8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 4 - December 2003

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16 MUSICAL INSTRUMENT AUCTION Wednesday, December 17 at 7pm Preview: Tuesday, December 16, 3-8pm Instruments for all levels of players; pianos by Steinway, Mason & Risch, Bechstein, Knabe and Yamaha; violins by Dallinger (Vienna), Kuczer (Canada), Collin­ Mezin (France) and Horsteiner (Germany); cellos by Durer (Eisleben, Germany); bows by German and French makers, including Morizot; from . the personal collection of Moe Koffman, a fine Haynes gold flute, a finr Powell silver C piccolo and two other flutes by Artley and Haynes. Viennese Violin labelled Sebastian Dalliger Illustrated catalogues will be available from our offices and online. ListMe is a unique mailing list servicing Toronto's New Music organizations. It is for everyone who wants to be kept informed about the many New Music events and concerts in town. O.S to ioin up to 50% discount from sp~cial promotional partners one FREE CONCERT with your registration ListmG:ca funding prn lner.s Art "~" Gallery of Ontorio ' • THe ONTAl'l l O T tULLIUM FOU NllATI OH Tol9. MliilctiL VUuy by Colin Eatock Arriving an hour early The pre-concert lecture has - for those who wish to avail themselves .of it - become a staple of Toronto's musical life. These days, many organizations in the city precede their performances with a knowledgeable speaker offering insight into the evening's programme. Unfortunately such lectures generally pass unnoticed by the press - so let's change that right here. November 3, 2003: New Music Concerts has a history of presenting discussions with some of the biggest names in modern music: Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez and John Cage have spoken in the past, usually in conversation with NMC artistic director Robert Aitken. · . Tonight, several dozen people showed up at the CBC's Glenn Gould Studio for a lobby chat by the visiting German composer Helmut Lachenmann, preceding a concert of his music. Surprisingly, among those present were some inusic students from Rochester's Eastman School of Music, who chose to come to Toronto when American immigration officials refused to allow the composer to enter the USA. Lacheninann, a gaunt, soft-spoken man in his late 60s, replied to Aitken's questions with mystical utterances: "After h·earing a piece of music, I should be a different person than I was before." And, "The question, of understanding or not understanding does not exist." There was little that he said to directly describe the way his music sounded. However, based on the first half of the concert it sounds as though Lachenmann writes the kind of 1960s atonal stuff that frankly leaves me cold. By intermission I had heard enough, but as I discreetly .exited the CBC building, I thought about the pre-perforniance chat. While it didn't seem to do anything to help me "appreciate" the music, I do think that it gave me some respect for the composer - a man who stands by his 40-year-old musical convictions, apparently unconcerned w!th popularity and the winds of fashion. · There's something sad but admirable about that. November 5, 2003: Alas, the composer was unable to attend tonight's pre-concert lecture, before a concert by the Toronto Mendelssohn ·Choir: Felix Mendelssohn died in 1847.·Instead, a small crowd of perhaps 200 heard a talk by the CBC's Rick Phillips - delivered in that blend of slick professionalism and down-to-earth folksiness that is a trademark of our national broadcaster. v Phillips covered his topic - the oratorio Elijah - Well: he talked about the Mendelssohn's career as a c'omposer and conductor, about his work in establishing the Leipzig conservatory, about the composer's choice of subject matter and his use of counterpoint. He even touched briefly on Felix's talented sister, Fanny. But one point made by Phillips stood out in my mind: "To the Victorians, this work was only behind Messiah in its status." When a member of the audience asked if the piece is still done much today, Phillips replied that in North America it has become a rarity. Times have changed: a century ago, Elijah would have been a major musical event in Toronto. On this occasion, giving just one performance - and in Massey, rather than the larger Roy Thomson Hall - the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir only managed to sell about three-quarters of the seats for this masterpiece by its namesake. And in this harsh light, the TMC's splendid reading took on an added aspect of box-office bravery. There's something sad but admirable about that, too. It seems that pre-concert chats appeal only to a minority of concert-goers, who have the time and interest to show up an hour early for a performance. Of course there's nothing wrong with not showing up - ultimately; music should be able to speak for itself. But at their best, pre-concert lectures and chats are an art form in their own right, with the power to enrich our perceptions of what we hear. Colin Eatock is a composer and writer in Toronto who contributes to the Globe and Mail and other publications. His T.O,. Musical Diary is a regular monthly feature of The WholeNote. He can be reached at WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM DECEMBER 1 2003 - FEBRUARY 7 2004

anniversary .~ .· - The Great Gala Saturday, January 31, 2004, 8:00 pm Toronto Children's Chorus Jean Ashworth Bartle, C.M., O.Ont. Founder/Music Director . With Guest Artists: · Sir Andrew Davis, Sir David Willcocks, Stuart Laughton, Russell Hartenberger and Members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Special cameo appearances by Ben Heppner, tenor and Catherine Robbin, mezzo soprano. Featuring works 1bv Bach, Daley, Elgar, Handel, Henderson, Honegger, Purcell, Schubert, Sir Andrew Davis and Sir David Willcocks. Single tickets starting ·at .00 which includes a post concert champagne reception for, all ticketholders. Come and join the Celebration. . ' SINCE 1978 Toronto Children's Chorus jean Ashworth Bartle C.~ . , O.Ont. Founder /Music Director · Roy Thomson Hall Tickets: 416·593·4828 or DECEMBER 1 2003 - FEBRUARY 7 2004 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM 17

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