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Volume 12 - Issue 2 - October 2006

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  • Toronto
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sured, while

sured, while demonstrating a widerange of tonal colours. Together withthe solid performance from the DallasSymphony, the moods of eachindividual movement are perfectlyachieved- indeed, the finale seemsa high-spirited dance between soloistand orchestra before reaching therousing conclusion. As if the concertoweren't enough, the inclusionof Brahms four piano pieces Op.119is an attractive bonus, rounding outthis exemplary recording in a mostsatisfying way.manding passages inherent in thethird section leading up to the brilliantfinale. The orchestra's lushsound throughout perfectly capturesthe spirit of one of the mostromantic violin concertos in therepertoire. My only quibble is theCD's extremely short length. Theconcerto is the only piece featured,totalling 25 minutes and 21 seconds!I hope there is a good reasonfor this, for after such an enjoyableperformance, I would definitely liketo have heard more. Bien faites mesRichard Haskell copains Quebecois!Richard HaskellBruch - Violin Concerto No.IAlexandre da Costa; Orchestrede la Fancophonie canadienne;Jean-Philippe TremblayXXI Records XXI CD2 1552Those of you who know me wellrealize I am a vrais Montrealais, alwayseager to learn about performersand groups from my home province.So it was with more than a littlecuriosity that I heard of this newrecording ofBruch's Violin Concerto#1 on the XXI label featuring theyoung violinist Alexandre da Costawith the Orchestre de la FrancophonieCanadienne under the directionof Jean-Philippe Tremblay. A relativelynew ensemble, the OFC wascreated in 2001 on the occasion ofthe fourth Games of the Francophonieheld in Ottawa that year. Sincethat time, the 61 member group hasearned a reputation as musical ambassadorsfor francophone culturethroughout Canada.Tremblay and da Costa - bothunder 30- are graduates of Quebecmusic institutions, and both are alreadymaking names for themselvesin their respective fields . Bruch wasonly 28 himself when he completedthis concerto, so it's perhaps fittingthat it should be presented hereby equally young musicians. Nevertheless,for all their youth, theseperformers demonstrate an amazingmaturity. The rhapsodic moodof the opening movement is treatedsplendidly by da Costa, whoachieves a wonderful sweetness oftone, approaching the music withjust the right degree of hesitancy. Bythe third movement, it's clear to allthat he's no stranger to virtuosity,making ease of the technically de-70Back to Ad IndexJtlt\"! ~1 ..;-_, •World Keys - Virtuoso PianoMusicJoel FanReference Recordings RR-106Reference Recordings has broughtout a marvellous debut recording ofpianist Joel Fan, entitled "WorldKeys - Virtuoso Piano Music". Inthis recording, Fan has sought out awide variety of piano music fromaround the globe, including music fromEurasia and Africa that draws us intothe exotic harmonic language andrhythmic elements of various cultures.Featured composers include AdnanSaygun from Turkey, Dia Succarifrom Syria, Halim El-Dabhfrom Egypt, Qigang Chen fromChina, and Peteris Vasks fromLatvia. Rounding out this CD areworks by American William Bolcom,Australian Peter Sculthorpe,and Prokofiev, Liszt and Schumann.In his playing, Fan has the abilityto instantly bring any voice intofocus, and then switch back to afull tutti sound. In addition to hispianistic excellence, Fan writesvery clear liner notes, describingsome of the distinctive compositionalelements of the works thathe performs, and what inspires him.The sound quality is first rate,with a wide dynamic range thatcontrasts the gentleness of the Bolcomwith the pounding rhythms ofthe Prokofiev. I particularly enjoyedthe Qigang Chen