8 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 1 - September 2006

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  • Jazz
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Recently in town ...

Recently in town ... Agnes GrossmannI still felt fragile, of course, because aftertwenty-seven years of pianistic activities, notto be able to do that anymore was a bigchallenge. On the other hand, new coloursdeveloped. I had to learn lots of newrepertoire, but because I had this ear, it camevery quickly.''I was teaching at the university, but Ihad very few possibilities for performing. Isaid to myself, "I want to see what can bedone". But in a city where no women wereallowed to play in the two main orchestras,let alone conduct, men definitely dominatedthe musical scene. A woman could besuccessful as an instrumental or vocalsoloist, but as a conductor it was practicallyimpossible . As a woman I wasn't evenallowed to conduct a church choir.'Even some years later, in 1996, whenGrossmann became conductor of the ViennaChoir Boys for three years, she was notallowed to conduct when the boys sang inthe Royal Chapel in Vienna each Sunday.'In Vienna they still want to keep thosetraditions. It's unbelievable. I think they dobelieve that the sound is different dependingon whether it's a woman or a man. But Iabsolutely do not think there is a difference.A woman conductor can have sensitivity,and the capacity for, how shall I say,passionate expression, equally to that of aman - no doubt about that. Music is neutral,and musical expression is not dependent onwhether someone is a man or woman. Itdepends on talent, a very good stick techniqueand the capacity to express yourselfdramatically.''So in 1981 I left Vienna and came to theUniversity of Ottawa. This experience wasvery, very important for me. I gave concerts,guest conducted across the country, and ledthe Chamber Players of Toronto. When Itook the Chamber Players to Europe, theyplayed in the Vienna Musikverein, thefamous, famous Golden Hall where so manymajor works were premiered, and theyexperienced the tremendous acoustics in thishall. You cannot imagine how music soundsthere, and how little effort is necessary,unlike Roy Thomson Hall, where it is sodifficult to achieve a round and unforcedsound.''Since the Vienna Philharmonic rehearsesonly in the Musikverein, their sound hasdeveloped with their surroundings. ThisViennese sound has developed over severalhundred years in favourable acousticalenvironments like that.' It is that sound,which has been passed down to her as aliving tradition, that Grossmann is intent onpassing on.'I cannot bring all these students toVienna, but I can bring to them people whohave a very similar musical sound conceptand a very similar message in life. Our16faculty here all embody a sound conceptwhich is close to the Viennese style, whichis full of singing. These fabulous teachershave produced many wonderful musicians,and are willing to do that again and again, aslong as they are alive. That's what I want tobring to Toronto.''There is incredible vocal talent here, nodoubt about that. But Canada is a youngcountry, and styles have yet to be established.I think there are very good conditionsfor singing here. People are in harmony withtheir inner life. Singers need that. If youthink too much, and you're totally separatedfrom your emotions, you cannot sing well.You need to feel floating and positive toproduce a beautiful sound.''Sound production comes from a vitalinner musical vision of what you want toexpress. To know what that is, you need toknow the content of the music. That is whatwe want to foster here. ''There are far too many classical musicianstoday, and very few positions. Onlythose who have something to say willsucceed - I can tell you that. They cannot allteach. The only way they are going to makeit is if they have something very, veryspecial to say. There must be a shiningpersonality behind the interpretation.''I do believe you need to know theliterature and art from the time and place ofthe composer you are performing. If youhave never seen baroque buildings, can youreally understand the baroque sound? If youhave not seen the works of the impressionistpainters you will not completely understandDebussy and Ravel. It is all linked.''But stage directors in Europe todayusually know very little about music. Theycut the opera score, not caring at all what ishappening musically. The text is what theylike to bring out, and they even add in othertexts as well. It's just incredible, there issuch a great lack of taste. They seem to bemainly preoccupied with how much or howlittle the women have on. Each operaproduction has to have at least one rape.Doesn't that show that we are actually goingbackwards? It's demeaning, both for the roleitself, and for the female performer as well.''Nowadays some stage directors actuallyask women to audition in their underwear,even if they have the most beautiful voice inthe world ... Just imagine - is that verycomfortable for a woman performer? I havenothing against nudity. It can be beautiful.The problem is when you have to do it, andwhen it becomes so prominent in a production.''Of course, Don Giovanni was obsessedwith women. But Mozart actually wanted toshow how Don Giovanni is a servant of hisobsession. He's doomed to death becauseWWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COMhe's lying all the time, making everybodymost unhappy, and creating terrible situations.It's the way Mozart expresses that,without moralistic preaching, that showssuch genius.''Directors should understand his musicallanguage and transmit that into action. Ofcourse the text is in the forefront. Da Ponte'slibretto is stunning. But if there is notenough understanding of the musical contentthen the staging will not come off, to mymind.''Our director for Don Giovanni, MichaelAlbano, is incredible in the way he bringslife to his stagings, in total service of what ishappening musically. That is so fruitful foryoung singers because he gives them tools tobring out all the content, but he lets them bethemselves. He does impose his vision, yes,but he gives them freedom to also create theirown.''If there is no meaning behind an action,it's not very interesting. The question isalways, what do you want to express? Thatis the only thing which counts.'Among Grossmann's conducting commitmentsnext year include leading the Universityof Toronto Choirs and SymphonyOrchestra in Mahler's Symphony no. 2 onFriday March 30.Grossmann's recordings include:Prokofiev's Summer Day, Peter and theWolf, Winter Bonfire and Symphony No. 7with Grossmann conducting the OrchestreMetropolitan; CBC.Vienna Choir Boys 500th Anniversary withGrossmann conducting the choir in works byHaydn, Salieri, and Mozart; Koch InternationalClassics.Donizetti's Poliuto with Jose Carreras andKatia Ricciarelli, accompanied by the ViennaSymphony Orchestra under Oleg Caetani,with Grossmann leading the ViennaSingakademie; CBS.SEPTEMBER 1 - Ocrnsrn 7 2006

