6 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 10 - July/August 2005

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The colourful orchestra,

The colourful orchestra, under Professor Schickle's direction, captures the high spi rits with grand finesse. The singing is altogether terrific . Standouts are tenor Bruce Ford, and the · ~argain counter tenor' John Ferrante . Dana Krueger as Suzanna Suzannadanna and Marilyn Brustadt as Donna Donna are superb comediennes and well as lovely singers. Leroy Lehr is a hoot as the hippie Pasha, who intones lines li ke ' Right on' . With realistic se'ts and clever costumes, this production ranks with the Marx Brothers' A Night at !he Opera as the funniest, cleverest and most enjoyable of extended operatic jokes. Pamela Margles Perfonnance Note (further afield): Prof. Schickle brings the music of PDQ Bach to the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival on July 28. A program of Schickle's serious chamber music wi ll be given at the festival on July 29. EARLY AND PERIOD PERFORMANCE Discover Music of the Baroque Era Various Artists Naxos 8.558160-61 For better or worse, baroque music has become the connoisseur's background muzak , and after fo ur decades, that phenomenon continues unabated. This trend now manifests itself in the form of popular radio stations that play list huge chunks of air-time with 18th century "greatest hits". Another spin-off of that niche market is the double-CD compilation, of which this example is certain to fi nd favour. The new Naxos album is not ~erely light entertainment. A truly Impressive selection of works is packed into these discs, 158 minutes worth. There is something for everyone, derived from Naxos' impressive back catalogue. Allegri 's M1serere; Schutz's Psalm 100 setting; Dido 's Lament; Carelli's Christmas Concerto; lots of Bach including a Brandenburg movemen~ and a prelude & fugue from the Well-, Tempered Klavier. Excellent performances all , with the expected Naxos excellent recording fidelity . But the booklet has had every bit as much care put into it as the acc.ompanying music. A mighty treatise of 138 pages it is, with composer biographies, images, a 20,000 word essay by Clive Unger-Hamillon on the baroque era, and an educa.tional timeline correlating Music, History, Art and Literature. Included are quotes from period letters, a glossary, even a map. The design and layout are beyond reproach. This is just not in the spirit of K­ Tel records, although with music this great, a record label could probably still get away with that approach. This compilation is most highly recommended. JohnS. Gray Telemann - Tutti Flauti! Arion; Jaap ter Linden EMCCD-7763 Having written over 100 concertos (of which approximately 30 were for flute and recorder), and himself a recorder player, Telemann caters many musical "flavours" to suit all tastes. The proof lies herein with spirited energetic performances of several concertos featuring the many flutes of superb soloists Matthias Maute, Sophie Lariviere, Claire Guimond, and Mika Putterman. Telemann's preference of a slow-fast-slow-fast sonata chiesa model combines and alternates the elegant lyric French style with the virtuosic Italian style. The Concerto in F Major for recorder explores both the expressive and physical range of the instrument in the capable hands of an unnamed player. The Concerto in E Minor provides a competitive musical landscape for the tonal contrast of the transverse flute and the recorder. The Concerti grossi in B Minor a.nd .f! Minor offers "transportation for two wonderfully nimble transverse flutes and violin. Now celebrating their 25th anniversary year, Ensemble Arion has good reason to be proud. These absolutely delightful performances glow with the warmth and richness of a happy home. Frank Nakashima WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM CLASSICAL AND BEYOND Schumann-Symphony No.2; Brahms-Tragic Overture; R. Strauss-Don Juan Berlin Philharmonic; George SzeU Testament CD SBT 1378 Sometime in the mid-1960s there was a talk about a plan to have Szell and von Karajan swap orchestras for a short time ... Karajan to Cleveland and Szell to Berlin. Alas, Karajan never did appear in Cleveland but Szell was no stranger to Berlin and conducted the Philharmonic from time to time over a period of 50+ years . On July 26, 1969, just a year before his death, he conducted the Philharmonic for the last time and it is that concert that we hear here licensed from Deutschland Radio. ' So what does Szell do with Karajan's orchestra? Firstly, the sound of the Cleveland Orchestra on disc was not exactly the sound we heard in Severance Hall. In fact, after Szell's d~ath Columbia's producer, Andrew Kazdin, publicly asserted, in response to much criticism, that it was the conductor who demanded the lean and sinewy, almost brittle sound in his recordings. That Szell's speakers were hidden behind a padded sofa was one explanation given. . The stereo sound on this disc is wide range from top to bottom and amply dynamic with a reasonable front to back sound. The Berliner's opulent ensemble is unmistakable particularly the fami liar clear' singing richness of the winds tha; display no hint of the nasal quality so often associated with reeds. These works were in Szell's basic repertoire and to hear him leadi~g this orchestra is a doubly spe­ Cial tr~at. The Berliners were sympatheqc to Szell's every wish as subtle nuances in tempi, balances and p?rasing, which might well go u?Oollced by the casual listener, put his stamp on each piece. Many of us will consider this disc to be a valuable historic document. Bruce Surtees From Russia with Brass Capital BrassWorks CBC SMCD 5235 It's a great time to be a brass player, or a fan of brass music. There are many excellent recordings to choose from, with anything from solo instrumentalist up to full brass band represented. Capital Brass Works is an Ottawa based group that draws its members from the Ottawa Symphony and

