8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 7 - April 2004

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Music THEATRE SPOTLIGHT CONTINUED Weill (running April 28 to May 15), h,e combines the work of European and Canadian composers and chanteurs like Claude Leveille, Jean-Pierre Ferlancl, Luc Plamondon, Jacques Breland Emile N eligan . "At first my idea was to mainly du Kurt Weill's pieces, but it's a bit too sad," says Mignault, who says that the show tries to identify what makes a performer willing and able to bare their soul in front of an audience. BEAUTIFUL DEEDS REVIVED Pleiades Theatre is reviving Beau Gestes and Beautiful Deeds by local folk pioneer Marie-Lynn Hammond from April 9 to May· 9 at Artword Theatre. Hammond is a member of String band who's also well known for her appearances on CBC Radio. In the mid-'80s she created the piece, based on the true stories of her Anglophone and Francophone grandmothers, in which she appears as "a Greek chorus ofone," she explains. "I bring the grandmothers back to life, and then I interrogate them with the songs." Since her last performance in .the show, 'Tm twenty years closer in age to my grandmothers," she says. "It's going to be interesting for me to do it with a twenty-year age difference and the maturity and perspective that brings." STILL COOKIN' Music theatre entrepreneur Jeffrey Latimer (Forever Plaid) has teamed up with Joan Mathers' TaurPro Entertainment to remount the phenomenally successful CanStage production of Marion J . Caffey's Cookin' at the Cookery. With the original cast of Jackie Richardson and Monte go Glover, the tribute to blues diva Alberta Hunter opens an eight-week run at the New Yorker Theatre on April 13. (The Grand Theatre has also announced that the show will run from March 1 to 24, 2005 in London, Ontario. Casting has not been announced.) A final note: After playing the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt's Two Pianos, Four Hands ran from March 5 to 21 at Le Theatre Ginza in Tokyo. It has now moved on for a three-week stint in Australia. BooK SHELF music and poetry. And each, when it comes down to it, deals with a severely dis functional family. Lee builds up a solid case, citing plenty of evidence, such as the way recurring images in Aeschylus ~ecome musical leitmotivs in Wagner, with the role of the revolutionary Greek chorus being taken over by the equally revolutionary Wagnerian orcl).estra. In any event, Lee's arguments are potent and thought-provoking, and are bound to open up paths into Wagner's magisterial work. by Pamela Marg/es Readers have been asking how we select the books under review. While we look for the most interesting new books on classical music and ja'zz, we tend to favour those with a local connection - a related up-coming event, a Canadian author or subject. But, with so many possibilities, and so little space, readers cannot assume that Concert Note: a book's absence from the column The Canadian Opera Company is my comment' on the book. embarks on its presentation of We welcome your suggestions . Wagner's Ring cycle with Die and comments. Send them by e-mail Walkure, p,:esented on April 8, 14, to or 17, 20, and 23 at 7. 00 and on to WholeNote 's Book Shelf, 503-720 April 4 at 2.00, at the Humming­ Bathurst Street, Toronto ON, M5S bird Centre. 2R4. Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks by M. Owen Lee University of Toronto Press 120 pages paper .95 As both a noted classical scholar, now retired from the University of Toronto, and a widely-heard broadcaster and writer on opera, Father Owen Lee is ideally qualified to explore the influence of the culture of ancient Greece, and especially the Oresteia of Aeschylus, on the most controversial composer of all time. This brief book is deceptively transparent and charming in style, making light work of Lee.'s considerable ability to excavate sorrie of the infinite layers of Wagner's Ring cycle. The cycle of plays by Aeschylus and Wagner's cycle of operas are both, according to Lee, "tragedies, telling one vast, overarching tale of gods and men, of terrible deeds and their punishment, of gods who pass away, of man's redemption, &nd of the eventual establishment of a new order." Both transform ancient myths, incorporating drama, architecture, Friends Along the Way: A Journey Through Jazz by Gene Lees Yale University Press 376 pages .95 The title of this book says it all. Gene Lees writes not as a critic but as a colleague. Each subject is a friend, and each encounter a journey. But his ear is sharp, his eye observant. These interviews first appeared in the Jazzletter, which the Canadian musician, lyricist and prolific jazz chronicler has produced since 1981. That so many of these friends have recently died makes these pieces all the more poignant. Even though Lees always involves himself in his writing, he is especially adept at listening - thereby eliciting fascinating experiences and observations from his subjects, who range from legendary pianist .Junior Mance, bassist Ray Brown, Stan Kenton's underappreciated arranger Pete Rugolo, groundbreaking broadcaster Willis Conover, orchestrator and composer Claus Ogerman,(who recently wrote arrangements for Diana Krall), piano accompanist Lou Levy, film composer Hugo Friedhofer, whom Lees describes as "one of the most important arches- tral composers the United States has ever produced", and versatile Toronto-based master musician Don Thompson. . Lees paints such vividly luminous portraits of these personalities that the absence of photos is not only barely noticeable, but .entirely appropriate. ( The Lives & Times of the Great Composers by Michael Steen Icon Books 1002 pages .00. This is a generous, affectionate book. Irish writer Michael Steen is passionate about music, fascinated by those who create it, and absorbed by the 'background scenery'. But he carefully limits his scope to tonal music. Monteverdi is barely mentioned, and Messiaen not at all. · He manages to cover a lot. Although Boccherini is overlooked, Gluck's important operatic reforms get their due in the chapter on Haydn, and Scriabin makes an appearance as "the oddest composer in the book". Steen reveals deep musical knowledge and wide reading. He cannot offer original scholarship, revelatory theses, or analyses of musical scores. But he cogently pulls together a huge amount of information, savouring details like the musical career of Pachelbel's son in America, the origin of the word 'robot', and the immense difficulties Handel faced crossing the Alps to get to Italy. -It's only when he speculates about someone's thoughts and conversations that he strains credibility. · His colourful language is embellished by neologisms and Anglicisms. He describes Handel being 'head-hunted' by the British ambassador, dismisses Mozart's wife Constanze as "not exactly a trophy bride" and relates how Shostakovich "hit the buffers". With maps and pictures, a thorough index and bibliography, and an effective system of footnotes and endnotes, Steen provides thor- 30 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM APRIL 1 - MAY 7 2004

