7 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 4 - December 2006

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


Stocking Stuffersre.rnmmend~d byDISCovcry Rcvkwc1sLesley Mitchell-Clarke:On Build a Bridge (NonesuchRecords 79862) Tony award-winningBroadway diva, Audra McDonald,puts her spectacular instrumentto the test as she sails through acollection of rarely performed andbeautifullyarranged artsongs, obscuremusical theatreofferings andBroadway showu;...~"'"-'--'"----'-'-' tunes. Produced and arranged by Doug Petty,this CD has plenty of appeal for awide cross-section of listeners -highly musical and vocally satisfying.Frank Nakashima:Gloryland (Harmonia MundiHMU 807400) is a wonderful new....,..--------. collection of'\ 111111.z · Revival and~'\.:1 ~, IY-«~;u,1. ,l;'J•iG gospel songs,~~ ~. ~· folksongs, and?#,_~i .· · ·h\.'"!~ religious bal--?J'I .Y'\lads, given new.___"'____. ~ ,,, :h ""__, life by Anonymous4, the women's vocal quartetknown mostly for medieval chant.Their singing is pure, immaculate,and perhaps more refined than oneoften hears in this music, but theyare among the finest vocal ensemblesyou'll ever hear today (accompaniedby extraordinary multi-instrumentalistsDarci Anger and MikeMarshall).Ted O'Reilly:If you're willing to put a bit of effortinto getting this disc you'll haveyourself a delightful Christmas gift.Recovered Treasures (Jump JCD12-29) features performances (previouslyun-issued for one reason oranother) by one of jazz' most consistently-creativeartists, cornetistRuby Braff, heard in-studio, at aclub and at a party. The most surprisingare the studio cuts, 6 classicalthemes with Braff and a finerhythm section and the Beaux ArtsString Quartet; the performanceselections have buddies like BobbyHackett, Vic Dickenson and RalphSutton, jazz masters all. Order bymail from: Allegheny Jazz Society,283 Jefferson Street, Meadville PA16335-1425. Or maybe producerJoe Boughton will respond Sekowski:- For most people, hearing the nameJohn Cale will automatically bringabout visions of Velvet Underground.What people miss out though is awhole period of exploratory musicbefore the Velvets and after they'ddisbanded. New York in the 1960sis a gorgeously packaged 3 CD boxset featuring Cale's perhaps threemost important pieces, dating between1965 and 1969, the first completegathering of Cale's most crucialwork in one place. Brilliant and influentialas hell!( Firmly positioned in the here andnow of contemporary music, PhillNi block's 3 CD set Touch Three( is a newparadigm by which future minimalworks will be judged.- Georg Graewe, Ernst Reijsegerand Gerry Hemingway's musicneeds to be heard and has to bejudged on its own terms. I can simplypoint the way to Continuum( andtell you to get a hold of this recordingquickly before another crucial documentin modern music history goesout of print.Bruce Surtees:Bernard Haitink's stunning newperformances of Beethoven • TheNine Symphonies with the LondonSymphony Orchestra (LSO LiveLS00598),recorded betweenNovember2005 and April2006, took thislistener back to.....________.the wondrousdiscovery of hearing each symphonyfor the fi rst time. Truth to be told, Ifound it impossible to fast forward orskip movements in any symphony.Using the new Barenreiter edition,these luminous recordings match theenergy of these ripping high-octane,indispensable performances.Dianne Wells:This exquisite and unique pairing ofcomposer and singer, Kiri singsKarl • Songs of Mystery & En·chantment (EMI 3 53257 2) featuresDame Kiri teKanawa in highlightsfrom KarlJenkins' largervocal works aswell as his arrangementsofexcerpts from Ramirez' Missa Criollaand works by Guastivino, Beethoven& Chopin. "Diamonds" indeed!tainly recognize a lot of the material dition to domra, a cousin of the balahere.Butthismorefamiliarfarehas laika. T he orchestra has beenbeen put together in a touching and around for fifty years and ori ginatthought-provokingmanner, and is in- ed within the Ukrainian emigre comterspersedwith plentiful new foot- munity here in Toronto. That's notage which sheds a delicately differ- surprising, as Ukrainian and Russianent light on its iconoclastic subject. folk music, and to some degree pop-A fragment of Gould 's string ular music, embrace the mandolin.quartet played by Monsaingeon and Music of the Steppes is, in short,his colleagues makes a fleeting yet mandolin's last stand.powerful impression, as do several Selections featured on the di scpreviously unreleased clips of Gould explore Ukrainian and Russian herhimself.But equally touching are the i tage, but unfortunately eschewreflections of several regular folks Vivaldi and Hummel. Then there isfrom Japan, Russia, Germany and the recording: though clear, it tendsEngland, upon whose li ves Gould to homogenize the sound of all themade an indelible musical and phi!