7 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 9 - June 2006

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

JAZZ LIVE by Sophia

JAZZ LIVE by Sophia Perlman This month, Toronto gears up for one of its biggest jazz events of the year - the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival, which runs from June 23-July 2nd. In addition to high profile performers including McCoy Tyner, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Etta James, and Christian McBride, a full roster of local and out of town musicians will appear on more than seven special stages, as well as in numerous clubs across the city. For more information, visit their website To celebrate the festival, The Rex will be holding a late night jam series - beginning at 1 am and continuing till 5 for the duration of the festival.. Also, the Red Guitar will host a special jazz jam session on June 30th. Of course, the great jazz doesn't just start with the j . · 1 festival . Other great events worth seeing this month include a CD Release from jazz vocalist DK Ibomeka (June 14, Hugh's Room), The Sun Ra Arkestra (June 8-10, Lula Lounge), Kenny Kirkwood's month-long guest curator series at The Red Guitar, and a special performance by the Peter Appleyard Quintet (Montreal Bistro, June 15-17 .) And check our jazz club listings on pages 37-38 for more great events in the clubs all month long! During the year, we at the WholeNote do our best to offer as comprehensive a listing of jazz clubs as we can. During festival season, however, other clubs come on board who are not always included. Be sure to check out great live music in some of these special venues. Gamba duo LES VOIX HUMAINES is augmented with guest artists on baroque bassoon, guitar, theorbo, harpsichord and double bass for these sets of sonatas and concertos. Chopin Restaurant 165 Roncesvalles Avenue, (416) 536-6228 Concord Cafe 937 Bloor Street West, (416) 532-3989 Dominion Dn llueen 500 Queen St. E., (416) 368-6893 Havana Feelings 2202 Danforth Avenue, (416) 423-1313 Lolitas Lust & The Chinchilla Lounge 513 Danforth Avenue, (416) 465-1751 Silver Dollar Room 486 Spadina Avenue, (4161763-9139 Tranzac 292 Brunswick Avenue, (4161923-81 37 Whistler's Grille & Cafe Bar 995 Broadview Avenue@ Pottery Rd. (416)4211344 1~~HARKNETT Musical Services Ltd. MUSIC BOOKS BEST SELECTION OF POPULAR & EDUCATIONAL MUSIC Piano · Guitar · Instrumental Mid-Town Store Brass - Woodwind - String Instruments - Guitar Buy direct from the Distributor 416-423-9494 AUTHORIZED DEALER FOR: 943 Eglinton Ave. E. (W of Leslie) Armstrong, Artley, Besson, Benge (Next door to Robert Lowrey's Piano Experts) Boosey & Hawkes, Buffet, Conn Getzen, Jupiter, Keilworth, King Main Store Ibanez Guitars, Scher! & Ruth String Inst. 905-477-1141 2650 John Street Qust North of Steeles) BAND Stand by Merlin Williams Broken families Why does it seem there are so many people who can't tell an oboe from a clarinet these days? Or worse, get the oboe and bassoon mixed up? It's hardly surprising then that very few people know the extended family trees of wind and brass instruments. Yes, some families are represented fairly well in the modern band. (At least at first glance.) The brass instruments, for example, from trumpet down to tuba sound sort of like a unified choir of instruments. Well, yes. But only sort of. The trumpet has a cylindrical bore, but the lower valved brass, like the euphonium and tuba are conical. The cornet and flugelhorn are truer relatives to the tuba than the trumpet is. There are bass trumpets. The trombone has soprano, alto, bass and contrabass members, but most of the time we only see the tenor of the family. So, while the amalgam of instruments in the modern band functions pretty well, it does miss some of the subtle colour possibilities found in older arrangements. Many older charts call for trumpets, cornets and flugelhorns and not as doubles - they're played by dedicated players. The woodwind section is even worse off in some ways. Rarely do we see the English Horn in the band, and you' ll certainly not see the oboe d'amore and bass oboe in a band. A bassoon in a band these days is a rarity, let alone a contrabassoon. The flute and piccolo are easy, but what of the alto flute and bass flute? The saxes of the modern band are truncated too. Yes, there's the alto , tenor and baritone in the middle of the band, but where are the soprano and bass members of the family? The one section that does get reasonable representation for many of its family members is the clarinet section. The Bb soprano clarinet is front and centre, as the perpetual violin section of the band. You'll frequently see the bass clarinet as well, and often an Eb, maybe an alto if you're fortunate. Once in a while, if a band is particularly lucky, you' ll also see and hear (and feel!) the mighty contrabass clarinet. Look for something metallic, that resembles a do-it-yourself plumbing experiment gone horribly wrong. Zoltan Kalman Why the orchestration lesson? Well, one of the concerts I'd like to highlight for you this month is the Upper Canada Clarinet Choir at St. Paul's Anglican Church in Hamilton on Sunday, June 4th at 3pm. The concert features guest soloist Zoltan Kalman in a rare performance of Steve Reich's "New York Counterpoint" for clarinet solo and clarinet choir. The UCCC will also be performing music by Tchaikovsky, Jacob and Smallman. The blend of a clarinet choir is a gorgeous thing, and I urge you to take in this concert. The City of Brampton Concert Band is playing twice in Gage Park in Brampton this month (the lst and the 29th) in preparation for their Italy/ Austria trip in July. The band is sure to be in top form as they ready their competition program. Also kicking off their summer park concert schedule is the Etobicoke Community Concert Band on June 21 st at the Applewood Homestead on the West Mall in Etobicoke. The series continues on July 5th and 26th. All concerts run from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. under the vital baton of ECCB Music Director, John Edward Liddle. Woodwind doubler Merlin Williams is an Artist/Clinician for Jupiter Music Canada and Sales Manager for Gary Armstrong Woodwinds. If you would like an upcoming band event to be f eatured in the Bandstand column, feel free to contact Merlin by e-mail, or phone 41 6-803-0275. 24 WWW.THEWHOLENQTE.COM ) UNE 1 - )U LY 7 2006 Back to Ad Index

