5 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 7 - April 2005

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POT POURRI A Butterfly

POT POURRI A Butterfly in Time (The story of a violin by Barbara York) Narrated by Angela Fusco Adrian Anatawan, violin; Chamber Music Society of Mississauga CMSM 874143000025 Finally' Someone has looked imo the crystal ball and seen the future of music education. This CD is no dry homily on who wrote what when. It's a clever demonstration of the ancient an of story telling at its best. A 300 year-old Italian violin narrates its own history through the richly animated voice of Angela Fusco, familiar to radio listeners from many years with the CBC. The chamber ensemble offers a htiffet of familiar tunes in bite-sized arrangements that are entertaining and perfectly paced for the musical novice. Wonderful solo and ensemble playing, editing and production make this CD a "must have" tool for students, teachers and families. The I iner notes are designed as an easy read and inspiring too. Vio- 1 inist Adrian Anantawan, born without a right hand, is heard soloing on many tracks. He's now studying at the Cunis Institute in Philadelphia. We need hundreds of CDs like this in our ;.:ommunities for young people and this one sets the bar very high. Bravo! This is what happens when you put the critical mass of commined, passionate and likeminded people together. There's a fabulous script here for a true Canadian short subject film or TV production. Who out there with the funding will be the first to take this tale into its next digital incarnation? Alex Baran Land of My Heart Peter McCutcheon Margaret Mikelait, piano; Timothy Minthorn, MIDI orchestrations Toreador TRCD 026-2 The Meeting of the Waters Elizabeth Turnbull Lagan LR20041-2 First appearances so often deceive! Upon originally examining the covers of these two CDs, I expected I'd prefer Elizabeth Turnbull's collection of Sconish and Irish songs, in part because it boasts original arrangements (by Roddy Ellias), and in part because I was atrracted to the image of Turnbull, barefoot in an Adirondack chair and surrounded by water. McCutcheon's worried me: he appears on the CD cover, beaming and in a full kilt like a latter-day Harry . Lauder. Uh-oh, I thought. However, McCutcheon turns out to have a subtle and feeling approach. to the well-worn repertoire. He is able to find the preniness of the melodic lines in classic parlour pieces like My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose and Flow Gemly, Sweet Afton, while gently and straightforwardly expressing the tender emotional content of an earlier era. In particular, his rendition of Water of Tyne - which he accurately describes in the liner notes as "achingly beautiful" - successfully mines its sentiments of yearning loss and separation from a loved one without descending into mawkishness. Also, the simple, plain piano arrangements, occasionally embellished with fuller MIDI orchestration, support his performance well. On the other hand, Turnbull 's recording earns her my sympathy. She has an odd voice: extremely powerful and fully produced, but pitched very low. One might guess that her strategy in choosing this repertoire was to try her hand at songs that have been traditionally associated with great tenors, like Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms. However, her vocal producJion is so heavy that it rather overpowers the material which, with its generally simple tunes, simply can't stand up to such a strong attack. This is particlarly true when the .force of Tumbull's voice causes her to take a breath in the middle of a phrase, undermining the lightness of the melodic line and the meaning of the words. That said, while I far prefer the approach of a Loreena McKennitt in a mournful, ghostly piece like She Moved Thro' The Fair, I would love to hear Turnbull doing a smoky Gershwin selection. Flamenco Jorge Miguel Andaluz Music AMI004 Possibly the only job in music in Canada that is more of a labour of love than being a jazz musician, is being a flamenco musician. This complex and beautiful art form is sadly underappreciated here, although with the growing Latino population, in some of our urban centres anyway, it is.gaining a bi! of a toehold. One of the young practitioners of the art in Canada is guitarist, Jorge Miguel. He comes by his affinity for the music honestly, because although he was raised in Canada, his parents are from Spain and he spent many months in Cadiz, the reported birth place of flamenco, when growing up. Sarah B. Hood Sound Adventures - Miguel's second CD, Flamenco, is eight tracks of mostly authentic flamenco i.e. tangos, bulerias, alegrias and farruca, composed by Miguel. The last track on the disc is a pop/rumba tune featuring South American-Canadian singer Eliana Cuevas, who, while a lovely singer, does not have the hard living, cigarette-and-whisky howl so coveted by flamenco singers. Other musicians appearing are Daniel. Stone on percussion, including palmas (in flamenco, hand-clapping is considered an art and is integral to the sound), Paul Donat on bass and two talented dancers Pam Briz Guijarro and Ilse Gudino, add castanets and foot stomps, respectively. If you can get past the cheesy photo on the inside cover of the disc, you will find in Flamenco, ii fine collection of songs well-played by Miguel and company. Cathy Riclzes Concert note: Jorge Miguel will launch this new CD on April 14 at the RiverRun Centre in Guelph. Global Music for Children Various Artists Independent (sophia@interlog.C0m) Compiled by Toronto vocalist and children's music educator Sophia Grigoriadis, "Sound Adventures" features musical selections from across the rich spectrum of World Music ensembles based in Toronto and beyond. Grigoriadis, a long-time member of the traditional Arabic/ Greek music ensemble Maza Meze, also runs "Clapping Land", a parent-child music and movement program. She came up with the idea for this CD when parents asked where they could find the musical tracks used in her program. Drawn mostly from previously released recordings of the various artists, each track was chosen for its accessibility to children. Categorized as either "For Singing and Dancing", "For Drumming and Dancing" or "For Rocking and Swaying", the liner notes to each selection often give suggestions on how parents and children can participate in the I istening experience: sing along with the refrain, note how many instruments are used, listen for individual drum voices and tap along, or create your own belly dance. A personal favourite of mine is Tongue Twister, courtesy of the Toronto Tabla Ensemble, which consists of a "conversation" between a drummer and dancer in rapidly spoken syllables or "bols". Other artists include Arabic singer Maryem Tollar (with supporting vocals by her young daughter), the Ottawa based Ghanaian group Baobab Youth Performers, Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble (Japanese Taiko drumming), the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, classical Indian fusion group Tasa, Maza Meze, and more. A wonderful introduction to the world of music for all ages. Karen Ages

