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Volume 11 Issue 3 - November 2005

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • November
  • Jazz
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  • December
  • Musical
  • Index
  • Concerto
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technical mastery

technical mastery fulfills Ysaye's most daunting demands, and his expert fluency in all musical styles does justice to Ysaye's baroque borrowings, romantic warmth and startling modernism. The booklet notes ramble obscurely, but the recorded sound is superbly clear and natural. This is a stunning album, and grows more so with each listening. Pamela Marg/es Concert Note: Lara St. John performs Ysaye in a solo violin recital at the University ofToronto Faculty ofMusiconApril 13atl2:10. .• l ' ,.·:~ Bruckner - Symphony No. 4. "Romantic" Bayerischen RSO; Kurt Sanderling Profil PH 05020 The Bavarian Radio Orchestra of Munich has reissued some of its immortal performances on its own label "Profil". Kurt Sanderling is probably one of the most underrated conductors in the world. He has had an interesting checkered career. Escaping Hitler in 1936 he went to Moscow and later Leningrad working with the legendary Mravinsky and ending up in Germany again after the war. A conductor of exceptional intellect and sensitivity he became a much sought after guest conductor. I've listened to many recordings of this wonderful symphony, including Klemperer's magisterial reading, but if I was asked which I would return to most often it would definitely be this one. With a nearly inaudible string tremolo and the wonderfully expressive solo horn introducing the main theme we are entering the magic world of Bruckner. The conductor brings out each theme' s utmost beauty but never losing sight of the overall structure of the movement. The masterfully graded final bars are spectacularly majestic. After the leisurely 2nd movement that mounts to a great climax, comes the famous "Hunt Scherzo" with horn and trumpet calls, featuring the glorious Bavarian brass. It has rarely sounded better on record. The Trio is taken slower than usual to emphasize the contrast and the beauty of this lovely Liindler. The unjustly criticized 78 Back to Ad Index 4th movement with the tremendous brass finale ends the symphony in full glory. Amust-have for all Brucknerians and music lovers alike. Janos Gardonyi Berio - Orchestral transcriptions from Purcell, Bach, Mozart, Boccherini, Schubert, & Brahms Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi; Riccardo Chailly Decca 476 2830 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM Among post-WW2 avant-gardists in Europe, Berio was exceptional in fmding a creative and intellectual balance between new and old. Often incorporating past music into his original works (Sinfonia, 1968, quotes Mahler and Ravel), he also had a habit of restoring, transcribing, and recomposing earlier pieces. He made new completions of Monteverdi's Ulisse and Puccini's Turandot. Of his varied treatments of scores by other past masters, this release offers a crosssection, spanning 45 years, I 956-200 l. Varied they are, but all convey new commentary on old music. Berio's solution to the unfinished quadruple Contrapunctus XIX from Bach's A rt of Fugue is to have the full orchestra quietly subside into the note-letters spelling the name "Bach". A radical jeu d'esprit sets an aria from The Magic Flute in a series of contorted phrases in 1950s pointillist vein. Brahms's first clarinet-and-piano sonata becomes a sombre clarinet concerto, in which the transcriber's indications of tempo-changes don't quite manage the flexibility two good chai11- ber players can give this piece. An arrangement for outsize orchestra of the variational Retreat from Madrid, found in different versions in several Boccherini quintets, becomes a sort of Ravel Bolero, only disappearing in the distance at the end after bursting with loudness; this is great fun. Rendering is a three-movement realization ofone of three unfinished symphonies sketched by Schubert (not including the Unfinished). The sketch (D. 936A) contains many characteristic themes, awaiting organization. For example, the pages headed "Scherzo" would likely have been