New Releases Gillmore Music National Arts Centre orchestras. However, the Vienna Philharmonic in both its scope and optimism. He Rather than go for a full traditional is not the Kirov Orchestra. · considered it his masterpiece and brass band instrumentation like the The Kirov is an eager, exuberant proudly described it as "a gift to the Hannaford Street Silver Band, this group, not the ultimate in sophisti- nation". Sir Simon Rattle has an abidgroup has gone for something closer cation but with a most enthusiastic ing love for the music of Mahler, and to the lineup of the Philip Jones Brass and earnest attitude well suited to the credits it with inspiring him to be- Ensemble - four trumpets, two all-Russian programmes we heard in come a conductor. Indeed, as a horns, four trombones, two eupho- Thomson Hall. Under Gergiev eve- mere lad of 17 studying at the Royniums , tuba and percussion. ry sinew in every piece was under al Academy of Music he single- This group has a distinctly differ- tension with the result that each work handedly organized a performance ent sound from a brass band. It's was heard in a new, edge of the seat, of the Second Symphony! Yet it is leaner and crisper, and well suited light. All the Philips recordings with only in the past few years that he to the popular Russian showpieces the Kirov have this quality to one has come to terms with this manuon this recording. I was delighted to degree or another. Outstanding isLe mental work, first performing it in hear Rimsky-Korsakov's Procession Sacre du Printemps with The Poem 2002. The present recording comof the Nobles; it's been many years of Ecstasy from 1999 [468035-2]. pletes Rattle's decades-long traversince I've heard a group tackie this Tchaikovsky's best known sym- sal of the ten symphonies for EMI. one. It was worth the wait, as the phonies recorded live in 2002, 1998, For the most part the results are performance is excellent. 2004 respectively, fmd Gergiev tern- highly impressive. Rattle's interpre- The centerpiece of the CD is a pered somewhat, lacking the hair- tation is consistently propulsive, the new arrangement of Mussorgsky's spring response of his own arches- vast choral forces are exceptionally Pictures at an Exhibition by tram- tra. However, the Gergiev trade well-prepared and compelling (includbonist Colin Traquair. The forces marks are amply evident; holding ing 20 young visitors from Toranof the Capital Brass Works are aug- some pauses beyond the usual time to), and the Birmingham musicians mented by organ, played by con- (which draws the listener closer in) play their very best for their beloved ductor Thomas An nand. The com- and accenting various figures which, former leader. The recording is both bination works very well in terms under lesser hands, would be passed spacious and lucid, spliced together of sonic blend, especially consider- over but now set us to wondering from three live performances in June ing the organ parts were recorded in how another conductor could miss of last year before an evidently reva different church nine months after them. Gergiev is the antithesis of erent public. The only vocal short ~ the brass. Mravinsky, having no hesitation coming in this otherwise glowing My only gripe is with some of about Ioingering over certain passag- performance involve Mahler's dethe tempi in Pictures. The speed with es and stopping to smell the flowers, manding, stentorian Heldentenor solo which the Promenade is played re- as it were. writing - nearly every passage of minds me of tourists in art galleries In sum, these are very exciting, which is launched from a perilously rushing around trying to check off special performances which will high pitch. Alas, tenor Jon Villars everything on their "rriust-see" list continue to reward the listener upon proves himself no hero; in sections rather than slowly appreciating each repeated hearings, especially in the of the dense eight-part solo ensempainting. The Bydlo movement, wide-open sound accorded them bles of Part One he seems totally which ,is supposed to represent an here. muddled and in places doesn't seem oxcart, moves along at quite the Bruce Surtees to be singing his part at all. The resprightly pace too . maining soloists all make excellent My minor gripes aside, this re- contributions. The gilt-edged, effortcording has some wonderful brass Mahler: Symphony No. 8 less singing of soprano Christine playing on it. Karen Donnelly's Christine Brewer, Soile lsokoski, Brewer is a particular delight. peautiful cornet work on Rach- Juliane Banse, sopranos; Birgit While remaining impressed with maninoff's Vocalise is especially Remmert, Jane Henschel, the exuberance of this performance worthy of praise. mezzo-sopranos; Jon Villars, I found certain.key moments (for Merli11 Williams tenor; David Wilson-Johnson, example, the hushed, other-wordbaritone; John Relyea, bass; ly Chorus Mysticus near the cori- Tchaikovsky: City of Birmingham Symphony elusion) lacked the sonic weight and Symphonies 4, 5 & 6 Chorus; London Symphony emotional resonance of the great Vienna Philharmonic; Chorus; City of Birmingham Solti, Horenstein and Bernstein per- Valery Gergiev Youth Chorus; Toronto Chil- formances of the past. At the same Philips 4756316/17/18 dren's Chorus; City ofBirming- time, there is a nervy, refreshing ham Symphony Orchestra; Sir impudence to Rattle's interpreta- Those fortunate enough to hear Simon Rattle tion that you won't find on other rechestra on his recent North Ameri- Valerie Gergiev with his Kirov Or- EMI CLASSICS 57945 cordings. This is a must-have alcan tour will have great expectations The Eighth Symphony of Gustav ternative reading for all serious of these three discs from Philips. Mahler is exceptional in his output Mahler scholars. Da11iel Foley ) Ul Y 1 - SEPTEMBER 7 2005 WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COM AV 2055 A vie Handel - Organ Concertos Op. 4 Matthew Halls Monica Huggett ACC 24165 Accent JS Bach Oboe Concertos II Gardellino Marcel Ponseele NMC 0104 NMC Tippet - Sym 2 & 4 BBC Symphony Orch Michael Tippet Conductor Gillmore Music Exclusive distributor of: Supraphon · Accent Orfeo · Columna Musica Somm · Vox · Coviello Marc Aurel · Cavalli · NMC Ars Musici · Divine Art Christophorus · Cedille Raumklang · Aeolus 59

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