Back to Ad Index Finley to sing at opera house launch CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10 Janacek, Britten, but also Adams and Turnage - Do you consider yourself a "singer of modern vocal music" or a "singer who just happens to record a lot of modern music lately"? GF: I guess I am a little bit on a "new music" quest, but it's only because I always wanted to take on challenging projects. The creative process and the idea of working with creative people are irresistible to me. The new works usually generate a lot of excitement, a lot of "buzz" and they have been very good to me, as P HOTO: T ERRENCE M c C ARTHY One unmoving, unmovable element: an early atomic bomb: "/ did not have to try to come up with an interpretation of Oppenheimer's feelings - the music did it for me. " most of them ended up as successes. Maybe it's intuition on my part, when I choose successful projects - but maybe it's simply my ability to learn new music swiftly. To create a new role, you need to have the foundation of tonality, the "classic" preparation - I think I have just enough training to handle that. Still, so far I have stayed away from the be! canto repertoire, concentrating instead on projects where I can share in the music making, as in the new music projects. RT: At times we forget that all music was once "new" music and Mozart himself would work with the singers to develop a role. GF: Exactly, and these days when I sing Don Giovanni, I try to put on a Mozart opera as if it were new, to recapture that "opening night energy" . There are a myriad of conductors and coaches who help us discover the essence of the singing phrase or who help to answer why the composer wrote a phrase this way. Working with John Adams was a very comfortable process. We had many conversations and exchanges of documents and recorded Doctor Atomic four months before the premiere. Adams came to New York when I was singing Don Giovanni there, a full six months before San Francisco. He came to a performance and said "Oh dear, I think I scored it too high, it's quite a bit higher than Don Giovanni." I just laughed and told him that Don Giovanni was one-third into my range. We had a very good collaboration. RT: Speaking of Adams and the role of Robert Oppenheimer in Doctor Atomic: for me, just as for most of those who attended - you are Oppenheimer, just as surely as James Maddalena is Richard Nixon (in Nixon in China). What are the challenges of singing a brand new role, for which there is no reference material? GF: The first performance is a touchstone - there is so much new energy being released. The revivals become interesting, because that's where the growth of the piece happens. Also, as performers mature, they can settle into a more dynamic, powerful music-making from the word go. It's like climbing a mountain (and it is a huge mountain); only on the second and following climbs do you have a chance to check the scenery, take another, new look at the piece. RT: Can we hope for a recording of Doctor Atomic soon? GF: John Adams still feels it is a rough diamond, it needs adjustments, further polishing and refining - so it may be a while. He wants the piece to be more accessible and have more impact at the same time. RT: ls there a real risk of being overly identified with a role? GF: I really don't think so. I mean I hope I will be remembered not only as Robert Oppenheimer, but also as Harry Heegan at English National Opera (in The Silver Tassie by M .A. Turnage), Don Giovanni and Onegin. I am thrilled and honoured to be the creator of any new role, just as Benucci was the first Figaro and Guglielmo. That a composer relinquishes his ideas to the performer is a huge act of generosity; to be the first is a risky, but ultimately rewarding experience. In the end, I will not shy away from roles for fear of being overly identified with them - I love the