8 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 9 - June 2006

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

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Back to Ad Index bled from three live performances in September 2005, this recording features the excel lent violinist Guy Braunstein in the solo role of the composer's staunch consort Pauline. As orchestras go, the Berlin is acknowledged as the ultimate luxury vehicle and they provide a superior ride indeed for the dashing Sir Simon, who manages to impart a hint of irony and rare transparency to this well-worn score. The solo woodwinds in particular are outstanding in their portrayal of the snarling critics that bedevil our not-so heroic protagon ist and the recorded sound is generally sumptuous with a wide dynamic range, though the use of highly directional microphones to dodge audience noi ses takes a bit of the bloom off the sound of the string section. The album also features Strauss on a smaller scale in the 1917 chamber orchestra Suite of incidental music for Moliere's play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. It's a peculiar melange of parody and pathos wh ich, among other elements of what passes for humour in Germany, appropriates the delicate pastry that is the music of Lully and ladles heaping helpings of Bavarian gravy over it. Strangely compelling nonetheless. Daniel Foley Among Friends MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY New Edmonton W ind Sinfonia; Raymond Baril Arktos 200587 The well-known (at least in band circles!) composer Francis McBeth was once told to write new music for bands and wind ensembles, because, as the person advising him put it "bands have been folk-music'd to death." Wh ile it's true that the cornerstones of the band repertoire are derived from folk materials (thi nk of the Holst and Vaughan-Williams and nearly al l of Grainger's output), we're now fortunate that there ex- 46 ists a sizable body of works for band that are not. I' m always delighted to draw attention to new works for band, and this recording by the New Edmonton Wind Sinfonia merits praise for including Allan Gilliland's Dreamscapes. Hopeful ly I can convince the bands l play with to add this to their libraries. Allan was a fe llow student at Humber College in the early '80's, and it's great to hear how his gift for composition has developed in the intervening years. The works on thi s CD are good solid, serious works for band - Tunbridge Fair by Walter Piston, Fiesta by Clifton Williams, and Incantation and Dance by John Barnes Chance. Yes, there is a bit of old school folk influence, but it's Grainger, and I love his writing' Pere Lachaise by Martin Ellerby is new to me, but certainly evokes a similar mood to Satie's Gymnopedies. This is an excellent new addition to my library of band recordings, made even more impressive by the inclusion of live performance tracks. Wea,~ Eve Egoyan Earwitness Merlin Williams WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM This CD of four compositions by four different international composers receiving their first recordings reminds me that music is about personal taste and even bias, as much as it is a collection of intentional sounds, performed in time. These works were all composed fo r and inspired by the brilliant Toronto pianist Eve Egoyan. She has built her significant career over the past twelve years primarily on the difficult fo undation of commissioning, performing and recording contemporary music for piano. Whi le this is admittedly not the most popular of repertoires with the general audience, yet once again, she convincingly showcases music by cutting-edge contemporary composers of concert music: Marti n Arnold (Canada), the American, James Tenney, Jo Kondo (Japanese), and Englishman Michael Finnissy. Returning to personal taste in music, mine leans towards the Apollonian (its earmarks - intellectual rigor), while also embracing the more hedonistic qualities of the undeniable shear sensual pleasure derived from pleasing sounds. To Weave (a meditation), track 2 of this CD, by the American composer, pianist and long time Toronto resident who is professor emeritus ofYork University's Music Department, James Tenney, em bodies both of those attributes admirably. It's at once a marvel of contrapuntal and structural clari ty, " ... wave upon wave [of sound] .. . but precisely calibrated to peak at the phi-point of the golden ratio" (from the liner notes by the composer), as we ll as a meditation " ... on the wondrous physicality and inescapable spirituality of all our music making". Profound and surprising music is this, evoking the best of our western musical traditions. Andrew Timar Jeu des Portraits: Music of Ana Sokolovic Ensemble contemporain de Montreal; Veronique Lacroix Centrediscs CMCCD 11406 My first experience of the musi c of Belgrade-born Ana Sokolovic was a violin sonata, a recording of which was played for me by a friend. I found it extraordinarily beautiful. This CD, co-produced by the Canadian Music Centre and the CBC/ SRC, features fo ur of Sokolovic's works for instrumental chamber ensemble written over the last decade. The performers are the Ensemble contemporain de Montreal under the direction of founder Veronique Lacroix, with whom the composer has frequently collaborated since her move to Montreal in 1992 and who commissioned two of the works recorded here. The disc is named for the second piece on its program, the 'Game of Portraits', written to honour the 30th anniversary of the Societe de Musique contemporaine du Quebec in 1996. Its four elegantly varied and expressive movements pay rich homage to four giants of Quebec's musical hi story - Mathieu, Papineau-Couture, Garant and Vivier. Also included in the program are a Ciac- cona (2002) - my personal favourite, if! had to choose - with its hugely creative and clever treatment of this earlier musical form , and the frequently humorous Five Locomotives and Some Animals. The disc closes with a concert recording of the three-movement Sentimental Geometry. There is something quite extraordinary about Sokolovic's capacity to present a vast breadth of musical expression within subtle but welldelineated boundaries. With such an infinitely-varied and hugely evocative palette of colours, rhythms, tempos, moods and effects, a lesser composer might easily lose focus and therefore their listener; but not Sokolovic. Her music is remarkable, connective and immensely creative. Its performance on this CD, by the ECM, is fab ulous and exemplary in every way. Thanks to the CMC/ SRC for th is outstanding production. Alison Melville JAZZ & IMPROVISED Dippin' Hank Mobley Blue Note Records RVG Edition 3 37773 2 ASwingin' Affair Dexter Gordon Blue Note Records RVG Edition 3 37754 2 Mosaic Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Blue Note Records RVG Edition 3 37769 2 Tom Cat Lee Morgan Blue Note Records RVG Edition 3 37764 2 East-coast independent jazz labels of the '50s and '60s used the New Jersey recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder to handle their tapings. Many listeners talk about the "Van Gelder" sound, but I' ve always thought it was the other way around: it was Blue Note producer/fo under Alfred Lion who taught RVG how jazz should sound on record ings. Whichever it was, Van Gelder's imprimatur is the one that validates a whole "Edition" of Blue Note reissues, of which these four recent releases enti ce us to repurchase familiar music. It's all been out on CD prev iously, but are here given the RVG remastering and re-polishing. Dexter Gordon, one of the most influential tenor men in jazz was about to move to Europe in the late summer of 1962 when he went into J UNE 1 - J UL Y 7 2006

