6 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 7 - April 2007

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demanding but ultimately

demanding but ultimately very satisfyingprogramme. The famed SonataNo. 2 begins mysteriously, buterupts in a nervous agitato thatchanges to the lyrical second subjectwith a well expressed contrast. ..Janos GardonyiAria - Opera without WordsJean-Yves ThibaudetDecca 475 7668From my time spent in music retail,how often have I heard: "I'dlike a recording of arias, but I don'twant the singing, just the music"(!).Despite the disdain singers and puristsmay have for vocal music minusthe singer, there still seems to be aplace for it, and this new CD featuringpianist Jean-Yves Thibaudetis an interesting addition to the catalogue.The 10 arias chosen are allpart of the standard repertoire -even non-opera buffs would probablyrecognize 0 mio babbino caroand Casta diva. Thibaudet himselfhad a hand in transcribing two ofthem, but as familiar as the musicmight be, most of the arrangers arelargely unknown ...Richard HaskellBruckner - Symphony No. 7Orchestre Metropolitain du GrandMontreal; Yannick Nezet-SeguinATMA SACD2 2512It is a well accepted maxim that onlyvenerable conductors of the German­Austrian School such as Klemperer,Furtwangler, Wand, Karajan, Jochumand Celibidache should scalethe heights ofBruckner. To defy thisprejudice however, a young and energeticFrench-Canadian, YannickNezet-Seguin, who at the age of 31is in the process of conquering themusical world, now steps forwardwith his new recording of the 7th,arguably the most inspired of allBruckner's symphonies ...Janos Gardonyi70Debussy - Children's CornerOrchestrationsOrchestre symphoniquede Quebec; Yoav TalmiATMA SACD2 2377Given its wonderful impressionistharmonies and evocative rhythms,there is possibly no piano musicthat lends itself more readily to orchestrationthan that by Claude Debussy.This new SACD featuringthe Quebec Symphony Orchestraunder the direction of Yoav Talmiis therefore a most welcome additionto the catalogue - seven piecesaltogether, all originally for solopiano, later orchestrated by fivedifferent composers ...Richard HaskellMODERN ANDCONTEMPORARYShostakovich - Violin ConcertosSergey Khachatryan; OrchestreNational de France; Kurt MasurNa1veV5025This disc of violin concerti must beamong the last of the many that weremade in the months leading up to, andduring, Shostakovich's birth centenary.But the best is often last, andKhachatryan and Masur are certainlyable to give us this, and more.Armenian-born Khachatryan, still inhis early twenties, plays with maturitywell beyond his years, as anointedand confirmed by the Queen Elizabeth,Brussels competition jury .. .John S. GrayWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMShostakovich- Symphony No.13Gidon Saks; Royal LiverpoolPhilharmonic Orchestra;Gerard SchwarzAvieAV2096Like Shostakovich, Soviet poet YevgenyYevtushenko knew just how farhe could go up against Soviet authorityand still survive - artistically aswell as physically. Shostakovich setfive poems by Yevtushenko in hisThirteenth Symphony. In the firstmovement, Babi Yar, which gives itsname to the whole symphony, thepoet's demand for a memorial toJews massacred by the Nazis at BabiYar in Ukraine turns into an indictmentof the Soviet Union's ongoingpersecution of its own people ...Pamela MarglesSea ChangeContinuum ContemporaryMusic; Rosemary ThomsonIndependent CR - CD 0602Toronto's Continuum ContemporaryMusic ensemble has passedthe venerable 20-year mark. ThisCD reflects upon its more recentrepertoire, with six works by Canadianand British composers. I listenedto Linda C. Smith's evocativeBrush Line on both a portableand larger sound system. I highlyrecommend experiencing it on alarger stereo where the details ofits delicate instrumentation andoverlapping unisons differentiated bythe timbres of the various i nstruments,can be heard clearly .. .Andrew TimarConcert Note: Continuum's nextevent features Vancouver-based composingcollective CURV (Marci Rabe,Kristy Farkas, and Jennifer Butler) atthe Music Gallery on April 21 .Raum, Elizabeth - HowBodies