8 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 4 - December 2005

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • December
  • Theatre
  • January
  • Jazz
  • Choir
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Orchestra
  • Ensemble

PN: I wrote for voices

PN: I wrote for voices out west and I was just so fortunate in many ways with the CBC. I wrote for choirs, things like sea shanties for J. Frank Willis, and you know, I wrote some songs when I was studying at the Conservatory, and I have three or four songs to Russian poets, and then Anne Marie Moss sang with Nimmons and Nine and so did Tommy Ambrose. I have the greatest respect for the human voice because I think that it is the primary human instrument. I have always felt that, and as a matter of fact I have wished that we could put all of our jazz programme students into a choir and make all of the instrumentalists sing, because it is one of the most profound experiences that I ever had when I went to study at Juilliard. They put all the instrumentalists (we sat out in the theatre, there must have been about seven hundred ofus) in a choir, and we had two choral conductors the three years I was there, one was Igor Buketoff and the other was Robert Shaw. And with Igor Buketoff, I had just arrived from Vancouver you know, and was there to study, and (laughs) here I am, singing. I never sang before in my life. To make a long story short, we gave a performance of the Bach B Minor Mass and I was one of 100 basses. It was a great happening for me because I had never been exposed to anything like that before. Composers and Arrangers JG: What other composers or arrangers interest you? Who else do you like? PN: Going right back to the beginning, I guess Fletcher Henderson, Sy Oliver, and Duke, and they would be the early ones. I didn't really know why at the time, but I certainly related to it. That was in the jazz world, but the other influences were people like Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, in the beginning, Ravel, and Debussy, and those were all things you dug or related to, so all that was kind of rubbing off on you at that time as far as composition and orchestration were concerned. I think that one of the great things about the CBC was that depending on the budget, the instrumentation on a dramatic show would be different, and the content or the textures of the music would be different, and I would have to come up with things creatively to do that. So I would end up writing for a great variety of instrumentations and also content, emotional content, in the scripts, which could be pictorially motivated or emotionally motivated. All those things were in a sense orchestration classes. Like painting a canvas; what do you do with all these great colours to create an impact on either your viewer or your listener? So, those were all influences. And there were big milestones outside of the beginning. I will never forget the first time I heard Claude Thornhill, that stands out, and also when I heard Charlie Barnett for the first time, who in my mind contributed acertain sound quality or orchestration that was a little different. Food and Fellowship JG: What is your favourite food ? What do you like to eat? PN: I like pasta, which is kind of weird. Coming from an old Anglophone home in Kamloops, BC where it was pretty well meat and potatoes. I dig that too, but I developed a taste for pasta, starting in Vancouver with Nick Fiore, who was first flautist with the Vancouver Symphony; before he came to Toronto with the TSO we were close friends. My pasta heaven developed here in Toronto at the Dell Tavern on Elm Street. Willie and Joe De Laurentis. Willie is still alive. Joe, we were close friends . He was Holly's godfather, and they actually kept me in food when my cheque didn't arrive from Vancouver (laughs). We had a lot of good times at the Dell; that's where we introduced Ray (Brown) and Oscar (Peterson) to golf. We went in there one night after the Paddock I think and we were going to have the Dell golf tournament the next morning at 7:00am, and Oscar and Ray said they would be there - and they got up and were there! Ray - that really turned him on. It was his first golf game and he just became a fanatic. Oscar, I think, bought a great set of clubs and that was the only time he ever used them! But The Dell was a great place, we had baseball tournaments, all the musicians used to hang out there ... baseball games, there was a baseball field next to Tip Top. I remember one time, the Niosi family, Bert, Joe and John, Joe was a big guy . You knew Joe? I'll never forget Joe getting a hit and running to first base, and his tummy was going back and forth, he could hardly run straight because of the weight, you know . We were the opposing team just cracking up and he got a home run because we all fell down laughing. We had a lot of great times. They were great hangouts. I don't know where the musicians go now, I guess the Rex, and the Bistro. Phil-ing Time JG: Do you have any interesting hobbies ? PN: Oh yeah, I used to at one point like photography very much and as you know Oscar is a great photographer. He said, you' ve gotta have a camera so we went to the Drake Delta, (a camera store that was on Yonge Street) and found a Leica M3 that somebody had brought back in and Oscar said I'd better buy that, so I bought an M3 for 0 bucks, which was a lot in those days - it was 1962 - and I took a lot of pictures with that and if I got a good one of somebody I would put it on a big piece of poster board with some graphic artwork around it. And then, when I stopped drinking, therapeutically I think, I started carving with a little pen knife. The first thing I carved was a Slalom ski with all the trappings and I've done several pieces since then. I thoroughly enjoy it. I use Cedar. I did something for Oscar and Rob (McConnell) and for Ed (Bickert), Tony Thompson, the Leon family , Peter Herndorf. They could be anything from this size (demonstrates a small piece with his hands) and I dig it. And as a matter of fact I think that if anything happened to the chops (gestures to his mouth) I think I would get into carving because you know what? You can see it happening. When you write music, you sit there, and nothing happens until it's played, but when you are painting or sculpting anything, whether it's carving or sculpting, it happens right in front of you and you are getting a sense of satisfaction out of the effort. When you're composing music or, I guess, writing a book or a script or something there's no sense of feedback, there is always this apprehension ... is this going to be OK? The Honours JG: You've had a lot of honours heaped upon you, and it seems like you have a burgeoning career AGAIN! PN: (laughing) My career is really taking off right now. JG: That's right. Not exactly overnight. (laughs) But how does it feel? Did you ever think that you would be honoured, and, I might add, rightly so? PN (shaking his head): No, not really for one minute. Of course I've thought about it since the first ... I don't think anybody can help having some kind of a response when you receive something. I feel very lucky and blessed ... all the awards; but I'm just a representation for all those wonderful people I've worked with; I strongly feel that , whatever I've achieved, really. I am certainly offering something by performing, but it takes several people to do that. I also have had the respect of my peers, and that was a very wonderful thing to have. • 16 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE,COM