Back to Ad Index the RVG studio to make what was to be one of his best-ever albums, "Go!", a quartet with Sonny Clark, Butch Warren and Billy Higgins, virtually a 'house rhythm section ' for the label. Whether or not it was planned (or more likely, Lion recognized the great album he had just made), a second session was done two days later. The result was "A Swingin' Affair", and it 's darn near as wonderful as the original. Gordon originals Soy Califa and McSplivens open and close the album, with one by solid bassist Warren, The Backbone. The standards inchanges handled brightly; and the relaxed Until The Real Thing Comes Along. The distilled sound of pianist Sonny Clark is radiant, and the flexible and attentive Billy Higgins shines. Blue Note was a prolific label, and sessions often outpaced releases, with some things getting bypassed in favour of the more-recently taped albums, a fate that befell trumpeter Lee Morgan's "Tom Cat". The l 964 album, and another called "Search For The New Land", were taped after a little item called "The Sidewinder" but before that to-beelude a magisterial nod to Billie Hol- monster-hit came out. When Lion iday, Don't Explain; You Stepped did a re-think about what should fol­ Out Of A Dream, with the difficult low up ("The Rumproller") both were put on the shelf, "Tom Cat" not to be released until l 98 l. By today's standards, this is an al I-star session, with Morgan's erstwhile boss Art Blakey coming aboard along with BN stalwarts Curtis Fuller on trombone, altoist Jackie McLean (who died on March 31 this year), McCoy Tyner at the piano and bassist Bob Cranshaw. On offer are four fine differently-flavoured originals by Morgan, and one by Tyner - the only ballad, Twilight Mist. The sinuous title track sneaks around for nearly ten minutes, as does the latinish Exotique. At this point the 26 year old had it all together: technique, ideas, and control. And it shows. Most Blue Notes were by ad hoc groups, but a mainstay was Art Blakey-led "The Jazz Messengers", especially when Lee Morgan was music director. By the time "Mosaic" was recorded in l 961 (the cover of this release erroneously says 1960), another young trumpeter was featured, Freddie Hubbard, with tenorman Wayne Shorter as music director. Another horn was added, trombonist Curtis Fu Iler, and Cedar Walton with Jymie Merritt made the rhythm with Blakey. Thunderous drumming from the leader underscores the all new music from within the band. Walton's title track is an expository theme with fine trumpet, whi le a shuffle feel on Down Under gives room to Wayne Shorter, who was to become the Messengers' most interesting composer. Hubbard's Crisis (a theme he was to record on other occasions) gives solo room to everyone. Another ex-Messenger, Hank Mobley, was a melodically gifted tenorman who always did well with an excellent drummer, and has the under-recognized Billy Higgins on "Dippin '", so good results can be expected. Lee Morgan's here too, with bassist Larry Ridley and the funk-fi lled Harold Mabern Jr. at the piano. Mobley's compositions dominate, but the lovely ballad l See Your Face Before Me and Recado Bossa Nova will demand repeated listening. Ted O'Reilly The Hawk Relaxes Coleman Hawkins; Ronnell Bright; Kenny Burrell; Ron Carter; Andrew Cyrille Prestige PRCD-8106-2 Boss Tenor Gene Ammons; Tommy Flanagan; Doug Watkins; Arthur Taylor; Ray Barretto Prestige PRCD-8102-2 SMCD 5239 "delectable ... engaging ... warm, resonant ... exceptionally beautiful" Chicago Tribune, 14 April 2006 SMCD 5238-2 "Beautifully thought-out and rewarding performances." CD of the week. London Sunday Times, 19 March 2006 MVCD 1173-2 "Clean, stylish, and infectious." Wholenote, Morch 2006 "Canada's piano-ploying Porkers are something special. (They) are phenomenal solo and ensemble musicians. All three are equally satisfying, especially on this multi-keyboard Mozart treat." Toronto Star, 9 Morch 2006 SMCD 5240 JUNE 1 - JULY 7 2006 ' \ WWW. TH EWHO LENOTE.COM 47

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