Leave Ecstatic MarksContrasts Trio; Renee BradCentrediscs CMCCD11907I have always wondered what it isabout the Canadian Prairies that it isthe home to countless home-grownartistic talents. Being a "native"Torontonian (albeit technicallyfrom the north side of Steeles Avenue),I have travelled across thePrairies by plane, train and van, andhave been awed by the natural beautyof its flatness, grain fields, and theoccasional display of northern lights.Is it the geography or just somethingin the drinking water that createscreators of such high regard? ...Tiina KiikHammer and BowJacques and Michael IsraelievitchFleur de Son FDS 57072Years of exposure to the likes ofNexus and Evelyn Glennie shouldhave left us in no doubt as to eitherthe technical demands or the diversityof contemporary percussionperformance, but if you still happento think that the percussionchamber repertoire is strictly limitedor mostly just melody instrumentswith basic rhythm accompaniment,then this CD from TSOConcertmaster Jacques Israelievitchand his son Michael, a recent Juilliardgraduate, will come as a realeye-opener - or more precisely, anear-opener - that will prove youwrong on both counts. True, anymelodic material tends for the mostpart to be in the violin, but this isgenuine ensemble playing in everyrespect, with Michael matching hisfather every step of the way inmusical nuance and technical virtuosity...Terry RobbinsConcert Note: Jacques and MichaelIsraelievitch are featured with OrchestraToronto on April 15.JAZZ ANDIMPROVISED MUSICDisorder at the Border -The Music of Coleman HawkinsBennie WallaceJustin Time/Enja JENJ 3327-2PPromoColeman Hawkins, the father of thejazz tenor saxophone, is celebratedhere in a 2004 Berlin concert markinghis centenary year. TenormanBennie Wallace fronts a nine-pieceband in a program of pieces writtenby or associated with the late saxophonemaster. Hawkins was oneof those rare jazzmen who alwaysremained open-minded about newdevelopments in music. The titleselection is a prime example ofsuch open-mindedness .. .APRIL 1 - M AY 7 2007

Blue FableLarry Willis; Eddie Gomez; BillyDrummond; Joe Ford; Steve DavisHighNote Records HCD 7163Larry Willis is one of the relativelyunsung heroes of jazz. He has accompanieda host of great musicianswithout having achieved any greatdegree of stardom for himself.This is, I think, his second outingas leader on a recording. Four ofthe eight compositions feature the trioof Willis, drummer Billy Drummondand bassist Eddie Gomez - you mightremember him playing cello withRamsay Lewis way back when - andon the others they are joined by JoeFord, a long-time associate fromthe Fort Apache Band, on alto saxand ex-Art Blakey and Chick Coreatrombonist, Steve Davis, each ofwhom contributes an original .. .Jim GallowayIn The Still of the NightGrant StewartSharp Nine CD 1038-2Young musicians want to stretchand test themselves against the bestin the field, gigging around, learning,and validating their concepts.In jazz, that tough game is playedin New York, and players flockthere from the world over to see ifthey're up to the challenge. Toronto'sGrant Stewart made the movewhile still in his teens, and the tenorist,now in his mid-'30s has donevery well for himself, appearing ontwenty-plus CDs, including half adozen as leader or co-leader ...Ted O'ReillyLifeDavid "Fathead" NewmanHighNote Records HCD 7166Although David 'Fathead' Newmanhad been working principally as analto saxophonist, when he joined RayCharles in 1954 he was assigned thegroup's baritone chair by the leader.There were, of course, times whenthe young reedman doubled on alto.Later, when Don Wilkerson gave his Coltrane Jazznotice, Newman took his place and John Coltranesoon became the group's star ten- Atlantic Masters 8122765892or soloist. So, by the time he beganmaking records under his own Art Blakey's Jazz Messengersleadership, Newman had devel- with Thelonious Monkoped into a highly experienced, all- Jazz Messengersround reedman. In 1960 he added Atlantic Masters 81227 3607-2flute to his instrumental arsenal.The leader is heard on tenor, alto Blues and Rootsand flute in his latest