6 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 1 - September 2006

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BOOKShelfby Pamela

BOOKShelfby Pamela MarglesSearch of Alberto Guerreroby John BeckwithWilfred Laurier UniversityPress, 178 pp, .95Alberto Guerrero taught some ofCanada's top musicians, includingGlenn Gould, R. Murray Schafer,Stuart Hamilton, William Aide andJohn Beckwith. Yet surprisinglylittle has been written about him.Beckwith has produced a thoroughlyengrossing biography ofthis brilliant pianist and importantteacher. There are no recordings,diaries or letters, and sadly few ofhis compositions and writings tobe found. But Beckwith has discoverednew material, especiallyregarding his early career in hisnative Chile. Beckwith's text is enlivenedby his own recollections ofhis beloved teacher, and those ofmany students, family membersand colleagues he interviewed.'Guerrero always resisted theidea of a method or system ofteaching,' writes Beckwith, describingGuerrero's emphasis onobjectivity and honesty as musicalvalues. Beckwith clearly resentshow Gould later downplayed notjust his only teacher's influence onhim, but even his pianistic abilities.Hamilton relates how he told Gouldthat watching him play was like havinga lesson with Guerrero.Well-known to WholeNote readersthrough his CD reviews, Beckwith'sknowledge of music in thiscountry as a historian, composer,critic, professor emeritus andformer dean of the Faculty of Musicat U ofT is unmatched. Herehe has produced a fascinating,well-documented portrait of Guerrero,establishing his lasting placein Canadian music.',) /i,}/\ ,l/Jl1.1Ji\Michael Rabinby Anthony FeinsteinAmadeus Press, 256 pages,.95USThroughout his short life, violinistMichael Rabin had far more difficultieswith daily living than withplaying the violin. So it is entirelyappropriate that Anthony Feinstein,the author of this biography, is apsychiatrist. Feinstein, who practisesin Toronto, has written anumber of books, but this is hisfirst on a musical subject.Feinstein does not hesitate tomake assessments. Relating howRabin's parents took him out ofschool at age 10 to practice all day,which meant he could no longerplay with other kids, Feinsteinwrites that 'an important developmentaltrajectory was truncated'denying Rabin any life outside ofmusic to sustain him emotionally.Feinstein saves his sharpestknives for Rabin's mother who,according to Rabin's sister, wouldscream at him, hit him and makehim repeat a passage 100 timeswhen he played out of tune. Butthe father did nothing to stop theabuse, or provide an alternative.Even Rabin's teacher, Ivan Galamian,who in different circumstancesproduced many successful,apparently mentally healthy musicians,seems somehow complicit.Feinstein has a colourful narrativestyle and an ear for linguisticnuance. His musical judgementsare sound, pinpointing Rabin's giftof 'articulation and projection' andpenchant for 'emotive, schmaltzymusic' . This is an important cautionarytale.The Musical Order of the Worldby Siglind BruhnPendragon Press, 256 pp,.00USThe list of 20th century composersdeserving to be heard more frequentlyis long. Topping minewould be the stylish, versatile andeloquent German, Paul Hindemith.This study of his work (alongwith that of his contemporary,novelist Hermann Hesse, and theirrelationship to the work of 17thcentury astronomer Johannes Kepler)is Siglind Bruhn's fifth forPendragon to explore the fertilearea between music and its philosophicalsubtexts. Her focus is onHindemith's opera Die Harmonieder Welt, as well as Hesse's mysticalnovel, The Glass Bead Game.Hindemith's opera narratesevents of the final 22 years of Kepler'slife in the context of hisquest to discover the secret of theharmony of the world. Bruhn relatesthe very structure of the operato Kepler's theories, and showshow even Hindemith's choice ofpitches are based on Kepler'smathematical calculations of the orbitof the earth. But the 'poeticcore' of the opera, for her, is thepoem of mourning Kepler wrotewhen he lost his wife and son duringthe plague of 1611.Bruhn is a musicologist andconcert pianist. In this stimulatingwork she offers the kinds of insightsthat are bound to send readersto the excellent Wergo recordingof Hindemith's great opera.The Selected Correspondenceof Aaron Coplandedited by Elizabeth B. Cristand Wayne ShirleyYale University Press, 284pp,.00USAaron Copland was a witty, playfuland candid letter-writer, rightfrom his early letters to his parents.Copland's professional lifewas remarkably struggle-free, althoughwe do get an early hint ofneurosis when he writes them, 'Ican't get over the idea that if athing is popular it can't be good!'Most poignant are letters to histeacher, the legendary Nadia Boulanger,to whom he wrote affectionately,'I still count our meetingas the most important event of mymusical life.' The most entertainingare written to intimate friendslike composer Israel Citkowitz,and Leonard Bernstein, whom headdresses as Lensky, Lenotch, orLentshk. The most edifying revealCopland's own view of his musicalsty le. 'You rather overdo thedichotomy between my "severe"and "simple" sides,' Coplandwrote to composer Arthur Berger.'The inference is that only the severeside is really serious. I don'tbelieve that.'For the most part only Copland'sside of a correspondence isprinted. But when Schoenbergpublicly compares Copland to Stalin,Copland's outrage over this'gratuitous slam' evinces a responsefrom Schoenberg. 'I amalways ready to live in peace.'Crist and Shirley have done a thoroughjob of annotating and indexing.A few of these letters have beenpublished before. But the immeasurablevalue of having them gathered inone volume is enough to make oneregret the prevalence of email today.

