8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 4 - December 2003

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POT POURRI Solo Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan Artifact Music ART 027-1 For twenty years the Evergreen Club has been performing contemporary Western art music on a set of instruments - known as Gamelan Degung - from the Sundanese cultural area of West Java. Up to now, Evergreen has only made the occasional foray into the rich traditional repertoire for this ensemble. However, with this new CD, we are treated to six Sundanese pieces, and the exquisite suling (bamboo flute) playing of guest Indonesian performer, Burhan Sukarma. Gamelan Solo, by Evergreen member Mark Duggan, is the only Canadian piece. As usual, the playing is outstanding, and the interweaving textures of gongs, drum, metallophones, zither and flute are translucent and fluid. Occasionally, too, the music takes on a more percussive and rhythmic focus as in track 14, Rengga-Renggi, composed by Burhan Sukarma. Duggan's piece is much the longest, lasting 20 minutes, and spanning nine continuous tracks each with a oneword descriptive title like "delicate" (track 5) and "buzz" (track 6). Stylistically it is not at all Indonesian, as the liner notes confirm, and therefore Gamelan Solo provides strong aesthetic contrast. It is a pity that there are no liner notes for any of the Sundanese pieces, or even translations of the track titles. Many ofEvergreen's usual or potential audience may be unfamiliar with Sundanese music, and some background information would enhance the listening experience. Nevertheless, this CD is highly recommended; an ideal seasonal gift sure to provide a warm and alluring soundscape for a cold winter's day. Annette Sanger Spring any day now David Greenberg David McGuinness Concerto Caledonia Marquis 7 7871 81325 2 9 74 Don't be fooled by this recording's description, "Music of 18th century Scotland and elsewhere." Unlike Greenberg's usual presentation of jigs and reels, this one leans to "the wild side." With Greenberg playing violins, McGuinness on various keyboards, and Concerto Caledonia, the listener is in for a very special treat. The title track, a 1980s tune by Fred Frith, is the first surprise. My favourite, Echidna 's Alf (of You) by Frank Zappa, is filled with signature musical mood swings which acquire a "classical rock" quality in this arrangement. Even 16th century 0 lusty May has the sparkle and freshness of a good old Dixieland jam session in the hands of these performers. The traditional offering includes tunes from William Christie's 1820 collection. With harmonium accompaniment, some tunes take on an almost-jug-band mountain country feel. The harpsichord is also used effectively throughout, and the moving solo melodica sets the mind to thinking of far off places. This is not really a complaint, but a lot of this recording is just not Scottish! So, I say, "Buyer beware!" You just might freak out when you hear this. Not your ordinary fiddle recording. Frank Nakashima Revecy Trillium Brass Quintet Stonehouse Sound SDA TBQ03 I've always been intrigued by artists who depart somewhat from the accepted norms in their work. The usual instrumentation of a brass quintet is two trumpets, a horn, a trombone and a tuba. The Trillium Brass Quintet uses a bass trombone in place of the tuba to achieve a leaner sound that still has a wonderful depth. This difference in colour immediately sets the sound of this group apart from the many other brass quintets I've heard. The opening track, Revecy Venir du Printans by Claude LeJeune is . wonderfully energetic and cleanly played. Jennifer Schofield's horn playing in particular is startling in its agility. The group keeps up the high WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM standard of playing in the opening track through an accessible program of music ranging from the Renaissance up to the Impressionist period. Many of the works on the disc were transcribed for brass quintet by members of the group, and all of them are welcome additions to the repertoire. The twenty-six tracks on this CD include a Mozart Divertimento, a Brahms Intermezzo as well as music by Debussy, Dvorak and Bach. This is a fine debut CD from an accomplished group of young musicians, and I hope to see another recording from them in the not too distant future. Merlin Williams Sien to Miguel de la Bastide La Bastide Productions LBCD-0003 Flamenco music has undergone many incarnations since it originated some 200 years ago. Originally, if you didn't have a singer or, secondarily, a dancer, you really didn't have flamenco. Then, around the middle of the last century, guitar gradually started coming to the fore, and became less of an accompanying instrument. These days the guitar is the star, and players like Paco de Lucia are practically household names. Here in Toronto, we are very fortunate to have an authentic flamenco guitar master of our own, Miguel de la Bastide. "Siento", his second CD, is a gratifying collection of eight original songs, designed to appeal to both the aficionado and the mainstream listener. The tracks alternate between traditional style, acoustic flamenco, with guitar, palmas (handclaps) and percussion, and more accessible "coffee bar" flamenco with electric bass, saxophone and even African percussion instruments, which lend depth and exotic appeal to the songs on which they appear. But it all works, because the unifying thread is Mr. de la Bastide's impeccable technique and clear, crisp style. Whether you're a fan of dazzling million-note-a-minute runs, or the slow groove, you 'II find it here. With this disc, Miguel de la Bastide proves himself both a solid composer and a skilled guitar player. If we're lucky, he'll stick around and continue to enrich Toronto's musical landscape with his brand of authentic flamenco. "Siento" can be found at Cathy Riches SEASONAL FARE Songs for a Winter's Night: A sampling of seasonal CDs Yuletide Fires Chor Leoni; Diane Loomer Skylark SKY0303 From Vancouver comes Chor Leoni's new release "Yuletide Fires". This male vocal ensemble gives a robust flavour to medieval material like Hodie Christus Natus Est, but is equally well equipped to handle a spiritual like Rise Up Shepherd. With well over an hour of music, this CD is a feast of lesser-known and more solemn Christmas repertoire. It teatures an especially stirring and lovely Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen (Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming). The Mystery of Christmas Elora Festival Singers Noel Edison Naxos 8.5544179 ·mr \IVSlEI\' OF (llfllS'l''rt\-'< Hl~- lfJN~ l:O:ll!Eintl ~ili;t.q-1., ~~f:4 f.'~·1 1;m1x1 M.KY~llM•

The debut album on Deutsche Grammophon from this stunning young Russian soprano.' ... She is at once one of the most accomplished and one of the most eajoyable singers of her generation.'· The Washington Times The debut album on Deutsche Grammophon. "America's best young Classical musician.'· Time Magazine Exciting debut album on Deutsche Grammophon. "He is stunning.'· The New York Times A complete album of world premiere recordings housed in a deluxe package. The world's reigning soprano returns with By Request, a greatest hits collection including two previously unreleased tracks; Verdi's Ah fors ... sempre libera from La Traviata and Strauss' Cacile. AVAILABLE AT ALL FINE MUSIC STORES

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