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Volume 12 - Issue 4 - December 2006

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Book Shelfby Pamela

Book Shelfby Pamela Marg/es. ,. ',...,.1: i '·­~ (f '11Edgard Varese: Composer,Sound Sculptor, VisionaryEdited by Felix Meyer andHeidy ZimmermannThe Boydell Press508 pages, illustrated;.95 usIn 2003, Varese studies got a bigboost when the Paul Sacher Foundationin Basel, Switzerland acquiredthe composer's musicalestate from his former student andassistant, Chou Wen-Chung. Hepreserved as much as possibleafter the composer's death in1965 . The Foundation immediatelydid the best thing imaginable, andmounted an exhibit of scores,photos, programs, manuscripts,drawings, sculptures and paintingsby various artists, including Varesehimself. This volume is the catalogueof that exhibit. The documentstouch on the whole of modemculture.There are thirty-two essays bycurators and directors like theeditors of this book, Felix Meyerand Heidy Zimmermann, composerslike Wen-Chung, scholars likeCanadians Austin Clarkson andMichel Duchesneau, and friendslike Diane Bouchard, whose father,Thomas Bouchard, took themarvellous, recently discoveredphoto on the cover. There is also agroup of testimonials by composerslike Pierre Boulez and ElliottCarter. Together they all do aremarkable job of illuminating hislife, his work, and his influence.There are numerous fascinatingrevelations about his politicalviews, his recording with a jazzensemble, and his work on thePhilips Pavilion at the 1958 BrusselsWorld Fair with Le Corbusierand Xenakis.This wonderful, revelatory bookhas been published with immensecare, from the cover and bindingto the paper and printing quality. Ithas been meticulously annotated,with a bibliography and index.What's more, it has been presentedby the Sacher Foundation at aremarkably low price.A Certain Respect for Tradition:Mark Miller on Jazz,Selected Writings 1980-2005by Mark MillerMercury Press191 pages, photos; .95Most of these pieces in this collectionwere written while MarkMiller was the jazz critic for aToronto newspaper. Miller alwaysstood out for his passionfor jazz, and that's what makesthese pieces worth rereading.Miller keeps himself out of hisinterviews with jazz musicians,and brings out their personalitesand accomplishments with immediacy.For him it's all about themusic and those who make it.But he is happy to offer his solidcriticism. Some of his comments- that the Modern Jazz Quartet is'all suits and somnambulance',or that seventy-one year-old DickHyman is not doing a 'sudden,Diana-like Krall to stardom', areespecially provocative.Many of these pieces are,Miller admits, chosen more forthe quality of the writing than thesubject matter. This does deprivehis book of comprehensiveness.Many players whom he musthave covered - visitors and localsalike - are not represented here.The most probing - and by farthe longest - piece here, aboutthe great Cecil Taylor, is notfrom the newspaper but fromBanff Letters. There is a lovelytribute to Canadian flugelhornplayer Freddie Stone. With thequirky composer and keyboardplayer Carla Bley, he successfullycaptures her drive and originality.Some of his best writingis found in the previously unpublishedpieces, like the one onStephane Grapelli.There's a good index, whichmakes this delightful and