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Volume 11 Issue 1 - September 2005

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to the usurper. The

to the usurper. The eighteen years which had passed witnessed Verdi's creation of Rigoletto, II Trovatore, La Traviata, and La Forza del Destino. Verdi had every reason to believe that he could do even better by the Bard this time around. The public was not smitten. Macbeth 1865 was more musically sophisticated (and downright gorgeous), but the excised "oompah" and Nabucco-inspired nationalist choruses of the 184 7 version were a better fit for the drama. Vocal roles were also more demanding in the 1847 version. The original lead roles were composed specifically for two of the great mid-19th century Italian stars: Felice Varesi who also premiered Rigoletto, and Marianna Barbieri­ Nini. Peter Glossop's and Rita Hunter's performances for BBC/ Opera Rara meet these greater challenges with aplomb. Both versions became hard to find in opera houses until the Verdi renaissance after WWII. Then it was the 1865 version that gathered steam. Then, when conductor Victor de Sabata joined forces with Maria Callas at La Scala in the 1950s, the 1865 version was propelled, by Callas' stardom, back into the core repertoire. The De Sabata/Callas 1952 live recording is one of the catalogue greats even though the archival tape is just awful (EMI mono 5 66447-2). One can understand the inclination to treat the later strokes of the composer's pen as sacrosanct, but in the case of Macbeth, the 1865 version's ascendancy has dimmed the lights on an opera glorious on its own terms. Until now. Recent Macbeths on a budget: the Opera d'Oro label offers two: I ordered a 1975 La Scala recording (Claudio Abbado, with Piero Cappuccilli and Shirley Verrett) (OPD 1337). By happy mistake, I received a 1970 live performance from somewhere (Karl Bohm, with Sherill Milnes and Christa Ludwig) (OPD 1201). Opera, of course, is best seen and heard. The reference DVD is a newly remastered 1972 Glyndebourne performance, with John Pritchard conducting the LPO (ArtHaus/Naxos 101 095) and Kostas Palkalias and Josephine Barstow solid rather than outstanding as the plotting Macbeths. I had high hopes for a 1988 Deutsche Oper Berlin production conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli. (Image ID9234RADVD). Alas, the silly minimalist and symbolist staging for the DVD production seems to have discouraged the performers. BOOK SHELF by Pamela Margles THIS PASf APRIL alone, two remarkable performances of Schubert's landmark Lieder cycle Winterreise were performed, by Matthias Goerne and Gerald Finley. And this month, fortunate Toronto audiences can hear it again with Russell Braun. Who says Lieder is dying? The art song is central to each of this month's books. There is a volume of essays dedicated to Lieder, a memoir by Renee Fleming, the reigning opera diva of our day, which emphasizes the importance of Lieder to her education and repertoire, an account of baroque music, which, among many other things, reveals the roots of Lieder, and, stretching things only slightly - to France from Germany - a recollection of Debussy by a violinist known mainly for transcribing Debussy's songs. Cambridge Companion to the Lied Edited by James Parsons Cambridge University Press 437 pages; .95 James Parsons' well-chosen collection of essays covers the development of Lieder from the eighteenth century, through the age of romanticism when it "stood at the heart of German musical life", until "its presumed demise during World War II". Two major themes, the relationship of the poetry to the music, and the balance of the voice with the piano, provide the context for engaging and insightful examinations of major composers like Schubert, Schumann and Brahms, as well as Lieder specialists like Wolf and Loewe. Composers mainly known for other works, like C.P.E. Bach, Weber and Liszt are covered, as well as largely unknown composers like Kreutzer, Cornelius, and Reichardt, and gifted but usually overlooked women like Clara Schumann and Fanny Hensel. "Lieder singing, for all its beauties, pays very few of the bills" writes pianist Graham Johnson, offering the witty perspective of a collaborative performer. Indeed, many of the writers express concern about the marginalized state of Lieder today. Yet the mid-twentieth-century cut-off here leaves an incomplete picture, without consideration of the revitalizing contributions of contemporary Lieder composers like Han Werner Henze. RE~EE FLEMl.'1(; The Inner Voice by Renee Fleming Viking 240 pages; .00 Renee Fleming describes this