OLD WINE ... NEW BOTTLES l/.ll I PI '\Z. \ by Bruce Surtees Some Enchanted Evening is the appropriate title of a disc from Naxos [8.120643] containing 20 tracks spanning songs from Broadway to Hollywood sung by the incomparable bass, Ezio Pinza. The transfers from The Bell Telephone Hour, RCA, and Columbia originals could not be better. If we are very lucky, '1.ll'----__J this may just tum out to be Volume One. Also from Naxos reminding us of what a superlative artist Richard Tauber was is welcome second volume of his opera arias [8.111001]. Mainly sung in German, hear what the fuss about Tauber was all about. .. and still is more than 50 years after his death. Welcome news for music lovers and audiophiles alike is the second batch of ten Living Stereo hybrid two and three channel SACD discs from RCA. Hybrid discs are playable on the regular CD players which read the stereo tracks while SACD players read all the encoded channels. Sony's DSD system reads all the original channels at an astounding rate of 2,822,400 times per second! On a CD player the improvement over the earlier Living Stereos is obvious because there is so much more information to be heard. An SACD system creates a tangible 3D effect. Fritz Reiner headlines the release with a Dvorak Ninth, Smetana and '' lfl 1:11111 1111 :., LJV1NG STEREO ;: \ -· :I: ..,, .A ... ,.. l .:p Weinberger; Brahms First Piano Concerto with Arthur Rubinstein; and Scheherazade and Stravinsky's Song of the Nightingale. Arthur Fiedler returns with definitive performances of Gafte Parisienne and La Boutique Fantasque; and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, the Concerto in F, etc with Earl Wild. Heifetz plays the concertos by Sibelius, Prokofiev [#2] and Glazunov. Charles Munch conducts the Dvorak and Walton concertos with cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, the Berlioz Requiem, and a Ravel/Debussy album. Composer/conductor Morton Gould's Brass and Percussion disc has 27 spectacular tracks and is, for me, the most impressive of these 10 SA CDs. The only disappointing disc is the Gafte Parisienne which is missing the lower frequencies where the feet of the orchestra live. Too bad, because its disc-mate, La Boutique Fantasque is full range. All the others discs are excellent, both for performances and reproduction. Incidentally, a rather good, complete five channel system plus subwoofer with SACD/CD/DVD-V player has a suggested retail of ,299 from Sony. In honour of the 50th anniversary of the death of conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler DG recently issued a two cd package entitled The Fascination of Furtwiingler (4775238), disc one containing excerpts of recordings from 1926 to 1937 and a second with postwar recordings all with the Berlin Philharmonic. None of the early recordings have been generally available. All have been carefully remastered and the discs should be of interest to the conductor's fans and collectors with inquiring minds. Others need not apply. EMI Canada has a few Furtwangler originals in their domestic catalogue and last November EMI France issued a bunch of popular recordings in a uniform edition. DG Canada has quite a few currently in their regular catalogue. Last month King Records in Japan issued a limited edition 54 CD set licensed entirely from Tahra and Orfeo that was completely sold out before the issue date. With all the original recordings now in the Public Domain there are at least 200 Furtwlingler CDs in the market place but regrettably, except for Music and Arts, Tahra, Naxos, Orpheo, and maybe one or two others, the sound varies from appalling to unlistenable. Caveat Emptor. APRIL 1 - MAY 7 2005 WWW. THEWHOlENOTE.COM

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