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Volume 14 - Issue 3 - November 2008

Toronto in

Toronto in November:The Paris Connectionby Allan FulkerThe two musicians I chose to talk to this month- Leslie Newman, aToronto flute player, and Charles Ketcham, a pianist and conductorfrom San Francisco- are both giving Toronto recitals in late November:Newman on November 27, Ketcham on November 21. Both featuremusic by individuals not as well known for being composers as forother reasons, and who lived in Paris in thelate nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.Ketcham will perform some of the three hundredshort piano pieces composed by two collaborators,George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff andThomas de Hartmann; Newman will performworks by Paul Taffanel (remembered todayas the father of modem flute playing) and twoof his contemporaries.Leslie NewmanA. v\lho was Paul Taffanel and why do youwant to do a recital in his honour?L. I've had a lot to do with his music- playedand recorded quite a lot of it. The recital iswithin six days of the lOOth anniversary of theactual day of his death, so it feels like a wonderfultime to bring him to the attention ofpeople who don't know about him. Pretty well every modem day fluteplayer can trace his lineage back to Taffanel, either through MarcelMoyse who was taught by Taffanel's student, Philippe Gaubert, orthrough Julius Baker, who was taught by another ofTaffanel's students,Georges Barrere. In Toronto, for instance, Robert Aitken studied withMoyse and Susan Hoeppner studied with Baker.Leslie Newman, fluteIt was a happy coincidence that such a developed musical sensibilityas Taffanel became a flute player at such a crucial moment in the historyof the flute. The instrument had just been completely remodelledby Theobald Boehm, and it was the far greater expressive potential ofthe Boehm flute that Taffanel developed and championed. In addition herediscovered and revived the flute music of Bach, Handel and Mozart,and encouraged composers to write for the flute as a serious solo instrument.He reintegrated the flute into mainstream chamber musicthrough the Society of Chamber Music for Wind Instruments, which hefounded in 1879; and the great orchestral flute writing of Debussy andRavel can be traced right back to him as well,such as Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.Could you say something about your own exposureto Taffanel?Before I went to study with Thomas Nyfengerat Yale, I had played some of the Paris ConservatoireMarceaux de Concours that manyof us play as students, like the Faure Fantaisieand Gaubert's pieces. They're wonderful,0t: very beautiful pieces, but I hadn't really given>ci them much thought. At Yale, Nyfenger introducedme to a piece by the German compos­!:;;"'er, Anton Bernhard Fiirstenau, called "Theii!Illusion," quite a spectacular showpiece. It was~ just a fun piece, not particularly deep in any- ~~iE way, but it did get me interested in showpiec-es as a genre. Then I moved to England andauditioned for Radio Three. It so happened thatthe producer for whom I auditioned, Edward Blakeman, was a fluteplayer himself and had a very deep interest in Taffanel, not only inTaffanel's life but also his compositions, digging up manuscripts of unpublishedworks by Taffanel in various French libraries. I ended uplearning the Mignon and Freischiitz Fantasies and three or four others,Artafliine~4ND!IEW IIU!ASHKO,ARTISOC0ff!ECTOIIConcert no. 2: End of TimeSunday December 7, 2008, 3:00pmGlenn Gould Studio (250 Front St. W.)Pre-concert chat hosted by Keith Horner, 2:30pmPerforming works by Arutunian, Kradjian andMessiaen's Quartet for the End of Timewith Artists:Benjamin Bowman, violin ; Serouj Kradjian, piano;Joaquin Valdepenas, clarinet and David Hetherington, celloTickets and Subscriptions availableCALL: 416-368-8743 www.amiciensemble.comto ro ntdartsbo u n c i IAn arm's length body of the City of Toronto.9A_ ONTARIO ARTS COUNCIL B§e, Canada Council Conseil des ArtsM CONSEILDES ARTS DE rnNTARIO c!; for the Arts du Canada10 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM

