8 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 6 - March 2006

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then on CBC radio - his

then on CBC radio - his musicianship as a solo pianist provided me with encouragement to continue in music. I have not heard him play for a long time so you can imagine my anticipation in listening to "Starry, Starry Night", a two CD release featuring 'nighttime' music by Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Faure, Griffes and Schumann. This is a delightful and stimulating collection of music for the night-owl in all ofus. CD l is an all-Chopin treasure of a selection of eight Nocturnes, the Barcarolle, Op.60, and Berceuse, Op.57. The music is familiar yet Silverman manages to coax out refreshing performances. The same musical qualities that intrigued me years ago are still apparent. His Chopin is illuminated by a perfect combination of technique, musical nuance and raw emotion. The mystery of the resulting sound is a gift to the I istener. CD 2 features the other abovementioned composers. Of particular note is his performance of Debussy's Feux d'artiflce, an unusual gem requiring fiery technique to musically represent the sound of fireworks. Silverman's decision to include such favourites as Clair de Lune and Schumann's Traumerei is a bonus as his performances shed new light on these popular works. The sound quality is excellent. The informative liner notes (written by Silverman and co-producer Karen Parnell) are a joy to read. This is a beautiful release by a fine Canadian pianist. Tiina Kiik Concert Note: The Koffler Salon Series presents Robert Silverman performing works by Chopin, Mozart & Debussy at the Leah Posluns Theatre on March 28. Bow and Ivory Gisele Dalbec; Michel Szczesniak Independent SCD6717 ( With the opening notes of Brahms' second Hungarian Dance this recent CD - from two of the most accomplished musicians from the Kingston area - explodes with vitality, energy and good fun. Bow AND IVORY GISl 1.L £.1 \ Ln\l: M !U IU \:ClL~'~I.\).. Gisele Dalbec is the Concertmaster of the Kingston Symphony and both she and her partner, pianist Michel Szczesniak, are on the teaching faculty at Queen's University's School of Music. They are renowned in the area for their boisterous recitals and collaborations and that spirit pervades this recording. The program is wide-ranging and adventurous, with a generous sampling of Canadian music for violin and piano. Included are short pieces for the combination by Alexis Contant (pupil of Calixa Lavalee) and Healey Willan, as well as more recent works by the Kingston-based composer Marjan Mozetich and Szczesniak himself. The centrepiece of the album is a collection of arrangements of fiddle tunes found in the 19th Century Upper Canadian Allen Ash Manuscript. The arrangements, by John Beckwith, are given stylish, elegant and lively performances, especially by Dalbec, whose tone and sensitivity come through in spades. The emphasis of the whole program seems to fluctuate between singing and dancing, and both performers give their all on both fronts. l especially appreciate their ability to play lyrically without taking tremendous liberties with tempo. The music moves along briskly and where rubato occurs it makes perfect sense. Bartok's Six Rumanian Folk Dances make a fitting and bri Iii ant end to a fascinating disc. My only minor quibble is technical: both instruments are recorded a little too closely, which at times gives an unrealistic sense of balance and otherworldly sound. Larry Beckwith i; \IJ 1 \'\ 1•r·,,1,'·'.,.Jl ,, Willan - Organ Works Patrick Wedd Naxos 8.557375 Not many organ recordings find their way into these review columns. It 's a treat, therefore, to consider one such rarity. Healey Willan was a British export to the Canadian sacred music scene (1913) and is chiefly associated with his legendary tenure at St. Mary Magdalene. His compositional output for choirs and organ is becoming increasingly valuable. Organist Patrick Wedd has chosen a fine program for this recording. There are three major works and a collection of smaller ones based either on hymn tunes or plainchant melodies. The Prelude on Aberystwyth is a favourite and beautifully performed. Perhaps Willan 's greatest work, the Introduction, Prelude and Fugue, or [PF as organists call it, generally causes a range ofapoplectic reactions among those compelled to learn it. rt's a thick, heavy and internally brilliant work that requires considerable analytical comprehension on the part of the player. Only on this basis can an organist convey the clarity and contrasts of vulnerability and power that the work portrays. Wedd does so. Like baseball fans, the fraternity of organ nuts (['m one of them) thrives on mystical statistics. We are curious about each instrument's divisions, tonal colours, and engineering facts. Credit to NAXOS for listing the organ's specifications' This, Casavant organ in Montreal's Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste is magnificently recorded. Acoustic balance, notoriously difficult with pipe organs, is captured flawlessly. WARNINGS: Do not play near a geological fault line. You may blow your bass speakers with this one. People on your block had better enjoy organ music. Alex Baran Rameau - Dialogues and Illuminations Joseph Petric, accordion Audio Ideas AI-CD-015 Euphonia Joseph Petric Audio Ideas AI-CD-016 One of Canada's foremost concert accord ionists, Joseph Petric achieves new heights of musical excellence in both interpretation and musicianship in these two recent releases of solo compositions from opposite ends of the musical spectrum. I have followed Petric's career with keen interest and utmost re- spect over the years. In order to substantiate my opinions, it must be noted that I am also an accordionist. That said, it must be then noted that musical life as an accordionist per se has been made substantially easier by Petric's trailblazing hard work and dedication. Many a musical door has been permanently flung open by his prolific output as a performer, arranger and commissioner of both transcriptions and contemporary music written for specifically for the accordion. Petric has chosen a collection of Jean-Philippe Rameau keyboard works, arranged in three groups of seven pieces for"Dialogues and Illuminations". The contrapuntal nature of Rameau 's music lends itself easily to the accordion. Petric masterfully transcends the technical demands of the instrument and the music itself to create a solid record of his unique musicianship. He is an interpreter not afraid of taking risks - Le Rappel des Oiseaux is a unique take on a familiar work. I must admit that l was initially somewhat taken aback by his untraditional approach to time. But his rhythmical choices here are so well thought out that though it may not be totally to my esthetical tastes, I cannot argue with his interpretation. In Les Soupirs, Petric shines in a performance of depth, tradition and musicality. The works of the five composers featured on "Euphonia" have vastly enriched the solo accordion repertoire. Janika Vandervelde 's Klucevsek 's Web ( 1995) is a reworking of a tradition-steeped piece originally written for American accordionist Guy Klucevsek. Rose Bolton is represented by two works, the four movement Sonata for Accordion (2001) in which she seems to 70 WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM MARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2006

