8 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 6 - March 2005

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Jeremiah 's lament.

Jeremiah 's lament. After all he ends with the entreaty: "Jerusalem, . turn back to the Lord your God." The French composer Philippe Leroux is touted as "one of the most important composers of our era", so I wondered why I had not come across his music before this Musique Franaise d' Aujourd'hui release (Nocturne NTCD 358). However. doing a "G oogle" search and visiting the IRCAM (Pierre Boulez' acoustic research facility in the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris) website have confirmed that this is not just a bombastic claim on the part of an overzealous annotator. Leroux has been active for more than two decades and his teachers included Pierre Schaeffer, Olivier Messiaen and lannis Xenakis among a number of other notables. His music has been likened to that of spectral composers Tristan Murai! and Gerard Grisey, and he has been commissioned by L'ensemble Intercontemporain, Les Percussions de Strasbourg and Orchescre Philharmonique de Radio France (ORF) to name just a few. Listening to the disc confirms the pedigree of this forty-five year old composer. I found the music simply electrifying, from the abrasive setting of Lin Delpierre's "Un peu de voix" in Voi(Rex), featuring soprano Donatienne Michel­ Dansac and the Ensemble L'Itineraire, right through to M, his 1997 addition to the repertoire of that unique ensemble first envisioned by Bela Bartok: 2 pianos and percussion. In Leroux's version we have the addition of the virtual souridworld made possible by IRCAM's computer developments. The ORF is featured in the centrepiece of this portrait disc, Plus loin for large orchestra, the final work in a cycle of three for EDITOR'S CORNER continued from page 15 ever expanding forces whose combined titles give us Continuo(ns) - (d ')ALLER - Plus loin (Let us continue to go farther). Going farther seems to be an ongoing concern for Leroux, and I will make a point of hitching a ride whenever the opportunity presents itself. While the Leroux disc is presented as a portrait of a composer, in the string quartet discs mentioned above we are given portraits of places. The Quatuor Bozzini disc "Portrait Montreal" (CQB 0401 www says as much in the title. We are presented with works by four very different composers which not only showcase the diversity of the Montreal new music scene, but also the wide area of interest and expertise of the Bozzini Quartet. Beginning with Michael Oesterle's arrangement of the late Claude Vivier's (see Pamela Margles' review of Chants in the Modern and Contemporary section) classic Pu/au Dewata, a Balinese-inspired work originally scored for any combination of instruments, the disc moves through Jean Lesage's post-modernist pastiche (in the best sense of the word) Quatuor a cordes II and Oesterle's own haunting Daydream Mechanics V, to the structured improvisation of Malcolm Goldstein's A New Song of many faces for In These Times. Picked as the Prix Opus 2001 "Discovery of the Year", this is indeed an ensemble to watch. My only regret with this disc is that in spite of program notes for the individual pieces there is no information whatsoever provided about the composers. The Beau Quartet's CD "Andrix, Bachmann, Garde!" (Arktos 200483) cannot be accused of the same shortcoming. There is ample information about Calgary and Edmonton residents Arthur Bachmann and George Andrix (at which point I would mention that the third composer, Argentinean Carlos Garde! is represented by a tango arranged by Bachmann) and each contributes three original works to the disc. So this is a portrait of Alberta, at least in a limited sense. Arthur Bachmann was born in Calgary in 1961. George Andrix is a generation older and was born in Chicago, but has chosen Edmonton as his home. The two do seem to share a similar Romantic Songs Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau; Hartmut Holl Brilliant Classics 92439 Dubbed the "world's greatest lieder singer", Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau retired in 1992 at the age of 67, after a 45 year career of sold out concerts and opera performances and an overwhelming discography. His life has been mainly devoted to perfecting the German Lied and to songs in other languages. His intelligent singing with his mellifluous and expressive baritone is a joy to the ear and once heard is never forgotten. This set of 5 CDs includes songs of Weber, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Wolf and Debussy. The recitals date from 1987 to 1992 when he was no longer in his prime and his radiant, flexible and youthful voice somewhat eroded, but the magical, insightful interpretations are very much in evidence and he is still a great master. One must note, however, some rawness in his lower register and some loss of flexibility and accuracy. world view, with Nature as a principal concern. My only concern is that this is a very limited portrait of the compositional activity of the province. Well not my only concern actually. I also don't think that ragtime music, here represented by Andrix's Rag, and the tango, are particularly well suited to the string quartet genre, although some would say that the Kronos Quartet would prove me wrong on that point. That being said I think there is some cogent writing here arid I'm glad to have been exposed to these two Canadian composers whose music had previously not come my way. We welcome your feedback and invite submissions. Catalogues, review copies of CDs and comments should be sent to: The WholeNote, 503 - 720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4. We also welcome your input via our website, VOCAL AND OPERA TIC David Olds Editor, DISCoveries The pianist is the young, energetic and sensitive Hartmut Holl, a worthy successor in the singer's distinguished line of great accompanists. Schubert, the greatest exponent of German Lied, wrote over 600 songs in his short and unhappy lifetime of which 16 are included here. In a magical, spiritual landscape, the "landscape of the soul where poetry and music unite", one discovers how woJJderfully Fischer-Dieskau approaches each song afresh and builds it from the words of the poet, from the inside out. Romantic imagery such as the forest, nature and die nighttime sky is all pervasive in the poetry and this imagery is brought to life by Schubert's wonderful melodies and frisson producing modulations. Note the singer's smooth flowing legato and sustained piano singing in Nacht und Traume or the infectious strophic song Das Zugenglocklein. Selected songs of two additional composers of early romanticism in the first half of the l 9th century, Weber and Mendelssohn are on the next two discs. Weber's songs are simpler and more extroverted than Schubert's and often relate to the common people. His boisterous drinking and yodeling song Reigen is particularly irresistible, where the singer shows himself a great actor. Mendelssohn, the child prodigy and 68 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM MARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2005

