7 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 4 - December 2006

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • January
  • December
  • Symphony
  • Choir
  • Orchestra
  • Singers

you who composed which,

you who composed which, until yousee that the track listings are colour-coded.Clever. The choice ofwhite type on a textured blue backgroundis questionable: although itlooks arty and hip, it is not the easiestreading expe1ience. Photographsof the artists are the size of postagestamps. But I'd buy this just for thelast track, Dion 's sous l 'eau, whichI want to hear repeatedly. Recommended'John S. GraySzymanowski -Songs of a Fairy-tale Princess;Harnasie; Love Songs of HafizCity of Birmingham SymphonyOrchestra and Chorus;Simon RattleEMI 3 64435 2Sir Simon Rattle returns to the sceneof his early triumphs in a splendidnew CD with the Binningham Symphonyperforming the works of theextraordinary Polish composer KarolSzymanowski ( 1882-1937).The works represented heredate from either side of a decisivebreach in Szymanowski's personaland artistic development. The sultry,Scriabinesque sensuality of theLove Songs of Hafiz ( 1913, affectinglysung by mezzo-soprano KatarinaKarneus), and to a lesser extentthe modish chinoiserie of theSongs of a Fairy-tale Princess(1914, with the excellent sopranolwona Sobotka) represent the composerin his hedonistic youth. Borninto the lap of luxury, he managedto avoid the turmoil of the First WorldWar until the fateful year of 1917,when his sanctuary at the family resortnear Tymosz6wka in the PolishUkraine was razed to the ground duringthe Communist uprising.Following three years of silenceand self-searching Szymanowski reemergedwith a growing interest inPolish vernacular music (in particular,the Goral music of the Tatras),culminating in his most successfulwork, the ballet-pantomime Harnasie( 1923-1931 ). Lavishly scored fortenor, chorus and orchestra, themeagre scenario depicts the Carpathianoutlaw Harnas (commandinglysung by tenor Timothy Robinson)and his band of brigands' abductionof an evidently acquiescentbride on her wedding day. Thethreadbare premise serves as merescaffolding for some tremendouslycolourful and enervating music. SimonRattle has always expressed agreat affinity for Szymanowski'smusic and is truly in his element here,leading a highly compelling accountof this kaleidoscopically orchestratedscore. The agile Birminghammusicians remain fondly responsivei\/,11:1'· /)it/ Vim Know?Ding 1Joug.1 1 l!t'l'ri~)' On lligh;\-~)'Grown-Up C!J1";.c111111.< U .ct. .. Aud lvlr/11)' 1Wure! rhe 1•xq11isire lurr111011y ofrhese rhreeyo1111Ksopr11110 ,,,,;,-,,s bri11g the wo11d£'1' of Christnuts into your home!3 Young Sopranos·- One Glorious Sound!(C\D1 AVA I l AB l E through HMV, Chapters,~ Leslie Music, Notes, and L'Atelier Grigorian.--=-- -

