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Volume 9 Issue 3 - November 2003

  • Text
  • November
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Composer
  • Choir

DISC VERIES·

DISC VERIES· Introduction This month Toronto and places as far afield as Guelph, Waterloo, .London and Goderich will'play host to "Benjamin Britten - A Celebration". Organized by impresario extraordinaire Nicholas Goldschmidt, these events mark the 90th anniversary of the birth of. .the celebrated English composer. The reviews in this month's DISCoveries include only two mentions of Britten's work, both in the midst of Pamela Margles' essay about four new cello releases, so I . want to take this opportunity to mention a number of other Britten discs that I feel are particularly worthy of note. Two older releases on the local Marquis Classics label are dear to my heart, and they relate to the upcoming events: the Aldeburgh Connection's "Britten -The Canticles" (MAR 81185) features the voice of Benjamin Butterfield who will perform Cantir;le III~ Still falls the rain in Toronto on Sunday November n; and the Penderecki String Quartet's recording '.'Britten 11nd Shostakovich - Quartets No.3" (MAR 81173). Although the PSQ is not invqlved in the festival, Britten's third quartet will be perforr:ned by a stellar line-up that includes violinists Scott St. John and Erika.Ra.um, violist Steven Dann and cellist Shauna Rolston, who will also be featured in the Suite No.3 for solo cello. The Toronto performance is November 24. And speaking of the Britten solo cello suites, I we!Come you to revisit the review of recordi_mgs \Jy Pieter Wispelwey (Channel Classics CCS I 7198), TrulS M0rk (.Virgin Class.ics 724;3 5 45399 2 3) and Mstislav Rostropovich (DECCA London 421 859-2) which appeared in our February 2002 issue, whi¢h you can find online at www.thewholenote.com. One final.personal note on the music of · Benjamin Britten regarding a piece that I have admired since first encountering a recording by Harold Gomberg in my formative years: the Phantasy Quartet, Op.2 for oboe and strings. I'm pleased to report that this under-recorded gem is iricluded on a new Hyperion/Helios recording entitled "Benjamin Britten: ' Music for Oboe/Music for Piano" (CDH55154) featuring excellent performances by oboist Sarah Francis, pianist Michael Dussek and members of the Delme Quartet. .~.:;-*~ri:t Odgim1ls From the mea culpa file, I note that with the plethora of jazz guitar discs reviewed last month I missed an opportunity to cover a mostly contemporary classical guitar disc. U of T alumna. Vincea McClelland, who now makes her home in France, gave a ,. recital for the Toronto Guitar Society on October 25 and sent me a copy of her re- , cording "Guitar Originals" well in advance. In the shuffle of WholeNote's office move I must confess that I misplaced the disc and only found it again afte; the October issue went to print. I'm especially disappointed because I have been enjoying the disc immen-sely ever since it resurfaced. Among such mme expected names as Joaquin Rodrigo and Austin Barrios Mangore, the disc includes works by ,Lennox Berkeley and distinguished Canadian composer Harry Somers. Although released on the Luxembourg-based label Cod.a Productions (9402-1), "Guitar Originals" is available through the Canadian Music Centre's Distribution Service (www.musiccentre.ca). Another missed opportunity. was the chance to tie in a review of a new release, "Harvard Composers" (BIS-SACD- 1264), to the October appeararice of Mario Davidovsky as the Roger D. Moore Distinguished Visitor iri Composition at ' the University of Toronto. This excellent BIS recording features the Mendelssohn String Quartet performing surprisingly lyrical (at least for such a seemingly "academic" collection) works by Walter Piston, Leon Kirchner, Bernard Rands and the aforementioned Mario Davidovsky. They are joined by soprano Lucy Shelton for three lovely settings of poems by Verlaine and Baudelaire by Earl Kim . •And speaking of string quartets, I'd I ike to draw your attention to a pair of concerts that are very special to me in my other capacity as general manager of New Music Concerts. On November 30 NMC will present the Quatuor Molinari performing all eight of R. Murray Schafer's string quartets at Glenn Gould Studio. The Molinari is the only group in the world to have undertaken Schafer's complete cycle . since the demise of the renowned Orford Quartet which disbanded when Schafer's quartet oeuvre included only five works. The Molinari have recorded all eight quartets for the ATMA label and you can revisit our reviews of those discs ·from July I August 200 I (Nos.1 - 7, ATMA ACD 2 2188/89) and September 2003 (No.8, ATMA ACD 2 2201) at our website as noted above. Since. the days of the now defunct Massey Hall New Music Festival, in all its various guises, November has traditionally been new music month in . Toronto and.in this magazine. With that in mind, in closing I'd like to mention another new ATMA release ("Forum · 2000/2002", ATMA ACD 2 2328) which features one of this country's most important new music initiatives: 'the International Forum for Young

