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Volume 11 Issue 3 - November 2005

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • November
  • Jazz
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  • Concerto
  • Ensemble
  • Choir

MUSICAL LIFE Tafelmusik.

MUSICAL LIFE Tafelmusik. Susan Graves is seated, centre IN MEMORIAM SUSAN GRAVES 1954 - 2005 It was with great sorrow that we heard of the death of Tafelmusik cofounder Susan Graves on September 26. Susan died at her home in Northumberland County after a struggle with brain cancer. She was 5 1 years old. We offer our deepest sympathy to her family, in particular her husband Kenny Solway and their 17-year-old son Jesse. Susan and Kenny met in Boston at the New England Conservatory, where she was studying bassoon and he was studying oboe. A common interest in period instruments took them to Holland, where they studied at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. They returned to North America full of enthusiasm, energy and ambition, heading to Kenny's home turf in Toronto. They formed the Toronto Chamber Music Collective and presented concerts of baroque and contemporary music. In the spring of 1979 they mounted a series of concerts, bringing in musicians such as recorder player Marion Verbruggen and violinist Jeanne Lamon to perform chamber music with them. While in town these guests held classes to introduce local players to period performance. Finally, on May 9, a great experiment was presented to the public: a baroque orchestra made up of a combination of experienced period players and modern players with baroque instruments in their hands. The atmosphere in the audience and on stage was electric, and the sound of the orchestra fresh - and surprisingly good. In a note in the house programme, Susan and Kenny spoke of their dream of developing a full-time baroque orchestra in Toronto, urging the audience to get involved. Because of their remarkable vision, devotion and many years of long hours and very hard work, their dream became a reality, and we are all forever grateful. Susan and Kenny eventually went on to other things. They bought a farm north of Cobourg, raised sheep and grew organic vegetables. They took over the Chestnut Canoe Company, preserving and building classic wood-and-canvas canoes and keeping alive this important part of Canadian history. Susan maintained a busy career as both a modern and period bassoonist. She was principal bassoonist with the Kingston Symphony from 1990, and played concert seasons with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble and the Victoria Symphony as well as freelancing with the Canadian Opera Company and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. We well remember her many concerto appearances with Tafelmusik, and she continued to perform as concerto soloist with the Kingston Symphony. Susan was a remarkably gifted, generous, intelligent, kind, devoted and accomplished woman, and will be greatly missed. Charlotte Nediger "How I met my Teacher" personal reflections on formative relationships compiled and edited by m.Jbuell Bach as teacher Violist da gamba and teacher Joelle Morton recently performed at the International Bach Festival at the University of Toronto, with Maestro Helmuth Rilling conducting. The afternoon session was an open rehearsal and conducting master class with Maestro Rilling of the Cantata BWVJ06, and the cantata was performed in the evening. This is one of Bach's loveliest and most unusual cantatas in terms of instrumentation. Joelle was joined by violist da gamba Felix Deak, Alison Melville and Emma Elkinson (recorders), David Hetherington ('cello) and Christopher Dawes (organ). The soloists were Lorna MacDonald (soprano), Daniel Taylor (countertenor) , James Taylor (tenor) and Phillip Carmichael (baritone). The choir was made up of members of the U of T MacMillan Singers, Israel's Moran Chamber Ensemble, and the Elmer Iseler Singers. I was delighted to have the opportunity to perform the seldom heard Cantata 106. The scoring of the piece for 2 recorders, 2 obbligato gambas and continuo, plus vocal soloists and chorus is unique, and contains some spectacular writing, the likes of which are unparalleled in Bach's or for that matter, any other composer's canon. I'm a professional violist da gamba and spend most of my time playing chamber music and teaching. Because the gamba repertoire is so varied, every concert I take part in is different. One week I may be playing Renaissance music on a Renaissance viol and reading from original notation, the next week I may be working with a more traditional viol consort, playing English music on an early 17th century replica, the following week I might be playing one of the gam- Love To Sing? ~ &} Breathe new life r:.rJF, into your voice w ) with a unique and sensible kinesthetic approach to vocal pedagogy. This is a method which focuses on influencing and improving the coordinative process of the vocal muscles. It brings them into equilibrium, thus eliminating muscular interference. Great for Everyone I • All styles • All Levels • Beginners and Children welcome • Excellent for public speakers, actors, etc. Call Pattie Kelly for private lessons at 905-271-6896 ba arias in Bach's St. John or St. Matthew Passion, and all the while I may be preparing for a solo recital or week-long teaching residency, or concert on my own 'Scaramella' series in Toronto. I travel around a lot, performing and teaching all over the US and Canada. I consider some of the greatest 'perks' of my career to be how many different people I meet over the course of the year, and the fact that no two weeks are the same. Additionally, it brings me a great deal of pleasure to teach, especially since many of my students are adult amateurs. In the very best sense of that term, my students ' love' the gamba and its repertoire, and I feel that my life is greatly enriched by interacting so closely with a community that chooses to play music primarily for the joy it brings to them. CLAIM YOUR VOICE Organic and functional vocal training to gain access to your full range, resonance and vocal freedom. For singers, public speakers, teachers, clergy; or if you just want to enjoy using your voice! Sue Crowe Connolly Hamilton Studio 905-544-1302 Toronto Studio 416-523-1154 **Gift Certificates Available** 68 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM NOVEMBE~DECEMBER 7 2005 Back to Ad Index