piece, withits quiet opening, that leads inexorablyto a thrilling climax. Fan's experiencewith Yo-Yo Ma's Silk RoadEnsemble has served him well in hisinterpretive versatility, and while thisdisc is a treat for anyone interestedin unusual repertoire, Fan is also upto the challenge of performingstandard works with convincingmusicality.Jamie ParkerMODERN ANDCONTEMPORARYJewels Joyaux - Choreographyof George BalanchineBallet of the Opera national deParis; Paul ConnellyOpusArte OS 0951 D (DVD)Balanchine, who passed by the VanCleef &Arpels boutique on 5th Avenueeach morning, recalls the genesisof Jewels: "I don ' t know whatmoved me that particular morning.There was a showcase with diamonds,one with emeralds and onewith rubies. In the middle of the windowdisplay was a wonderful tiaralike those at the court of the Czar. Iwas mesmerized and went thoughtlesslyfrom one case to the next andback again." He was ushered intothe shop where he told "an elegantyoung man'', ClaudeArpels, the son," I have learnt from your showcasesthat emeralds go with Faure, rubieswith Stravinsky, and diamondswith Tchaikovsky. This will becomea ballet I will call Jewels."The complete 1967 ballet takesabout 90 minutes, made up of Emeralds,bathed in green and dancedin the French style; Rubies, red inthe American style and lastly Diamonds,blue-white, choreographedin the Russian style.That the entire ballet is abstract Ifind most attractive. Having no storyline and little more than a backdropand mobiles for support,one's attention is never divertedfrom the glittering elements of theoutstanding choreography and theexcellent soloists and corps.Recorded live at the Opera Nationalde Paris during October andNovember 2005, this sumptuousproduction is seen in wide-screenwith surround sound that places theviewer in the very best seats in thehouse. The many informative extrasmake this a DVD to be treasuredeven by those whose interest inWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMBallet is only peripheral.Bruce SurteesAmerican Orchestral WorksGrant Park Orchestra;Carlos KalmarCedille CDR 90000 090Greenberg - Symphony No.5;Quintet for StringsLondon Symphony Orchestra;Jose Serebrier;Juilliard String QuartetSony 82876-81804-2Cross-border issues sometimesgnaw at the Canadian soul, so longas we keep to the subject of politics.But we're much better at beinggood neighbours when we seeourselves as cultural brethren, especiallywhen it comes to seriousmusic. American concert musicdoesn' t have the domineering presencelike the US pop industry, andwe've grown fond of Bernstein andCopland. Nowadays we ' re used toseeing Kern is, Corigliano and Harbisonon programs, frequently attendingtheir performances.Those last three named are on asplendid new disc from CedilleRecords with Chicago's Grant ParkOrchestra, along with works byBarbara Kolb and Michael Hersch.Carlos Kalmar conducts a very tightensemble here, well suited to contemporaryscores.Kolb may not be the grande dameof American composers just yet,but she writes with a fluency bornof decades' worth of experience. Allin Good Time is a bravura piece fororchestra. Aaron Jay Kernis occupiesa special niche in the Americanscene, somewhat similar toMozetich's position up here. HisSarabanda in Memoriam forstrings is an expansion of the slowmovement of his second quartet,the resulting broad orchestral workbeing dedicated to patron Bette Snapp,who perished in the September 11 attacks.It's a compelling work, verymuch in keeping with the works hehad performed in Winnipeg a fewyears ago. John Corigliano's MidsummerFanfare, commissioned byGrant Park, takes us upward in undersix minutes, ending on a playfulunresolved cadence. John Harbison,who recently had a concerto premieredby the TSO, is representedby the Partitafor Orchestra, writtenin 2000. The relative youngsterO CTO BER 1 - N O VEMB ER 7 2006