I . I Pinchas Zukerman playing Mozart, with and without the National Arts Centre Orchestra; Angela Hewitt's Hyperion double CD release of Bach's "English Suites"; a potpourri of seasonal releases; and rriuch, much more. Until then I wish you "happy listening!" We welcome your feedback and _invite submissions. Catalogues, review copies of CDs and comments should be sent to: WholeNote, 503 - 720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4. We also welcome your input via our website, www.thewholenote.com. David Olds Editor, DISCoveries EARLY MUSIC AND PERIOD PERFORMANCE Lost is My Quiet - English Songs from Purcell's Time Nancy Argenta/Daniel Taylor ATMA ACD22300 Bach - Suites a Violoncello Solo senza basso Ophelie Gaillard Ambroisie AMB9905/6 Canada's international independent label LOST-IS MY QUIET Two of the most accomplished singers Canada has produced share their love of English song from Purcell's time. "Lost is my quiet for ever" is Henry Purcell's 1691 duet, and one of two duets performed on this CD. The other, "My Dearest, My Faii- Bach_ Six unaccompanied est", is by Purcell's little-known Cello Suites younger brother Daniel. It is a treat Sergei Istomin to hear Nancy Argenta and Daniel Analekta FL 2 3114/5 Taylor featured together on disc for the first time, recorded at the same Bacli - Solo Cello Suites time as concert performances earlier Jaap ter Linden this year in Montreal, Guelph and Harmonia Mundi 2907346/47 Toronto. They are joined' by musi- The recordings liere reviewed offer cians from the respective places they us a presentation of how Bach's call home, London and Montreal: dance suites might·have sounded to Adrian Butterfield and Helene his ears, without the excesses of Plouffe, violins; Margaret Little, romantic interpretation. Bach is viola; Susie Napper, cello; Matthias known to haye numbered as personal Ma,ute and Sophie Lariviere, record- friends several dancing maste~s and ers, Christopher Jackson, harpsi- there is little doubt that he was ac- ~~~r!o~!~~1~~~~~~ 1~r~0f;~:~~ customed to French dance steps. The dances repr(fsented in his instrumental duets by Henry and Daniel Purcell, music would have been designed John Blow, and John Eccles, there with these dance steps in mind. are lively instrumental suites by Henry Jaap.ter Linden's harmonia mundi Purcell. · set is recorded beautifully, the cello These two singers are well known having a rich clear quality. Sergei for delightful interpretations of this Istomin's playing portrays a sense repertoire, which here ranges from of nostalgia and melancholy and this such languishing airs of unrequited love as "Oh! That mine eyes would melt into a flood" and "See the forsaken fair with streaming eyes" to playful vignettes such as "As Cupid roguishly one day ... stole out to play". A wonderful collection of court and theatre music from the 17th Century. Dianne Wells ALSO AVAILABLE: THESE TWO HIGHLY-ACCLAIMED ALBUMS . Commended by the International Handel Prize)ury N OVEMBER 1 - DECEMBE R 7 2003

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