~f~r?}'~Lydia Adams, Conductor28th Season2006-2007 Concert SeriesREQUIEM- Mozart; Mass No. 2 in C- SchubertFriday, November 10, 2006 8:00 pmMetropolitan United Church, 56 Queen St. E., TorontoSoloists: Rebecca Whelan, sopranoAndrea Ludwig, mezzo-sopranoMark Dubois, tenorNelson Lohnes, basswith orchestraHANDEL'S MESSIAHFriday, December 1, 2006 8:00 pmMetropolitan United Church, 56 Queen St. E., TorontoSpecial Guest Artists: THE AMADEUS CHOIRSoloists: Monica Whicher, sopranoChristine Stelmacovich, mezzo-sopranoDavid Pomeroy, tenorAlexander Dobson, bassRobert Venables and Robert DiVito, trumpetsPatricia Wright, OrganCELEBRATION with True North BrassFriday, February 2, 2007 7:30 pmGlenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West, TorontoCelebrating Howard CableSpecial Guest Artists: Jim Gardiner, trumpetRaymond Tizzard, trumpet; Alastair Kay, tromboneJoan Watson, French horn; J. Scott Irvine, tubaCONCERT OF 100 CANDLESFriday, April 27, 2007 8:00 pmSt. Mary Magdalene Church, Manning and UlsterWorld premiere of Lamentations of Jeremiah,new major work by Canadian composer andJuno nominee, Peter Togni.Special Guest: Jeff Reilly, bass clarinetAll programmes and locations subject to changeSubscriptions to our 4-concert Toronto series are $125for regular tickets, and 0 for seniors and students.Single Tickets are regular and Seniors/Students,except for Messiah, for which tickets are and .Pre-Messiah dinner at the Albany Club 2180 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4N 3K7 .,BIB Canada Councll Consell des Arts~ for the Arts du Canadatorontdartsbou n ci IAn ar m· ~ 1eng1hbod yolth e C•1yo1Toron1a~FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS, TICKETS OR BROCHURECALL 416-217-0537 Monday to Friday 9 am - 5 pm. ..._fliinf qniarl5ronloNURHAN ARMANMUSIC DIRECTORToronto's Premier Chamber Orchestra2006-2007 Masterpiece Series featuring SinfoniaToronto with international soloists and conductorsSaturdays, 8 pm, Grace Church-on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Rdf ~ B~ETHOVEN'S WOR.LD.Oct 7f-- (:;). Richard Raymond, Pianist, . 'f. CHAN KA-NIN The Land Beautiful!:.. BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2- r~ SHOSTAKOVICH Quartet No. 1 orchestra/ version/ j BEETHOVEN Grosse Fugue ---=,,...-----.WHOLENOTLCOMAUTUMN COLOURS Nov 18Jesus Amigo, ConductorAngela Park, Pianist, Etsuko Kimura, ViolinistCHAUSSON Concerto for Violin and PianoHARRY FREEDMAN Fantasy and AllegroMOZART Quintet K614 orchestra/ versionFEBRUARY HEATWAVE Feb 3Antonio di Cristofano, PianistHEALEY WILLAN PoemCHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2FUCHS Serenade No. 2WINTER DREAMS Mar 10Julian Milkis, ClarinetistSPRING SONGS Apr 14Mario Carbotta, FlutistCHRISTMAS FANCIES Dec 9Floortje Gerritsen, ViolinistBallet EspressivoCORELLI Christmas ConcertoMOZART Violin Concerto No. 2ANDRE PREVOST ScherzoTELEMANN Don Quixote SuiteGADE Children's Christmas EveLISZT Angelus! ~MICHAEL CONWAY BAKER Flute Concerto •MERCADANTE Flute Concerto ',, ~- ..-.......:.,.BEETHOVEN SerenadeSUNSHINE May 5Aline Kutan, SopranoBRIAN CHERNEY IlluminationsBRITTEN Les illuminationsDVORAK Sextet, orchestra/ versionSeries: 9 ad, 9 sr, st & 16-29Single tickets: ad, sr, $12 st & 16-29Buy at or 416-499-0403

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