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Volume 11 Issue 9 - June 2006

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108 Walking through

108 Walking through Tokyo at the turn of the century Sarah Peebles Post-Concrete post-004 ( www.post-concrete.com) Toronto-based composer and soundscape artist Sarah Peebles has had a long-term involvement with Japanese culture. From December 1999 to January 2000, she traveled around Tokyo recording sounds heard in numerous public spaces. On her journey, we hear Japanese voices, pop-musical and machine sounds on the sidewalks, train platforms, video arcades, vending machines, a temple graveyard, a judo club, and in those so idiosyncratic of Japanese institutions, the pachinko parlors. The 11 tracks on this CD present a sort of sonic film or video, which to my ears straddles the documentary goals of a straightforward field recording and a highly processed and structured musical artifact such as what one might find in classical musique concrete of the school pioneered by Pierre Henry and Karlheinz Stockhausen. bles does present sonically-processed train whistles and pachinko sounds in an effectively otherworldly coda. As for the sounds themselves, they range from the aggressive highpitched steel waterfall in Pachinko (Track 6), to the peaceful tolling of the New Year's bell in the temple graveyard in the following track. After finishing this CD, it feels like I've just returned from a trip to Tokyo - but without the jetlag. Andrew Timar Concert Note: A video version of Sarah Peebles "Walking through Tokyo" will be one of the free events presented during the SoundaXis Festival in the first 11 days of June. The presentation takes place on Saturday June IO at 11 :00 at the Goethe lnstitut. A.fvtELIA Amelia, a dance film by Edouard Lock Sarah Peebles has chosen this La La La Human Steps middlegroundbymaintainingthetim- OpusArte OA 0945 D bral and pitch aspects of the street soundscape of this highly urbanized This highly decorated DVD produc­ Asian city. She does this by com- tion of La La La Human Steps' pressing ( editing) and selectively Amelia is a triumphant tribute to the superimposing sonic events in an company's 25th anniversary. Ameimaginative and sensitive fashion. I lia is directed, choreographed and should mention however, for a brief edited by the founder/artistic direcsection in track 11 Epilogue, Pee- tor, Edouard Lock. The ten dancers of Amelia guide us through a composite tableaux of fourteen states of being. The stage is a vacuous "round wooden box" - and the agile camera work allows the viewers to transcend a stationary audience perspective to one that seems intimate, if not voyeuristic. My emotional response took me cathartically through agitation, longing, despair, emptiness, tenderness, and frustration back to the centre of completeness. Although it is possible to move in and out of each tableaux through the magic of digital technology - I found that option impossible - so compelling is the sustained sense of forward movement of the whole. The dance is magically superhuman - even more so given the occasional digital tampering. This technique proves to heighten the overall artistic effect, rather than detract. What is most striking from the musical perspective is the quality of the human voice on the soundtrack. Nadine Medawar manages to produce a sheer, breathy yet wholly appealing vocal quality. The lyrics to the songs might otherwise seem "poppy", but not here - they fit so seamlessly with the visual, deftly accompanied by sparse piano, violin and cello - the effect is utterly haunting. Kudos to music director Njo Kong Kie. Heidi McKenzie Mania Kiya Tabassian, setar; Ziya Tabassian,tombak ATMA ACD2 2340 Born in Tehran, Kiya and Z iya Tabassian 's fami ly emigrated to Quebec and the brothers, who studied and practiced Persian music from an early age, also pursued an education in Western music in Montreal. They are founding members of Constantinople, an ensemble based on Medieval and Renaissance European and Middle Eastern musical traditions. Kiya plays setar, a longnecked lute on which melodies are plucked with the nai l of the index finger while the musician creates resonance on the other strings. Ziya plays the tombak, a hand drum carved from wood and covered with goat or lamb skin. These, particularly the setar, are instruments meant for intimate performance, a little different than the frenetic evocations the title Mania might imply. However, these artists define Mania as 'the state of ecstasy, of madness, that an artist needs to get closer to the ineffable ... the invisible Other. Freedom from what is known ... " That is what is created in this music, and one reason why the setar is described as the preferred instrument of Sufi mystics. The improvisations on different modes and melodic frameworks rely on the musicians' access to an inner artistry freely expressed. And the connection of these brothers to each other, to their diverse musical influences and interests, and the drawing out of inner resources and virtuosity draw the listener in to the magic created. Dianne Wells 50 A NEW way to advertise your services in WholeNote! For advertisers • A smaller ad size to give you a continuous presence at an affordable price (See pages 39 and 41.) • Choice of three, five or ten issues of continuous presence • Category grouping for maximum impact For readers • A one-stop shop for professional services you can use Call 416-323-2232 now to advertise in WholeNote MarketPlace! Back to Ad Index WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM Find your teacher Record your CD Improve your health ... by going to WholeNote MarketPlace on pages 39 and 41. • ••

