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Volume 9 Issue 9 - June 2004

  • Text
  • Festival
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Concerts
  • Musical
  • Baroque
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • Choir

DISC EDITOR'S CORNER by

DISC EDITOR'S CORNER by David Olds Last month among the many baroque discs we reviewed there was one from a relatively new Montreal label called early-music.com. From the name you might suspect that their 0discs would only be available on-line, but I have been assured that they do have retail distribution and may be obtained in a number of Toronto stores. With recordings dating back to at least 2001 this independent and collaborative label is developing quite an interesting catalogue featuring some of Montreal's finest period-instrument performers along with international luminaries. Two cases in point are "Bach: Suite and Concertos" and "Mozart". The first of these presents fabulous performances by the Arion ensemble (numbering 20 players in this expanded version) under the direction of Jaap ter Linden performing the Orchestral Suite No.1, Brandenburg No.5, the Triple Concerto for flute, violin and' harpsichord and the Concerto for 2 Harpsichords in C. The soloists are Clare Guimond, Chantal Remillard, Hank Knox and Luc Beausejour, while the ensemble players include familiar names such Betsy MacMillan, Margaret Little and Washington McClain. Claire Guimond is also featured in the Mozart recording with Monica Huggett's London-based Trio Sonnerie. The warm tones of Guimond's wooden flute (after August Grenser by Alain Weemaels) combined with 18th century strings at a pitch of 415 Hz provide a welcome "new" approach to Mozart's perhaps overly familiar Flute Quartets. Solo keyboard works are also well represented by the label and one striking example is Hank Knox's recording of D' Angelbert's.Pieces de clavecin on the unusual clavecytherium, a kind of upright harpsichord with a vertical soundboard (Yves Beaupre, opus 100, after an instrument' VE RIES \ . constructed in 1768 by the Belgian maker Albertus Delin). Montreal boasts an active and dynamic recording industry, and we welcome this exciting new artist-based label to the marketplace already so well served by Analekta and ATMA. Another label that has just begun to find its way to us i's the Dutch Brilliant Classics, distributed by SRI here in Canada. With its somewhat bombastic slogan of "Th,e highest possible quality at the lowest possible price" you would be forgive'n for taking its claim with a grain of salt, but I must say I have found the product convincing. Through a combination of leasing existing recordings from full-price high-quality classical labels such as BIS, Capriccio, ASV, and Unicom-Kanchana, and producing new recordings that feature exciting young artists on the brink of international success, the label has leapt into competition with that other godsend to the classical music-lover's pocketbook, Naxos. And the winner is: us. In this issue Colin Savage reviews a 2-disc set of basic clarinet repertoire featuring long-time Rotterdam Philharmonic principal Henk de Graaf and I myself have chosen to commandeer a 5-CD box of Bartok's orchestral music (much to the chagrin of several of our reviewers). These excellent performances featuring the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra under Adam Fischer's direction were recorded between 1989 and 1992 and were originally released on the Nimbus label. Virtually all of Bartok's orchestral output is contained here, including both violin concertos performed by the late Gerhard Hetzel, former concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic. My only regret is that Bartok's final, unfinished work, the Viola Concerto completed by Tibor Serly, is not included in this otherwise comprehensive set. There are several contemporary music discs that I'd like to bring to your attention as well this month, two independent releases and one on a !IUllGIWIMISfftllrUIPl!fifl'{Dl\O:HfAI """'flldll!r,1.-..:11 I Studio back in 2000 by engineer David Burnham and producer Keith Horner. It is indicative of both the financial challenges that face an independent artist and, perhaps more significantly, just how busy an artist Bev Johnston is, that it has taken until now to have the finished product in hand. I'm pleased to report that it was worth the wait and the Toronto label that has surely earned eclectic disc, which . features guest the right to be considered a "player" appearances by flutist Susan Hoeppon the Canadian recording scene. ner and pianist Michael Arnowitt, I'm referring to Henry Kucharzyk' s presents an entertaining array of tran­ Artifact Music label that has just · scriptions (Bach, Piazzolla, folk and launched its 30th title. I must 'con- gospel materials) and original comfess to a conflict of interest here be- positions by Gordon Stout, Clair cause, as general manager of New Omar Musser, Philip Parker, Chris­ Music Concerts, I have a vested in- tos Hatzis and Johnston herself. A terest in this new release: "Strange special treat is Bev's performance of Sphere - Music of Rudolf Komor- Menwries of the Seashore by Japaous". The disc features five works nese marimba wizard Keiko Abe. For by the "last avant-garde composer" the moment you 'II have to contact Bevwho emigrated from the Czech Re- erley herself to obtain a copy of this public in 1969 and settled in British one: www.beverleyjohnston.com. Columbia where he established himself as one of this country's most influential teachers of composition at the l)niversity of Victoria, and later, at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. The centrepiece of the disc is The Seven Sides of Maxine 's Silver Die, a piano concerto performed by Eve Egoyan and the New Music Concerts Ensemble under Robert Aitken 's direction, recorded at Glenn Gould Studio in 2001. The other four compositions on the disc, dating from l 989 to 2003, feature Vancouver's Turning Point Ensemble led by founder Owen Underhill. This beautifully recorded portrait disc is a welcome addition to the discography of this significant and otherwise under-recorded composer. Last month I had the pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with the quirky compositional and performance styles of Winnipeg composer Diana Mcintosh at the Music Gallery. She was joined on this occasion by local mallet-instrument virtuoso Beverley Johnston and between the two we were provided with· a thoroughly entertaining evening. It ·was at that concert that I found out to iny delight that Bev has a new CD. The first offering on her own label, "Garden of Delights" was recorded at Westwood United Church in Guelph and at Glenn Gould The final disc I'd like to mention is a strange offering from CIUT-FM 89.5 stalwarts Sarah Peebles (host of The Audible Woman), sh6 (Japanese mouth organ) and laptop computer, and Nilan Perera (producer of In Through the Outside), prepared guitar, performing under the moniker "Smash and Teeny". The independent 2-disc set which also includes a "QuickTime" video component is entitled "Gathering" (Spool Music, Field 5, SPF305) and on it they are joined by British imp'rov saxophone star John Butcher: One track that I found particularly intriguing, and occasionally disturbing, is the somewhat ambient, playful yet dark, extended collaborative work Hummingbird Midnight. The dearth of liner notes is a bit disappointing, but there is lots of information available on-line at www. sarahpeebles. nbt/smash.htm. We welcome your feedback and invite submissions. Catalogues, review copies of (;vs and comments should be sent to: Wholenote, 503 - 720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4. We also welcome your input via discoveries@thewholenote.com For this month's CD DISCOVERIES, please turn to page 45 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM )UNE 1 - )ULY 7 2004

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