7 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 4 - December 2005

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HJ D/SC(1VJl;Jl:f.i

HJ D/SC(1VJl;Jl:f.i EDITOR'S CORNER As the holiday season approaches we welcome back Sarah B. Hood with her "round-up" of Christmas discs in an extended "Peace and Joy" article in the DISCS OF THE SEASON section. And several of our other reviewers, in particular Bruce Surtees in his "Old Wine, New Bottles" and Tiina Kiik in her look at Marie-Nicole Lemieux's new disc, seem to have kept gift shopping in mind while writing their reviews. I would also draw your attention to Ezra Perlman's report on a couple of CDs that will make excellent gifts of music for the youngsters on your list: "Seasons' Greetings from Vivaldi" and the new Tafel Kids disc "Baroque Adventure". This month I am very pleased to welcome renowned Gryphon Trio pianist Jamie Parker to our ranks. At a recent fundraising event that featured the Gryphons, Jamie mentioned to WholeNote editor David Perlman that music he often listens to for pleasure is the late string quartets of Beethoven, with a particular fondness for Op. I 32. David inquired whether he would be interested in writing a review of the quartets if the occasion arose and the answer was yes. As you wil I see, a new recording by the Hagen Quartet provided that opportunity sooner than Jamie might have expected and I'm very pleased with the result. BEETHOVEN .,1.- II'···. \I); While conceding that Beethoven's set of " late quartets" is likely the most important contribution to the repertoire, and in fact laid the foundation for everything that has followed in the genre over the past two centuries, l must confess that my own personal favourite for sheer I isten ing pleasure is actually the first of Beethoven's "middle quartets", Op.59, No. l. It was therefore easy for me to hold back the new Tokyo String Quartet recording of this work and its companion pieces, the three " Razumovsky" quartets, for myself this month. The Tokyo has a discography of more than 30 discs, but this is the first release on the Harmonia Mundi label [HMU 807423.24] (except for an appearance on a 2003 disc with clarinetist Joan Enric Lluna performing the Brahms Clarinet Quintet). The Tokyo Quartet are of course frequent visitors to Toronto, with annual appearances on the Music Toronto series, and the Brahms and Beethoven discs also mark their first recordings with Canadian violinist Martin Beaver at their helm. Beaver joined the group as first violinist in 2002, having previously held that chair in the Toronto String Quartet, and incidentally, he still performs with Jamie Parker as the Beaver­ Parker Duo, an ensemble that has the distinction of having given the inaugural concert in the Discovery series at Music Toronto. But back to the quartet ... Celebrating the composer's 250th anniversary, the Tokyo Quartet will perform three all­ Mozart concerts on the Music Toronto series this season. The first has come and gone, and the second, with clarinetist Sabine Meyer on January 19th, is already sold out. So if you want to hear them at all this year I suggest you order your tickets now for the March 16 performance (with Cyprien Katsaris and Steven Dann). Now did l mention their new CDs? The Tokyo's take on the Razumovsky quartets is every bit as exhilarating as you would expect, with excellent sound captured in the Skywalker Sound studio (yes, a George Lucas company) in California. Surprisingly, the thing that impressed me the most was not the music nor the performance, but the production that actually leaves sufficient space, elsewhere considered " dead air" , between the quartets to let you breathe and absorb the fact that one piece has come to its natural conclusion before rushing into the next. [Breathe ... ] Well the next disc has a Toronto connection as well, though perhaps a bit more tenuous. It is a connection that must mean a lot to the young cellist featured on the CD 12 WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM though, as the first line in his biographical sketch reads: " In November 2002, Jean-Guihen Queyras received from both Pierre Boulez and the Glenn Gould Foundation, the City ofToronto Glenn Gould International Protege Prize in Music." On the occasion of the presentation of that award Queyras performed Boulez' Messagesquisse for solo cello and an ensemble of six of this region's finest cellists at Glenn Gould Studio with the composer (himself the winnerofthe Glenn Gould Prize) at the podium. He was also featured performing that work on a Deutsche Grammophon recording with Boulez and an ensemble of Parisian cellists that is available in the Boulez 2000 series, but that is not the disc I want to tell you about here. Harmonia Mundi has just released Queyras' performance of the Dvorak Cello Concerto (HMC 801867) with the Prague Philharmonia under the direction of Jiri Belohlavek. It is encouraging, but not surprising, to learn that this young Canadian-born cellist is just at home with the standard eel lo repertoire as he is with the extreme demands of the music of Boulez. And that he brings his own personality to the performance, adding personal touches that are still in keeping with Slavic temperament of the work. The concerto is aptly paired with the " Dumky" Trio, in which the cello (and the cellist) is g iven ample opportunity to shine. Shine? Queyras positively glows! He is ably assisted in this endeavour by violinist Isabelle Faust and pianist Alexander Melnikov. As anyone who reads this column regularly will have surmised by now, l have a personal penchant for contemporary music. And so it was as if Christmas came early for me with the arrival of three new releases on the ATMA label last month. Two of these involve international young composers competitions with a plethora of new voices, pre viously unheard on record, and the third celebrates a, no the, senior Spanish composer of the 20th century, Luis de Pablo. I'll begin with one ofmy favourite ensembles, the Quatuor Molinari, and their "Concours 2003/2004" (ACD2 2323). This was the Molinari's second international competition for composers under 40 and the response was impressive: 129 string quartet scores from 38 countries, narrowed down to four winners by a jury that included composers Jose Evangelista, Alexina Louie and Michael Matthews and the members of the Molinari quartet. I doubt you will have heard the winners' names (or music) before, but l would dare to suggest that if you are interested in the art music of the 21st century you may hear them again. T hey are: Tazul lzan Tajuddin (b.1969, Malaysia); Eun-Hwa Cho (b.1973, South Korea); Alexios Porfyriadis (b.1971 , Greece); and Sixta Manuel Herrero Rodes (b.1965, Spain). Pick up this CD and be "the first one on your block" to experience the future of the string quartet. The call for scores is now open until April I, 2006. qm@quatuormol inari. a :1· ,., ·;lQr)J II ti l \. ,fl :2 0 0 4 .. :,; ,, • ..,,,; . ..,,r~ S f3 pr. u n lve r·s n tro v e r s ~.op l.. ..;ii :11, 11 !: , - c r i..!:::1 t.i:,1 u r s ............. . . -···-~ .. ·· ~~·---,.-.. . The other two discs feature the Nouvelle Ensemble Modern under Lorraine Vaillancourt's direction. The first, "Forum 2004" (ACD2 2375) features the winners of NEM's 7th international forum for young composers. As with the Molinari Concours, the seven winners are al I unfamiliar to me, including the one Canadian, Julien B il odeau (b.1974, Quebec) whose abrasive A coups is a highlight of the two disc set. The others are Ondrej Adamek (b. 1979, Czech Republic), Guilherme D ECE M BER 1 2005 - F EBR U A RY 7 2006

