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Volume 12 - Issue 4 - December 2006

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Quoolibetby Allan

Quoolibetby Allan PulkerConductors (1): the GuildThe Conductors Guild annual conference, traditionally held in anAmerican city, will take place at Toronto's Hilton Hotel fromJanuary 17 to 21. With dozens of fascinating lectures, workshops,performances and presentations, some of interest primaril~ toconductors but some of general interest, I recommend takmg a lookat our Announcements ... EtCetera File on page 60 and also visitingthe Conductors Guild website, www (2): Jesus AmigoIn late November the Spanish Conductor, Jesus Amigo, was in Toronto toconduct Sinfonia Toronto's November 18 program. I spoke with him earlyin the afternoon of November 18, just before the dress rehearsal at GraceChurch on-the-Hill. Very personable, he was eager to share his insightsinto and enthusiasm for what he does, which is conduct orchestras, primarilySpain's four-year old Extremadura Symphony ofwh!ch he is_ the foundingconductor and artistic director. Extremadura, a Spamsh provmce southwestof Madrid, and east of Lisbon, had never had its own orchestra untilthe regional government decided it was time to start one, and put out a callfor proposals. Amigo's proposal was selected, and he b~gan from scr~tch,hiring a manager and auditioning musicians. It was a umqu~ o~portumty tocreate his own orchestra reflecting his own ideals and asp1rat10ns.What sort of orchestra did he create? a classical orchestra of about 60players, with which he has been able to work extensively on the classicalrepertoire - symphonies and concertos by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.With this repertoire an orchestra can develop a homogeneous sound andclear balance between its sections, and "if an orchestra can play these wellit can play anything well." In addition the orchestra premieres a new workby a Spanish composer each year and perform.s and r~cords forgo.tten ~rneglected repertoire, particularly from the lbenan Peninsula. Earl.1er thisyear Amigo and the Extremadura Symphony Orchestra released its firstCD the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by the early 20th CenturyPo~uguese composer, Freitas Branco with soloist, Canadian violinist Alexandreda Costa and the Divertimento No. 1 by Branco's student, BragaSantos. A second CD, on the same label, will be released in March 2007:world premiere recordings of Cello Concertos by Geor~ Goltermann_ &Wilhelm Jerrald with Swiss Italian cellist Orfeo Mandozz1, and a premiererecording of Orchestral Suite Der Corregidor by Hugo W~lf. .There is a Canadian connection here: not only is the soloist on their firstdisc Canadian but so is the label, the Quebec company, Disques XXI-21.The CD was recorded in Merida, the capital of Extremadura, edited inMadrid and mastered and produced in Quebec. Indeed Canadian connectionsabound: two years ago, Nurhan Arman, Sinfonia Toronto's conductorand artistic director, recommended by one of Amigo's associates, guestconducted Extremadura; after that performance, Arman invited Amigo tocome to Toronto to conduct Sinfonia Toronto. In addition to da Costa,Amigo has worked with other Canadian musicians, such as cellist, MattHaimovitch, who teaches at McGill University, and baritone, Marc Boucher.I asked Amigo what it is that makes a good conductor. "You need tostudy more than any other musician, because you need to be able to solveevery problem you find in the score, and you also need to know how totalk to the musicians, and how to get the best from them." "You have to1.0i Churr:h St.. ON. M5B JY'/ Email: ehct@idi1:ect.comTet: 416 363-0093. Fax: .:i:: 36'.:'. 005:1www.georgehe1nl.comCanada•s foremost v10hn expertsProud of our heritage. Excit·."