8 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 10 - July/August 2007

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DIS... continuedwith

DIS... continuedwith energetic freedomand emotional colour.Of course on theHarmonia Mundi DVD,the obvious addedpleasure of watching,and learning from, theworld-class singers -Maria Cristina Kiehr(soprano), Rosa Dominguez(soprano), AndreasScholl (alto),Gerd Turk (tenor), Ulrich Messthaler (bass) -increases the value of this particular recordingfor me. Under the direction of Rene Jacobs, thesingers reveal a deep understanding of their musicaltask.The instrumental work is especially effectiveon this recording, as is the crystal-clear 5.1 surroundrecording quality though balanced slightlyin favour of the lower voices.It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible,to choose between these two recordings. Ican honestly tell you that I'm thrilled to have both.Frank T. NakashimaRebel - Les Plaisirs champetresArion; Daniel EMCCD-7765( begun his studyof violin and compositionat the age of8 with noneother than Jean-BaptisteLully, Jean-Fery Rebelenjoyed a long and distinguishedcareer.Rebel's music forthe 1720 ballet LaTerpsicore is bold, brash, and confident in thehands of gifted interpreters, EnsembleArion. Thisis brilliant dazzling writing, yet still beautifully andeconomically conceived.Les Caracteres de la Danse is an unusualcomposition comprised of 14 non-stop very shortdance movements. The frequent shifts in styleand tempo throughout would surely keep eventhe most nimble-footed dancers on their toes.The ballet Les Elemens was Rebel's lastwork. It has the distinction of being one of themost strikingly unusual works of that time. Thestartling opening of Chaos, a tone cluster appropriatelyillustrating harmonic confusion, is almostlike a horror movie soundtrack. This is followedby musically-depicted elements - Earth,with slurred bass notes; Water, cascading flutes;Air, long sustained notes on the piccolos; and Fireby bravura violin passages. In other words, musicimitating nature.This recording boasts a spacious ambientsound, with thoroughly spirited and captivatingperformances from one of the world's finest early56music ensembles.Frank T. NakashimaCLASSICAL AND BEYONDChopin - Les 24 PreludesJean-Francois Latour~ ATMA ACD2 2560I have a ritual whenI listen to a CD forthe first time forwhich I am intendingto write a review: Iput the disc on mystereo in my office,and relax on my futonand breathe in themusic. Listening toJean-Frani;:ois Latour's rendering of the completeset of Chopin Preludes, my mind couldn'thelp but conjure images of dance - not surprisingly,as Latour collaborates with choreographerMarie Chouinard. I was also transported backto a very special personal space - the moment Ifirst knew music was undeniably the key to thesoul. When I was fifteen, my family traveled toOregon for the International Society of MusicEducators conference (my mother being a musiceducator at the time). My sister and I traipsedaround by day from recital to recital, and byevening we attended concerts as a family unit.One such evening the program was Chopin'sPreludes - from start to finish, no applause, nointermission. The pianist was Eastern European.I remember he had a goatee, and he wore ablack cape with scarlet red silk lining. For me,time not only stood still, it disappeared. Whenthe last note had been played and the audiencewas on their feet in appreciation, I literallycouldn't move. I was overcome with emotion,and simply broke down in tears.This is Jean-Frani;:ois Latour's first recording.It is a stunningly mature interpretation fromthis young Canadian who studied with LeonFleischer at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.The value added material includes a setof Mazurkas, and the lovingly classic Nocturnesin E flat and G minor. Buckle your seat belts;thi s career is already in the fast lane.Heidi McKenzieSchubert - Piano Trios J & 2Frank Braley; Renaud Capu\'.on; GautierCapu\'.onVirgin Classics 365476 2This exciting newissue from VirginClassics, a prestigiouslabel for chambermusic, is mostwelcome. I still remembertheir recordingof the SchubertE flat on periodSCHUBERTPIANO TRIOS 1 & 2flt-'HklRIJ.n'IHIU.UOCAJIUt;OHGAUTlut CAPUCOHinstruments by the wonderful Castle Trio that sofar was closest to my heart. This new one, onWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMmodern instruments, is a worthy challenger.Young French violinist Renaud Capui;;on, whomI had the pleasure of hearing in Toronto and whomade such an impression on me, is a great virtuoso,totally inspired, imaginative and with thesweetest singing violin tone, a perfect choice forSchubert. In this project he collects around him twoexcellent young musicians: his brother Gautier thecellist and Frank Braley, renowned French pianist.There is no