e working out compositional kinks that results in the superb Seriosity (2002). Fondly, through the madness .. . breathing (1992) by Micheline Roi shows Petric easily tackling the contrasting static and rapid sections of one of my favourite solo accordion works. Jocelyn Morlock's Curvilinear (2002) is a curious treat that merits repeated listening. Superstar Canadian composer Linda C. Smith's Low Tide is a poetic masterpiece for the accordion. Her compositional style lends itself effortlessly to the instrument. The sound quality of both discs is superb. Petric's decision to include the inherent clicks and breaths of the accordion on the recording is again witness to his fearless love of the instrument. Petric is at the height of his career here. What's next? Will we hear accordion transcriptions of AC/DC? I'm sure he will come up with something. In the meantime, enjoy these two new releases. Tiina Kiik Concert Note: Joseph Petric performs with oboist Normand Forget at the Enoch Turner School House on March 1. ing breathes life into all the hidden ironies that Shostakovich wrote in the concerto score. The cadenza movement, not for the faint of heart, is phenomenal in this young lady's hands. Also on the CD is the earlier Cello Sonata op.40. Written in the 1930's in between Lady Macbeth of Mtensk and the mighty 4th Symphony, it is' a lyrical and very expressive gem of a work, considered to reveal the real Shostakovich. The work is as much about the pianist as the cellist, and in this instance the superb pianist is none other than Antonio Pappano. Is there anything that this maestro cannot do? Pappano conducts the London Symphony Orchestra, in top form. EMI's Abbey Road engineers have done well to preserve clarity and balance with the concerto. Highly recommended. John S. Gray The best, however, is saved for last: The 1990 Trio for flute, viola and piano is a major work, over twenty-five minutes long. Laurin worked for over a year on the Trio, the score sprawling over 65 pages. It is a tour de force of writing, and Potvin, Bellevance and Bourdeau give their utmost to it. This is a piece I return to with each listening, and you will do this too, I'm certain. Recommended. John S. Gray Del Tredici; Theofanidis; Bernstein Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus; Robert Spano Telarc CD-80638 Thanks to the legendary Robert Shaw, Atlanta has long cultivated a tradition of excellence in choral singing. This recent recording from the Atlanta Symphony confirms that distinction in an exciting program of American music, including two world premiere recordings. The 40-year old Christopher Theofanidis is clearly a bright star appearing in the sky of American music. His music is accessible and tonal in a non-hackneyed way, thanks to its majestic tread, subtle modal inflections and brassy orchestration. His large choral work, The Here and Now, is a highly enjoyable thirteenmovement setting for choir and soloists of the verses of the medieval Persian mystic Jalalu'ddin Rumi in a recent translation by Coleman Banks. The fine Canadian baritone Brett Polegato is the standout vocalist in this work. MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY Shostakovich - Cello Concerto No.1; Cello Sonata Han-Na Chang; London Symphony Orchestra; Antonio Pappano EMI3 32422 2 Two stellar careers meet again on this disc, focusing on two works by Shostakovich. The late 1950's concerto has always been somewhat enigmatic, but here it is played with conviction. The ever-youthful and fashionable Han-Na Chang is EMI's cover girl of the moment. However it is a mature Han-Na Chang that we hear in this recording, a prodigy no more. Her breathtakingly beautiful tone is even better than on her recent Prokov iev release. Such excellent play- MARCH 1 - APRIL 7 2006 Rachel Laurin - Festivals Anne Robert; Veronique Potvin; Agathe Martel; Michel Bellavance; Marc Bourdeau Atma ACD2 2295 As a composer the Montreal organist Rachel Laurin is primarily known for her sacred works, but this new ATMA CD is a testament to the fact that her gift does not stop there. I first heard Ms Laurin's secular music in an inspired performance of Festivals for violin and piano by the Tsang-Leblanc Duo here in Toronto back in 2003. This new disc presents a cross-section of her chamber works in which that very piece holds pride of place. From relatively early in Laurin's output comes Fables, for voice and piano. Based on the writings of Jean de La Fontaine, particularly the first of the two songs evokes a certain nostalgia for France, before 1914. Sonate for flute and piano is a recent work, commissioned by the players on this disc. Bellevance and Bourdeau show their expertise in a smooth, polished performance. Le Bestiare is another vocal work, a setting of words from the surrealist poet Guillaume Apollonaire. • MISTER"S I - I MASTERING HOUSE WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM - DIGITAL EDITING CD MASTERING • OPEN REEL & CASSETTE TRANSFERS· CONTACT: 96/24 CAPABILITY KARL MACHAT 416 503 3060 OR 647 227 KARL MISTERS. MASTERS@SYMPA Tl CO.CA

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