memoir as the "autobiography of my voice" . Her subject is her art. There are amusing and poignant anecdotes, but no scandalous confessions about her private life, no back-stage exposes, and hardly any photos. Her heartfelt sincerity makes you almost forget just how extraordinarily successful she is today. "At the end of my career I want to know in my heart that I did everything I was capable of doing, that I succeeded in singing in a way that not even I had imagined was possible". It's this extraordinary determination that stopped her from quitting the opera stage back when she felt fated to be "the greatest second-prize winner of all time". She describes dealing with shyness, stage fright, and rejection. She emphasizes the essential importance of developing a distinctive style, choosing the right repertoire, not worrying about pleasing others, and, above all, preparing incredibly hard. Fleming's favourite operas have love and redemption at their heart, like her signature roles in Rusalka and Manon. These characters come to life in her descriptions of how she approaches them. The Inner Voice truly is inspiring. All that's lacking is an index to facilitate dipping back in. A History of Baroque Music by George J. Buelow Indiana University Press 713 pages; .00 George Buelow's history of baroque music is the most comprehensive since Manfred Bukofzer's seminal Music in the Baroque Era was published almost sixty years ago. Buelow introduces the "troublesome" concept of baroque cautioning that it is not a unified, segregated style. But it can be characterized as "music of virtuosity, of complex, striking dissonances and exceptional modulations", notable - and exceptionally popular today - for its dramatic expressivity and emotional freedom. Buelow brings continuity and insight to his discussions of the development of styles like basso continua, and forms like cantata, oratorio and opera. He covers a great amount of time and geography. Especially welcome are chapters on Latin America and Eastern Europe contributed by specialists in these areas. Many little-known but fascinating composers are given attention, like Nikolai Diletskii, who was the first to write out the circle of fifths, and Giovanni Colonna. His oratorio Salomone amante, dealing with King Solomon's extramarital affairs, obscures "the line of demarcation between the secular world of opera and the sacred world of oratorio" . Yet it was written before Handel, the master of secular oratorio, was even born. The superbly detailed index, bibliography, notes, musical examples and facsimiles of original scores, along with quotations from writers of the time help to make this book invaluable. Claude Debussy As I Knew Him, and Other Writings by Arthur Hartmann Edited by Samuel Hsu, Sidney Grolnic, Mark Peters University of Rochester Press 361 pages, photos; .00US American violinist Arthur Hartmann is remembered today mostly for his 32 Back to Ad Index WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM SEP TEMBER 1 - O CTOBER 7 2005

Claude Debussy As I Knew Him .tnd Otn~·, \Vr(li11y~ hV -'rl.'i11rH,1rlmM1~ three popular viol in transcriptions of short works by Debussy. Regrettably, he made no recordings. But he did leave some remarkable writings, collected and published uncut here for the first time. While living in Paris before the first world war, Hartmann established a close relationship with Debussy, who he found "nobly beautiful and unforgettable". They shared a fondness for blue clothing, the music of Liszt, and bantering humour. Hartmann gives a fascinating description of planning a recital with Debussy, a superb pianist but a reluctant performer. A "typical American" dinner Hartmann hosted for Debussy sounds hilarious. Debussy called the grapefruit, which he had never seen before, "that animal", and petulantly refused to try anything else offered. Hartmann's recollections of Joachim, Ysaye, Grieg and his teacher Charles Loeffler are sentimental, but laced with considerable bite. Hartmann emerges as an elegant, colourfully flamboyant character. By all accounts, not just his own, he was a brilliant violinist. In later life he concentrated on teaching, writing, and composing. He even ended up in Toronto in 1933 to take over Luigi von Kunits' studio. "Hartmann, Notable Violinist, Friend of Great Composers, Not Sorry To Leave Toronto" read the headline in a Toronto newspaper soon after. Geo. I I , D Music Education Pilot Project: Three TMA members, Alan Hetherington, Brian Katz and Jane Fair, recently designed and delivered a deluxe, three-part, highly specialized music class for the grades six, seven and eight students