The latest ten releases of Living Stereo hybrid SACD discs from RCA include more Fritz Reiner, Arthur Fiedler, Charles Munch, and Jascha Heifetz in addition to Arthur Rubinstein, Virgil Fox, Mario Lanza, and Morton Gould. Remember, these mid-price bargains play on a regular CD player or an SACD machine. The big surprise is the Rubinstein Beethoven disc, recorded in 1962 & 1963 (82876-71619). Collectors habitually complained of Rubinstein's sonic maltreatment on LP, yet, from these three track tapes RCA presents the late pianist in generous, 'you are there' ambient sound. Rubinstein was not regarded as a Beethoven pianist par excellence but he does make a convincing argument for the composer. Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony have two more discs. "Vienna" includes favourites by Johann II, Josef, and Richard Strauss (82876-71614). Reiner conducts these familiar pieces with authority, eschewing Viennese sentimentality in favour of clear articulation and immaculate playing. Reiner's second disc in this release contains Debussy's La Mer and Respighi's Pines and Fountains of Rome (82876-71614) and, as expected, the performances are inspired and the sound, always good, is now a revelation. Attentive listeners will hear that the acoustics of Chicago's Orchestra Hall were (they have since re-modeled) not the equal of Boston's Symphony Hall where their recordings were made and that the microphone set-ups were different. Arthur Fiedler's Boston Pops program, "Pops Caviar" (82876-71618) brilliantly documents passionate performances of colourful Russian favourites. Included are Borodin's In the Steppes of Central Asia and the Overture and Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor, Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Festival Overture and excerpts from Khachaturian's Gayne and Masquerade ballets. Fiedler was an exceptional musician in addition to a fine conductor. In 1940 he made the first ever recording of the Pachelbel Canon with his Sinfonietta and he regularly collaborated with the likes of violist Paul Hindemith and organist E. Power Biggs. Victor was so successful with The Boston Pops recordings worldwide that they did not record Fiedler outside the Pop's repertoire, except for Dvorak's Ninth Symphony. In the Polygram years he was bound to the pop's repertoire and he asked me over the many lunches we enjoyed together (when in Toronto he stayed at the Park Plaza Hotel, adjacent to our store on Yorkville) if would I talk to someone at the label to allow him to record some different repertoire. I did. They didn't. Two more from Boston with Charles Munch. The Symphonie Fantastique, recorded in 1954 is a disappointment (82876- 67899). I'm sure that the orchestra was up to OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLES Fine Old Recordings Re-Released by Bruce Surtees strength but the sound tells a different story. This early (1954) stereo recording is poorly balanced and bodiless. It's too bad because this is a snappy performance. Two Mendelssohn symphonies tell a different story (82876-71616). The Fourth, "Italian" and Fifth "Reformation" are spectacular performances in full-bodied sound. The Fifth is Mendelssohn at his serious best and Munch realizes this to perfection. Very recommendable. Heifetz plays the Bruch Concerto No. I and the Scottish Fantasy plus Vieuxtemps Fifth violin concerto with Sir Malcolm Sargent conducting (82876-71622). Recorded in London in 1962 and 1961 these are as not one wit short of spectacular. If you question Heifetz's legendary stature, hear these incomparable performances and doubt no longer. Malcolm Sargent was to conducting as Gerald Moore was to piano: accompanists perfectly in sync with their soloist. In superb sound, this is a must have! Get one for a friend, too. "Mario!" is of course Mario Lanza. A dozen popular Italian songs and a dozen selections from RudolfFriml's The Vagabond King were the late tenor's last recordings. Lanza died on October 7, 1959 in a hospital in SAMPLE SIZES ONE-THIRD PAGE ISLAND 4.625 inches wide 5 inches high Rome but during November/December 1958 and July 1959 the, by then, excessively obese tenor made the above recordings. Unfortunately he had lost his incomparable voice and was left with a rough copy of the original. I confess to being a rabid Lanza fan but this disc doesn't rate. Be assured, RCA has many marvelous CDs in print made in his prime. Hopefully MGM will soon release DVDs of the many films he made between 1949 and 1958. In 1958 RCA sat organ superstar, Virgil Fox at the Aeolian-Skinner organ of Riverside Church in New York and recorded the 13 spectacular tracks reissued on "Virgil Fox Encores" (82876- 71626). These almighty sounds are manna for the fans of the instrument. Finally composer/conductor Morton Gould conducts 'his' orchestra in excerpts from two Copland Ballets, Billy the Kid, and Rodeo, and Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite (82876-67904). Recorded in NYC's Manhattan Center, these musicians would have been hand-picked from the best in the country and RCA went to enormous lengths to create sonic spectaculars. There really are no finer performances of this repertoire and four decades later the sound is still spectacular. Bruce Surtees This WholeNote promotional ad is itself an example of the one-third page island size. ONE-SIXTH PAGE ISLAND 4.625 inches wide 2.5 inches high See example on page 54. ONE-THIRD PAGE VERTICAL 2.375"wide 10"high See example on page 7. ] UNE 1 - ] ULY7 2006 Back to Ad Index WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE. COM 51

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