possibly the greatest melodist in all music, started writing songs at the age of 11. His great outburst of creativity is well represented by Fischer­ Dieskau 's careful selection of 23 TV interviews such as the one with Edward R. Murrow are revealing. As a bonus, we are treated to a 40 minute long 1962 Hamburg recital with her still in excellent voice Maria Callas revolutionized the opera stage. Rather than just singing at the audience she entered the soul of each character with a mesmerizing force. She was a true diva songs. which gives us a good idea of what and an international superstar of the From the latter half of the centu- it was like to see her in a live perry, first order. People lined up for days the wonderfully sensitive songs formance. The companion discs to see her and her performances of Hugo Wolfs Fruhe Lieder are bear witness to her multidimenincluded. were unforgettable. There may The diverse emotions that sional voice, incredible emotional have been other great sopranos, but must be expressed make these songs involvement and versatility. only one Callas. enormously difficult to perform but Ja11os Gardo11yi the listener is well rewarded by the singer's undisputed mastery. EARLY MUSIC AND PERIOD PERFORMANCE With Claude Debussy we enter a different soundscape, a world of different harmonies and floating qualities of rhythm and form. He completely broke away from Western music hitherto dominated by Wagner and Brahms. With the luminous poetry of Verlaine and Baudelaire, the artist now shows a radical change of style and a mastery of French language and pronunciation. To conclude - Good bargain, the digital sound is excellent and it is a wonderful artistic achievement, but the serious listener will be disappointed by the infuriating lack of translations. Ja11os Gardo11yi Samuel Scheidt - Tabulatura Nova Kevin Komisaruk ATMA ACD2 2317 This ATMA Classique CD features eight major works by the early l 7th century composer Samuel Scheidt, as published in his opus Tabulatura the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Komisaruk has an innate understanding of the music of this era, and demonstrates to us all that, despite what we might assume, this music is not complete "Scheidt". Gabrielle McLaughlin Concert Note: - Studio Sixteen performs on Sunday, March 13 at the Church of the Holy Trinity. Kevin Komisaruk performs a noonday organ recital at Yorkminster Park Church on March 16. Nova. Organist Kevin Komisaruk brings the works to life on Hellmuth Wolffs organ, located in Knox College Chapel in Toronto. The collection showcases Scheidt's use of sacred Callas - Life and Art (CD and DVD) Maria Callas EMI 7243 5 57897 2 3 (CD) EMI 7243 5 99964 9 3 (DVD) and secular themes, and this is well explained and defined in the detailed jacket notes which accompany the disc. Komisaruk, who is a Canadian organist of great repute, has an impeccable touch on the instrument. His musicality is made evident in the colours he uses and in his ability to Marcello - Salmi di Davide Rinat Shaham, mezzo-soprano Fuoco e Cenere; Jay Bernfield ATMA Baroque ACD 2 2233 The biblical Psalms of David provide the most evocative imagery a composer could hope to find. Marcello's settings of the first fifty are magnificent. They were very popular, I recall that back in the early sixcreate a strong character for each and had great influence after he ties I saved up enough money to buy piece. Komisaruk's versatility as a published them between 1724 and EM I's celebrated LP set of "Norperformer is exhibited in the Toccama" 1726 under the title Estro poeticoarmonico. with Callas and this became ta In Te, Domine, Speravi, where But today performances one of my most prized possessions. he effectively employs a huge garnare surprisingly rare, although Now EM! has come out with a reut of styles and effects. The jacket Tafelmusik gave four excerpts in a notes indicate very clear performmarkable package of a DVD and 2 recent concert. They have never ance practice techniques, all of which CD 's _ all for a price less than a been completely recorded, so this DVD itself. are maintained beautifully by the disc of two psalms and an excerpt "Life and Art" is a reissue of a performer, while still allowing for is especially welcome. tape made in 1987, ten years after his unique and highly commendable Marcello divided e-Ntal-6 l.WJ "'1i1' b.iikL \w.i11 WI r -( ,.._" •'-"'!""'"" tl:fltoid1unll(.k":t:

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