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Volume 11 Issue 1 - September 2005

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • September
  • Jazz
  • Festival
  • Musical
  • Theatre
  • October
  • Sept
  • Index
  • Bach

Reginald Godden

Reginald Godden Remembered lOOth BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION NEW MUSIC - Toronto Hear and Now SOME THING New bylasonvanEyk Reginald Godden (1905-1987) was THE NEW MUSIC CONCERT SEASON ~-----------~ one of Canada's most distin- is off to a bumpy start this year. guished musicians, broadcasters, With the CBC lockout underway, and teachers. His career as a pi- access to the Glenn Gould Stuanist began at the age of fourteen, dio, a venue frequently used by when he played in the silent movie the local new music communihouses of Barrie, Ontario. After ty, is suspended. All bookings are cancelled for the foreseeastudies with Healey Willan (or- ble future. This causes a sizeagan) and Ernest Seitz (piano) at '" ble challenge for many ensemthe Toronto Conservatory of Mu- ui bles, but especially for New sic, he toured during the 1930s ~ Music Concerts, which was to with Scott Malcolm as the Mal- ~ launch its 2005-2006 concert seacolm-Godden Piano Duo for Co- son at the Studio on September lumbia Concerts. Their programs § 18th with the Pentland Project. were brilliant and entertaining, o.. NMC has been forced to swiftly mixing two-piano concert repertoire, their own arrangements of classical move its concert to the Jane Mallett standards, with infusions from the music hall. Godden resumed piano Theatre. There, Vancouver's Turnstudies with E. Robert Schmitz and established himself as a solo artist. ing Point Ensemble and guest solo­ During the 1940s he performed Canadian premieres of works by Barber, Copland, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich, and Canadians Murray Adaskin, Barbara Pentland, Harry Somers, and John Weinzweig. Godden and Somers developed a life-long friendship and collaboration. Somers went to Godden for piano lessons when he was 17. Recognizing his extraordinary talent, Godden advised him to study composition with ists will pay tribute to Barbara Pentland (1912-2000), one of Canada's great pioneering composers. For those unfamiliar with Turning Point, the large-sized ensemble (led by composer Owen Underhill) has John Weinzweig. Somers composed several piano pieces for Godden quickly established itself as an important force in the interpretation of culminating in the Second Piano Concerto, which he performed live to air with the CBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Victor Feldbrill. That performance in 1956 was heard again 21 years later, when the Canadian and other new music, amassing a number of critical acclaims along the way. only tape of the premiere was discovered among the effects of Terence NMC General Manager David Gibbs, the radio producer who had commissioned the work. Olds said of the necessary venue shift Godden was principal of the Hamilton Conservatory in the early "The change will cost more .. . but 1950s, and in 1956 he performed in Hamilton, for the first time in Canada, the cycle of 32 Beethoven piano sonatas in a series of nine weekly None of our preferred and more af­ I don't feel we have any choice. recitals. Godden then withdrew from concert life and for eight years devoted fordable venues were available." himself to the study of Bach. After listening to a lutenist and playing on a clavichord, Godden reformed his technique for playing Baroque music on the modern piano. He sets out his method in detail providing many fascinating exercises in his book Reginald Godden Plays. When Godden returned to Toronto in the late 1960s he gave 13 weekly lecture-recitals at the Conservatory, including both books of the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations, and the Musical Offering, all from memory. A voiding all percussiveness, his performances were remarkable for subtle colouring and lively articulation. He wrote informative and entertaining radio programs on the Regardless, NMC always puts on a good concert, and the Jane, as it is affectionately known, is a great venue for chamber music. Together, they will surely provide a solid concert experience. For more info, visit www.newmusicconcerts.com. Over at the Music Gallery, Toronto's home for new and unusual music, the start of the season is Musical Offering with the Orford String Quartet and the Art of also stumbling a bit. A much anticipated September 24th concert Fugue with the Canadian Brass. In Godden's last years Bach had to make room for Debussy and by the Madawaska Quartet, featuring world premieres by local experimentalist Allison Cameron and Hindemith. At the age of 71 Godden broadcast and recorded the Etudes of Debussy and two years later mastered the Ludus Tonal is of American composer Uriko Toriaki, will not take place on the an­ Hindemith. Godden spent his last years writing his memoirs from a vast store of wit and wisdom pianistic, pedagogical, mycological, but nounced date, and so far has not above all musical. been rescheduled. It is the second A Celebration of Godden's lOOth Birthday will take place Wednesday, September 14, at the Arts and Letters Club, 14 Elm St., Toron­ concert Madawaska residency with non-starter in an ill-starred four to, of which he was a long-time member. The program will feature the Canadian Brass, Robert Aitken, flute, Casey Sokol, piano, and Barbara Chilcott Somers, speaker. Along with excerpts from the Art of Fugue and the Musical Offering, it will include a piece Udo Kasemets composed for the occasion, a dance choreographed by Holly Small to a Godden narration, a composition by John Oswald, original Godden pieces performed by Casey Sokol, and a video documentary by Stuart Beecroft. Admission by free-will donation. Austin Clarkson Music Gallery, of which only one concert, back in May 2005, has so far taken place ."The whole thing beggars belief" Rebecca van der Post, Madawaska violinist said ruefully. Hopefully we'll see this concert reinstated in the near future . Keep tuned to www . musicgallery .org for updates. 26 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM Back to Ad Index Turning Point Ensemble So, IF TORONTO'S OFFERINGS seem to be in flux, where can you get a stable fix of something new this September? The Guelph Jazz Festival offers a number of sure bets. Don't let the title fool you. While jazz and improv may be the crux of this festival, the flavour is completely current, pushing and blurring the boundaries by being "the most determinedly contemporary musical event of its kind in the country". From September 7- 11, 2005 many of the names you may expect to see attached to the vanguard of new music are to be found here, sometimes in unique and wild combinations. Pauline Oliveros On September 9th, Canadian composer of Plunderphonics fame, John Oswald, plays a mean alto sax with Sun Ra Arkestra veteran Marshall Allen, and Toronto improv talents Scott Thomson and Doug Tielli. Directly following the set comes the deep intensity and explosive physicality of clarinettist and composer Lori Freedman. Later that same evening, renowned Deep Listening pioneer and high-profile contemporary composer Pauline Oliveros will improvise on accordion with one of the foremost reed technicians in the world, Roscoe Mitchell of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The following day offers no lighter a load and a more international range. On September 10th, UK pianist Veryan Weston presents his astonishing program-length piece S EPTEMBER 1 - O CTOBER 7 2005

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