inine ending.Chloe Hanslip is the outstandingyoung violin soloist here. She isin complete technical and emotionalcontrol all the way, and the RoyalPhilharmonic delivers a sound bothprecise and lush when required.On the Nonesuch release wefind John Adam's newer concerto(2003) for electric violin and orchestra,The Dharma at Big Sur. Sportinga quintessentially West Coast titleand content, the works beginswith an achingly lyrical orchestralintroduction, intending to expressaccording to the composer, the"shock of recognition ... when onereaches the edge of the continentalland mass" ... the dizzying heightsof the cliffs at Big Sur, California.The reference to The Dharma isboth a tribute to Jack Kerouac'sBeat writing, associated as it is tothe physical and psychic landscapeof the West Coast and to the Buddhistphilosophy which deeply influencedit.These two elements: the ecstasyof freedom and the Buddhist insightthat "All life is sorrowful" deeplyinform Adam's extraordinary concerto.Tracy Silverman, the uncommonlyexpressive 6 string electricviolin soloist, and the orchestra underthe direction of the composerbring this ecstatic work to a throbbingclose in gigantic crescendo ofpure sonic ecstasy. It' s bound to liftyour spirit too.Andrew TimarTranslationsEvergreen Club ContemporaryGamelanArtifact Music ART-036Since 1983 Toronto's EvergreenClub gamelan ensemble has beendedicated to the commissioning andperformance of contemporary musicfor the Sundanese gamelan (anIndonesian percussion orchestra). Inthis, their seventh album, the coreeight member ensemble presents atypically robust program of Canadianand German works.Walter Boudreau's cubistic Lematin des Magiciens imposes a se-tion paraphrased in an earlier Evergreencommission, Gilles Tremblay'sL' arbre de Borobudur for gamelanand a septet of Western instruments.The effect of this quasi-cinematicmontage is alternatively explosiveand ritualistic. The startlingsimilarities of tone in the extendeddialogue between the earthy suling(bamboo flute) and the unearthlywail of the electronic ondes Martenotare extraordinarily striking.Linda Catlin Smith's delicatelyscored and evocative A Light Snowbrings a welcome moment of reposeafter the overwrought cross-cuttingof the Boudreau. Her work transformsthe customarily collectivevoice of the gamelan into individualvoices and transmutes its characteristicallydriving rhythms into freefloatingstrands of elegant randomness.Su ling overlord Andrew Timartakes centre stage in Dieter Mack'sdemanding Crosscurrentsfrom theyear 2000. Mack is a Geiman composerwith decades of experiencein Indonesian music whose compositionsstrive to integrate Balineseinfluences with a European rhythmicsensibility of considerable complexity.Happily, both soloist andensemble are up to the challenge.Daniel FoleyJAZZ ANDIMPROVISEDJazz Icons DVDsLouis Armstrong; Chet Baker;Count Basie; Art Blakey;Ella Fitzgerald; Dizzy Gillespie;Quincy Jones; TheloniousMonk; Buddy RichReelin' In The Years ProductionsMusic is presented visually thesedays as 'videos', mini-films constructedto lead the consumer to 'understand'what the song is about. I'mhopelessly old-fashioned and out ofdate, believing that the music is aboutThe Music, and its perfo1mance, soI'm perfectly pleased with this seriesof nine (so far) DVDs recordedfrom the late ' SOs to the late '70sby European TV companies.In the U.S., jazz' home, CountBasie or Ella Fitzgerald may be aone-or-two song guest on Ed Sullivan,or one of several performers ina Timex Special, but I don' trecall everseeing an unadorned complete concertperformance by any jazz artists.Five of these nine releases drawfrom single events, the others comriesof logarithmic transformations bine two performances. It surprisedupon a traditional Balinese composi- me to see how many originated inBelgium, with Denmark, Sweden,Norway, Holland and Switzerland allrepresented. Like the CBC, they' reall state-owned broadcasters.These editions, distributed internationallyby Naxos, are very wellpreparedtechnically and graphically,and completely legitimate. Thecomprehensive booklets often havereminiscences from family membersas well as authoritative track-bytrackliner notes and complete personnellistings and dates. Of the 14events on the nine discs, only twoare in colour, but the B&W imagesare mostly crisp and clear, whetherthe original recording was from filmor videotape. The mono audio isexcellent as well, and running timesare in the 60 minute range.Louis Armstrong and the All­Stars "Live in '59" (DVWW­JILA) is a rare concert performancein Belgium of the constantlytouringband, with Trummy Youngon trombone; Peanuts Hucko onclarinet and a rhythm section of BillyKyle, piano; Mort Herbert, bassand Danny Barcelona on drums.Velma Middleton adds a few vocalsto Satchmo's (and Trummy's). It'sa standard Armstrong programmeUust another c:::~;m: - ' onight on the ls'llb \l(\,11\c\.road), but it'sinformative tosee the energythat Popscould bring tothe stage, andhow he runsthe show,Lockridge . Hi FiJspreadingjoy. There may not be anythingnew, but it's eternal.If I'm a bit disappointed withChet Baker "Live in '64 & '79"(DVWW-JICHB) it's likely due tothe character of the man rather thanhis music.This is onecase wherenot seeing theartist is better:it's sucha downer!Baker'smelancholyand pathos ison display L_ __ _.0C l 11- 1 l) •\J.-.1 R .. Lwith his music, and the Euro accompanimentadds little excitement. The'79 recording is in colour.Count Basie "Live in '62"(DVWW-JICOB) is a must-havefor jazz and big band fans, capturingas it does a Swedish concert byone of Basie's best-ever orchestrasin full flight. Soloists like Thad Jones,Quentin Jack- c:::::: C::: " x ~ :::::::i 0son, Frank ~CU NI n.1\Sll _t,Foster anddriving drummerSonnyPayne shine,but this was aband that hada great playerin every chair,and they almostall get room.An important small band of the'SOs was The Jazz Messengers,originally a co-op group, later takenover by Art Blakey. Through its 'fin-Experience the thrill of a live performancein your own home.u (Exposure 201 OS IntegratedAmplifier & CD PlayerVisit Lockridge Hi-Fi today.....0.... ,.,;:II e.LlNeat Motive 2 Speakers16th AveQ)~*Q)Q)> >

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