The American Musical: History and Development by Peter H. Riddle Mosaic Press 222 pages paper .00 Peter Riddle takes a refreshingly low-key approach to the history of the musical. Eschewing lavish photos and inflated biographies, he concentrates on how the works themselves developed. Riddle, who teaches music at Acadia University, is an astute guide, incorporating social as well as musical analyses. In discussing Jerome Kern's innovations, he not only points out how his songs flow naturally out of the dialogue, but he also defends Showboat, and particularly the 1994 Toronto revival, against the accusations of racism that so wrong-headedly dog it. He rightly admires the oftenoverlooked Barbara Cook and Marni Nixon, appreciates Steph~n Sondheim's brilliance, and consid­ "ers Leonard Bernstein the "most modern and innovative composer." EDUCATION FRONT Summer Festival Early-Bird The 2003-04 season as the listings will testify is going full tilt, but as it enters the home stretch many of us are already thinking about summer and about planning the getaway or getaways that will rejuvenate us after a fulfilling but nevertheless long and difficult winter. While it is still too early for us to publish a full-fledged issue dedicated to the summer music festivals, many of which still have loose ends to resolve before their plans are finalized, here is a list with the dates and website addresses for all the festivals that we are aware of right now. Those of you that wish to plan ahead for the summer can use the web to do so now. The crocus in the summer ·, festival flower garden is the Guelph Spring Festival, which opens on April 30 and presents an incredibly varied and imaginative array of musical events - everything from a contemporary opera to Canadian superstar pianist, Angela Hewitt to Renaissance polyphony - throughout the April 30- May 2 weekend and the following two weekends in May. Festival details can be found in our "Fur- · ther Afield" listings, or And here are the others! Yet, although he underscores the Beaches significance of Agnes deMille's International Jazz Festival choreography in Oklahoma, he July 16-25, 2004 makes no mention of Bob Fosse's ground-breaking choreography in Brampton Folk Festival Damn Yankees. June 19, 2004 · This book offers a clearly writ- ten and probing narrative. Riddle home.htm includes imaginative descriptipns of Brott Summer Music Festival the different types of songs, ex- June 10 _ August 20 tensive footnotes, indices, bibliog- raphy, a glossary of terms, and an . . entertainingly critical list of .film Celtic Roots Festival versions of musicals. ' August 6 - 8, 2004 Shiatsu Centre 720 Bathurst St., Suite 502 Torpnto, ON M5S 2R4 416-534-1140 x2 Cell: 416-788-3187 Carlos Praniauskas, CST, h·as been treating musicians and performers for 15 years. Shiatsu is effective for: • treatment and prevention of repetitive strain injuries • relief of tension and stress • producing a feeling of well-being APRIL 1 - M AY 7 2004 Collingwood Music Festival July 12 - August 6, 2004 Elora Festival July 9 - August 1, 2004 Festival ofthe Sound July 16 - August 8, 2004 www. festivalofthesound. on .ca Fiesta de! Sol '04 September 3-5, 2004 Grand River Baroque Festival July 1-4, 2004 Guelph Jazz Festival September 8-12, 2004 Hillside Festival July 23, 24, 25, 2004 www Kin car dine Summer Music Festival August 1 - 14, 2004 Mariposa Folk Festival July 9-11, 2004 TLC for .. musicians -by a musician Endurance • Breath Posture • Muscle Release Dr. Katarina Bulat, Chiropractor Clinic: Back in Motion 1370 Danforth Ave. Tel: 416-461-2225 Private Practice: 18 Vernadale Cres. Tel: 416-752-8673 Markham Jazz Festival August 20-22, 2004 Markham Village Music Festival June 18 - 20, 2004 CD 0, n "'" -, c: · "O )> a. 3 ::, v, "' < ::, n Call or stop by: CONTINUES NEXT PAGE Chris Gordon, CFA 1715 Lakeshore Rd. W. Mississauga, ON L5J IJ4 Tel: (905) 822-7111 Member CIPF EdwardJones Serving Individual Investors Al and Malka Gre·en Artists' Health Centre at Toronto Welstern Hospital 399 Bathurst Street (at Dundas) To book an appointment, call 416~603-5263 An integrated & comprehensive health care centre created by artists - for artists For information about our services, contact: The Artists' Health Centre Foundation · 416-351-0239 • :n

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