doubt that Renaud is a great motivationalforce, he drives and inspires the others.Schubert was very ill when he wrote thesepieces, in 1827, a year before his death. It isuncanny, that a composer like him under thesecircumstances could work so furiously and surpassanything he had written before. The Trio inE flat is such a work. Far above melodic dexterityand compositional skill, this piece has an airforeboding destiny expressed in the simplest yetdeepest musical terms. The ambling march-like2nd movement, in a minor key with its hauntinglyubiquitous melody (made popular by Kubrick'sfilm Barry Lyndon) is played here as a living,pulsating, breathing experience.The sunny B flatTrio No. I is similarly superlative,but has less ofan emotional scope. Theseartists conquer it with ease.Janos GardonyiConcert Note: Renaud Capui;;on and FrankBraley perform at the Domaine Forget InternationalFestival in Quebec on August 11 .A Piano Evening with Martha ArgerichMartha Argerich; Renaud & GautierCapu\'.on; Flanders Symphony Orchestra;Alexandre Rabinovitch-BarakovskyTDK DVWW-COMARG DVDMarthaArgerich: " I loveto play the piano but Idon't like being a pianist."MarthaArgerich hadachieved very early inher career, and solidifiedover the past forty years,a status as one of themost powerful and respectedcult diva figuresever in the classical musicbusiness.As in any other business,they say it's not what you know but whoyou know. The brothers Capui;:on are very talentedand capable string players who may neverotherwise have broken out of the pack. Theirstatus has been elevated enormously by their goodfortune that Argerich has taken them under herwing.The music making on this DVD is inspiredand engaging, opening with a lively, well sprungperformance of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony,as good or better than one could hear anywhere.The program continues with the same zestmaintained and further enhanced by the greatcharisma, both musical and visual, of MarthaArgerich. The performance of the ProkofievPiano Concerto No. I is animated and memorable,made all the more exciting by the imagina-) ULY 1 - SEP TEMBER 7 2007

tive video production and editing. I was musingto myself that this is pretty good ... in truth it isstunning.Next up is an exceptional, beautifully shapedperformance of the Schumann Violin Sonata No. Icharacterised by intimacy and power. RenaudCapuc;;on's lack of the ultimate refinement andelegance of a Christian Ferras is compensatedfor by his enthusiasm and the collaborative synergywith his illustrious partner.The Beethoven Triple concerto has been afavourite of mine since I first heard it on the prewarWeingartner recording. The prominent instrumentin this concerto is the cello. Notwithstandingthe Gautier Capuc;;on's great technicalperfection, his playing lacks a measure of singingquality. The presentation here is as beautifulas the earlier pieces but could have benefited bymore rehearsal. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm ofall concerned makes this a rousing performancethat you would have gladly paid good money toattend.The performances date from July 2005 andwere held in Pare du Chateau de Florans inFrance. The presentation is formatted in widescreen and surround sound.West-Eastern Divan - Live from GranadaWest-Eastern Divan Orchestra; DanielBarenboimEuroArts 2055538 DVDIsrael Philharmonic Orchestra -70th Anniversary ConcertZubin Mehta; Daniel Barenboim;Pinchas ZukermanEuroArts 2055878 DVDship of bassist Nabil Shehata and cellist KyrilZlotnikov won me over almost immediately, andthis charming mini-fantasy proved most enjoyable.Barenboim is clearly proud of the two soloists,and rightly so! Rounding out the program isBrahms' grand and dramatic Symphony No. I,premiered in I 876. While its sheer length andcontrasting moods would undoubtedly prove achallenge for the most seasoned of orchestras,the West-Eastern Divan approaches it withaplomb, giving this large-scale large work a sensitivebut passionate performance - and the audienceshows its approval in a very big way!From Barenboim theconductor, we go toBarenboim the pianist, inanother EuroArts DVD,this time as part of aconcert marking the70th anniversary of theIsrael Philharmonic heldin Tel Aviv in Decemberof2006 with conductorZubin Mehta. Openingthe program is the familiarViolin Concerto #IBruce Surtees by Max Bruch given a masterful rendering byIsraeli-born violinist Pinchas Zukerman. The con-A true Re na issanceman, Daniel Barenboimhas played the role ofpianist, conductor andpedagogue over thecourse ofhis 50 year career.His latest role isthat of musical politicianand diplomat, through hisformation of the West­Eastern Divan Orchestra,an ensemblecomprising young Araband Israeli musicians with an ultimate aim of What took Naxos soachieving peace and reconciliation through music.And what an