rewardingcollection of even greatervalue.68 WWW.THEWHOLENO TE. COMIn Grand Style: The Glory ofthe Metropolitan OperaBy Nancy EllisonRizzo Ii239 pages, photographs;$120.00This book of photos documentsthe operas produced in the mostlavish opera house in the world,the Metropolitan Opera. There areorgies, live donkeys and horses,giant puppets, a pivoting mountain,and a gigantic, ornate Egyptiantemple onstage, and fascinatinggoing-on backstage, too.This is a very cumbersomebook. It's almost twice as wide asit is tall. But Nancy Ellison'sphotos are thrilling. Nothing getsin the way of the huge photos,often double-paged. What scantyinformation about the operas andtheir casts there is, is listed onseparate pages.The texts by music directorJames Levine, retired diva LucianoPavarotti, technical managerJoseph Clark, Ellison and justretiredgeneral manager JosephVolpe are fortunately short, althoughVolpe does not exaggeratewhen he says that through thesephotographs Ellison 'puts you notsimply on the stage, but in thehearts and minds of the characters'.Scenes from twenty operasare featured here, including thepopular new Magic Flute fromJulie Taymor, who did the LionKing. The chorus in Nabuccolooks great posed across the faceof a mountain, singing what mustbe 'Va, pensiero' (the particularscenes, unfortunately, aren't identified).There's Pavarotti in his lastMet appearance in Tosca, KaritaMattila as Salome after she hastaken off the seventh veil , andRene Pape in a body suit in AndreiSerban's controversial newproduction of Faust.There are shots of CanadiansJohn Relyea in The Marriage ofFigaro and Rodelinda, and BenHeppner in Otello, along withToronto resident Sondra Radvanovskyin I Vespri Siciliani, andin Cyrano with Placido Domingo.It's all splendid, and very grand.The Essential Jazz Recordingsby Ross PorterMcClelland & Stewart248 pages; .99CD: The Essential JazzRecordingsEMI 094637461822To choose 'essential' jazz recordings,it comes down to personalpreference, especially when thecriterion is, as Ross Porter says,an 'enjoyable' recording that hewill listen to repeatedly. Howelse can the whole of recordedjazz be narrowed down to a mere101 recordings?For those new to jazz Porterprovides a reliable introduction.For jazz lovers it also offersplenty to discuss. But the realvalue of this book is in Porter'sdescriptions of the recordings,like his comments on OscarPeterson's Canadiana Suite, 'anessential piece of Canadian culture'.He says Dave Brubeck'siconic Time Out 'keeps gettingbetter with age'. But Brubeck'steacher was Darius Milhaud, notMilhaus, and he taught at MillsCollege, not Oakland University.Porter includes standards, likeMiles Davis' Kind of Blue andEllington at Newport. There arewelcome surprises, like CharlesLloyd's Lift Every Voice. Butwhy include Bob Dorough andnot Joe Williams? Richie Coleand not Dizzy Gillespie?There is, unfortunately, noindex. That makes it very difficultto find a musician who isnot listed as the leader of a sessionor band.T he discs are listed in theorder of the date they were recorded.So, oddly, Charlie Parkeris the sixth entry, before LouisArmstrong or Duke Ellington.Porter's fondness for compilationsthrows the chronologyorder off even further.A CD with twenty-five selectionsfrom Porter's list is soldseparately, and nicely complementsthe book.DECEMBER 1 2006 - FEBR UARY 7 20 0 7