Carvalho (b.1974, Brazil), Du Yun (b.1977, China), Derek Johnson (b.1976, USA), Sampo Haapamaki (b.1979, Finland) and Laurent Torres (b.1975, France). All of the selections are, as I am wont to say, "good old-fashioned new music", so if you are someone who, in the words of Laurie Anderson, likes to "sit boltupright in that straight-backed chair" and enjoy a "difficult listening hour" or two, these discs are for you. Post-modern is the term I would use for the music of Luis de Pablo, who was one of the guest jurors for "Forum 2004". I guess it is not a coincidence that N EM has chosen to record an entire CD of de Pablo's compelling music a t this time (ADC2 2353). I find it interesting to note that de Pablo's 1991-1992 Paradiso y tres danzas macabras brought Canadian composer John Rea's music to my mind and it turns out that Rea is a permanent member of the Forum jury. I don't mean to suggest that they were "feathering the nest" with "birds ofa feather", simply that it is interesting to find kindred spirits in the sometimes disparate world of contemporary music. The timing of the release of these three important discs is a bit unfortunate. They risk being " lost in the shuffle" as the market focuses on the Christmas season, to which they defi nitely do not relate. Any one of them however would make a marvellous stocking-stuffer for the more adventurous souls on your list. These three contemporary music discs all orig inate in Montreal, but of course Toronto has its fair share of new music specialists too, as witnessed each month in our Some Thing New and New Music Coalition News features. In our next issue we look forward to reviews of new releases by two active participants on the Toronto new music scene: Arraymusic and Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan. We' ll also have reviews of a number of otherToronto-based ensembles with diverse mus ical foci including I Furiosi (with reviewer Gabrielle McLaughlin) and Aradia, who will band together with the Caliban Quartet of Bassoonists (see Sarah B. Hood's review) for a multi-CD launch party at the Great Hall on December 4, and Ensemble Polaris featuring DISCoveries contributors Alison Melville and Colin Savage, who launch their new disc "Not much is worse than a Troll" at the Edward Day Gallery on December 2 1 . We welcome your feedback and invite submissions. Catalogues, review copies of CDs and comments should be sent to: The WholeNote, 720 Bathurst St., Suite 503, Toronto ON M5S 2R4. We also welcome your input via our website, David Olds Editor, DISCOVER/ES CD Discoveries continues on pages 72 to 86 72 Vocal and Opera 74 Early Music and Period Performance 77 Classical and Beyond 78 Modern and Contemporary 79 Jazz and Imporvised 82 Pot Pourri 84 Old Wine, New Bottles 86 Discs for the Season Don't forget... There are hundreds of other CD reviews available on our website: ANALEKTA THE 'FINEST CANADIAN 'MUSICIANS Violonchelo espanol I Musici de Montreal Yuli Turovsky, Conductor I Musici's first Analekta recording is filled with """'IN' ... - .... colourful and sunny music inspired by Spain. The celebrated chamber ensemble delivers works by Gaspar Cassad6, Manuel de Falla, Enrique Granados and Isaac Albeniz with elegance and zest Fantasia r- - ·J ~··, ~ i ' 1-.. .. . :, • •. , 'tr~t :'. llA Fantasia for flute and guitar Similia T iit ;t;Wtl. llO~ (3•)§!:{;J,i(•):i cor r ;:ir.T ,:,. 11uou x Jewels of the Baroque Era Analekta is proud to launch The Jewel Box collection, with the release of Jewels of the §fili:j Renaissance Era and Jewels of the Baroque Era. ·-·"' Each recording in this series features quintessential masterpieces from a specific era, ,.. · 1 inviting neophytes and con noisseurs to ~ -~/' experience the works that marked and defined (_&._ 1 ~ / I different periods in music history. ,··:t ·· . - .' 'lf • - -:-"'l" ""''"'' ·'7-~ ._ ":a- .:'--_ 1·1 The Jewel Box collection: sumptuous re cordings ,;: , with the finest Canadian musicians. ·-1 Baroque Adventure - The Quest for Arundo Donax Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra ( ['A RL1Qtl ~ ) ;, TI1is kid-friendly recording relates the story of the ;'"~ ' ~2,.,,:c•r .~~_.{ . o~ , orphaned teenaged children of the great English Ji\' l!,: J::::::: _ composer, Henry Purcell, who are sent on a quest ~ .,: ] ':~ which takes tl1em to Venice at La Pietii, and then to the _____ ;;,, palace of Versailles. · 3cosand a 10·pauefu!l cotour 1JuS1Ta1e

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