Wholel\lote MarketPlacecontinued from page 32which still soundsbetter than CDs afterall these years .Bayreuth, underthe Nazi regime, becameculture centralfor Hitler and companyand paid theprice. When it reopenedin 1951, itsartistic director, WielandWagner, Richard'sgrandson, jettisoned Bayreuth's traditional,arch-nationalist staging as one way ofbreaking with Nazi associations, starting witha minimalist, abstract Parsifal that tapped themythic while jettisoning the tribal , and culminatingin a 1965 Ring cycle.By 1976 (the Pierre Boulez/PatriceChereau's Ring) sparse and spare had beentrampled again, by Rhine maidens as Victoriantrollops with a hydroelectric dam in thebackground. It was an anti-capitalist Ring,echoing the 1848 revolutionary Wagner, ratherthan the Wagner who thought it was hisdivine right to be the greatest spendthrift andschnorrer in the history of Western music.We can catch the excitement, and Boulez' lucidconducting, on a Philips/Universal DVD.Between Wieland Wagner and PatriceChereau, a modernist upheaval was launchedin the staging of standard operatic repertoire.All of the four newer Ring sets are in thisgenre, with the most extreme being theStaatsoper Stuttgan cycle with Siegfried, forexample, as a boorish Hell's Angel (Euroarts/TDK/Naxos).De Nederslandse Opera'snicely performed Ring features a reallyminimal minimalist semi-circular stage surroundingan orchestra on the same plane(Opus Arte/Naxos). And earlier this year, ina column entitled "A Ring for the Era of ClimateWarming", I called Harry Kupfer'sRing for Madrid's Gran Teatre del Liceu(Opus Arte/Naxos) a " brilliant theatrical extrapolationinspired by Wagner's Ring. "The most impressive of this post-modernistlot is a 1992 Bayreuth production conductedby Daniel Barenboim, staged, onceagain, by the way-out Harry Kupfer (WarnerClassics) with Walkure in shiny blackleather porno raincoats. Sharp camera work,in richly saturated colours, captures Kupfer'soff-beat inventiveness.I return, however, to the Harold S. Schonbergquote which opens this article. WhenDaniel Barenboim' s brilliant conductingcomes into play, captured in an exceptio nallyfine soundtrack, a miracle does happen.Music overpowers post-modern, narcissisticexcess.S EPTEMBER 1 - O CTOB ER 7 2006EducationFinally' A workbook for the vocal student.Visit www.thefullvoice.comfor a music retailer near you.•Currently accepting studentsfor Fall 2006• Beginner to advanced intermediate•Up to 15% discount beforeSeptember 15 on package rates.l_~~; wi £JIL416-897-3841sonapacem@yahoo.comwww.sonapacem.comFrom starring roles on BROADWAY to Toronto'sTI:IE WRD OF TI:IE RINGS, Gabriel Burrafatois now offering vocal lessons in:• Pop, Musical Theatre. Ethnic Chanting• Public Speaking, Teachers, etc• Perfecting your audition skills• Training for power, range and freedomwww.GabrielBurrofato.comFor more details, contact Gabriel at(416} 888-7782Love To Sing?•All styles •All Levels •Beginnersand Children welcome •Excellentfor public speakers, actors, etc.Breathe new life into your voice with a unique andsensible kinesthetic approach to vocal pedagogy.Call Pattie Kelly for privatelessons at 905-271-6896CLAIM YOUR VOICEOrganic and functional vocal training togain access to your full range, resonanceand vocal freedom. For singers, publicspeakers, teachers, clergy, or if you justwant to enjoy using your voice.Sue Crowe ConnollyHamilton Studio Toronto Studio905-544-1302 416-523-1154MARJORIE SPARKS VOICE STUDIOMarjorie Sparks B. Mus., B. Ed.Private voice lessons. instructionsfor university auditions, RCM exams,competitions, and professional performances.Frequent Studio Recitals.STIJDIO LOCATIONS19 Ravine Pork Cr.. Scarborough175 St. Clair Ave. W., Toronto416-282-7460 E-mail: mheitshu@sympotico.coWWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COMEducationPLAY THE FLUTE OR THE RECORDERStudy with Allan Pulker~~~~·~r:.• eleven years' experienceteaching children and teenagersat Etobicoke's Kingsway~ .-. '"' • Conservatory of Musicu w~ . emphasis on tone-production,~ -~ articulation, phrasing and"11 effective practice techniques' •centrally located in Deer Park416·926·1578 nearthe St. Clair subway. Dr Paul Jes senD.MUS., LRSM, LTCL, LANZCA~ Piano & Organ Teacher~ All levels and ages416-419-6904 ~ Accompanistwww.paul ~ Language Coachemlyn ~ Choir ~ International Recitalist1'fNORTH TORONTO INSTITUTE OF MUSICPrivate instruction and exampreparation by qualified teachersin the heart of Toronto.• Piano • Voice • Guitar • Strings• Woodwinds • Percussion • Theory•Music Theatre •Pre-school550 Eglinton Avenue East416-488-2588·c;:,Rrr:>>"JOcv• -\ '~~ ,;;..t

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