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Volume 10 Issue 8 - May 2005

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DISCS OF THE MONTH

DISCS OF THE MONTH Boulez: the Three Piano Sonatas Paavali Jumppanen Deutsche Grammophon 4475328 small town great lake ideal getaway Saugeen Shores is an historic town surrounded by natural beauty, culture and the arts. Cultural and artistic opportunities await you on shore. Register today, either online or call us toll-free, for your chance to win an exclusive cultural getaway package. www . shoreleaves. corn The sonatas of Pierre Boulez, though acknowledged as masterpieces of the recent piano literature, are more talked about than played or heard on account of the merciless demands they make upon both performer and listener. For this reason, they are still in need of such persuasive advocates as the young Finnish master, Paavali Ju mppanen, whose new recording has been issued as part of DG's celebration of Mr. Boulez's eightieth anniversary. The Second Sonata in particular has a reputation as a contemporary "Harnmerklavier", in view of its length (four movements totaling 32 minutes' duration), its intellectual rigor and extreme contrapuntal complexity, and the transcendental virtuosity it requires, taxing the pianist's topographical sense and refinement of articulation to the limit. Not only does Mr. Jurnppanen make the most awkward passages sound fluid and easy and balance the densest of textures, but he invests the whole performance with a dignity and tonal beauty far removed from the rageful banging which sometimes passes for an acceptable rendering of this idiom. The First Sonata, a groundbreaking essay in post-Webernian serialism, displays a degree of dissonance and a diamond hardness of sonority which sets it apart from anything written previously for the piano. Here the austerity of style is offset by a performance of electric vitality. Amidst the turbulent perpetuurn mobile of the second movement, the iridescent, celestalike contrasting episodes are enchantingly played, with masterful pedaling and absolute purity of sound. The Third, a somewhat later piece (written 1955-57 but still apparently a work-in-progress), is more enigmatic. The performer is left with some latitude in choosing which sections to play and in what order. Though the overall effect can be disjointed, Mr. Jumppanen takes great care to show architectural divisions clearly. In any case, this music is probably best listened to in a contemplative fashion, in which the simplest of lines, or the after-resonance of a chord, or a sudden volcanic outburst, are appreciated in themselves as sonorous events. As if the approval of Mr. Boulez himself did not suffice, I cannot recommend this recording highly enough, either to those who already enjoy his music or to those who, though intimidated by its 'intellectualism', might learn to enjoy it. David Swan Concert Note: Reviewer David Swan is featured in the New Music Concerts presentation "The Music of JOrg Widmann" on May 1 at Glenn Gould Studio. 1-800-387-3456 EMOTE CONTOL On location recordings of jazz and classical music Twenty years of live recording for public radio William Van Ree 97 Highview Avenue Scarborough ON M1N 2H6 phone: 416 694 3505 cell: 416 452 6623 www.williamvanree.com william@williamvanree.com 72 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM MAY 1 - JUNE 7 2005

Rudolf Komorous - Wu EveEgoyan Candareen Records CR9092 The collaboration of Rudolph Komorous and Eve Egoyan was fortunate in last year's Strange Sphere (on Artifact records). Now that collaboration has paid yet another dividend to us listeners. Amazingly, Wu is just the pianist alone in a room, playing this vast work. As with so much ofKomorous' output, the stark simplicity forces us to listen ever more closely. For a full hour, the slow-moving melodic line expands and folds in upon itself and expands again. Endless variation in that manner is completely unprecedented. At times, I am reminded of Sorabaji 's Opus Clavicembalisticum, but that does Komorous a disservice; Wu is a masterwork in its own right. The melody briefly gives way for an actual chord, finally, about 20 minutes from the start. The effect is startling in the context of the piece. The composer tells of the performance requirements, outlining the 31 segments of the work in a brief programme note. Egoyan employs what can only be termed Olympian restraint; her celebrated technique is tightly controlled throughout. The Philip T. Young Recital Hall at the Univer- WU sity of Victoria contributes little in the way of reverberation, matched by the dry sound of the Yamaha C-9 piano. A project like this must cause acute anxiety to a recording producer, in that spirit I especially applaud Christopher Butterfield. The microphones, and even the preamplifier, are credited in the notes also. A spectacular CD. JohnS. Gray Concert Note: Eve Egoyan will launch the CD and give the world premiere (live) performance of Wu on May 13 at Glenn Gould Studio. The following night she performs a varied program at the Guelph Spring Festival (see Further Afield listings). Egoyan will also give recitals for Music Umbrella on May 21 at Eastrninster United Church and at the Distillery Jazz Festival on May 29. Loc:l

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