BY MJBUELL PAST Founded in 1968 by Ruby Mercer and Lloyd Bradshaw, the Canadian Children's 0 "'" z Opera Chorus (CCOC) N is unique in Canada as u '" :, the only permanent children's opera chorus "' " 0 f- 0 which develops and :,: ,- 0.. produces new operas for children. Tradition- left to right, front: Sarah Saccomanno, Dov Houle, Ezra Perlman, Nicole Liruisay-Mosher; back: ally they perform a Amaruia Mesquita, Gordon Hecht, Marysia Parry busy season of con- "This is not a stand-and-sing choir. The kind of kid certs, provide for the who comes to the CCOC is a kind of stage animal. needs of the Canadian You need to discipline that in rehearsal. But you Opera Company when have to walk a fine line. Because when they get on children are required, stage that's exactly the energy you want." (Ann and collaborate with Cooper Gay in conversation with Tamara many other organiza- Bernstein, 2004J tions. The CCOC season has always culminated in a fully-staged lyric theatre production in the spring. Preparing a staged work in December and competing for audience attendance in the busiest month of the season is brave and new. PRESENT Artistic Director Ann Cooper Gay commented that this season she was searching for a classic story with a timeless message for all ages, providing the CCOC with an opera worthy of an annual holiday presentation. "Dickens' A Christmas Carol was an obvious choice. It begs for operatic treatment" . The commission allowed for a new collaboration between two long-standing members of the community: composer Errol Gay (Orchestra Toronto, Toronto Symphony Orchestra) and librettist Michael Patrick Albano (Opera Division, University of Toronto). "Although there are extant several musical settings of this wellknown story, I think that Michael and I have been given a gift by the CCOC", commented composer Errol Gay. "They asked for an operatic treatment: the first, I believe, that features primarily a cast of children - who are, after all, the true focus of Dickens' timeless tale." He proposed that "this might add to our understanding of the real reasons behind our winter holiday traditions." Mr. Albano maintains much of the language of the Dickens original; and Dr. Gay has provided a score that evokes not only an early nineteenth-century "past" and late nineteenth-century " present" , but also the early twentieth-century "future", by quoting stylistically (and occasionally, literally) from familiar opera composers of these eras. The ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Present are portrayed by treble voice semi-choruses. The CCOC's Youth Division provides SATB "Greek Chorus" introductions to the three dreams that persuade the miserly Scrooge to mend his ways . ~infania 1oronto NURHAN ARMAN MUSIC DIRECTOR Toronto's Premier Chamber Orchestra VIVALDI! THE FOUR SEASONS! Saturday, Dec. 3 8 pm , , GIUSEPPE LANZETTA, Conductor Etsuko Kimura, Konstantin Popovic, Leonid Peisahov, Liana Berube, Violinists Walmer Centre 188 Lowther Av. VIVALDI The Four Seasons PENTLAND Holiday Suite MANFREDINI Christmas Concerto 416 499 0403 or Celebrating MOZART @250 MICHAEL ESCH, Pianist Saturday, Feb. 4 8 pm , , Glenn Gould Studio 250 Front St. W. MOZART Eine kleine Nachtmusik STRAUSS Metamorphosen BRAHMS Piano Quintet arr. Arman 416 205 5555 or BEVERLEY JOHNSTON, Percussionist Saturday, March 4 8 pm , , 40 Glenn Gould Studio BURGE Flanders Fields Reflections (world-premiere) VIVALDI Marimba Concerto arr. Johnston HA TZIS Love Among the Ruins (in the aftermath of 9/11) TCHAIKOVSKY Quartet No. 1 arr. Arman 416 205 5555 or FUTURE Astonishingly, the funding for this commission was provided by private donors, philanthropists Doug Ludwig and Karen Rice. In this season for giving, and at a time when music education is seriously undervalued, we are reminded that the larger music-giving public must be challenged to invest in the musical future of our children. A Dickens of a Christmas: an operatic adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". Canadian baritone Mark Pedrotti (Scrooge) and tenor Ryan Harper (Bob Cratchit) peiform with 200 choristers aged five to nineteen. (Harbouifront Centre Theatre, Queen's Quay West, December 10 and 11, 2 pm and 7:30 pm, with special peiforrnances for young audiences December 8 and 9 at 10:00 am and 1 :00 pm.) WholeNote writer m.Jbuell is a 12-year volunteer with the CCOC and the proud mother of one of two Tiny Tims, JO year old Ezra Perlman. Strauss & Swing A Viennese Masked Ball March 25, 2006 Arcadian Court 0 before Dec.25! 'Mozart in Jeans' Series Jan. 28, Feb. 25, Apr. 1, Apr. 29 Walmer Centre 416 499 0403 D ECEMB ER 1 2005 - FEB RUARY 7 2006 WWW, THEWHOLENOTE,COM 17

Copied successfully!

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)