6 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 1 - September 2004

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y fame/a Margles When

y fame/a Margles When Testimony': The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich as related to and edl/ed by Solomon Volkov aprieared in 1979, it caused a sensation. The Soviet Union's most prestigious and patriotic composer, who had written works like the stirring Fifth Symphony, was . revealed t be a di illusioned, deeply bitter and rather nasty covert d _ 1ss1den. _ Inevitably his works started to be reinterpreted. But in Testimony friends and colleagues missed the gentle voice of the deeply humane, odest and _ reserved man they knew. Soon the authenticity of the _ memoirs was bemg challenged. Volkov was called a 'pretentious, half-educated bedbug' and accused of plagiarism and fraud. After the recent release of these two books from the opposing camps, Shostakovich and Stalin, and A Shostakovich Casebook, Volkov wrote a letter to the New York Times predicting that the controversy will probably last for a long time. 'My advice would be: read all the books, listen to the music, and then decide for yourself.' Both books illuminate Shostakovich's situation in the Soviet Union. Given the complexity of Soviet politics, and the multi-faceted intricacies of Russian culture, there is certainly plenty of room for both mterpretallons of the composer who anti-Volkovian Richard Taruskin predicts will emerge as the most consequential of the twentieth century. unexpectedly vicious attack of 'a fraud', and accuses the author of 'a crude betrayal of its subject's principles and ideals'. The Russians are even less diplomatic. Six former students, in a letter written in 1979, see the memoirs as a sinister plot to distance Shostakovich from revolutionary Soviet music. They call Volkov a 'malicious renegrade', and the book a 'pitiful fake'. Shostakovich's assistant Boris Tishchenko calls Volkov a 'music hanger-on', and Testimony a 'book by Volkov about Volkov'. Shostakovich's widow Irina points out that Volkov didn't spend enough time with Shostakovich to produce more than a few pages. ophone Rag, animal imitations, and comedy routines about an abandoned bride or King Tut emerging from his tomb. Vermazen, has produced a compelling view of the early history of American popular music. His academic training pays off in the depth of his explorations of racism in minstrel shows, the decline of vaudvifle, the influence of circus music, and the role of improvisation. He has unearthed previously unexplored materials, which provide the historical photos, along with thorough references and discography. The Other Side of Nowhere There is also a great deal of psy- Edited by Daniel Fischlin and Ajay chologically revealing material here. 'That he actually was loyal and instrumental to the system he despised and h;ited made him hate Tms coLLECand despise himself,' writes Hen- ry Orlov, underlining the poign- Heble Wesleyan University Press 460 pages .95 US TION OF papers presented at ancy of Shostakovich's unfathom- the Guelph ably complex situation. J azz F est1va · I ov's compelling narrative. , ber 7 at the St. Lawrence Centre ting his critics as demonstrating tra performs Shostakovich's Fifth just to tradihow Shostakovich's music needs Symphony at Roy Thomson Hall tional musical structures, but to trato be placed in its social, psycho- on October 21 and 23 at 8.00 logical and political context. What tween the 1 Great Composer and viet cultural life. In the process.he are actively involved in performthe Brutal Dictator By Solomon Volkov reveals how Stalin was especially Translated by Antonina W. Bouis derstood the power of art _ not Knopf 330 pages .00 just spiritually but politically. THE SHOSTAKOVICH of Shostakovi- eh and Stalin is a secret dissident. For Volkov, the symphonies are coded with anti-Stalinist and anti- Soviet messages. The ending of the phant celebration of Soviet ideolo- gy it is considered to be, but a subversive narrative of Stalin's Great Terror. 1948. How Shostakovich managed TheEmersonQuanet performsShoslooks at how to survive is at the heart of Volk- takovich 's Quanet No. 2 on Octoimprovisatory jazz provides Volkov is not so much rebut- The Toronto Symphony Orchesalternatives not ditional social structures as well. The authors form a diverse group Shostakovich and Stalin: The he offers is a deeply knowledgeaof usicians, artists, writers, po- . Extraordinary Relationship Be- ble and fascinating history of Soets, and scholars. But almost all ing experimental music, and this dangerous because he actually unmakes even the most theoretical of these essays delightfully enthusi- astic about the music. Pauline Oliveros relates her own collaborative experiences as a wom- an composer and improviser. Dana That Moaning Saxophone: The Reason emphasizes the integral Six Brown Brothers and the role of the aud1"ence J o St Volkov leaves no doubt how 'in- A Shostakovich Casebook from Lindsay, Ontario, were the conceivably and inexpressibly un- predictable and dangerous' living under Stalin was . 'Probably no- one suffered more for his music' vich, like most artists who man- ful and murderous terror, did live constantly on the edge of destruc- f tion and despair. ing, especially after the two crises k that Yolkov considers pivotal, Edited by Malcolm Hamrick Brown Indiana University Press 424 pages . 50 Tms FASCINATING and important col- lection of essays, documents and a ft er th ey h a d practice · d asst "d uousmemoirs presents the case against Testimony. Paul Mitchinson gives a surprisingly even-handed account o the issues. Damning evidence is offered by Leslie Fay, who de- nal manuscript of Testimony. She ular music with their act featuring the artistic direction of Ajay Hebeth of Mtsensk in 1936, and the rogat • ory context , an , at worst, d • as n an- Fifth Symphony is not the trium- Dawning of a Mus1'cal Craze yek d1"scusses the 1"nfl u en ce o f a By Bruce Vermazen pan-African sensibility, Julie Dawn Oxford University Press Smith questions why there are so 303 pages .00 few gay jazz musicians, and Sherrie Tucker explodes the myth of IN 1921, The Six Brown Brothers the solitary genius with no com- highest paid act in vaudeville. But by 1933 they were finished, wiped ing movies, and changing fashions claims Yolkov. Indeed, Shostakoin musical theatre. phasizes that while the Brothers weren't the first to use the saxophone in popular music, and they weren't He took huge risks to keep writeven the best players around, they· larity of the saxophone. For him they munity or context. Michael Jarrett interviews a number of legendary out by the Great Depression, talkjazz record producers, and gets wonderful comments like John • Snyd er ' s a b out S un R a s group, Bruce Vermazen, a retired philos- aged to survive under Stalin's willophy professor and cornetist, em- ly for a re cor d . mg session, · b ut en d - ed u P recor d . mg t ota II Y d"f" 1 ierent ma t ena · I "Th ey h a d re h earse d b e- · 1 ·ng u It ima " t e I Y improvisatory · · " · E t · b"bl . · x ens1ve 1 10grap h" 1es and d1stermines that Volkov tricked Shosh. · h h were responsible for the huge popucograp ies ennc t ese provocata ovich into approving the origitivel Y · msig · htf u I essays. Stalin's devastating denunciation of calls it at best 'a simulated monotypify the history of American pop- The Guelph Jazz Festival, under Shostakovich's opera Lady Mac- logue stripped of its original inter- blackface, hit songs, including their ble, takes place 1·n Guelph firom 31W\iv:TIIHOsigna;turesong,ThatoaningSa.x-Sept 8tol:2 --=-,--- · - WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM SEPTEMBE R 1 - OCTOBER 7 2004

