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Volume 12 - Issue 9 - June 2007

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I . 0. Musical Diaryby

I . 0. Musical Diaryby Colin EatockCore values, and then someMay 6, 2007: Tonight, at the Lula Lounge I run into Henry Kucharzyk.He used to be the artistic director of Arraymusic - the new-musicorganization founded back in 1972 by a group of young Toronto composers- & he reminds me of an upcoming concert. This will be a specialevent marking Arraymusic's thirty-fifth anniversary: a retrospectivesampling of works commissioned by the group throughout its history.May 16, 2007: At the University of Toronto's Music Library, I spotJohn Fodi, another former member of Arraymusic. He knows about theconcert, of course, but won't be attending. It's in the middle of the VictoriaDay weekend, and he'll be at his cottage. But he asks me if I'll bethere - and I decide, on the spot, that I will.May 19, 2007: Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to schedule this concertfor the Victoria Day weekend: only about thirty people show up -mostly composers and musicians who've been associated with the groupover the years.At the pre-concert discussion, composer and conductor Alex Pauk,one of the founders, explained that the group originally began as a kindof discussion group - and only later on did they get the idea of presentinga concert. Recalled composer Marjan Mozetich: "We had a passionfor what we were doing, back then. As you get older you mellow out."And Robert W. Stephenson, the current artistic director, spoke of howthe group's "core values" - collaboration between composers and performers,and the establishment of a multi-purpose studio - have remainedlargely unchanged over the years.Space does not permit a formal review of the concert that followed.Suffice it to say that I heard two pieces that I liked: Kucharzyk's arrangementof Claude Vivier's Pulau Dewata, and Mozetich's Ice. Mostof the other five pieces were, I think, well crafted and worthy of the revivalthey received on this occasion.As I listened, I thought about Arraymusic's core values. Anothervalue, apparently, is that new music should sound "new-musicky": theensemble's quirky instrumentation imposes a distinctively heterogenoussound on everything they play. And yet another seems to be contentmentwith obscurity. (Besides orchestration and counterpoint, one of thethings composers learn at music school is stoicism in the face of publicindifference.)The nature of the programme also made me think about the rarity ofrepeat performances in the new-music world - and after the concert, Ispoke to Pauk and Mozetich about this problem. Mozetich said that theperformance of Ice that evening was the only reading the work has receivedsince it was first heard in 1978. However, Pauk stated that hisMugaru, has been played quite often since it was written in 1973 -about ten times, by his estimation.Pauk is right, of course: ten times is "quite often" by contemporarymusicstandards: indeed, it's the new-music equivalent of going platinum.But I wonder how many times Schubert's Trout Quintet has beenplayed since 1973? Why are the expectations of today's composers solow in this regard?Every now and then someone can be heard bemoaning this state ofaffairs - as I am doing right now - but surprisingly little is done aboutit. (Do arts councils care?) And I can't help thinking that the peoplewho run this city's contemporary-music societies must themselves bearmuch of the blame. Repeat performances are rare, and tend to be reservedfor special occasions, such as anniversaries."It's a status thing," says Mozetich. "Everyone wants to do premieres."I expect he's right. But the reluctance of new-music groups togive repeat performances has led to an ephemeral musical culture that'sso attached to the fleeting moment it would make most pop musiciansblush. Perhaps new-music societies could present a more robust imageto the world by selecting a few "contemporary masterpieces," and playingthem - a lot.**Colin Eatock is a Toronto-based composer and journalist, who contributesto The Globe and Mail, and other publications.WOMEN'S MUSICAL CLUB OF TORONTOThanks to the WMCTs subscribers for this expression of support forthe coming season and the many more seasons to follow.The Women's Musical Club ofToronto gratefully acknowledges thegenerous support of the following for its llOth Anniversary season:Sun Life FinancialWomen's Musical Club ofTorontoCentennial FoundationThe Catherine & Maxwell MeighenFoundationBen and Hilda Katz CharitableFoundationSonja N. KoernerKatherine L. MorrisonCharles H. Ivey FoundationManulife FinancialImperial Oil FoundationOntario Arts CouncilToronto Arts CouncilYamaha Canada Music Ltd.The Mclean FoundationThe Henry White Kinnear FoundationInvestors Group Matching GiftProgrammeCBC Radio MusicFaculty of Music, Universityof TorontoWMCT Members & FriendsAs of May 14. I I 416-923-7052Piano & Keyboard CentreRepresenting the largest collectionof Restored Steinway Pianos in Canada.Genuine Steinway parts used.Restoration by Wayne Chen, German Steinwayfactory trained technician.Here is our partial Steinway inventory:Steinway Model K - Pol/Ebony SOLDSteinway Model K - Sat/MahoganySteinway Model S - Sat/WalnutSteinway Model S - Sat/EbonySteinway Model M- Sat/Ebony (w/QRS Player)Steinway Model 0 - Sat/Walnut SOLDSteinway Model L - Sat/MahoganySteinway Model A - Sat/EbonySteinway Model B - Sat/EbonySteinway Model D - Sat/Ebony$ 11 ,995$ 11 ,995,000,000,995,000,000,995,000,000We offer top price to buy and trade Steinway pianos.For a particular model, finish, style, or forSales, Service & Concert or Recording Rentals,please call 905-709-2771 or 1-866-879-6741.70 East Beaver Creek Road (Hwy. 7/404)www.pianokeyboard.comJUNE 1 - J ULY 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM 15

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