challenge too much. Let the marketers worry about the way I am perceived. RT: Did you realize before the pe,formance, just by reading the score that the setting of John Donne's sonnet is the opera's transformative moment? GF: When I first set my eyes on the piece, I knew it was an affecting piece, but it wasn't until the first piano "run-through" when I realized just how much so. I sang it through and suddenly everybody was very quiet, as if punched in the stomach. But I try not to think about it too much, that would put too much pressure on every performance. I just sing it the best I can and maybe reflect on it in time. RT: Wasn't it difficult to deal with the raw, disparate texts, from Baudelaire to Donne to transcripts of letters and scientific papers? The libretto was assembled from raw sources, without the benefit of the pen of Alice Goodman. GF: Yes and no. There was a lot of discussion about the effectiveness of "raw text", as Peter Sellars (director) assembled the direct sources, that this method prevented Adams from writing his best music. I disagree. I think it allowed him to write music with a lot of "air" in it, to permit more space for the denser texts, such as the poetry of Muriel Rukeyser. It also allowed him to compose across and against musical genres. The music in Doctor Atomic ranges from the almost technorhythms of the first act, through the Debussy-esque quality of the Baudelaire parts to the pseudo-baroque in the setting of the Donne sonnet. And that approach served my character very well. I did not have to try to come up with an interpretation of Oppenheimer's feelings - the music did it for me. RT: Are there roles you still covet and would jump at an opportunity to pe,form? Conversely, is there any role that you will never again sing? GF: I never say no, never say never again, but as my voice evolves, there will come the time when I will no longer sing certain roles. So, some of the Britten roles , Guglielmo and others may get replaced by Death in Venice, heavier Strauss - I can't sing Don Giovanni forever. Maybe it's time for Leporello? I'm in an interesting period in my career and keen to explore some new opportunities. So, in the next 3-4 years, Billy Budd may materialize, maybe even Wozzeck (but that may be premature), Wolfram and other Wagnerian roles .... There is a lot of Handel that I have not done yet. I also hope to sing one day more lyrical, be! canto roles - so maybe Lescaut in Manon Lescaut, maybe Herode in Massenet's Herodiade, but then again maybe Sweeney Todd and Sound of Music are in the cards for me. I never say never. .. . RT: You will be in Toronto in June for the inauguration of the opera house. Does it mean we may hope for more Canadian appearances? GF: It's a delicate topic. I have been doing this scheduling dance with the COC since the early 1990s. I have a career and family in the UK, so it is important for me to plan well in advance. The European and American opera houses are very good about that. The COC seems to be slightly behind in their plans, so when they are ready to sign me on, I already have other commitments. But I do everything in my power to appear in Canada. For the inauguration I am flying from Vienna, where I'll be in rehearsals for Don Giovanni and have to return that very evening, to make it for the performance! I am appearing in Ottawa in September '06, singing Mozart arias with the wonderful National Arts Centre Orchestra. Happily, soon after I' II be presenting recitals in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in March '07, singing some favourite repertoire of Schumann and English language song. RT: We look forward to hearing you on June 14 and wish you all the best in your career. Thank you. GF: A pleasure. ) UNE 1 - J ULY 7 2006 WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE. COM 25

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