MUSICAL LIFE Dr. Peggie Sampson, 1912 - 2004 I l i• ra« lo fmd' pmon who" hoing •'1U•lly "'"" ,: Q) L ::: "' ;! "O 0 c: < " radi>no music; and when that person departs, not only is a great loss felt, but also a lingering sense is left of the ability of music to shape a life, to invade a life so deeply that one becomes beautiful because of music. Peggie Sampson was such a person. It is impossible to think of her without thinking of the music she lived, taught, played and rejoiced in. Peggie was born in Edinburgh and spent her early life in Scotland, England and Europe. Her gift for music brought her into contact with towering musical figures: Suggia, Alexanian, Feuermann, Casals, Donald Francis Tovey and Nadia Boulanger were among her teachers, and no doubt they all contributed to the formation of-her wide cultural outlook, striking imagination and generosity of spirit. These qualities she brought with her when she emigrated to Canada in 1951, lo teach and perform. She played and taught cello in Winnipeg, and brought enthusiasm and energy tq her classes in various musical disciplines at the U of Manitoba, as well as her experimental classes for unusually gifted children. Many musicians blossomed as a result of her teaching. Most people will remember her primarily in the second phase of her musical life; her involvement in the early music world as viola da gambist and teacher. Her romance with viols began in Winnipeg; she was a founding member of the Manitoba University Consort, a group which specialized in performance of early music (1100 and on), and which toured Canada, Britain and Europe. Moving to Toronto in 1970, she taught at York and Wilfrid Laurier Universities and continued lo be a shining light in the performance world as well for many years. More can be found about her life in The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada and its online version at Those who knew her will remember much more: her charming humour, her delight in nature, hiking, camping and growing things, her steadfast commitment to her friends, and her uncanny influence on anyone trying to make music - music radiated from the walls in her presence, and it was impossible not to play musically. Little people can have big dreams. We help make them come true. Group Programs ;rJ .h ,;XL7,,-/ /n,,.., ;I'} /Y . uuykiy,:rf:Y Music for You & Your Baby (0- 3 yrs) Orff/Kodaly/Dalcroze Eurhythmics (3-8 yrs) Children's Chamber Choirs (Ages 6 & up) Creative Drama & Speech (Ages 6 & up) Music Theory & History (RCM Grades 1- 5) Summer Programs Available Private Instruction Piano Guitar Voice Violin, Viola and Cello French Horn, Trumpet and Sax Clarinet, Flute, Oboe. Recorder Sharon M. Burlacoff ARCT B.Mus. MA MFA, Executive Director The J}ingsway . 416-234-0121 Conservatory , ?086 Bloor St. Y'· of Music . foronlo, Ontario • Two blocks west of Royal York Rd. . A celebration of Peggie's life and accomplishments, through words an.d music, will take place al the Church of St. Simon the Apostle, 525 Bloor Street East, on September 11 at 2:30pm. All who would like to join in the celebration are welcome. SD SEPTEMBER 1 - OCTOBER 7 2004

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