- different mandolins, rather than proosophicalmark, and it's this quiet, viding an intricate, multi layered dephilosophic-spiritualflavour which light. This recording is a good primseparatesthis new film from its pred- er for listeners willing to explore theecessors. Gould's own narration is unique sound of the instrument - afrequently heard with the older ma- perfect appetizer before a mandolinterial, and I could have done with- meal of Vivaldi' s Concerto.out the attempt made at imitating hisRobert Tomasvoice for additional voiceover, butthis is a very small complaint.A thoughtful and well-craftedtribute to a most unusual , intelligentand inspiring musician.Alison MelvilleLive at Glenn Gould StudioToronto Mandolin Orchestra;Alexander VeprinskyIndependent SMECD-04( is perhaps the most misunderstoodand maligned instrumentof them all. Oh, sure, there are moreviola jokes than there are mandolinjokes, but the viola at least has RivkaGolani . Quick, name one mandolinvirtuoso (and I don 'tmeanTinyTim tip-toeing through the tulips)?Then there is the repe rtoire - justone super-hit, Vivaldi 's Concerto fortwo mandolins in G major, RV532 ..It' s time for a little personal confession:I know the pain of finding interestingmandolin music to play, becauseas a rebellious teenager I hadjoined a mandolin sextet. That careerdid not last long, but left mewith something rare - deep respectfor the plucky instrument.Alexander Veprins ky and hisplayers take mandolins seriously -they play the entire family of instruments:mandola, tenor mandolin,mandocello and mando-bass, in ad-Tony Bennett's Greatest Hitsof the '50sTony BennettRPM Records/Columbia Legacy82876 84786-2Tony Bennett's Greatest Hitsof the '60sTony BennettRPM Records/Columbia Legacy82876 84779-2I Left My Heart inSan FranciscoTony BennettRPM Records/Columbia Legacy82876 84782-2Duets - An American ClassicTony BennettRPM Records/Columbia 8287680979 2If you want an expansive and enjoyabletrip down musical memorylane, then these Sony BMG releasesof recordings by Tony Bennettare definitely for you. It is no wonderthat Frank Sinatra called him "theWWW. TH EWHO LENOTE.COM D ECE MBER 1 2006 . FEB RUARY 7 2007

est singer in the business", that hehas sold over fifty million recordsworldwide and has won thirteenGrammy awards. These four recordingsare essentially a compilationspanning Bennett's sixty-year career,from the 1950s to recent collaborationsmarking his eightieth birthday.The ' 50s CD is characterized bysmooth and luscious orchestrations,many arranged and conducted byPercy Faith as well as a couple featuringthe Count Basie Orchestra (includingLullaby of Broadway)."Great Hits of the '60s" is quintessentialTony Bennett from the yearswhen he was at the peak of his career.We are treated to a series ofclassic hits including The Best is Yetto Come, Put on a Happy Face, FlyMe to the Moon and Bennett's 1962signature tune I Left My Heart inSan Francisco, also the title trackof the third CD which gives ustwelve more songs, though three duplicatetracks on the '60s CD.Finally, the "Tony Bennett Duets"- all live, face-to-face studio recordings(quite a rarity these days) from2000 and 2006 - are the most innovativeand recent material. For eachof the nineteen classic romantic hitsBennett collaborates with a differentfamous contemporary singer- examplesinclude Paul McCartney on TheVe1y Thought of You , Diana Krallon The Best is Yet to Come, the DixieChicks on Lullaby of Broadwayand Barbra Streisand on Smile. Expertlyorchestrated, arranged and produced,the music is infused with Bennett'stime-honoured elegance andpizzazz. Despite the va1ied styles andbackgrounds of the vocal collaborators,they fit very smoothly and convincinglyinto the Tony Bennett style.At this time of year one can'thelp but think of holiday gifts, and anyof these CDs would be sure to please.If I had to choose, I would either gofor the vintage "Greatest Hits of the'60s" or for the more recent "Duets"-equally classic in its own way,but with a new and creative twist.Annette SangerDECEMBER 1 2006 - FEBRUARY 7 2007OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLESOccasionally a jaw dropping performance turns upto astound record collectors. In 1990 it wasPaganini's 24 Caprices recorded live by AlexanderMarkov at a unique event wherein all 24 wereplayed in one recital! ThisRussian-American virtuoso'smomentum, unerringaccuracy and intonationthroughout remain unequalled.This astonishing1989 recital is availableagain from Erato in theirbudget priced "Les Incontournablesdu Classique" issued by Warner Classics(5046 62547). Those who enjoy this repertoireand don 't already own the original would be well advisedto acquire this re-issue.Those of us