8 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 3 - November 2004

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its premiere some six

its premiere some six months after the compo er's death. Eclairs (Illuminations of the Beyond) is not so much a summation as affirmation of his life's work. A theme borrowed from his 1948 Turanga/'ila-Symphony is introduced early on and the obsession with bird-song continues to dominate the discourse. It is classic Messiaen - monumental, ritualistic and ecstatic. It remains a bit of a contractual mytaery to me why the orchestra is referred to as the Berlin "Symphoniker" on the back of the album (and there is indeed an orchestra of that name in Berlin) and "Philharmoniker" on the from - an anomaly which is repeated in the program booklet. Perhaps the orchestra of 128 playt:rs includes a few ringers the BPO is loath to recognize? Despite the gargantuan forces involved the instrumentation is always t:xceedingly l4cid under Sir Simon Rattle 's expert direction and quite adroitly recorded from live performances in Berlin this past summer. The documentation is quite disappointing however, neglecting to addre s the extra-musical, theological references that are such a key pan of Messiaen's musical architecture, or even to translate the titles of the eleven sections of this transcendent, hour-long work. Ondes Martenot Thomas Bloch 'axos 8.555779 If anyone mentioned to me a few months ago that an all-Ondes Marte11ot disc could be released, I might have questioned the sanity of whoever told the story. Yet suddenly I am a believer. Don't for one moment think of it as a novelty record - it is a testament to the virtuosity and ambition of one Thomas Bloch. From the 81J hidden glass harmonica player in the Amadeus soundtrack, here is Bloch "out front" with a variety of solos and ensembles. As usual, Naxos provides copious notes, including over two pages on the fascinating history of Maurice Martenot's "musical waves" instrument. Bloch contributes three of his own works, and there are seven other composers represented. Olivier Messiaen 's Fueillet inedit no. 4 opens the disc with sweetness, followed by Bloch's shattering Formulae, a olo toccata. Bernard Wisson's large-scale 2001 work Kyriades, with full-blown orchestra, is very impressive in its world premiere recording. Michel Redolfi's Mare Teno seems akin to a timeless dreamstate, and is over all too soon at seven minutes. Bohuslav Martinu 's 1944 Fantaisie for Theremin and chamber ensemble, written during his Arican sojourn, receives what is arguably its best reading. This CD is worthy of repeated listenings, a valuable addition to any collection. The cover painting makes up for the tiny ill-lit photograph of Bloch with hi instrument, virtually an afterthought on the back of the booklet. Portraits: Istvan Anhalt Daniel Foley Various Artists John S. Gray Centrediscs CMCCD 10204 This newest addition to the Canadian Composer Portrait series includes substantial liner notes, a sophisticated CD documentary, and two fascinating works by one of Canada's preeminent composers, making it a must-have for those with an interest in Canadian music history. The thoroughly engaging 53-minute documentary is a picture of the various phases of Anhalt's life and the development of his compositional style that includes the voice of Anhalt himself, as well as composer Harry Somers, pianist Glenn Gould, conductor Glen Fast and a host of music specialists. The two works included on the second disc in this portrait reflect the great variety in Anhalt's oeuvre. The symphonic work 771e Tents of Abraham (2003) explores the story of Abraham, whom the composer views as a "potential symbol for a conceivable reconciliation between Surrey With The Fringe On Top, What Is 771is Thing Called Love, and Jew and Muslim." Its five move- Old Folks .. Jazz standard include ments have a narrative quality, and Anhalt's orchestration is often vivid and colourful. The most evocative of these is the opening movement, "The Land," which depicts the open wilderness that sets the tage for Abraham's life. Foci (1969), for both taped and live voices with instruments, attempts to demonstrate the uniqueness of every human voice. In it, a host of vocal expressions (singing, speaking, sighs, laughs, whispers) are combined in a collage of increasing activity and tension. Described by Anhalt as "a series of views on life," Foci reflects Anhalt's interest in electronic .music and mixed media during his early career and shows the part he played in the development of tape repertoire in Canada. The contrast between this angular and modernistic tape piece and the warmer, subtler tones of Tents reveal a composer of great versatility and depth. Benita Wolters-Fredlund Blues Walk Tony Genge JAZZ RoadHouse Route 18 Every town has one: a local guy who plays well, could be out on the major stages of the world, but for one reason or another stays home. In this case, it' Tony Genge but to be truthful he really is outside the category. The small town is Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and armed with a PhD, pianist Genge is there as a professor at St. Francis Xavier University's Jazz Studies programme. And he's not really from there - he's a Vancouver native, as are so many fine Canadian jazz talents. Genge is heard in trio setting with Toronto's Kieran Overs (who also recorded the music, in Antigonish, I'd guess) on bass, and drummer Terry O'Mahoney who also teaches at St. FX (one of the best jazz programmes around). WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM The lineup here would gain favour at any hip club anywhere: standards mostly pianist's tunes: Kenny Drew's not-often heard Modal Mood, Moanin 'by Bobby Timmons, and The P. C. Blues (for bassist Paul Chambers) by Red Garland, and the odd one-The Blues Walk (trumpeter Clifford Brown). Tony Genge himself wrote the pretty bolero-like Away Falls My Heart (which is crying for lyrics), West Coas1 Groove, Lillie Waltz and D. K. 's Dilemma. Nobody's out to change the world with this release, but it's a thoroughly professional document of fine musicians doing what they do best. Even in small towns. Ted O'Reilly Editor's Note: The versatile Anthony (Tony) Genge is also a composer of contemporary music and his more "classical" compositions can be heard on the Arraymusic disc "25 Miniatures" (Artifact Music), Barbara Pritchard 's "The View from Here" (Centrediscs) and "Offering" (Hornby Festival Records), all available through the Canadian Music Centre Distribution Service ( Virtuoso In New York Joe Pass Pablo PACD-2310-979-2 Joe Pass was a rare phenomenon, a guitarist who would not only release solo recordings, done in a s!Udio where retakes and editing are possible, but he would walk out on stage anywhere in the world and do it live. Sure, Segovia, Parkening and any number of traditional players do it, but remember: they are playing composed, well-practiced pieces, not going out there to tap dance on a burning highwire as it were. Pass is creating at least 50 % of what you· re hearing as you 're hearing it. Joe Pass was a late swing-to-bop stylist, out of Charlie Christian, whose early history was marred by drugs. He conquered them, and went on to a solid career appearing and recording with the likes of George Shearing, Oscar Peterson, Ella, Duke and Basie. NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2004

