrainian pianist Nina Kazimirova. who now makes her home in the Toronto area, will perform on December 14 at Timothy Eaton Memorial United Church (rescheduled from October 19). Her independent CD can be ordered or by calling 416 316-1543. OPERA Bizet: €armen Gheorghiu, Alagna, Mula, Hampson; Choeurs .La Lauzeta, Les Elements prchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse Miche!Plasson, conductor EMI 72435 57434 28 Angela Gheorghiu is hardly the first soprano to record Carmen, even though Bizet wrote· the role for a mezzo, but she might well. be the sweetest. Her seductiveness is subtle, her defiance naive ;- but Gheorghiu' s Carmen is dramatically and vocally convincing, especially with her thrilling lower register. ' If there is a casting problem, it is that Gheorghiu's Carmen is a more vulnerable character than Inv a Mula's lovely but uncharacteristically sturdy Micaela. Roberto Alagna plays Doff Jose splendidly as an ardent, hapless, and rather dimwitted lover - until he 'gets really nasty in the harrowing final scene, with his devastatingly ironic "ma Carmen adoree". ,Thomas Hampson is one of today's most enjoyable baritones, and he makes a beguiling Escamillo. But he does strain for the low notes in a role·written for a deeper, darker voice. Bizet wrote: Carmen, for the Opera Comique, which required spoken dialogue. After Bizet's sudden death, Guirard set the recitatives for Carmen's move to the Paris Opera. Although: Guirard' s recitatives were used· until fairly recently, today they are frequently dismissed as inauthentic. lively ensembles. . ~onductor Michel Plasson is a master of French 'operatic style. The naturalness of his rhythms and accents generates minimal rubato, maximum momentum, and -some very brisk tempos. The orchestra and chorus are exquisitely detailed and idiomatically colourful, and once the controversy surrounding this recording has settled down, it will undoubtedly be ranked with the great recordings of Bizet's masterpiece . Pamela Margles Concert Note: Royal Opera Canada presents Bizet's the living Arts Centre on Oct. 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, II, and at ihe Toronto Centre for the Arts on Oct. 16, 18, 23, and 25. Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex Colin Davis and the Royal Philharmonic Men of the Sadler Wells Opera chorus Soloists: Ronald Dowd, Harold Blackburn, Raimund Herincx, Patricia Johnson, and Albert Remedios Ralph Richarcl'son, narrator. ~MI 72435 85011 24M ; The original dialogue can sound One of those, now historic;, Sunday jarring on recordings, however, afternoon 'Omnibus' programmes especially when actors' voices are on CBS TV 'featured Leonard used, and it is often cut or adapted. Bernstein telling viewers like me On the other hand, the recitatives all they ever wanted to know about. as included here, create a flow of Stravinsky's opera-oratorio uninterrupted singing which serves Oedipus Rex. That was my first to intensify the drama. hearing of Oedipus, even though I This· recording also includes was a Stravinsky devotee. some fascinating items cut from the The scoring is for orchestra, first performance, notably the soloists and men's chorus and is recently rediscovered first version sung in Latin. The reason for Latin of the famous Habanera. Written was that it is a dead language and in the more conservative tradition is neither being added to nor sub-· of Gounod, it suits Gheorghiu, tracted from. This suits the who hapRens to be the best immutable Sophocles play Marguerite on stage today, , perfectly. · magnificently. A charming aria for · The young Colin Davis, he was Morales gives us a chance to hear 34 in 1961 when this recording more of the wonderful baritone was made, is very conscious of Ludovic Tezier. In fact, the the motor rhythms that maintain secondary roles are all brilliantly and reinforce the inevitability of the characterized, making for some pre-destined sequence of events. . 111 Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill 1ffif 1ffif fffi11ffif tm( NAXOS 11111 lllH 11111 11111 11111 The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music - a major new recording project - over 50 releases to come~ world premiere recordings - new releases every month Klezmer Concertos David Krakauer, clarinet 8.559403 Tinter Memorial Edition Volume 4: Haydn 1'fo~. IL\'!)'\ Sy1111>lwni~5 l03 'lkum Roll' ~ud JO" ~1 ,ondl)st' Symphonies 103 & 104: Georg Tintner conducting Symphony Nova Scotia 8.557236 ALL Naxos New Releases are available at H~V Superstore, 333 Yonge Street, Toronto North America's most . complete Naxos section October 1 - November 7 2003 55

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