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Volume 12 - Issue 2 - October 2006

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  • Toronto
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The bulk of my listening

The bulk of my listening over the pastmonth has been given over to revisitingthe scores of the late JohnWeinzweig. John had been ill for along while and when he passedaway on August 24 at the age of 93his death was certainly not unexpected,but there is always shockwhen it actually happens. You willhave read elsewhere about this"Dean of Canadian composers" andhis achievements and contributionsto our cultural life, including his roleas founder of the Canadian Leagueof Composers, his efforts which ledto the establishment of the CanadianMusic Centre and his ongoing fightto ensure that the works of Canadiancomposers would be representedon the airways of the CBC.It is thanks in large part to this greatman that contemporary concertmusic has made any dent at all onthe Canadian consciousness. Thereis fortunately now quite an extensivediscography of Weinzweig'smusic available through the CMC(www.musiccentre.ca). The bestHis music encompassed minimalism,atonality, electronic experimentationand many of the more arcane concernsof the avant-garde. Tenney,who moved to Canada from theUSA in the 1970s and taught at YorkUniversity for 24 years, had a profoundimpact on the subsequent generationof Canadian composers. Hisown studies had brought him intoclose contact with Edgard Varese,Harry Partch, Carl Ruggles, JohnCage and Lejaren Hiller and in the60s he performed in the ensemblesof Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Followingretirement from York,Tenney accepted the Roy Disneychair at California Institute of theArts, where he had taught beforemoving to Toronto, and found a rekindledinterest in performance - inrecent years he undertook Cage'smonumental Sonatas and Interludesfor prepared piano, with performancesat Cal Arts, the Museumof Modern Art in New York andToronto's Music Gallery. Once againyou can find an extensive discographyat the Canadian Music Centre,including numerous performances bythe Arraymusic ensemble. One discof particularnote is " Music for Violinand Piano" (Hat[now]ART120) featuring Mark Sabat andStephen Clarke. Beginning with anintriguing 1964 electronic compositionwhich incorporates live performance- Ergodos II with instrumentalresponses - the disc includessolos, duets and even a DiaphonicTrio for the two instruments.place to startJ~would be thefirst volumeof the CanadianComposerPortraitsseries,a 3-CD setdevoted to his life and work(CMCCD 8002). An hour-long radiodocumentary prepared by seriesproducer Eitan Cornfield gives anexcellent introduction and the twodiscs devoted to Weinzweig's musicinclude quite a broad spectrum This month Montreal composer Timof orchestral and chamber works. Brady returns with his BradyworksYou can read my introduction to the ensemble and tenor Michael Dono-Portraits series and Daniel Foley'snnt": C•l•"J m lh ~l i .':a lr.r r.'.;1n11'10[/t l~·.

DISG_~·;DISCS REVIEWED ~___./VOCALConcert Notes: The CanadianOpera Company presents Casi FanTulle with Michael Colvin, RussellBraun and Krisztina Szabo, October17 - November 5.!!! Ill Iii ill iii l!l Ill i!i IlllffiflffiflffiflffiflffifNAXOS11111 11111111 11111 11 11111OFCANADA LTD• Over 3, 000 titles• All digital recordings• New recordings andcompositions monthly• Critical acclaim in all keyclassical publications• Featuring great Canadian artistsAll this at an astonishingly low price!The world's leadingClassical Music label!_., '.',;,;. )~-":. -.. 1 ...Mozart - Cosi fan tutteGruberova; Ziegler; Stratas;Lima; Furlanetto; Montarsolo;Wiener Philharmoniker;Nikolaus HarnoncourtDeutsche Grammophon 0734237 (DVD)The legendary French director anddesigner Jean-Pierre Ponnelle createdthis traditional-looking yet provocativefilm version of Mozart'sCosifan tulle just before his unexpecteddeath in 1988. His setting forthis tale of fidelity is a seaside Palladianvilla. Ponnelle adds a twist toMozart and da Ponte's plot: Dorabelladiscovers the man she is fallingfor is her future brother-in-lawand not the Albanian noble he pretendsto be. Eventually both fianceesdrop their disguises altogether. It isonly as they become emotionallyunstable that the four lovers breakaway from their perfect looking surroundings,and the subtle beauty ofthe film gains irony at the opera'sconclusion.Ponnelle has assembled a sextetof terrific singers-and they can actas well. The women are especiallymemorable. I cannot imagine a morestunning Fiordiligi than Edita Gruberova,who deploys her flexible, shimmering,yet powerful voice with exquisitetaste. Dolores Ziegler is a mellifluousDorabella, as grand in voice as in stature.The great Canadian soprano TeresaStratas, as their wily and wittymaid Despina, lights up every one ofher scenes even when she's not singing.The Vienna Philharmonic playswith customary excellence under thebaton of Mozart expert Nikolaus Harnoncourt.The dubbing of the voicesis unusually exact. As a bonus, rawfootage of the creation of the filmgives a rare opportunity to see Ponnelleat work. This is a superb recordingof the opera, and a beautifulfilm in its own right.Seth EstrinO CTOBER 1 - N OVEMBER 7 2006Back to Ad IndexBritten - GlorianaJosephine Barstow; Chorus ofOpera North; English NorthernPhilharmonia; Paul DanielOpusArte OA 0955 D (DVD)With this Emmy award winning filmbased on Britten's opera, directorPhyllida Lloyd certainly enjoyed awarmer reception of this materialthan did the composer with the opera'sdebut in 1953. But then again,the story of a vain, ungracefully agingand tempestuous queen couldhardly be expected to fulfill the optimisticexpectations surrounding thecoronation of a young queen bearingthe same name. Britten's intentionwas to combine the virtues ofritual and pageantry with a personaltouch by highlighting the story ofQueen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux,the Earl of Essex, for yearsher favourite at court. The operadeals with the sexual tension betweenthem leading to his promotion,political betrayal and, ultimately,his execution. In this story theQueen's human nature is constantlyat odds with her duty as sovereignto the people. This kind of tale(while from the benefit of hindsightseems to quite fit in with contemporaryroyal family concerns) was regardedas wholly inappropriate to theaudience in 1953. Unfortunate, asthis is a brilliant and deeply movingpiece.In order to transfer this masterpieceto screen, some scenes wereomitted, which might leave an audiencea little unprepared for thefinal judgment of Essex. The focusinstead is firmly placed on the intenserelationship between theQueen and Essex, grippingly portrayedby Dame Josephine Barstowand Tom Randle. Nevertheless, oneI .IEdWWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM"''.'It r i .. ~ J: .. u • 1 :.1, \ IL 1\ l.-1 •1

Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020
Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020
Volume 26 Issue 3 - November 2020
Volume 26 Issue 4 - December 2020 / January 2021

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Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
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