8 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 9 - June 2006

  • Text
  • Festival
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Concerts
  • Musical
  • Classical
  • Choir
  • Violin
  • Quartet


EDITOR'S CORNER EDITOR'S CORNER Why is that I so often begin with an apology? In last month's column I bade a warm welcome to our newest reviewer, Richard Haskell, only to find out later that space constraints at the production level had resulted in our "Extended Play" section being cut. I am pleased to announce that this has been rectified in the current issue, and in addition to his take on the Parker clan that was so unceremoniously bumped last month, we also have Haskell's look at the latest release in the Hyperion series "The Romantic Piano Concerto" now incredibly up to its 40th title. Re-releases play a big part in this issue, especially in the jazz section. Both Ted O'Reilly and Jim Galloway focus on iconic recording engineer Rudy van Gelder whose work throughout the 50s and 60s had a profound impact on the way jazz was recorded and whose legacy still affects the way we listen to jazz. Ted looks at four titles from Blue Note's tribute "RVG Edition" line, and Jim revisits four important van Gelder saxophone recordings that have re-appeared on the Prestige label. And this month Bruce Surtees devotes his "Old Wine in New Bottles" section to the latest additions to the Living Stereo line which continues to make some of the finest historical material available in state of the art SACD hybrid technology. Of course there is a wealth of newly recorded material covered in these pages as well, including new choral releases featuring some of our finest local choirs. The Elmer Iseler Singers are featured with the Canadian Brass in "People of Faith" (see Merlin Williams' review in the vocal section) and the EIS are joined by the Amadeus Chamber Singers and the Toronto Children's Chorus in a new collection of Harry Freedman's choral music "The Tokaido" (see Dianne Wells' review in "Discs of the Month"). See also Alex Baran's glowing review of "Hear My Prayer", the latest Naxos release from the Choir of St. John's Elora under Noel Edison's direction, with guest soloist Karina Gauvin. Soprano Gauvin also shines (and shimmers) in a new Na"ive recording of Vivaldi's Tito Mantia as you can read in Pamela Margles' appreciation. My own listening this month has been focused mainly on a set of three CDs that encompass some of the most important solo instrumental writing of the 20th century: Luciano Berio's set of fourteen "Sequenzas" (Naxos 8.557661/63). Berio, who died in 2003, began the set in 1958 with a work written for flutist Severino Gazzelloni and continued to add to the series up until the year before his death. The last was a work for Arditti Quartet cellist Rohan de Saram, although this recording features another fine cellist, Darrett Adkins. Incidentally, De Saram, who recently left the Arditti after 25 years, will perform Sequenza XIV next sea- son for Toronto audiences under the auspices of New Music Concerts. Berio himself had a strong connection with New Music Concerts as the featured composer l-1 ~ "o.:q111·1t1.1, I \I\ on the first concert ~!l'.3:!I=· --~~---~ of its series some 35 years ago. For weeks in advance of that inaugural concert there were cryptic newspaper ads that simply stated "Berio is coming". On that occasion Eugene Watts, who has gone on to fame as the trombonist of the Canadian Brass, performed Sequenza V. If we can be permitted to extend our vision of Toronto to the GTA, Berio has now "come" again with this important compact disc release. All of the performances were recorded in Newmarket at St. John Chrysostom Church by Bonnie Silver and Norbert Kraft, and they feature a healthy mix of local artists and other Canadians among the international slate of distinguished performers: Nora Shulman (flute, I); Erica Goodman (harp, II), Alain Trudel (trombone, V); Steven Dann (viola, VI); Jasper Wood (violin, VIII); Joaquin Valdepefias (clarinet, IXa); Guy Few (trumpet, X); Joseph Petric (accordion, XIII); and Wallace Halladay (soprano saxophone, #Vllb and alto saxophone, #IXb). No harm intended to the excellent American soprano Tony Arnold, but I wish that Naxos had extended the Canadian talent roster by including Barbara Hannigan for Sequenza III - it's a piece she has made "her own" and this home-grown rising international star really deserves to be featured on more recordings. [Next month's issue will include a review of her participation in the recording of Louis Andriesen's opera Writing to Vermeer.] This Naxos set is an extremely import addition to the discography. I especially enjoy having the opportunity to compare the Wallace Halladay's exceptional performances of the "alternate" saxophone versions of the clarinet and oboe Sequenzas with the consummate interpretations of the original versions by Toronto's own clarinet icon Joaquin Valdepefias and master oboist Matej Sare of Ljubljana. In the spirit of "what goes ,. around comes around" I would mention that Sarc's performance was recorded during his first visit to Toronto, with his woodwind quintet Slowind, at the invitation of New Music Concerts. And so the connections abound. Another disc of · ~ mostly solo repertoire I have enjoyed this month is entitled "To Be Sung on the Water" featuring violinist Michelle Makarski (ECM New Series ECM 1871). It provides an interesting pairing of some of the less frequently performed works of Italian baroque composer Giuseppe Tartini (no "Devil's Trill" here) and contemplative works written for Makarski by the contemporary American Donald Crockett. The title piece is the only one on the disc in which Makarski's violin is joined by another instrument, a viola played by Ronald Copes. This lyrical, if somewhat mournful, work seems to grow ingeniously out ofTartini's A Major sonata in an inspired act of programming by Makarski. Crockett's work evokes the vision of a calm mist-covered lake at dawn or dusk, and as the memory fades we are drawn skillfully into the world ofTartini's D minor sonata. The transition is so gentle that it is hard to conceive that these works were created two and a half centuries apart, such is their timeless beauty. This impression holds true as the disc progresses to include Crockett's somewhat more angular mickey finn which in turn seamlessly meshes into Tartini's B minor sonata. This disc is moving reminder that in some ways early music and that of the present day have more in common with each other than with the music composed in the two centuries in between. Thanks to the efforts of local entrepreneur Drew Gill, founder of the distribution service Gillmore Music, Canada has access to some fine European labels including familiar ones like Meloydia and Supraphon, and the less well known Berlin Classics, Etcetera, Orfeo and Avie Records. I have found a number of interesting titles on this last mentioned label this month, including violin music of Debussy, Enescu and Ravel performed by Philippe Graffin (A V2059) and string quartets by Haydn, Bacewicz and Dvorak with the Szymanowski Quar- i tet (A V2092), but the one that really drew my attention is a wonderful new recording of Shostakovich's Cello Concert No. 2 and Prokofiev's Symphony-Concerto featuring Lynn Harrell and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under the direction of 12 Back to Ad Index WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE,COM ) UNE 1 - ) ULY 7 2006

