8 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 9 - June 2008

these two piano

these two piano concertos by Saint-Saenscreates a vivid presence, especially in theway they weave the frequent cadenza-likepassages into the texture. At times they evenseem to be finishing each other's sentences.Saint-Saens' second concerto is one of themost popular works of French Romanticism.Its charms are readily apparent, right fromthe rhapsodic opening, and Thibaudet bringsthem out with a fine balance of playfulnessand poignancy. Saint-Saens presents the threemovements in an unusual order - slow, fastand very fast. Dutoit and Thibaudet makesdramatic sense of this structure, shaping eachphrase to carry the momentum forward whilehighlighting the gorgeous melodies.Saint-Saens' fifth piano concerto - not tomention his other three - is less often heard .It's hard to understand why . The harmoniesare alluring and often surprising, and themelodies are plentiful and memorable.Paired with the two Saint-Saens concertos,Franck's single-movement Variation symphoniquesseems like a sidelight, fine thoughthis performance is. What would really workhere is another concerto by Saint-Saens, orone of his shorter works for piano and orchestra.In the booklet photos, Thibaudet appearsto be deep in contemplation. Yet these performancesare as extroverted, sparkling andwholeheartedly virtuosic as one hopes fromhim. The orchestra plays with the desiredelan throughout.Pamela MarglesConcert Note: Jean-Yves Thibaudet performsGershwin's Piano Concerto at RoyThomson Hall with the Toronto Symphonyunder Peter Oundjian on June 11, 12 and 14.MODERN & CONTEMPORARYShostakovich; Franck - Violin SonatasSergey & Lusine KhachatryanNaive V 5122Here is yet another Q -~CD in the seemingly ~ .,, --·never-ending streamof impressive releasesby world-classyoung performers,this time the artists Ibeing the Armenianbrother and sisterduo Sergey and Lusine Khachatryan. Sergeywon the Sibelius Competition in 2000 and theQueen Elisabeth Competition in 2005, andclearly has a musical intelligence to matchhis technical abilities.The Franck sonata is a unique and distinctivework, and this performance captures allof its moods perfectly, combining thoughtful,contemplative playing and passionate strengthin a simply beautiful interpretation. Sergeyhas a big, warm sound, together with a controlledintensity of tone that enables him tosustain the extended sense of line that is socrucial in this work. Lusine's piano performanceis no less impressive, her fine sense of56rubato allowing her brother plenty of roomfor his expansive phrasing.The Shostakovich Sonata Op.134 from1968 is a difficult work, both technically andmusically, with the composer attempting toassimilate 12-tone thematic material within atonal - albeit highly chromatic - context, andagain the duo displays a solid grasp of structure,an unerring sense of tempo , and a perfectmixture of passion and sensitivity. Themiddle Allegretto movement is simply explosive.The booklet cover photo shows Sergeydisconsolately watching his music burn whilehis sister calmly peruses the piano score, buthe needn't have worried - the playing on thisoutstanding CD provides all the fire youcould wish for.Terry RobbinsErnest Bloch; Benjamin Lees -Violin ConcertosElmar Oliveiros; National SymphonyOrchestra of Ukraine;John McLaughlin WilliamsArtek AR0042-2I was pleased toreceive a new recordingby ElmarOliveira, a splendidviolinist who deservestop billing onmajor labels. A firstprize winner of theTchaikovsky InternationalCompetition in 1978, the Portuguesegovernment bestowed on him the highestartistic honours. His new CD is no exceptionto his high level artistry.The beautiful violin concerto by ErnestBloch is not in the standard repertoire andhas not enjoyed that many recordings, eventhough Schelomo, Bloch's sensational workfor cello and orchestra, is basic cello repertoire.Bloch's compositions fall roughly intotwo categories, the 'Jewish' genre such asBal Shem, and From Jewish Life, and neoclassical,such as the Concerti Grossi, etc.Oliveira does full justice to the 36 minutescore with beautiful and appropriate stylisticqualities. Collectors will compare this performanceto the out-of-print Menuhin whosesoulful, reverential, almost mystical playingbrings a different character to the work.The Lees is a splendid disc-mate being apleasant and approachable work. Lees, avery talented and highly respected contemporarycomposer, completed the concerto in1959 and it was premiered by Henryk Szeryngwith Erich Leinsdorf in Boston in1963 . It is a significant addition the