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Volume 10 Issue 4 - December 2004

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  • Toronto
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Ediior's 01e: I was

Ediior's 01e: I was curious as to just wfiat was meant by -period instrument- in 1he context of Bruckner's music. According 10 the conductor's CD liner notes the llu11:s. ro\ewood bassoons. French horns and trumpets da11: from the 1880s and other winds are copies or period models. Gut strings are us 10 achieve natural balance with these lightly less powerful wind instruments. In addition. a smaller stnng section conforms 10 the proporuon.\ ued in the period. Hummel - .. .. - ----- ... _ .. __ James Ehnes; Howard Shelley London Mozart Players Chando CHAN I 0255 Oohnanyi - Concertos Ho,1ard. Shelley; James Ehnes; Clifford Lalltaff BBC Philharmonic; Matthias Bamert Chandos CHAN 10245 Johann Nepomuk Hummel, a composer almost forgouen after his dea1h, eems to be enjoying a great revival these days. Thanks to Chando\ · enes of excellent recordings. presenting his works with the London Mozart Players. we can now hclatedly discovt:r this charming. expertly writtt:n and most enjoyablt: music. He was a child prodigy and acquired great fame traveling 10 the capitals of Europe. just like Motan. whose pupil he was. Unlike Mozart however, Hummel was much mon: successful in obtaining prestigt: and highly paid posi- 1mns. His music, unforcunately, failed 10 auain the greatness of his contemporaries Mozart, Haydn, Weber and Mendelssohn. Potpourri IOr viola and orchestra is a delightful medley or arias from contemporary operas ol Mozan "nd Rossini. skillfully composed" ith ingenious variauons and embellihments. interesung tempo and l..ey changes and a thorough grip on counterpoint in 1he Fugue secuon The Piano Variations, somewhat reminisceOI of Weber's Konzerts111ck. has varia1 ions of progressively increasing complexity ith some beautiful mood changes, is wonderfully playcd by Ho'' ard Shelley. The Violin Concerto shows Mendelsohn 's inllut:nce and is played with great style and panache by the } oung. accomplished Canadian virtuoso. James Ehnes. As a parallel to 1he Hummel there is a similar series dedicated 10 the Hungarian composer. Erno Dohnanyi. In a way both composers shared the same fa1e: great fame in their lifetimes that uedined sharply after their deaths. Dohnanyi was an enormou:.ly talented and prolific composer as well as a pianist. conductor. orchestrator and teacher. He JOmed his two contemporaries, Banok and Kodaly as the prim\.' expont:nts of Hungarian music in the 20th century. While Bartok and Km.la· ly cut an original path with the organic and innovative usc of Hungarian folk tunes. Dohnany1. as a musical conservative, remamed behind. For me the "piece de resistaocc ·· is the Second Piano Concerto Played with grca1 aplomb b) Howard Shelley. this 1s perhaps the last of 1hc great romantic piano concertos. It is strongly influenced by Rachmaninov bu1 a1 1ht: same time is full of original touches, interesting melodics and a distinct Hungarian flavour. In the Second Violin Concerto Dohnanyi employs the 111teresting device of omining the violins from the orchestra thu accemuating the soloist. The solo 'iolin is beautifully handled as a romanuc. rhapsodic instrument and Hungarian inlluences are again highly noticeable. Ehnes plays it with lovt: and affection and 1he concluctor. Mathias Bamert has great affinity to Dohnanyi 's music. Excellent recordings, well up to Chandos exacting standards. Mosaics Trio Lyra Marquis 74728 13332 Janos Gardm1yi Musique de chambre franaise Susan Hoeppner, flute; Judy Loman, harp; and friends Marquis 74718 13232 Mosaics from Toronto's top-notch Trio Lyra consists largely of tasteful transcriptions for this uncommon collection of instruments: !lute. viola and harp. They range from five sing-songy trines by Cesar Cui, a cobbled LOgether and rather busy sounding Trio by Mo­ L:art and the wisrfully nostalgic Deux /111erl11des by Jacques lbert, in which Suzanne Shulman 's wellfocused tlute sounds particularly gorgeous. Works expressly composed for the Trio Lyra include Tango 99. an affable pastiche of Spanish dance numbers by Lhe late Toronto composer Milton Barnes. and Ontarian Marjan Mozetich 's intriguingly effusive Goodbye My Friend, which reveals harpis1 Erica Goodman at her best . The sense of ensemble and dialogue is excellent throughout in these well-recorded performances, though the bookleL is a disappointingly skimpy and haphazard foldout. Marquis's Trio Lyra album. Lhough pleasant enough. clearly panders 10 the pernicious "Des- 1 ined for Disc Drive" segment of Lhe market. Musique de chambre franraise is a considerably more substanLial affair than that, featuring tlutist Susan Hoeppner and preeminent Canadian harpist Judy Loman along with some of Canada's finest musicians in an aJluring program of French masterpieces of the early 20th century. Violist Steven Dann lends a capable hand to a superb interpretation of Debussy's Trio for flute, viola and harp, and is joined by violinist Erika Raum and cellist Amanda Forsyth in. the Serenade by Albert Roussel. A riveting performance of that perfect jewel of the harp repertoire, Maurice Ravel's !111rod11c1io11 and Allegro, includes a suave contribution from clarine1is1 Joaquin Vadepei'las. Hoeppner's striking account of Andre Jolivel's immensely difficult quintet Cham de linos leaves no tone unturned. Keith Horner provides the thoughtful program notes as well as serving as product:r of this fascinating album. Passion Daniel Foley Angele Dubeau & La Pieta Analekta AN 2 8724 Angele Dubeau is one busy artist - between regularly recording CDs, leading in performance across Canada and abroad this ensemble she created in 1997 and serving as a host of a weekly musical program on the Radio-Canada television network. she also serves as the artistic director of an annual music festival in Tremblant, QC. II seems that when you want something done. you ask a busy person. In the latest recording. the busy person" and her ensemble tackle a vast repertoire from Bizet 10 Sarasatc and Enescu to Gershwin. La Pieta, an all-female group, sometimes a sextet, on occasion an octet. plays well together, creating a uniform sound, with Dubeau's "Des Rosiers" Stradi-. varius from 1733 sounding particularly entrancing in the Bizet. The Carmen arrangement, which opens the album. has been reworked very successfully by Louise-Andree Baril, La Pieta's piano player. She contributed most of the competent arrangements on the album. It seems strange then Lhat the album title is "Passion", as that is one quality lacking in this otherwise polished recording. The selections are familiar, Lhe sound clear and pleasing and an occasional nourish adds excitement - still, it is an album best paired with a great, gourmet meal. It will soothe the listeners, provide great background to intimate conversation and 80 - WWW. Tltf IV HOL EN""'oTE::-."'co'"°'M,.,.---------- D - EC _ E_ M _ 8 _E R _ 1 _ 2 _ 0 _ 0 _ 4 _ _ f _ E _ B R_ U _ A -RY _ 7 _ 2 _0_0_ 5