bound into a closed structure by Schubert; Berio turns them into a highly Schubertian fast finale, blurring into dreamy Berio-like patterns (celeste, percussion, muted brass) where the sketch is aJ11 biguous. Th is is no mere transcription but indeed an imaginative "rendering" oflost music. John Beckwith MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY \ rt l p lumil'" '! ' \ th, 2 ;111d :: I I I ,I \ 11 ::,-ltL,t d!,,q•' ,,,, . Alwyn - Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; David Lloyd-Jones Naxos 8.557647 Forgive me if! again invoke the late broadcaster Bob Kerr, who in a perfect universe would be introducing this music to the whole country on a Wednesday afternoon in them iddle of a blustery winter's day. Most of us know Willian, Alwyn (1905-1985) as composerofthe score to A Night to Remember. Naxos increases our knowledge of Alwyn as creator of concert works, having previously treated us to the two Piano Concertos (8.557590) released last year. His late ( 1973) Symphony No.5 opens the current disc in a singlemovement work, subtitled Hydriotaphia ( after Thomas Browne, 1605- 1682). This work ends all too soon. Before you digest the symphony's measured utterances, proceed to the Harp Concerto, Lyra Angelica Soloist Suzanne Willison gives the performance of her life in this work. Symphony No. 2 (from the l950's) is in four movements, and was later described by Alwyn as the best of his symphonies. The youthful piece has the brashness we associate with Vaughan Williams in his middle period. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic gives it a steely, polished reading. David Lloyd-Jones is the natural conductor for this. It is vintage British post-romanticism, which currently has few champions on stage or on the radio, a pity. Naxos' tri-fold booklet has notes by the composer; the disc is a full 70 minutes, and a great bargain. John Gray Luis de Freitas Branco - Violin Concerto Alexandre da Costa; Extremad u ra Symphony Orchestra; ~;;!,~~.:; rt' u , u1u·11 Jesus Amigo Disques XXI-21 Records XXI-CD 2 1521 lfyou are in the mood for some impressionist-influenced Catalan music, this CD from the Extremadura Symphony Orchestra will give you a great deal of listening pleasure. Two Portuguese composers, Luis De Freitas Branco (1890-1955) and Joly Braga Santos ( 1924-1988) have works here. That is a particularly appropriate pairing, as Santos was a disciple of Branco in and after his final years at the Lisbon Conservatory. Branco's 1916Violin Concerto is presented here for the first time as a recording. One might wonder what took the record industry such a long tin1e to get around to this one, as it is a superbly crafted work, and very listenable. In concert, the work wasn't perforn1ed in its entirety until I 940. Montreal wunderkind Alexandre Da Costa as soloist puts the composer first, and his own muscular virtuosity second, in a remarkable perfomiance. The younger Santos is represented by the 1967 ballet Encruzihalda, and his Divertinlento No. 1, from 1960. They are both of them delightful works, and students of orchestration will want to hear the ballet several times over. Santos is a fine conductor, at the helm of a very well-disciplined orchestra. This disc comes with a booklet full ofnotes. There is everything you might want to know about al I concerned, and photographs abound. John Gray Britten - Les Illuminations; Serenade; Nocturne Ian Bostridge; Berlin Philharmonic; Simon Rattle EMI 5 58049 2 It was for Peter Pears that Britten wrote the tenor part in his vocal music, be it opera, folk song arrangements, song cycles, or Church Canticles. Composed in 1943, the Serenade for tenor, horn and strings had its first recording in 1944 with, ofcourse, Peter Pears with Boyd Neel conducting and the incomparable Dennis Brain playing the important horn part. The work consists of settings of six poems by English poets: Cotton, Tennyson, Blake,Anonymous from the 15th NOVEMB ER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2005