who admire the unmistakable tenorvoice of Peter Schreier will be delighted to knowthat Berlin Classics has issued a four CD set ofSchumann Lieder recorded in 1973174 whenSchreier's voice was inpristine condition (8212484062). He had an enormousrepertoire which includedopera and lieder togetherwith sacred musiceither as soloist or conductor.Until just a few yearsago he regularly gave recit-als in Toronto. His accompanist on these lieder is NormanShetler, the well respected concert pianist, chambermusician, lied interpreter and puppeteer! Includedare Dichterliebeop.48; the two Liederkreis cycles,op.24 & op.39; Kerner lieder op.35; together withmiscellaneous groups of settings of poems by Len au,Ruckert, and others. These are inspired, often headyperformances, sensitive to every nuance in the wordsand beautifully recorded. Not to be missed.Herbert Kegel conducted the Leipzig Radio Orchestraand the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra and in1977 was appointed principalconductor of the DresdenPhilharmonic where heremained until 1985. KarlBohm was one of his teachersat the Leipzig Conservatoryfrom 1935 through1940. He championed andrecorded new music includingworks by Britten, Orff, Penderecki, Blacher,Dallapiccola and Dessau. Sadly, Kegel, born in Dresdenin 1920, died by his own hand there in 1990 followingthe collapse of the Communist regime. BerlinClassics has chosen 27 representative works andissued them in a rather impressive 15 disc budget setof Legendary Recordings (82124 02332). Includedare my very favourite Gurre-Lieder, MosesundAaron, Mahler's First Symphony and Sibelius'sFourth, Symphony Fantastique, Pictures at an Exhibition,The War Requiem, and works by Schenker,Dessau, Bartok, Hindemith, Prokofiev, Vivaldi, andothers. Also included is an absolutely stunningCarmina Burana, arguably the best. Hi s interpretivestyle was characterized as conveying everythingin the score without employing any theatrics yet wellFine Old Recordings Re-Releasedby Bruce SurteesI 'WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMable to create excitement and find the pulse in everywork. As an example, the Beig Violin Concerto, perhapsthe last great Romantic concerto sounds even moreromantic and accessible under Kegel. This is a veryworthwhile and interesting collection in spite of the factthat some of the sparkle of the original pressings hasbeen lost in the Sonic Solutions No Noise Systemremastering.Two new Shostakovichsets showed up for the end ofhis year, one very importantand one very-very important.The "very, very" is the completeString Quartets playedby the Beethoven Quartetwho premiered them all but therfirst and the last. They rehearsed each quartet for itspremier with Shostakovich instructing them how hewanted the music to sound. He even dedicated severalof them to the Beethoven and its members. Melodi yarecorded them from 1956 to 1974 and these performancesmust surely reveal the music's meaning and asclose as one can get to the composer himself. Transferredfrom the original mono and stereo LPs, Doremi'scarefully engineered transfers rarely betray their origins(DHR7911-15, 5CDs)The " very" set has all 15 Symphonies conductedby Maxim Shostakovich with The Prague SymphonyOrchestra, recorded live by Supraphon between 1995and 2006 (SU3890-2, 10 CDs). It would certainly notbe a stretch of the imaginationto believe that Maxim hadgone over these works withhis father who would certainlyhave imparted more than someidea about his intentions andwishes for an ideal performance.These live perform-Lances are well prepared anddisplay no tentative moments, with well judged tempiand complete identification with the composer's sensibilities.In the Czech Republic, the Prague Symphony issecond only to The Czech Philharmonic and is consideredworld class. The recordings are admirably vividwith ample wannth and a broad, deep sound stage. Ideal,in fact.Thanks to the lasting valueof recordings we are able tohear again, or for the first time,the artistry of deceased generations.Jn the 1950s some ofthe world's finest musiciansmade the pilgrimage toPrades, a small town inFrance, to join their peers to make music with PabloCasals during his annual summer festivals. Volume 2of Casals Festival at Prades (Music and Arts CD-1187, 12 CDs for the price of 8) offers over 12 hoursoflive music played by Casals, Menuhin, Serkin, Kempff,Horszowski , Ferras, Vegh, Eleanor Steber, Victoria deLos Angeles and Joseph and Lillian Fuchs. They playBach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, andMendelssohn. And they play it their way, making eachof these unique versions irreplaceable. The enclosedbooklet has unusually comprehensive and informativenotes.83

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