deliver sweetness where dessert might fail. As for passion, you will need to supply your own. Robert Tomas is a truly moving example of a fine orchestra's dedication to their conductor and rheir arr. Colin Savage I CHAN DOS rg.1 f CLASSICS The second, eagerly awaited volume of the masses by J.N. HUMMEL (1778-1837) Mahler Symphony No.9 Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Riccardo Chially Decca 475 6191 My first encoumt:r with compact disc technology was a rt:cording of Mahler's Nimh Symphony. The soft. renrative opening measures, unfolding it seemt:d from nowhere, were a revelarion, and the power. volume, and lack of distortion in Mahler's huge climaxes were overwhelming. I sat transfixed for an hour and a half, basking in the glory and par hos of rhis music. Mahlt:r was at a creative peak in 1909 when he completed this huge symphonic work within a single year. He explored new formal ground in rhe outer movemems - the opening Andante is a vast tlucruacion between a long lyrical theme in a major tonality and interruptions in minor mode which lead to a variety of climaxes, but ultimarely no resolution - we are left tloaring. The Landlers and waltzes of the 2nd movemenc are marked "Somewhac clumsy and very crude" and the Concengebouw achieves just the right balance of elephantine charm to carry ir off. The Rondo-Burleske 3rd movement definitely moves past irony into the caustic sound realm of Shostakovich, based on a frenzy of unpredictable and dissonant counterpoint, including some spectacular clarinet playing. The final Adagio seeks to resolve rhe weighty questions posed in the lsc movemenc, but after much harmonic rumination on a melody based on the simplesr of turns, Mahler marks the coda "ersterbend" (dying away), and the symphony expires. In the pasr 15 years under Chailly, rhe Concengebouw Orchestra has become known for wonderful interpretations of lace romantic and rwentieth century repertoire. This new recording, Chailly's lasr as principal conductor, takes the level or involvement even higher and Kremerlan d Kremerata Baltica - Gidon Kremer Deutsche Grammophon 00289 4748012 There are only two 1ypes of lisreners when it comes to Gidon Kremer: his fans and his fans. I count myself among che latter. One of the most interesring. accomplished and just plain brilliant violin players of our rimes. Kremer has done it all - solo recordings. rrios. quartets. qu imets and larger ensembles, concertos with orchestra and a staggering breadth or reperioire. He is lO modern violin playing what Yo­ Yo Ma is to cello and Martha Argerich co piano. Through the years, his artistic integrity triumphed over market demands and Kremer champions Schninke and Gubaidulina over Brahms and the rest of the standard reperroire. Still, he plays Schubert better than many and is a true virtuoso. as documented on "Kremerland ft. The latesr recording with his Kremerata Baltica. an ensemble sec up as his own 50th birthday present and comprising exclusively musicians from the Baltic srates, is another tribute to the Soviet music - Soviet, because the composers come not only from Russia. but also from what used to be the Soviet Union - Latvia, Georgia, Moldova. The only nod 10 the West is a riveting arrangement of Liszt by Sergiei Dreznin. There is a reason why the world's greates1 conducwrs (Rattle, Eschenbach, Temirkanov, Nagano) wam to work with Kremerata Baltica - they are simply one of the best contemporary chamber orchestras on the planet. Let them and their captain, Gidon Kremer, rake you for an exotic tour of Kremerland you'll never forger. Roberl. Tomas Mass No. 2, Op. 80 in E flat major Te Deum for chorus, orchestra and organ Quod in orbe, Op. 88 SUSAN GRITTON soprano • ANN MURRAY mezzo-soprano JAMES GILCHRIST tenor • STEPHEN VARCOE baritone COLLEGIUM MUSICUM 90 • RICHARD HICKOX Rarely recorded works by ANTONIO VIVALDI C1678-174H In furore justissimae irae laudate pueri, Dominum Concerto a quattro "Madrigalesco" Suonata e Sinfonia al Santo Sepolcro Concerto a quattro, Op. 12 No. 3 CATHERINE BOTT soprano THE PURCELL QUARTET STEPHEN PRESTON flute • JANE ROGERS viola CECELIA BRUGGEMEYER double-bass AVAILABLE AT ALL GOOD CLASSICAL RECORD STORES EMAIL info@sricanada.com TO BE DIRECTED TO A STORE NEAR YOU DEC£MBER 1 2004 . FEBKllAKY 7 2005 WWW.THEWHOtENOH.COM 81

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