!d about the futu rt~ .convince the musicians that whatyou are doing is correct. Whenyou are guest conducting, "youneed to convince them in the firstfive minutes .... "Learning to conduct has itsown problems: "You need toknow whether what you thinkyou are expressing with your gesturesreally is what they are expressing." The only way to knowthat is through trial and error withan orchestra, which of course isnot always possible. During aJesU.s Amigo rehearses Sinfonia Torontoperformance a conductor cannotspeak, so everything must be communicated by gesture. The orchestra'. hesays, is the most complete musical instrument, and the rewards of bemgable to play it far outweigh the problems!OrchestrasThere will be three opportunities tohear Sinfonia Toronto over the nextcouple of months. Their December9 program (which will be repeatedJan 27) is eclectic to say the least,Corelli to rarely performed 19th CenturyDanish composer, Niels Gade.February 3 's program includes Willan,Fuchs, and Chopin, with pianistAntonio di Cristofano, and anotherguest conducting - Giancarlo deLorenzo, director of Italy's VoxAurae Orchestra.The TSO, at its recent AGM,announced a small budgetary surplusin 05-06, thanks to generousbenefactors, no doubt, but alsothanks to the steady increase insubscription and single ticket salessince Peter Oundjian's arrival twoyears ago.Among his winning ways, Oundjian,as Amigo put it, knows "howto talk to the musicians"; he has also,I think, assessed the interests of theaudience for symphonic music,which tend to be on the conservativeside, so offering lots of Mozart,Beethoven and Brahms, while judiciouslyworking in newer music thathas a chance of acceptance, such asShostakovich' Festive Overture onDecember 6 & 7 and OskarMorawetz's Carnival Overture andBart6k's Violin Concerto# 2 on Jan31, and Feb. 1 & 3. The annual NewCreations mini-series, late Februaryand early March, has also piqued theinterest of Toronto's large audiencefor contemporary music, as the nearsell-out attendance at these concertshas shown.That there is deep and widespreadinterest in symphonic music in Torontoand the rest of the territorywhere WholeNote is distributed canbe seen in the abundance of orchestras,amateur, semi-professional andprofessional. I count thirty-one orchestralconcerts in WholeNote's coveragearea outside of Toronto betweenDecember 1 and December22. Several of these, we are verypleased to report, are by the Kitchener-WaterlooSymphony Orchestra(December 1, 7, 8, 9 and 13) whichhas survived its October crisis andis moving ahead. Four are by youthorchestras - the Kitchener-WaterlooSymphony Youth Orchestra on December2, La Jeunesse Youth Orchestrain Port Hope on December3 and the National Academy Orchestraof Canada on December 17 &18, to name only some. There arealso orchestral concerts in Hamilton,St. Catharines, Peterborough,Brantford, Kingston, London,Guelph and Waterford.In our "Toronto and Nearby" listings(which include Mississauga,York Region and Oakville) there area further thirty orchestral concerts,not including various Messiahs withorchestra or Tafelmusik's FairyQueen. The listings are full of interestingthings to comment on. Oneexample: John Barnum, conductorof three orchestras in Mississauga,the Georgian Symphony Orchestra,and the Huronia Symphony Orchestra,has added the Scarborough Philharmonic(Dec 2) to his "collection."Barnum will also be on the podiumon Dec 16 for the Mississauga Symphony.A final thought: The National BalletOrchestra, in all respects as professionalan organization as the TorontoSymphony and The CanadianOpera Company Orchestra, will doseveral performances of Tchaikovsky'sNutcracker beginning onDecember 9. This music, its enormouspopularity notwithstanding,is a masterpiece and the dancing isabsolutely riveting. Even if youdon't have children to take, youcan be one. It's well worth attending.16 WWW.THEWHO LENQTE. COM D ECE MBER 1 2006 - F EBRUARY 7 2007