OVER THE COURSE OFMY STUDIES, I've been genuinely blessed to have worked with a number of remarkable teachers, and as much as all the wealth of their technical expertise for playing my instrument(s), truly, my life has to a great extent been shaped by their personal philosophies and the example they set to me as human beings. I started my musical studies on the double bass with Ernest Morton (an itinerant teacher for the Board of Ed) here in Toronto at the age of 11, as a public school student. I forever owe Mr. Morton a debt of gratitude- he was incredibly encouraging and supportive of me, and helped me to realize very early on that music was a central part of my life. Less than two years later, I started private lessons with Joel Quarrington, fresh out of university himself, and just back from studies with several renowned teachers in Europe. Joel's interest and expertise in the solo bass repertoire was tremendously inspiring, but as much as that, he set a formidable example at a pivotal time in my life, by unashamedly 'daring to be different.' The last of my high school years I was privileged to study with John Gowen. Although he may be the least widely known of my teachers, he is the one from whom I learned my most profound lessons, ones that stick with me to this day, and which I find myself recounting most often to my own students. At my very first lesson, John requested I learn the first movement Ada- ALEXANDER KATS gio from Bach's D major gamba sonata. I had never heard of the piece before, and truth be told, the music baffled me the first few weeks I played it. Written on my music from that time is the word "serendipity." John introduced me to this term at my first lesson, telling me that one day I would look back and wish I could recapture that blissful experience of 'discovering a piece for the first time.' Little did either of us know, at the time, that the gamba would become a central part ofmy life! BACH HAS FIGURED prominently and regularly all throughout my musical studies. From my earliest days as a bass player, I loved the Cello Suites, and though I didn't study them formally until I was a grad student, they were always on my music stand, and I played parts of them almost every time I practised. Because I loved Bach so much, over the years I bought (and played until the vinyl records literally wore out) many, many recordings; records by Casals, Yo-Yo Ma and Glenn Gould were among my favourites. I still have them to this day! To learn orchestral repertoire, I also loved to play along with recordings, and one of my first forays into that pastime was to accompany Bach's four Orchestral Suites. COINCIDENTALLY, it was in large part because of my interest in Bach tli.at I started to play the gamba. Like most gamba players, I came to the instrument late in my studies, while working on a Masters Degree at the University of Southern California. One ofmy primary motives in joining the USC Early Music Ensemble was to, as I phrased it in my mind, "See what the Bach sonatas are supposed to sound like." The irony turned out to be that my teacher at USC, James Tyler, was not an avid Bach enthusiast, and was wont to complain about Bach being overrated and over-played, especially in contrast to many of the more obscure Renaissance and 17th century composers he championed. While I do not entirely share his views, since that time I have listened to Bach more carefully, and have come to especially appreciate his music for its differences to other composers and styles. One thing that resonates deeply in me when I listen to Bach is that I find his music to be reflective and introspective-things that allow me a wonderful respite from all the bustle and aggression of our world. Listening to Bach affords me 'quality time with myself.' I sometimes wonder if perhaps that isn't what Bach himself intended, since his music was most often a very deep reflection of his own piety, conveying an obvious message of humility and a desire to glorify God. I find myself these days to be greatly moved by the passion and innovation reflected in many of Bach's cantatas. Among the works that he composed with gamba in mind are the sacred Cantata 106 (Actus Tragicus) and the secular Cantata #198 (the "Trauer Ode"). Bach's writing for the gamba in these works (as well as in his Passions) was clearly intended to evoke pathos-an affect with which the gamba was closely associated from the many laments that called for it during the 17th century. But more than that, it's truly lovely music. I find the writing for gamba closely relates to the vocal text and is most often in a lyrical or vocal style - things to which I feel a close affinity. What advice, above all, would you give to someone looking for a teacher for a child, or for themselves? I can only wonder how on earth Bach would have been able to communicate those sentiments, if he hadn't been able to set them to music? True artists need conviction and confidence in their own vision to communicate that which they can only really share through their chosen medium CONTINUES NEXT PAGE Release pain. Rel a\. l3rcathe. ~love. A first class Russian-trained professional pianist/teacher is now accepting students for regular private lessons or repertoire coaching, from advanced (ARCT, university) to all grades of RCM. DOWNTOWN LOCATION Call: 416-340-1844 alexander.kats@sym pa tico.ca NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2005 Back to Ad Index WWW.THEWHOLENOTE,COM '-- D r. Katari m llul:it It': I U .\: .\ll ~I( I\' ( :himpracror +1 ri-+ri1- 1906 l'ri\at1..·pr;H:tk·r. ( :o\l'll & I h11!iwch :H'l.:J.

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