leading to the project of recording these pieces,which I'm sure I would never have done ifit hadn't been for meeting Edward Blakeman.Blakeman has gone on to publish a fantastic bookabout Paul Taffanel. He has also edited and publishedsome of the pieces he discovered.Please tell us about your November 27 programme.About half the programme will be compositionsby Taffanel. We're starting with the Suite forFlute and Piano by Charles Marie Widor, acolleague of Taffanel at the Conservatoire.Widor wrote this and dedicated it to him in theearly 1880s. Taffanel performed it many timesin the 80s and 90s before it was finally publishedin 1898. It is so interesting that the earlyreviews of it were glowing but always had somecomment marvelling that such a large scalework was possible "even on the flute" . The flutewas still finding its place as a major instrument,just over a hundred years ago. It is on apretty large scale, about twenty minutes long,and just a wonderful piece! After that I'm goingto do the Mignon and Freischiitz Fantasies,which are pretty much regarded as the best ofTaffanel's operatic fantasies. They really standout from other works in this genre because theyare a real pairing of the piano and the flute. Tome they have a deep musical intention: they'renot just virtuosic showpieces. When he wrotethem he was playing in the Paris Opera Orchestra,which he went on to conduct. This toowas quite extraordinary, as it was extremelyunusual for a non string player to become a conductor.We're also going to do the Meditation fromThai:s by Jules Massenet, who, as a senior studentat the Conservatoire when Taffanel was afreshman, was his first harmony teacher. Later,after they had both gone on to become professorsthere, Taffanel conducted the premiereof Thai:s. According to Blakeman, he so admiredthe beauty of the Meditation that he transcribedit for the flute.So I hope this recital will be an interestingand musically satisfying introduction to a greatmusician whose influence is still all around us.of the world.De Hartmann met Gurdjieff in Russia in 1916and was one of his earliest pupils. At that timede Hartmann was already an extraordinarilygifted musician, very well trained, and poisedto have a major career in Russia as a composerand as a pianist. The combination of the Bolshevikrevolution in 1917 and his meeting withGurdjieff, however, put him in a very differentplace in the history of music. Despite therebeing a significant body of music that he wroteboth before and after he met Gurdjieff, he isstill relatively unknown.The music that I will be playing on November21 is from a collection of 300 pieces thathe and Gurdjieff composed together over thecourse of two years from 1925 to 1927. Remarkably,it really is the creation of two peoplewith a common understanding.How did they collaborate?As one of the three editors of the published editionof this music, I had the opportunity to studythe original manuscripts, from which it wasapparent that de Hartmann's part in the collaborationwas much more than just taking downwhat was dictated by Gurdjieff. He had a verydeep understanding about what Gurdjieff wastrying to express. He was also an incrediblyskilled musician and composer in his own right,and so was able to give a kind of polish to eachpiece. Gurdjieff would give the basic elements-the rhythm and the melody- and onthe spot de Hartmann would take these downand then go on to add the harmony. To do thishe had to bring his own understanding, both ofmusic and of Gurdjieff's vision. What I foundremarkable was that de Hartmann understoodalmost instantly what was needed. You see verylittle change between the rough draft and thefinal version. Also remarkable, in the earlycompositions the melody was taken down witha rhythm indicated and then it was developedin a second draft. In the later pieces all the elementswere already there on the first pagemelody,harmony and rhythm. As de Hartmanntook down the melody he could already hearthe harmonic progression.This would suggest that some kind of evolution;frmason & 1!}amlinDiscover whyMason & Hamlin pianos ~,are referred to as -~"The World's Finest" .t.l -~h~'frCharles Ketchamtt'ho were Gurdjieff and de Hartmann?One has to start with Gurdjieff, who from myperspective is best revealed in the film, "Meetingswith Remarkable Men," a man who had avery deep search for the meaning of life, whywe are here, what is our purpose. This questionwas so intense for him that he, with a fewothers who felt the same, tried to search forthe origins of that knowledge, and through thatsearch found real knowledge preserved in differentparts of the world. He brought this to thewest in 1913, when he settled in Moscow andthen, about ten years later, in Paris. What hasevolved since, of course, is a teaching and centresaround the world, where people with similarquestions continue the lineage of those whowere closest to him. He died in Paris in 1949.His closest pupil, Jeanne de Salzmann, continuedhis work with the other people who werearound him, forming groups in different partsN OVEMBER 1 - D ECEMBER 7 2008L'RRESTRICTED TOLimited Production built by handusing only the finest materialsFor an appointment to see and play Canada's largest selection(all models !) of new Mason & Hamlin grand pianos you are invitedto call 1-866-631-6696 or email willem@masonhamlin.cawww.masonhamlin.caWWW. TH EWHOLENOTE.COM 11

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