violinconcerto repertoire. I enjoyed listening to itfor the first time for both its intrinsic qualitiesand Oliveira's exquisite performance.The orchestra is first rate and expertlyconducted by Williams who is also a concertviolinist. The recording quality is of thehighest order, both detailed and dynamic.Highly recommended.Bruce SurteesWWW. TH EWHO LENOTE . COMWorks for Violin and CelloAntoine Bareil; Sebastien LepineXXI XXI-CD 2 1583When compared tothe duet musicavailable for otherstring combinations,the repertoirefor violin and celloappears to be somewhatlimited. Themajor works in thisformat were writtenin the 20th century, and several of themare included on this excellent CD from theQuebec duo Antoine Bareil and SebastienLepine.The main work on the disc is the RavelSonata from 1922, one of the cornerstones ofthe repertoire. Bareil and Lepine are in fineform, giving a lyrical reading of the openingallegro, handling the challenging multiplestoppingin the tres vif second movementwith ease, displaying sensitivity in the slowmovement, and showing great rhythmic vitalityin the finale.Arthur Honegger's Sonatina from 1932, afavourite of mine from an old 1965 SupraphonLP with Josef Suk and Andre Navarrais a lovely work that would have sounded 'even better with a bit more lyrical warmthfrom Bareil. Andante and Allegretto, by thecontemporary Latvian composer SelgaMence, four of Gliere's 8 Duets Op.39 from1909 and the Handel/Halvorsen Passacaglia,a firm favourite in its original 1894 violin/viola form, round out the programme.The performances occasionally convey asense of solid if somewhat workmanlikemusicianship rather than dazzling technique,but in works where virtuosity itself is not theprimary focus that's not really a major concern.The CD was recorded in L'Eglise duSacre-Coeur de la Baie in Shawinigan in July2006; the sound is clean and well-balanced,although there is more than a little fingerboardnoise and string buzz from the cello.Terry RobbinsJAZZ AND IMPROVIZEDStraight to Plan BOne Up One DownIndependent OUOD - 002(www U pOneDownwas originally thepiano and saxophoneduo ofWinnipegersPaul Shrofeland CameronWallis, but theynow call Montrealhome, having bothtrained in performanceand composition at McGill University.On this occasion they are joined by KieranJ UNE 1 - J ULY 7 2008

Overs, bass, John Fraboni, drums, plus RobPiltch who appears on two numbers and putshis stamp firmly on Manic Depression byJimi Hendrix. In addition to the Hendrixnumber there are a couple of standards, DarnThat Dream and You Stepped Out Of ADream. The balance of the CD is made up ofinteresting original material by the two coleaders,ranging from the moody Act One tothe exuberance of In The Ditch.Shrofel and Wallis both display a goodmelodic sense. The playing of Wallis showsthe influence of John Coltrane, but he is hisown man as well while pianist Shrofel has putto good use the private training he receivedfrom piano virtuoso Kenny Werner. Thegroup as a whole plays with with authorityand confidence and the album demonstratesyet again the high standard of musicianshipto be found in the current crop of Canadianmusicians.Jim GallowayTwilight WorldMarian McPartland; Gary Mazzaroppi;Glenn DavisConcord Jazz CCD-30538There is a wideranging choice ofmaterial on thisrecording consistingof a John Lewiscomposition, AfternoonIn Paris, foursongs by masterpopular tunesmiths- Close Enough ForLove by Johnny Mandel from the movie Agatha,Irving Berlin's How Deep ls TheOcean, Alfie by Burt Bacharach and HalDavid and Alec Wilder's seldom heardBlackberry Winter; Blue In Green by MilesDavis, a pair of Ornette Coleman compositions- Turn Around and Lonely Woman - andthree originals, which reveal that Marian isalso a gifted composer herself, round out thisintriguing set of songs.It's a thoughtful, at times introspectivemusical journey by someone who can lookback over an extraordinary life and career.Marian McPartland who turned 90 thisyear, recorded this album last fall. I havebeen privileged to know her for more than30 of those years and can attest to the factthat she may have become in appearance alittle frail, but she is still a feisty character!The fingers have perhaps slowed down abit, but the musicality is a built-in given. Atan age when any ordinary human beingwould have trouble tying shoe laces thisremarkable lady still makes lovely music.The CD is dedicated to her late husband,trumpeter Jimmy McPartland.Jim Galloway] UNE 1 - J ULY 7 2008EXTENDED PLAY - Festive FrequenciesBy Ken WaxmanArguments exist as to the commercial benefitsof free trade agreements. But