Michael Hersch (b.1971 ), a Peabodysuper-achiever, delivers a muscularAshes of Memory, incorporatingfragmentary quotes from severalof his previous works.But the recent prominence of JayGreenberg would make even Herschseem like a grizzled veteran:Greenberg is just into his mid-teens,and here he is having his 5th symphonyrecorded with the LondonSymphony, in Abbey Road! Thissymphony will astonish you: it's nota question of hearing an emergingvoice, rather that we have a fullymature artist in mid-career. Greenberg'sQuintet for strings, featuringthe Juilliard Quartet and cellist DarrettAdkinsrounds out this Sony offering.Discs highly recommended;Bless America!John S. GrayHenry Brant • Music forMassed FlutesNew York Flute Clubwith Robert AitkenNew World Records 80636-2The name Henry Brant should befamiliar to new music aficionados,but those of you with more conservativelistening tastes may not be familiarwith this intriguing composer.Brant is a Pulitzer Prize winner, andis regarded as one of the leadingcomposers of spatial music - that isworks that exploit the physicalplacement of the performers as partof the composition.The first work on this CD, Ghosts& Gargoyles is an excellent exampleof this type of composition.The work is scored for solo flute(doubling piccolo and bass flute)with an octet of piccolos, flutes,alto flutes and bass flutes, in additionto a drummer and conductor.The soloist, drummer and conductorare on stage, while the octet issplit into four duos which occupy thefour comers of the performing space.The use of quotes from antiphonalO CTOB ER 1 - N O VEMBER 7 2006Back to Ad Indexchurch music contrasted with alea- as before). Similarly, the Bestiary likeness with the broad, round, opentoric techniques and tight jazz sec- includes the Scottish Parliament as tones of Russell Whitehead's trumtionalwriting is something I have to well as a Reverend and congrega- pet. Mr. Whitehead, trumpeter of thesay I've never encountered before. tion amongst the cacophony of oth- Edmonton Symphony OrchestraThe Mass in Gregorian Chant er Scottish archetypes in animal who frequently appears across AlforMultiple Flutes is a gorgeous guise. Originally commissioned for berta and Saskatchewan, handleswork, with the musicians themselves the opening of the Walt Disney Hall the task at hand with aplomb.emulating the echoes of a cathedral in Los Angeles, A Scotch Bestiary Whether it's the beautiful Sonata forwith slight variances in attacks and was a showcase for Wayne Mar- Trumpet and Piano by Malcolm Forreleasesof notes. The work is shall on the spectacular organ built syth, Sonata by Eric Ewazen or proscoredfor as large a group of flute there. This recording of the piece grammatic music of Roger Deegan,players as possible, placed around took place at Bridgewater Hall in Whitehead and his piano accompatheaudience.Manchester with Wayne Marshall nist, Ms. Shadick-Taylor manage toThe third work, Angels & Devils producing huge swells of sound and elicit sound that is pure, rich and inisgenerally recognized as one of racing figures in virtuosic anti phony t1iguing.the first works for flute choir or with bestial brass and percussion. Malcolm Forsyth understands hisorchestra. The recording on this CD While MacMillan tips his hat to El- prairie home perfectly, despite havactuallycomes from a 1951 LP, and gar, Mussorgsky and Saint-Saens in ing been born in South Africa. AmerfeaturesFrederick Wilkins as soloist. A Scotch Besti.ary, his Piano Concerto ican Eric Ewazen, though techni-The inclusion of the older record- No.2 serves up influences of Chopin, cally not a prairie composer, showsing session contains wonderful Donizetti and Berg in order to contin- in his sonata Aaron Copland's inplaying,to be sure. It does howev- ually interrupt and choke out the tra- fl uence that serves him in gooder highlight one of the problems ditional Scottish melodies that crop stead here. The only quibble thiswith trying to capture Brant's mu- up. Wayne Marshall is again soloist reviewer has is with the programsic.Mono recording just doesn't for this piece, which was based on matic introductions spoken bydo it justice. The modem record- jigs, reels and sword dances for the Roger Deegan. Mr. Deegan explainsings as well, though lacking the tape use of Christopher Wheeldon, who each movement as if he could nothiss of the earlier session, don't choreographed the piece for the count on his own music or its greatquite give the sense of space that's New York City Ballet.interpretation to paint the scene.needed. Listening on headphonesDianne Wells He is wrong on both counts.helps, but to me, Brant's musicThis is a great "sunset" disk - towon't receive the best possible pres- Concert Note: James MacMillan be listened to while admiring theentation it can until it's presented in will be the Michael and Sonja Ko- beauty of nature.some sort of surround format. emer Distinguished Visitor in Com- Robert TomasMerlin Williams position at the U of T Faculty ofMusic later this month. He will be Concert Notes: The HannafordEditor's Note: Henry Brant's featured in a noon-hour lecture- Street Silver Band performs MaldemonstrationGhosts and Gargoyles was commissionedby Toronto's New MusicConcerts and received its worldon Wednesday No-vember 1 in Walter Hall. SoundstreamsCanada will present thecolm Forsyth' s Songs from theQu'Appelle Valley on October 15 .premiere with Robert A itken as Canadian premiere of MacMillan'ssoloist under the spry 88 year old Sun-dogs on November 3 and a U JAZZcomposer's direction in true surroundformat at Glenn Gould Studioin May 2002.ofT Contemporary Music Ensembleconcert will include works byMacMillan on November 17.MacMillan· A Scotch Bestiary;Piano Concerto No.2Wayne Marshall; BBC Philharmonic;James MacMillanChandos CHAN 10377This CD might be well titled "TheDecline of the Scottish Empire" asboth pieces poke tongue in cheek funat traditions disturbed, defiled anddebauched. The Piano ConcertoNo.2 begins with its first movementrepresenting a deconstruction ofCumnock Fair, and continues withtitles shambards (read " ShamBards") and shamnation (separatePrairie ScenesRussell Whitehead, trumpet;Sylvia Shadick-Taylor, pianoArktos 200690 CDTo paint the prairie sky with just twoinstruments, trumpet and piano, mayseem like a tall order, but immediatelyafter starting to play this recordthe listener is transported. Whetheryou have seen the endless snowscapesof Manitoba, golden ocean ofSaskatchewan wheat or green Albertagrass stretching to the feet ofthe Rocki es, the music here in containedpaints the incredibly detailedReflectionsFrank Morgan with RonnieMathews; Essiet Essiet;Billy HartHighNote Records HCD 7154Two Miles Davis, two Monk tunesand three superior popular standardsmake up the programme on this2005 CD featuring Frank Morgan -a man who, against all odds, survived30 years of drug addiction and prison,and more recently a debilitatingstroke.A disciple of Charlie Parker, hecopied Bird's li fe style, in spite ofParker's advice to " leave it alone"and entered a world of narcoticswhich led to a life in and out of j ailWWW. TH EWHO LENOTE.COM 71

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

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
Volume 25 Issue 8 - May / June 2020
Volume 25 Issue 7 - April 2020
Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020
Volume 25 Issue 5 - February 2020
Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020
Volume 25 Issue 3 - November 2019
Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019
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Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
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Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
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Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

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