Back to Ad Index Gerard Schwarz (AV2090). Both works have been frequently recorded, including definitive performances by Mstislav Rostropovich, the dedicatee of the Shostakovich piece and collaborator with Prokofiev on the final version of the Symphony-Concerto which the composer struggled over for nearly 20 years. So why do we need yet another recording? Well partly because it is the centenary of Shostakovich's birth this year (although you might not have noticed amongst all the Mozart 250 celebrations), and partly because this renowned American cellist has some convincing things to say in his interpretations of these important contributions to the 20th century cello literature. Harrell has found a kindred spirit in American conductor Gerard Schwarz who has been at the helm of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic since 200 I. This is a recording I am pleased to add to my collection. .7 Woz-blwp,r foz- t/.J(},a1 0/:n;c:(oz- tuJd re:acr.&;r Sacred Reading Session 2006 Ta king care of your voice Rehearsal Techniques for choirs Issues of the church choir director Vocal curricu lum for intermediate and senior teachers Curriculum in the junior division New concert repertoire and teaching ideas Clinician s: Ken Hull, Nancy Kiele!, Anita Noel Robe1t Wilke ancl Lee Willin~ham Forfi1rther information contact: Music Plus Corporation 5 Michael Street, Kitchener, ON 519-745-8530 or 1-800-608- 5205 One final mention: As you will read elsewhere in this magazine, June sees Toronto host soundaXis: music, architecture and acoustics, a city-wide celebration involving virtually all of Toronto's new music presenters and, in all, several dozen organizations from a number of disciplines. The festival was initially conceived as a tribute to iconic 20th century composer Iannis Xenakis whose interdisciplinary career, interrupted by his untimely death in 200 I, included major contributions to the fields of mathematics, architecture and music. Although the festival's scope has broadened far beyond that initial inspiration, Xenakis remains the unifying factor, at least in terms of music programming and most of the concerts will involve one or more of his challenging works. Mode Records of New York has recently introduced a line of CD and DVD recordings devoted to Xenakis, and they provide a valuable resource and excellent introduction to the work of this important musical theorist. I have been immersing myself in the "Music for Strings" (mode 152) featuring Ensemble Resonanz (and members thereof), and the Make a Note of It! ) UNE 1 - ) ULY72006 WWW.TH EWHO LENOTE ,COM Lockridge- DVD "Electronic Music I" (mode 148) which includes the 45 minute tape composition La Legend d'Eer, an extended interview with Xenakis by British musicologist Harry Halbreich, and documentation (still photographs and the like) of the original site-specific performance of the Legend at "Diatope" , a unique architectural structure created outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris in 1978 that has not survived. This invaluable footage comprises the only existing material related to one of Xenakis' major achievements and, like the Mode series itself, provides a detailed look into his creative genius. We welcome your feedback and invite submissions. Catalogues, review copies of CDs and comments should be sent to: The WholeNote, 503 - 720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4. We also welcome your input via our website, H i Fi David Olds Editor, D/SCoveries MORE DISCOVERIES ON PAGE 42 SPRING SALE CD,XRCD SACD, DSD LP & Used LP (Lots) Up to 250/o Off All Genres Some Conditions apply Select Stereo Components are On Sale as well. Call Now for Details. (905) 475-6300 16th Ave * (I) (I) .,,. ~ 0 ~ (I) .,,. c: (I) >, CJ 15 N "O 3 "O I 0 ~ 0 u T s: 0 _J Geo. I I , D ~ & Co. Limited COl\'5cRVAIORS 8: PURVEYORS OF Fine 8: Rare Violins /.0! c:m:-~·h St.. To:-(m~u. ON. M5B !Y7 Email· P:hclu:'lidirect com Tel 416-363-0093 • Fax: .-'.J6 363 0053 www.g'eorg~ehei{1l..con1 Canada's foremost violin experts Proud of our heritage. Exc-itcd about the fu ture. (I) ~ c: (I) ~ co s: 13

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