orchestra it is! This is no ordinaryyouth ensemble, but rather, a group of accomplishedyoung musicians who play with a dedicationand mastery that only someone likeBarenboim could assemble. A live concert heldat the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, during Augustof2006, this DVD is a delight from beginningto end. It opens with a spirited rendition ofBeethoven's Leonore Overture #3, the grandestof the overtures the composer wrote for aproduction of his opera Fidelio in I 806. TheFantasia on Themes by Rossini by GiovanniBottesini which follows initially seemed to me abit of an oddity. It was originally scored for twodouble-basses, but later arranged for double bassand cello. Despite any reservations I may havehad, the flawless technique and superb musician-) U LY 1 - S EPTE M BER 7 2007cert continues with Ravel's La Valse, in an interpretationthat could only be described as magical,from the hesitant opening measures to thefrenzied and impassioned climax. Johann Strausswould surely be troubled! Concluding the programis the Piano Concerto No. I by JohannesBrahms. Together with the !PO, Barenboim 'sperformance is nothing less than sublime- sensitiveand understated - indeed, certain youngerartists could take some lessons from him in subtlety!Top notch performers and first-rate music- who could ask for more? In all, two very satisfyingDVDs worthy of any collection.Richard HaskellMODERN ANDCONTEMPORARYGeorg Tintner - Chamber MusicCho-Liang Lin, violin; Helen Huang, pianoNaxos 8.570258long to let us hearTintner's own work,after all that Schumann,Brahms andBruckner? But fearnot; patience is rewardedhere with anexcellent CD.IITINT;>;ERYinlin Son:11:1c_·111111in \ '1.1rb do1hl'iiu1uS1111:1l ::iTnmrrmu~i L.l''t. Ju ,... 1 .1~ n: I in. \ i~l i11lklr11 llu .1 hi: .l ~1...rnuThis new offering concentrates on the lateconductor's smaller works, all for solo piano exceptfor the I 944 Sonata for Violin and Piano.Tintner certainly had a gift in the Scriabin-esquechromatic direction, and these works all displaythat, as we ll as his phenomenal mastery of counterpoint.Helen Huang's pianistic skill gives the worksgreat vivaciousness, while remaining faithful tothe score. Cho-Liang Lin superbly matchesHuang in the Violin Sonata.WWW.THEWHOLENOTE .COMThe stage of Glenn Gould Studio in Torontoplayed host to this recording, with its legendarytight reverberation. Producers Norbert Kraft andBonnie Silver have out-done themselves with utterperfection of recorded sound and near-concertambience.Programme notes by Tanya Tintner are thebest one can get on the subject. As with otherNaxos notes, the body copy in the tri-fold is decidedlyon the small side, so have your spectacleshandy. The sepia-toned portrait ofTintneras a teenaged boy is almost start I ing for thosewho knew the great man in the I 980's, when hewas very much the white-haired sage. Can arecording of his more larger-scale pieces be farbehind?Highly recommended.Joltn S. GrayBrian Current - This Isn't Silence(works for symphony orchestra)Various artistsCentrediscs CMCCD 12607Brian Current isquickly becoming oneof Canada's most accomplishedyoungcomposers, and thisdisc of orchestral musicis a testament tohis popularity acrossthe country. Performedhere by theWinnipeg Symphony, CBC Radio and Esprit Orchestras,as well as the New Music ConcertsEnsemble, Current's music has been performedthroughout North America. Best known for hisuse of"slanted time" - a state of continuouslychanging tempo - the technique permeates everywork on this disc.In This /sn i Silence, Current juxtaposes theordered clatter ofLachenmann with the austeretonality of Shostakovich. Augmented by thechanging tempi and glissandi, the worlds of tonalityand microtonality are in flux in For theTime Being.Robert Aitken is the flute soloist on the Concertina,although three offstage flautists shadowhis virtuosic playing throughout. Colourfullyconceived and expressively executed, the solo issometimes buried by the New Music Concertsstring orchestra under composer Current's direction.Alex Pauk leads his Esprit orchestra in Kazabazuaand Symphonies in Slanted Time. Inboth works, the fami lies of instruments (strings,percussion, winds) are exploited and combinedin continuously morphing textures that reveal theorchestra as a unified instrument. Kazabazuameans "disappearing waters," and Current'scompositional techniques capture the motion yetapparent stasis of a river - much like CharlesIves' Housatonic at Stockbridge.Brian Current's craft is mature; he is able toachieve a synaesthesia with his palette of colours.Reminiscent of a young Ligeti, there is unrelenting activity in Current's orchestrations;combined with his notion of"slanted time," thelistener is provided with a continuously exhi laratingjourney.Wallace Halladay57

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