8 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 1 - September 2006

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The Music Gallery

The Music Gallery presentsxSEPT. 21-24, 2006TORONTO, ONFESTIVAL PASS INDIVIDUA L CONCERTS LOCATIONSMORE INFOAV ;\_ N TNEW MUSIC FESTIVAL\ ( \'(,\ ,, IJTHE MUS IC GALLERYTHE DRAKE UNDERG ROUNDSNEAKY DEE'SFUNDING PARTNERStorontca rts: ou nci IWWW MUSICG ALL ERY ORGMEDIA PARTNERSarthurfID]I,.= '-' 1r> \FEATURINGPRESENTING PARTNERS1\liMDRAKE HOTELT.O. Musical Diaryby Colin EatockUpon (no) further reviewHere in southern Ontario, what might be called the "public presence"of classical music has quietly shrunk in recent months. I'm nottalking about a decrease in quality or quantity of performances, butrather in what is written about them. This spring, the National Post- a newspaper that seems aimed at well-educated, culturally engagedreaders - parted ways with its classical music critic, TamaraBernstein, and appeared to withdraw from classical music coveragealtogether. I soon learned that this was not an isolated incident.July 7, 2006: At Hamilton's Dofasco Centre for the Arts, anaudience of several hundred music lovers sits waiting to hear AntonKuerti play Beethoven piano concertos. But before Kuerti can play anote, Boris Brott, director of the Brott Music Festival, makes anannouncement from the stage. He points out that that the HamiltonSpectator has decided to drop classical music reviews from itspages. "That's not just our concerts," he says gravely. "It' s theHamilton Philharmonic, the Bach-Elgar Choir - everybody."But the ever-resourceful Brott has an idea: if people wouldwrite their own reviews and send them to the Spectator, perhaps theymight be published. At the very least, Hamilton's daily would bemade aware that there are people in the community who care.August 21: Over the last month, I've learned that declining classicalmusic coverage is one of those issues that some people just don'twant to talk about. Bernstein had absolutely nothing to say on thesubject of her departure from the Post. And Leonard Turnevicius,the classical music critic for the Hamilton Spectator, declined to bequoted. However, Benjamin Errett, Arts and Life Editor for theNational Post, did reply to my e-mail query.He told me that his newspaper did not generally review livemusic performances of any kind. "Our reasoning is that we wouldrather preview concerts and interview performers of note," heexplained, "rather than review them, except in cases of long runs orexceptional events." Continued Errett: "To that end, our newclassical music writer, Stephen Cera, will be regularly appearing inthe Post as of September." Cera is of course the man who ran thelegendary recital series at the Ford Centre (when it was still calledthe Ford Centre), before it collapsed, along with the rest of theLivent empire.August 28: I receive a phone call from Jeff Day, an editor at theHamilton Spectator. Apparently, the "Spec" hasn't entirely given upon classical music reviewing - it just won't review one-off performances.(Unfortunately, in Hamilton, that means pretty much everythingof a classical nature, except for Opera Ontario's productions,which are performed twice.) And there will still be feature articlesabout musicians. "Our focus has changed," he says, "so we'll beable to give a lot of pre-publicity." As for Brott's letter-writingcampaign, Day responds, "I don't know how many letters to theeditor have been written about this . But I haven't received more thanthree communications about it."But the news isn't all bad, for those of us who want to readabout what happened at last night's performance. When WilliamLittler retired from the Toronto Star last year, Canada's largestnewspaper was presented with a perfect opportunity to drop classicalmusic reviews. It didn't - and appointed John Terauds to takeLittler's place. And at the Globe and Mail, Robert Everett-Greenand a host of freelancers (myself included, occasionally) continue toreview a wide variety of live classical performances.There's nothing wrong with previews and feature articles. At theirbest, they can explore behind-the-scenes issues that aren't generallytouched upon in reviews. But at their worst, they can be superficialpuffery that skirt around the central issue: how well musicians dowhat they set out to do. That's what reviews are for.**Colin Eatock is a Toronto-based composer and freelance writerWWW. THEWHOLENOTE .COM

Admission: regular I seniors I students (Cheapseats) I Music Gallery 416 204-1080 I Glenn Gould Studio 416 205-5555For information, special packages and Isabel Bader Theatre tickets, call New Music Concerts at 416 961-95941 Canada Council Conse il des Arts~ for the Arts du CanadaSEPTEMBER 1 - O CTOBER 7 2006O"f"'-" l l)A !ll ~(WN(ll'"'lVH N< MH~ f'f l",,'IH9U'Itoront dartsbounci IAn arm':; ltw Q~ il body o' tho Ci!\' ol To~o r\tc,•••WWW. THEWHOLENOTL COMCanadianHeritagePatrimoinecanadien19

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