7 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 4 - December 2006

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GREAT CHAMBER MUSIC DOWNTOWNVERMEER QUARTETFAREWELLThis month's theme is "old friends and inundations". Perhaps it is aseasonal theme. After all , at this time of year we are inundated withthoughts of friends and family. And old favourites. This brings me to mypoin t. Each month we are inundated with far more "product" than wecan possibly review in these pages, and much that is worthy of notesimply must go unnoticed. I extend my apologies to those whose discswe simply could not find room for. For example, we received 35 discsfrom Naxos alone this month. The sheer volume of Naxos' productionis overwhelming and it is simply not possible to pay the tribute that isdue to this incredibly successful label which has re-written the book onclassical music marketing through its budget pricing, repertoiresaturation and internet distribution. I will make what amends I can bymentioning 3 "old fri ends" that came to visit thanks to new Naxosrecordings.My first exposure to " period instrument"performance came through recordings of the "' ""' """Bach Brandenburg Concertos by the SwissSchola Cantorum Basiliensis on the Heliodorlabel nearly 40 years ago. At that time therewas no big deal made about the "authentic"nature of the instruments or the "historicallyinformed" approach to the performance, but itwas simply obvious even to my nai've ears that this was somethingspecial. So it was with interest that I opened the newest addition to theBrandenburg di scography - Naxos (8.557755-56) - featuring anothercollection of Swiss musicians, simply called the Swiss BaroqueSoloists unde r the direction of Stephane Rety, whose transverse fl uteis featured prominently. I wouldn' t say that this recording supplants theSchola Cantorum performances that remain a benchmark for me, orTafelmusik's Sony recording of the Branden burgs, but this new 2 CDset is a strong contender and does include a couple of bonuses: the TrioSonata from the Musical Offering, and Stephane Rety ' s transcri ptionfor flute and strings of the Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1056.Distinguished Chicago quartetplays its farewell season.Schubert, Shostakovich,Mendelssohn.Thursday December 7at8pmANAGNOSON & KINTON30 SEASONS TOGETHERCanada's beloved piano duocelebrates 30 seasonstogether with a programmeof masterworks of the 20thcentury.Tuesday December 12at8pmTOKYO STRING QUARTETSCHUMANNFor the 150th anniversaryof his death, stringquartets of Schumannand the piano quartetwith MARKUS GROHThursday January 18at8pmThrough the String Quartets of CharlesIves (8.559178) we are presented with twosides of this original "post modem" anduni quely American composer. The fi rst, astudent work completed in 1896, is subtitled"From the Salvation Army" and itincorporates melodies from many of Ives'beloved "Revival Meeting" hymns in itsChorale, Prelude, Offertory and Postlude1 1i ••-1••I I I 'j ; •I " II 1 '~I.' '·' !1 Imovements. Confusingly, the program notes seem to be written about alater three movement version of the work. The second quartet, farmore complex and wide ranging in its musical influences, wascompleted in 19 13. Although it includes references to familiar Americanhymns and patriotic tunes, they are juxtaposed with snippets fromTchaikovsky, Beethoven and Brahms in a sort of New World versusOld World discourse. There is also internal dialogue between theinstruments who are given certain personality traits - most notably theviola who takes the brunt of the composer 's scorn (who would'a' thunkit?). The work is divided into th ree descri ptive mo vements: Discussions;Arguments; The Call of the Mountains. I would concur with the li nernotes that "The final moments . .. are surely among Ives' mosttranscendent utterances". The Blair Quartet specializes in modemAmerican repertoire and these performances confirm their credentials.Continued on page 72NEW MUSIC B YMENDELSSOHN!An evening of previouslyunpublished piano soloworks of Mendelssohn.Tuesday January 23 at 8 pmCOMING FRIDAY FEBRUARY 2CHAMBER AT LULA LOUNGEtorontdarts bo u ncil BfB Canada Council Conseil des Arts"""'"'• •••gi>bDd•olt1>oC1.,o!To

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