Fine Old TunesI can still hear Momcalling out to Dad,"Do you hear that,Honey? They're playingour song!"There's nothing like agood tune to evokefond memories ormakes the heart andEARLY Musicby Frank Nakashima0feet dance."' tiThere are many;;ifine tunes in Purcell's -------------------"Toronto Consort. L-R: Paul Jenkins,Fairy Queen (Decem- David Fallis, Laura Pudwell, John Pepper,ber 1-3), inspired by Alison Melville, Ben Grossman,Shakespeare's A Mid- Katherine Hill, Terry Mc Kenna.summer Night'sDream. Harpsichordist Richard For something a little more austereEgarr leads the Tafelmusik Chamberor contemplative, a late 14th­Choir and Orchestra, with soloistscentury French Mass for Christ­Laurie Reviol, soprano; Marc mas Day, will be presented by theMolomot, haute-contre; Olivier six-member Sine Nomine EnsembleLaquerre, baritone; Ann-Marie Macdonald,for Medieval Music in theirDerek Boyes, readers. program Puer natus est nobis (Decwww.tafelmusik.org22). the liturgically-minded, there sinenomine.htmlare different kinds of tunes, equally Even later, in 17th-century France,beautiful, in Monteverdi's Midnight the Messe de Minuit by Marc-AntoineMass, sung by The Tallis Choir,Charpentier incorporates the mel­which recreates an authentic Christmasodies of lovely French noels. Thecelebration at St. Mark's, Ven­Toronto Chamber Choir presentsice, with Monteverdi's Gloria for this Midnight Mass (December 20)seven voices, Missa In Illa Tempore,with soloists (Michele DeBoer, soalliand works by Gabrieli and Cavprano;Claudia Lemcke, alto; Pascal(December 2).Charbonneau, tenor; Stephen Hegedus,www.tallischoir.combass) and orchestra. www.The Toronto Consort presents a geocities. com/torontochamberchoi rlavish Christmas Vespers service as Hallelujah! It's amazing how thoseit might have been heard under tunes get stuck in your head, isn'tMichael Praetorius in 17th-century it? Don't miss Tafelmusik's Sing­Germany (December 8, 9).The 6- Along Messiah (December 17) ! Ledmember period ensemble under the by a feisty Maestro Handel (or is itdirection of David Fallis is joined really Ivars Taurins?), the soloistsby vocal soloists Michele DeBoer, (Leslie Fagan, soprano; MargaretKatherine Hill, Kevin Skelton, DavidBrag le, mezzo-soprano; RufusArnot and Ariel Harwood-Jones, Millier, tenor; Daniel Lichti, bari­and by The Toronto Chamber Choir, tone), the Tafelmusik Chamber Choirviolins, cornetti, sackbuts, theorbos and Orchestra, and 2, 700 enthusiasticand keyboards arranged all aroundsing-alongers will raise the roofthe balconies and stage of Trinity­ of Massey Hall. Or, if you'd ratherSt. Paul's Centre. Sections of the just listen, performances are DecemberVespers perfom1ed by all 60 musicians13 to 16.provide a stunning contrast to Meanwhile, the Aradia Ensemblethe more intimate moments when justcelebrates Christmas with the4 or 5 soloists sing a capella. This music of Vivaldi (December 10), specifically,Baroque "surround-sound" experiencehis Magnificat RV.611,culminates with the composer's Kyrie RV.587, and Nisi Dominusbrilliant four-choir Magnificat, which (alto solo) RV.608. Special guestsis scored for 20 individual vocal and Carla Huhtanen, soprano, and Lynneinstrumental parts, and is interwovenMcMurtry, contralto, join Aradia'swith Christmas carols and other choir & orchestra."best-loved German songs" as specifiedSounds like heavenly music? Stusort'sby the composer. The CondioSixteen's program, Renaissancerecent recording of this work Masterworks for a Celestial Christmasfor Marquis (MAR 335) is available(December 16) includes worksin stores across the country or by Zielenski, Palestrina, Victoria,on-line. www.torontoconsort.orCONTINUES NEXT PAGE• new & refurbished instruments• Pramberger upright & grand pianos nowavailable - great value for any level of playing• 36 month financing available (OAC) on all pianosViolins, violas, cellos, and bowsComplete line of strings and accessoriesExpert repairs and rehairsCanada's largest stock of string musicFast mail order serviceDECEMBER 1 2006 - FEBR UARY 7 2007 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 17

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