musicianswish similar treaties existed for their trade.In the period since NFTA, for instance, theability of performers to travel across bordershas become worse. That's what makes festivalseason important. Foreign performersranging from respected veterans to savvytyros get Canadian exposure. Recent CDshere capture older jazzers' alchemy andsuggest newer players to watch .Someone who hasbeen on the cuttingedge since the 1960s,British saxophonistEvan Parker bringshis questing spirit tothe emblematicallytitled A Life SavedBy a Spider andTwo Doves, (AnotherTimbre at06 - www's soprano saxophone is framed byshimmering, pulsating and whirling percussionand electronics. The other musicians -all British - are Mark Wastell playing tamtam,metal percussion and harmonium, GrahamHalliwell using computer and electronics;and Max Eastley on arc, a nine foot longinstrument with one chord that is played witha bow or glass rods.The unyielding drones from arc and harmoniumcreate the sonic bed on which theseimprovisations rest. Additional electronicprestidigitation from Halliwell means thatParker's carefully measured vibrations areseconded by lyrical trills reconstituted fromhis own output.Although the saxophonist's unhurriedmodulations announce their distinctive presenceas they peep from among the seepingtones, all the players reach resolution on TheChessboard Cherry Tree. Here turbidity isshattered by ear-wrenching percussion abrasionsand crackling electronic wave forms.Most distinctively, Parker's aviary slurscoagulate and multiply with circular breathing.Utilizing ghost notes and flutter tonguing,his phrases color and connect the proceedings.Eventually the others' blurredharmonies bond with understated reed trillsfor a satisfying climax.If Parker finesseshis polyphonic tones,then New Orleansbasedtenor-saxophonistKidd Jordanburns through hiswith molten energy.Unlike Parker, Jordanperforms infrequentlyin Canada.You can hear why this is a loss on LIVE atthe Kerava Jazz Festival: Finland (FlyingNote FNCD 9012,where his unbridled improvising is show-WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COMcased. Associates of the septuagenarian saxophonistare percussionist Newman TaylorBarker and Kali Z. Fasteau, who expressesherself on mizmar, piano, flute, cello, synthesizer,violin, drums and soprano saxophone.Announcing themselves on Trance Dance,Baker rumbles, pops and rebounds, as Fasteauscrapes, stops and strums the piano'sstrings before turning to modal chording. Forhis part, Jordan divides his sheets of soundbetween screeching that abuts dog-whistleterritory, and slurred, subterranean growls.Additional mass is added elsewhere whenFasteau packs performances with thick synthesizerreverberations, screechy cello linesor, drumming, joins Baker in producing pressrolls. Meanwhile Jordan ratchets from hishorn's top to tip in a nanosecond, utilizingvibrated split tones, double-tongued flattementand side-slipping. With Jordan expellingstaccato, free-form patterns and Fasteauutilizing her soprano saxophone's pinched,ney-like tone, Sound Science is another effectivetrack; timbres brush up against one anotheras identical notes appear in differentpitches.Another improviserwho tours as fre- scon FIELDS FREETETquently as Parker is BlnEP.L0VE SONGSguitarist ScottFields. Chicagoborn,Fields movedto Koln, Germany afew years back. Onthe witty BitterLove Songs (CleanFeed CF 102 he leads a triocompleted by a Portuguese rhythm section:bassist Sebastian Gramss and drummer JoaoLobo. Fields' compositions, which matchliquid guitar runs, slinky bass lines and onthe-beatdrumming, are still at variance withtheir sardonic titles.For instance My Love is Love, Your Loveis Hate features a spinning staccato themefrom Fields that is stretched with slurredfingering until it seems that it will rupture,but doesn't. Working in double counterpoint,the massed strings join to produce a barrageof notes, with Fields sounding as if he'splaying microtonally and Gramss slapping abackbeat. Meanwhile Lobo's flams precedean intermezzo for ringing guitar licks. Noteclusters are lobbed between the players onYou Used to Say I Love You but So WhatNow. But the strategy is different. Fields'contrapuntal chording skirts C&W picking,while Gramss resonates handfuls of lowpitchedtimbres. Eventually as the bassistsettles on legato pacing , Fields wraps upwith echoing, blues-based licks.Gramss' bass work owes its supplenessto sonic extensions from older bass specialistssuch as New York's Mark Helias, whohas recorded in Toronto. His Open Loose57

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