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Volume 10 Issue 2 - October 2004

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • October
  • Choir
  • Concerts
  • Musical
  • November
  • Orchestra
  • Theatre
  • Jazz
  • Choral

y Colin Er11ock Music

y Colin Er11ock Music and More In recent years rhere seems to have been an upsurge in conce11s tlrnr combine music with other arts: projecred images during concerts. song recitals that are stal!ed with sets aml costumes. and dancers or c::ven visual artists plying their trades while musicians perform beside them. One wc::ekend in Sc::ptember offered the opportunity to attend two such perfon11ancc::s. Vladimir Spivakov I Moscow Virtuosi October 30, 8pm Dave Holland Quintet October l , 8pm Also coming in October La Traviata - October 14 - 23 Sandra Shamas - October 30 Frank Spadone - October 22 September 11, 2004: A large crowd found its way to Toronto"s Music Garden, near rhe ·toot of Spadina A venue. for a free, afternoon perfonnance by cellist Shauna Rolston and dancer Peggy Baker. Both are wdl known and well-respected local artisrs whom I've seen perfonn individually, so I had high hopes for this event. However. the progrnmme got off to a strange start with "The Transparent Recital." opaquely choreographed by Tedd Robinson. While Baker struck wistfully statuesque poses, Rolston played bits of Bach and moved from one chair to imotber iu the performing area. (At one point. Rolston played a child-sized cello. while sitting on a tiny chair.) As Rolston 's Bach became increasingly ·'deconstructed •· - this was, presumably. composer John Oswald's contribution to the piece - Baker gyrated and dashed about with a small suitcase in her hand. The next two works featured Rolston and then Baker seplU'ately. But for the final piece. "Words Fail," Baker and Rolston wen:: re-unirecl i11 a simple and direct symmetry - Rolston playing a beautiful cello solo by Chan Ka Nin. and. Baker offering her own eloquent choreography. September 12, 2004: Whereas the Rolston/Baker perfonnance was a relatively lean affair, Equilibrium, presented by Collaborntions at the Al Green Theatre was an elaborately staged production. An impressive roster of artists was assembled by Artistic Director Valerie Kuinka: dancers Denise Fujiwarn and Rex Harrington grnced the stage, and other perfonners included renor Peter Blanchet. flautist Susan Hoeppner. percussionist Beverley Johnston and pianist David Matheson. Bur what a duck-billed platypus of a show! Equilibriwn threatened to rum into a Broadwy musical at times. and at other times didn't seem to know where it was going. Highly talented people were underor over-utilized: Fujiwara didn't dance. she only spoke. Harrington danced. acted and sang - and Johnston. when not using her drumsticks. tap-danced. While the show had its moments - Blanchet as a defrocked female impersonator singing Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns." and Hoeppner· s perfonnance of Serio· s "Sequenza" - overnll, it lacked coherence and presented no compelling reason to exist. It's not my wish to denounce multi-1 dia perfo1mances per se - I"m not one of those people who object to any departure from the established concert fomiat. At their best. these presentations can offer fresh insights into established works of art. or suitably contemporary contexts for new work. And, when successful, interdisciplinary shows can attract new ··crossover" audiences. who would probably never set foot in a traditional classical music concert. But I also think there are some lessons to be learned from this weekend of uneven artistic ventures. For one thing, multi-media seems to work best when the artists involved do what they·re traiJ1ed to do. (No more singing dancers. dancing singers or juggling pianists - please!) For another, it certainly helps if there's some apparent justification for the collaboration in the first place, beyond novelty for its own sake. Coming up are more events that combine music with other art fonns. The Gryphon Trio. Music Toronto and Tapestry New Opera Works will collectively present composer Christos Hatzis' high-tech extravaganza C01maminople from November 10 to 13: and the Toronto Mendelssolm Choir and Desrosiers Dance Company will team up on March 8 for a perfonnar.

W TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12/04 ···· :I Tbe Scarlatti Dynasty 8 P.M. Q Les Voix Baroques Matthew White, countertenor Q Nathalie Paulin, soprano

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

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