century, Ben Jonson, and Keats, between an orchestral prologue and epilogue. The songs, sung without pause, display a range of emotions heightened by the horn which often soars above the orchestra. A remarkable work indeed. Pears recorded it again in 1963 with Britten conducting and BarryTuckwell's horn. For my ears recordings issued since, whether good or very good, have not been completely satisfying. This in cludes a previous EM! Bostridge version recorded in Bamberg conducted by Metzmacher. But this new version provides definitive versions of the Serenade and the other two cycles as we! I. Britten set Rimbaud's romantic prose poems, Les Illuminations, for a female voice but it lay well on Pears' range, as it does with Bostridge. Nocturne is a cycle of settings of shaded love verses by Shel ley, Tennyson, Taylor Coleridge, Middleton, Wordsworth, Wilfred Owen, Keats, and Shakespeare. The gossamer-like accompaniment allows the songs to emerge from nowhere and just hang in air. The last song quietly evaporates into the ether. Bostridge, with his unique timbre, is the man for the job and I real ly cannot imagine these three cycles being bettered or even equaled. Rattle, too, is sensitive to every nuance and the Berliners seem to have no problem with the idiom. The recording matches the excellence of the performances. Bruce Surtees twentieth-century romantic idiom. The distilled and blended Greek elements on this disc may sound somewhat contrived to those seeking an authentic Greek music experience (and those so inclined may want to visit the world music section). Certainly though, fans of the guitar who have heard live Greek music on Toronto's Danforth Avenue (as authentic a Greek music one could hear outside of Greece) will enjoy hearing these solo guitar versions. The opening track Sousta (Greek Dance No. 3) dives right in with the joyful bouncing of the drone bass in combination with ornamented modal melodies~ a texture well suited to the gu itar. The composer's daughter, guitarist Eva Fampas, pays tribute to her Father's memory and delivers performances with all the gusto of Segovia's stylistic touch.Although the disc could do without the recomposed version of Tarrega's Recuerdos (here titled Concert Study No. 23) the majority of the pieces present a unique combination of romantic flair and Greek flavour. Aaron Brock Arvo Piirt: 24 Preludes for a Fugue Directed by Dorian Supin ldeale Audience 4 (DVD) Piirt - Lamentate The Hilliard Ensemble ECM Records 80005056-02 The Quest for Arundo Donax Music by Vivaldi, Marais, Purcell and more. Story narrated by Blair Williams Saturday, November 19, 2005 2 performances: l:30pm & 3pm Doors open a half hour before each pe,formance Trinity-St. Paul's Centre 427 Bloor Street West CALL 416.964.6337 for more information Free. No ticket required. T"" o,..,.,,.,O T"ll,1.1111'< Ages 6 - 12 w,vw.tafelmusik.org j~\ =MROC 200512006 Se11s1111 Sun ~/ ~ Munich Re Group Pre,;enti11g Sponsor Life Financial Hi F i Lockridge Hi-Fi Christmas Specials From now until Christmas, Visit Lockridge Hi-Fi for these special offers: 1. Buy any three Naxos CDs for .99 only. Eva Fam pas Plays Dimitri Fam pas Eva Fam pas, guitar Aulia AA69001 The legendary Spanish guitaristAndres Segovia spawned a whole generation of guitarists and composers in countries around the world. This disc of music composed by the Greek guitarist Dim itri Fampas (1921- 1996) delivers the Greek interpretation of the artistic legacy inspired by that master. These compositions are seldom heard in concerts on this side of the pond, and to my knowledge have not been available on CD before this current release. They were certainly composed with a nationalistic aim - bringing traditional Greek melodies and rhythm s into the fo lds of the NOVEMBER 1 - DEC EMBER 7 2005 Back to Ad Index ,\ " \I ( > I' ,\ " I "Arvo Part: 24 Preludes for a Fugue" is a documentary about the life and music of Arvo Part. It is directed by a longtime friend, fellow Estonian, and filmm aker, Dorian Supin. The film, 2 . Buy any three CDs and get a fourth one of equal or lesser value for free. 3. Buy any two CDs from selected independent classical labels a nd get a third one of equal or lesser va lu e for free. For more details on Lockridge Hi-Fi's special offers and holiday gift ideas visit our store or online at www. lockridgehifi.com today. Join us November 24th at our store for "Music Night" featuring Neat speake rs and Croft amplifiers. * Cl) 16th Ave Cl) ~ >

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