In the 1970s impresario Norman Granz made a series of Joe Pass solo recordings for Pablo. The music heard here is previously unreleased, from NYC in June 1975. How much more exists is unknown to me, but nothing from these dates has been out before. It's typical in that Granz probably just sat Pass down in a studio and started calling out tune titles. If Joe knew it, he'd play it. The selections include a fast opener, I Never Knew, the relaxed A Ghost Of A Oumce, We'll Be Together Again (with a Latin tinge), the quick Moritat (aka Mack The Knife), and the requisite blues (in two takes) Blues For Alagam. You don't have to be a guitarist to enjoy this talent. Ted O'Reilly suggestions of influences from Ben Webster through John Coltrane. The recording quality is first-rate, perfectly balanced and natural sounding. It makes for a late-evening listening experience, for those times when a solitary brandy with a wide view of the city below is called for. Pretty, but melancholic. (Just don't have a double). FATH•RS AND SONS ... __ Ted O'Reilly Fathers And Sons Al Henderson Quintet Cornerstone CRST CD 124 Eternal Branford Marsalis Quartet Marsalis Music/Rounder 3309-2 There's an ineffable feeling of loneliness and sadness to "Eternal", Branford Marsalis' new release, but that's to be expected as it is dedicated to many departed friends of the reedman, including jazz artists Elvin Jones, Ray Charles, Steve Lacy, Malachi Favors and James Williams. Marsalis plays both soprano and tenor saxes, accompanied by Joey Calderazzo at the piano, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts. Each quartet member contributes one tune to the album's seven selections. Only the concluding Eternal (nearly 18 minutes long) is by Marsalis. On tenor sax for that, he plays soprano on his bandmate's tunes. Calderazzo's The Lonely Swan glides along with insistent cymbal work by Watts, on which floats Marsalis' almost formal horn. Bassist Eric Revis doesn't play on his composition Muldoon, interpreted out of tempo by just Marsalis and the pianist. Reika 's Loss is a pretty triple-meter composition by the drummer. There are three not over-played old standards, The Ruby And The Pearl, Gloomy Sunday and Dinner For One Please, James. Branford's tenor is heard on all, and he shows he understands that horn, offering Al Henderson's name may be known to you as a founder of Time Warp, a long-lived quartet that comfortably walks any number of lines: sorta swingy avant-garde bluesy jazz. On "Fathers And Sons" the angle is swingy still, but also more into Latinish walking-with-one-foot-in-thegutter rhythms, with a definite Kurt Weill/Berlin '20s cabaret loucheness. And funny. Definitely funny. The audience at Toronto's Montreal Bistro was having a good time when this was taped in late summer 2003. The reed pair of Alex Dean and Pat LaBarbera covers six instruments, with Richard Whiteman at the piano, and drummer Barry Romberg with Henderson's bass supplying the foundation. All the tunes are by Henderson, and the humour is in the writing, but it's drawn out by players themselves. It's not all for laughs, of course. On the title tune LaBarbera's tenor reminds us of the spirituality of his early guide John Coltrane. And the slow tempo of Marcus M. brings out the loveliest sounds of both tenor saxes, wrapping themselves around a warm, bluesy theme. Also on the quieter side is Waiting For Spring, featuring the only LaBarbera soprano sax work. Dean's tenor follows, building strongly to a contrasting piano solo and strong finish. The bookends are the driving opener Darwin 's Ghost and the raucous closer Millennium Jump. Al Henderson works without a net, but you're never in danger of not having a good time with this gang. Ted O'Reilly JUST IN TIME FOR HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING, BRILLIANT IS RELEASING 10 NEW TITLES IN IT'S MASTERWORKS SERIES Beethoven Mozart Vivaldi Handel Bach Brahms Mendelssohn Schubert Haydn Dvorak EACH SET CONTAINS A 40 CD COLLECTION REPRESENTING THE BEST OF A COMPOSER'S WORKS PERFORMED BY TODAY'S LEADING ARTISTS AVAILABLE AT CANADA'S BEST CLASSICAL RECORD SHOPS EMAIL TO BE DIRECTED TO A SHOP NEAREST YOU NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2004 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM

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