7 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 1 - September 2004

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DISC VE RIES Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro Gens, Ciofi, Kirchschlager, Regazzo, Keenlyside Collegium Vocale Gent Concerto Koln; Rene Jacobs Harmonia Mundi 801818.20 The spirited overture sets the tone for Rene Jacobs' imaginative new recording of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. As ever, Jacobs pays full attention to the hallmarks of the period performance style he helped develop. What he calls a 'neo-Classical' sty le in his fascinating booklet essay, "A Subversive Composer", here involves a lively fortepiano continua, lots of ornamentation, vivid DISCS OF THE MONTH winds, and lean, edgy period strings. Textures are clear, not blended, tempos are brisk, and attacks are emphatic. But it's the infectious exuberance of this production that makes this recording hard to tum off. If this international cast weren't so strong, Patrizia Ciofi's Susanna would steal the show. Lorenzo Regazzo's Figaro is full of charm, while Angelika Kirchschlager's Cherubino is convincingly ardent. As the countess,Veronique Gens effectively balances the hurt, vulnerable wife with the regal chatelaine. Simon Keenlyside's superb Count is an unrepentant, rather menacing heel. The secondary roles are equally well sung, in particular Marie McLaughlin's nuanced Marcellina. The ensembles sizzle with sophisticated irony. In the third act sextet, one of the funniest in all opera, the way Jacobs has the voices overlap in the recitatives heightens the realism of this farce. That Jacobs was a singer himself shows in his close attention to the words. Concerto Koln and the Collegium Vocale Gent contribute to making this one of the finest recordings available of this - or any - Mozart opera. Production values are stellar, with clear natural recorded sound, and an informative booklet with Da Ponte's brilliant libretto in four languages. Pam Margles Notes from Abroad - Worldly Music for bassoon and piano Nadina Mackie Jackson; David Swan Independent I can honestly say I've been waiting years for this recording. I saw Toronto-based Nadina Mackie Jackson and David Swan play a recital at Heliconian Hall several years ago and heard them perform two of the selections on this CD, the Concertina by Marcel Bitsch and the Sonatine by Alexandre Tansman. I was awed by the gorgeous sound Nadina produces on bassoon. I knew at that point I'd have to seek out a recording when it became available. In addition to the works by Tansman and Bitsch, "Worldly Music" includes three new works by aleks schiirmer, and two by Mathieu Lussier. The other major work is the Sonata in E flat Major, Opus 9, by Gustave Schreck. It's hard to single any particular piece out as a favourite on this disc, though the Bitsch Concertina does seem to have a strange fascination for me. I have to consider this my favourite bassoon recording of all time. And yes, I do have quite a few to sample from! It's also one of the finest independently produced CDs I've ever seen. The performance, recording quality, packaging and notes are absolutely excellent. The best way to get a copy of this CD is to check out Nadina's website: and follow the links to purchase it online. Merlin Williams

Toronto Welcomes Peter Oundjian Peter Oundjian Symphonic Celebration Opening Week Concerts Peter Oundjian, conductor Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 Matthew Whittall: The Short Road to Nirvana

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