On OPERAcontinued from page 24The second item on theCOC bill is a world-premierecomposed by James Rolfeof Beatrice Chancey fameto a libretto by Anna Chatterton.Anyone who hasseen Chatterton's playsClean Irene & Dirty Maxine(2003) or Frances,Mathilda and Tea (2004) twritten with Evalyn Perry ,_i,J V~~willknow what a delight- Carla Huhtanen as Cunegonde in Candidefully quirky sense of hu- (Valletta Festival, Malta, 2005) reprises the rolemour she has . The plot for Toronto Operetta Theatre Dec 27-Jan 7.concerns two couples Leah and Roy and lyrical, witty and sad, but alandMona and Ari. Leah has been ways in motion, always dancing. Ithired as a maid by the second cou- flirts with tonality and plays with trapleleading to jealousy on Roy's part ditional operatic gestures, but takesand attraction on Ari's . Members neither very seriously. It doesn'tof each couple spy and eavesdrop sound like Mozart but the spirit ison the other reuslting in recrimina- similar, the irreverence, the quicktionsand reconciliations.silver." Richard Bradshaw will con-Via e-mail Chatterton related how duct the 13-member orchestra for theshe and Roi fe wanted to write some- premiere on December 6 while Derekthing in the style of the Mozart/da Bate takes the remaining perform­Ponte operas but set in 2006 and ances. Michael Albano will direct.suitable for a young ensemble. Her Performances take place at the Imlibrettowas inspired by personal perial Oil Opera Theatre, 227 Frontexperience: "I was reminded of a Street East, on December 6, 7, 9job I had just out of theatre school, and 10. Consult www.coc.ca forwhere I worked as a housecleaner further details.for a very fastidious woman in her Among other offerings, the Tofancyhome. She spoke about being ronto Operetta Theatre's productionuncomfortable hiring a nice Jewish of Leonard Bernstein's 1999 vergirl(so like herself once upon a time) sion of Candide (the first professionwhohad a future in front of her, al production of the work in ToronwhichI found odd-as ifit was okay to since 1984) should appeal to lovtoemploy someone who she thought ers of opera, operetta and musicals.had no hope of a future in front of The show stars James McLennanher. Yet, she hired me and gave me in the title role with Carla Huhtanenintense detailed instructions on how as Cunegonde and Jean Stilwell aseverything was done in the house. the Old Lady. Julian Wachner con­When I quit a while later, she seemed ducts and Guillermo Silva-Marin direlieved-asif it was always wrong rects. The show runs December 27,that I had been working there (though 2006-January 7, 2007 with a galaI had scrubbed her house well). performance on New Year's Eve.When I told James this story, we See www.torontooperetta.com fordecided to start with the model and more information.structure of The Marriage of Figa- Other productions to watch forro and use that as a jumping off include The Magic Flute sung inpoint."English at Brampton Lyric Opera onChatterton and Rolfe had worked January 6; Brecht and Weill's Thetogether before on a smaller piece in Threepenny Opera, Soulpepper'sa similar vein. For Swoon, the two first musical production, runningcollaborated very closely: "We had January 24-March 10; and Operamany discussions about what made Ontario's concert performances ofan opera work and what makes the Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila starpiecehave momentum and passion. ring Allyson McHardy as the scis­We worked closely on the outline of sor-wielding seductress and Antothelibretto .... We also read the script nio Barasorda (replacing Richardaloud together many times to make Margison) as the long-locked hero.sure the drama worked." For his Daniel Lipton leads the Kitchenerpart,Rolfe graciously characterized Waterloo Symphony and a 100-voicehis music: "I think of Swoon's mu- choir January 25 and 27 in Hamilsicas I do the libretto. It is agile ton and January 31 in Kitchener.and light on its feet, by turns brazenChristopher HaileH O N O R A R Y C H AIR RI C HARD BRADSHAW, - ~r'J"- " .,,,,TORONTO ARTISTIC D IRECT O R ~,~ : N###COLUMNCONTENT### PERA GIUSEPPEMACINA ~ ~ -""',REPERTO IRE ' · ~~. . ''" 'PRESENTS / ~ . . :"~ \GIUSEPPE VERDI'S -:*~ ~ , ·~bA TR:A AT-ANDALSO-~RI EiElb ETTEileKFEIR.E eENTR.E TttEATR.~777 BLOOR ST WAT CHRISTIESFEBRUARY 14 - MARCH 4, 2007lN ITALIAN WITH PROJECTED TITLES IN ENGLISHScrnot $i:, or visit WWW. toronto-opera.comAdult. 22 _ _ __--'"-----St~1de1:t $~2 For more information call (416) 698-95721f3 & 4 WEEK COURSES2006-2007Opera CoursesandOpera TourswithIain ScottAll courses are held on Tuesdays 2.30 - 4.30 and 7.00 - 9.00at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club 141 St George StreetOpera 102 - Other forms of operaDueling Divas - Great SopranosHow to run an opera companyWEEKEND SEMINARS10 - 4 each day includes lunchThe Legends of Faust in OperaAt the Arts and Letters ClubDie MeistersingerAt the Rosedale Golf ClubTOURSMontreal LakmeNew York Die MeistersingerVerdi's ItalyWagner's Italy9 - 30 January, 20076 - 27 February13 March -3April20 - 21 January, 200724 - 25 February9 -11 February2 -5 March13 -25 April12 -24 JuneDECEMB ER 1 2006 - FEB RU AR Y 7 2007 WWW.THEWHOLENQTE. COM 69

Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020

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