at St. Boniface Elementary School. The intent was to approach rhythm experientially, through body percussion work, movement and games. Brian led this class, with Jane and Alan assisting, challenging participants' coordination, their quick responses, their musical memory, and also their expressive abilities. He began with a counting game that was both spatial and numeric. The minute participants clued in and could anticipate what was coming next, Brian would introduce a new and more difficult phase. His approach to singing was built on a spatial experience of pitch, using call and response in a pitch and memory game. The second part was designed by Alan to offer students the opportunity to use a wide variety of Brazilian percussion instruments, and to collaborate in producing a soundscape with rhythmic episodes played on the surdo and caixa drums. Alan's session gave the students the experience of following conducting, and encouraged sound exploration through the production of sounds on exotic but easy-to-play instruments . Jane led the third class, bringing in an infectious traditional song, a charanga called Guapacha, which features the interlocking of several Cuban rhythms. The students learned these first through speaking, then by clapping and other body percussion techniques. Bass and melody parts were always sung. ~ & Co. Limited CONSERVATORS & PURVEYORS OF Fine & Rare Violins 201 Church St., Toronto, ON. MSB IY7 Tel: 416-363-0093 • Fax: 4 I 6-363-0053 Email: Canada's foremost violin experts. Proud or our heritage. Excited about the future. Toronto Musicians Association News compiled and edited by Brian Blain Once the rhythms were internalized this way, the percussion instruments were distributed, and the song was orchestrated. The success of this pilot project has encouraged the committee to look for more financial support from varying sources and to further publicize its initiative, so that other school programs can benefit. The membership of the TMA is rich with specialists, many of whom are comfortable working with young people, and whose teaching experience gives them the knowledge needed to offer significant learning opportunities. For more information, feel free to contact one of the participating members or the TMA office. See the Music: Our live music talent publication deadline of September 15 is fast approaching. All artwork and payment are due by that date. See the Music will be distributed to: convention planner trade show, catering managers, bridal shows, Tourism Toronto and many other miscellaneous music employers. For info contact Debi Sander Walker at 905 275-4744 or email Debi at Dangerous Internet Fraud Targeting Musicians: A TMA member was recently contacted on the internet by several people offering her work as a music teacher and as a performer for private engagements. All three individuals pretended to be from Europe. Our member writes: "I did respond to the gig offer with a price quote. I said that I would ,. I I ..; f j ~ i ,,1 .j ,,,, . ,, need more information if he wanted to go ahead with a contract. The individual only gave me the address of the party and his satellite cell phone number claiming to be emailing me while vacationing in Europe. I was very surprised to receive a "Qchex" money order for more than twice the amount I had asked for. I brought the money order to several banks and they all said it looked legit. I came very close to depositing the money order, but then I did some research on the internet. What happened to me is a scam committed by organized crime in Nigeria and is well known to the RCMP as 'Cheque Overpayment Fraud'. The RCMP have a special department and website that deals with phone and internet fraud called Phonebusters. Here is the website about this issue: www recognizeit_ advfeefraudover .html" Blueman Boycott: The TMA is still asking asking artists, workers, and the public to support our boycott and not purchase tickets to Blue Man Group performances. See www.bluemanboycott .com for further information. We'd like to hear from you. The TMA invites WholeNote readers to give us your feedback on this column. If you have any suggestions for news items relating to members of the Toronto Musicians' Association, please forward them to Please include the word "WholeNote" in the subject line. Violins, violas, cellos, and bows Complete line of strin gs and accessories Expert repairs and rehairs Canada's largest stock of string music Fast mail order service SEPTEMB ER 1 - O CTOBER 7 2005 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM 33 Back to Ad Index

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