album... Charles MingusDon Brown Atlantic Masters 81227 3617-2Colleen AllenColleen AllenTimely Manor TM004... Allen's self-titled debut is an accessibleand immediately likeabledisc. Melody is king, and she bringsher light, deft touch on the alto andsoprano to the lines. She has drawnon her colleagues' song writingskills and featured tunes mostly bylocal musicians - including one byone of my all time favourite instrumentals,Aaron Davis' infectiousRuwenzori - plus two of her ownand Lerner and Loewe's I CouldHave Danced All Night ...Cathy Riches. .Dix situations precairesLori Freedman; James Darling;Diane Labrosse; Gabriel DionneTour de Bras TDB9002One half of this new music quartethails from the small city ofRimouski,while the other ha! f hails the metropolisof Montreal (though one of theseindividuals actually spends a lot oftime in Europe). PercussionistGabriel Dionne along with cellistJames Darling make up the Rimouskicontingent, with two women - clarinettistLori Freedman and DianeLabrosse on the sampler - make upthe "big town" cluster. To be fair toall musicians involved, neither factiontakes precedence. Even thoughLabrosse edited the session (whichwas recorded at a live setting backin September 2005), credit is sharedequally amongst the players ...Tom SekowskiEXTENDED PLAY -ATLANTIC MASTERSThe Shape of Jazz to ComeOrnette ColemanAtlantic Masters 8122731332Remasterings are a good sourceof cash flow for recordcompanies, and the combinedcatalogues of the Warner,Elektra and Atlantic labelsprovide that for this series, whichlooks to be up to a hundred or soreleases. The four digipack CDsnoted here are, in a way, replicareissues, featuring the original covers reduced to CD size, and withbonus tracks added when available. (A 1978 fire at a storage facilitydestroyed or damaged many Atlantic tapes) .The 1957 Blakey/Monk session has five now-familiar Monkcompositions and one by saxophonist Johnny Griffin, along with threepreviously-unavailable alternative takes of Monk tunes. Blakey wasprobably the most sympathetic drummer Monk ever worked with,and Art's band welcomed the guest pianist with impressiveperformances of the idiosyncratic music. Trumpeter Bill Hardmanwas still developing, but impresses on I Mean You.Mingus' "Blues & Roots" is a must-have, encapsulating as it does theman's oeuvre perfectly. The band here is an expanded version of hisnormal group, featuring great players like Pepper Adams on baritonesax, altoist John Handy and trombonist Jimmy Knepper. The music(with three alternative tracks) is wholly jazz, referring only to thesources: blues, church, Jelly Roll, passion and improvisation. It'sserious and humourous and important.Equally important is Ornette Coleman's only slightly-hyperbolic "TheShape Of Jazz To Come". Controversial at the time, the altoist reallyknew what he wanted to do. The pared-down instrumentation of altosax, trumpet, bass and drums emphasizes the linear aspect of themusic, and its timeless folk roots. The eerie beauty of Lonely Womanis balanced by the exuberance of Chronology. Bassist Charlie Hadenand drummer Ed Blackwell provide the solid underpinning forColeman and trumpeter Don Cherry.John Coltrane's work for Atlantic was still-searching, developingmodally . While he did make a couple of masterpieces for the label("Giant Steps" and "My Favorite Things") he probably peaked withhis later Impulse output. "Coltrane Jazz" draws on four sessions in'59 and '60, all quartet outings with talent such as Wynton Kelly,Cedar Walton and the very young McCoy Tyner on piano; PaulChambers or Steve Davis, bass and drummers Jimmy Cobb, LexHumphries and Elvin Jones. The original eight tracks are augmentedwith four alternatives, all worthwhile, if not absolutely essential.If these four albums are typical of the series, you 'II find improvedsound (I never much liked Atlantic audio quality compared toBlueNote or Contemporary), with almost impossible-to-read linernotes. The teeny tiny type size printed white on red could be appreciatedonly by a Philadelphia lawyer who owns a microscope company .Ted O'Reilly

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