7 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 3 - November 2004

  • Text
  • November
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Arts
  • Orchestra
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  • Symphony

partly to Rui-Shi Zhuo's

partly to Rui-Shi Zhuo's expert con- ularly enjoyed the bass flute bits, the Sunrise (imagine yourself in Camducting. Caravan Prelude featuring Japanese bodia ...). Kudos to Ron Korb for this Annette Sanger flute and koto, and the solo Angkor joyful melange. Karen Ages DISCS OF THE MONTH cifically, it combines Chinese instruments and musical characteristics with Western contemporary techniques and styles. This fusion is a reflection of Zhuo's own life-path, which has taken him from his native China to Canada, his home of the past twelve years. Dynamic, eclectic, energetic, and percussive all describe the overall feel of this music. The seven pieces are musically and structurally similar - based on short sections which build up and then dissolve briefly before intensifying again. Rhythm prevails over melody throughout. Zhuo uses many percussion instruments (Chinese and Western), and even the strings - string quartet, erhu (fiddle) and pipa (lute) - are used mainly as vehicles for a miscellany of lustrous sonorities and textures. The second movement of the piece for string quartet and erhu is one of the few moments of relative quietude and repose. Zhuo draws on features of traditional Chinese music: the folk rhythms used in Gu for Chinese ensemble; and the percussive techniques on the pipa - reminiscent of a famous Chinese piece Ambush from all Sides - used in Dao Ban for pipa and chamber ensemble. Nevertheless, the overall effect is still Western, perhaps even postmodern collage, though such complex music resists simplistic classification. The liner notes - in Chinese and English - are very informative though the second piece is described last which is confusing. The musicians, from the Vancouver area, are truly excellent, with a superb sense of ensemble that we can likely attribute Ron Korb - Live Ron Korb Independent UNCD 2004 Recorded live in concert at Mont Arthabaska, Quebec, Ron Korb's 8th CD features original compositions that present a variety of world music traditions fused with jazz or pop. This U of T Faculty of Music grad has lived in Japan, where he studied the traditional flutes of that country, and has traveled the globe in search of rare wind instruments, studying with local masters. "Ron Korb Live", for which there is also a DVD, features Ron playing flute, bamboo flute, bass flute, Irish tin whistle, low whistle, Chinese di tze and Japanese shinobue, with masterful accompaniment by his band of seven musicians on guitars, mandolin, Japanese koto, piano, b3 organ, accordion, violin, acoustic bass, Stic. drum kit, a variety of percussion, and French Canadian foot tapping. Traditionalists might not like this recording, as the overall flavour tends to lean toward a more popular or even new age idiom (personally, I could have done without the b3 organ), but what I enjoy is the variety represented by each track, ranging from lively Celtic jigs to meditative Japanese Gagaku, Spanish, Latin and Jazz styles. The playing is polished and refined, and the instrumentation varies from track to track presenting the listener with a fresh palette of sound each time. I partic- Cleopatra Isabel Bayrakdarian Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra CBC Records SMCD 5233 The life, loves and legend of Cleopatra have everything an opera librettist or composer dreams of: nobility, opulence, grandeur, political intrigue, lust, love triangles and even death by suicide, mocking the surprising fragility of all those fleeting pleasures. Cleopatra is, indeed, the subject of more than 50 operas. Clearly, Isabel Bayrakdarian is perfect for the role, possessing beauty, charm, a regal presence, bravura, ambition (albeit without the venom) and a voice as clear and shimmering as any of the great queen's jewels. She has, of late, chosen many opportunities to perfect the role, having performed in the Canadian Opera Company's 2002 production of Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto and Hasse's serenata Marc 'Antonio e Cleopatra at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in 2001, plus four concerts featuring the repertoire represented on this CD by German baroque composers Handel, Hasse, Graun and Mattheson. Bayrakdarian's flawless voice possesses the great agility required to execute the ornate passages of these selections as well as beautifully evoking the charm, tenderness, sorrow, passion and fury demanded by the role. The most subtle form of seduction is brilliantly captured in the soft, understated Gute Nacht by Mattheson, sung to Marc Anthony who is attempting (unsuccessfully) to honour his marriage to Octavia. Matching Bayrakdarian's artistry is a fine performance by the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, contributing stunning effects such as the darting viper musically depicted in Mattheson's death scene. A most delightful and compelling recording. Dianne Wells Mozart - Mannheim Sonatas Complete sonatas for fortepiano and violin, volume 1 David Breitman; Jean-Francois Rivest Analekta AN 2 9821-2 They should put a warning on the jewel case of this recording that those who listen may experience feelings of weightlessness and elation. Even the hastily written early sonatas on this disc are delivered with such passion and inventiveness that they grab one's ear and draw one in. Sometimes these "complete" recording projects involve a less than ideal amount of rehearsal before the microphones are turned on. In this case, it's clear that Breitrnan and Rivest have lived with these pieces, discussed them and the result is a set of perform- Remote Recording Recording Truck Portable Recording Systems Record Anywhere, Anytime Call Bruce @ PRB 647-272-3674 NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2004

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