6 years ago

Volume 14 - Issue 6 - March 2009

idiom. His predominantly

idiom. His predominantly serious mood issometimes relieved with humorous piecesshowing Kodaly's lighter side that later becameso irresistible in his famous Rary Janossingspiel.In the 7 pieces , Op.11 one can see how muchKodaly developed in less than 10 years. Themesare more meaningful, full of feeling and theideas previously experimented with have becomeintegrated into the music 's message.Some of the pieces are based on haunting, lamentingmelodies of Transylvania, that foreboding,mysterious region of the Carpathians wheremuch of Kodaly's research took place. MsKenedi's firm, authoritative hands are mostimpressive in No.18 Rubato where she carriesthe assertive, long melodic line with wonderfulatmosphere. The piece de resistance is the wellknown Dances of Marosszek ( 1927) in its originalversion, a formidably difficult, colourfulbravura piece that reminds me of Liszt's pianotranscriptions. Here Kenedi pulls out all thestops and brings this disc to an exciting close.Perhaps due to the recording, some harshtones are noticeable that detract from the otherwisevery fine performances.Janos GardonyiRemembered VoicesRalitsa Tcholakova; Elaine KeillorCarleton Sound CSCD-1012As a violin and piano recording , this one isimmediately evident as being at the top of thegenre. Performers are first rate, and playingwith a passion. Audio production is unusuallywell done, with none ofthe bizarre qualities onefinds so often nowadays ,either of the violinistsounding as if she islarger than the accompanist,or the listener being l~i~l-~Jright inside the piano.Excellent choices were made for the musicon this CD, with special emphasis on Bulgarianiconic figure Pantcho Vladiguerov , who isrepresented by the Chant from his largerBulgarian Suite , the widely-known RhapsodyVardar , a Humoreske, plus an encore arrangementof Dinicu 's Hora Staccato.Tcholakova and Keillor show an admirablecommitment to Canadian repertoire, beginningwith Gena Branscombe's unjustly neglectedA minor Sonata, well represented inthis performance. Violet Archer's Fantasyand Prelude and the Prelude and Allegro areequally well served. But the best is saved forlast: we get to hear the violin version of thelate Patrick Cardy's Liessel, Suse, l/ze, andGerda, and Mary Gardiner's monumentalRemembered Voices , here finally blossomingin a hall vastly superior to the HeliconianClub.The Glenn Gould Studio's hand-pickedSteinway is on its best behaviour. No fewerthan three sound engineers did the microphonewizardry. All photos are posed, withnone showing the actual recording sessions.An excellent CD.John S. Gray58Manhattan MusicCanadian Brass; Eastman Wind EnsembleOpening Day Records OD 7368The Eastman Wind Ensemble(EWE) is a celebratedstudent ensembleat the University ofRochester with a traditionof very high standardshoned through extensiverehearsals. Tuba player Chuck Dallenbachof the Canadian Brass was a student atthe Eastman School of Music in the 1960s,where he shared lodgings with the producer ofthis recent souvenir album , fellow tubist Dixonvan Winkle.The title track , British composer and conductorBramwell Tovey's Manhattan Music, is abrash and bountiful set of seven variationswhich somehow manages to hang together quitenicely. Originally commissioned for the CanadianBrass, Tovey has recast the work for windensemble since leading the premiere with theVancouver Symphony in 2005. A subsequentsuite carved from Leonard Bernstein's controversialMass wrests the most attractive sectionsof music from this sadly dated 1971 work, whilesparing us the cringe-worthy theatrical scenario.The arrangement by Michael Sweeneyhighlights the quintet most effectively. RayburnWright's Shaker Suite tills the familiar groundappropriated long ago by Aaron Copland butfalls short of Copland's level of inspiration. JeffTyck's eclectic, over-the-top New York Otyscapesuite brings the proceedings to an appropriatelyrambunctious close. Mark Scatterdayconducts the fine-sounding, slightly slap-happyensemble with vigour.The perplexing liner notes include a pleonasticencomium touting the virtues of the 1950sMercury record label (marketer of some twodozen EWE Frederick Fennell albums back intheir glory days) and a stint of shameless pimpingfor the founders of ArkivMusic, who, itseems, will bum you a copy of this disc for afee should you happen to hear of it.Daniel FoleyOppens plays Carter - Elliott Carter at 100The Complete Piano MusicUrsula OppensCedille CDR 90000108In 1997 Charles Rosenrecorded all of ElliottCarter's piano music fora disc called "The CompleteMusic for Piano".At that time, the composerwas over ninety yearsold. Now, some ten. -"'.:,):)io~'pp' ENS ' pla .~. ,··,'~.' ·.•·.T.. ER~r ;:· ·'i, . .· . i,,· ... •.~•'':,d/­~l'·-·....,\._,"_ ·. 4~ -~years later, Ursula Oppens offers "The CompletePiano Music" , with six new works. Allshorter than the earlier pieces, none is a masterworklike Night Fantasies. But what they lackin monumentality , they compensate for inwarmth and charm, especially the lovelyMatribute and the ebulliently virtuosicCatenaires. Both are recorded here for the firsttime.Oppens has long been recognized as a singu-WWW. TH EWHOLEN OT E. COMlarly eloquent interpreter of contemporarymusic. She has worked closely with Carter formany years, and was one of the four pianistsresponsible for commissioning Night Fantasies ,along with Rosen, Paul Jacobs and GilbertKalish. In fact , she gave the premiere performanceat the Bath Festival in 1980.Oppens' luminous performances of Mozartpiano concertos with Mark Morris' dancetroupe during last summer 's Luminato Festivalin Toronto attested to the breadth of her musicalscope. This stands her in good stead here as sheilluminates Carter's complex textures withmusical insight, revealing the poetry in thisexpressive music. This is a disc to treasure, andwould serve as a fine introduction to a seminalcomposer of our time.Carter just turned one hundred, and is stillcomposing brilliantly - a miracle of creativeactivity surely unmatched in the history of music.I hope the next complete piano recordingoffers even more new works.Pamela MarglesNicole Lizee - This Will Not Be TelevisedVarious artistsCentrediscs CMCCD 13508Not all CDs were createdequal. This CD wipesa smile across my beard.After listening to it overand over, it's apparent:Nicole Lizee knows thegood stuff. I began doinganthropological studies byhaving this recording playing in the backgroundand watching people's reactions. What I deducedis that "This is not background music"could have been an easy alternate title to "ThisWill Not be Televised".The title composition is a wonderfully creepymusical adventure. The music goes in so manyinteresting directions. In the liner notes of this2008 Centrediscs release, it's mentioned thatthis piece was named a Top 10 recommendedwork at the 2008 International Rostrum of Composers.I would agree that this piece sets the barfor great contemporary music!The piece RPM blends turntables with alarger orchestra. I love this sound, and I thinkthe symphony orchestras of the future shouldmake it standard to include an entire turntablesection. It's very difficult to describe the magicalcombination of turntables and ensemble thatLizee has achieved. It is obvious that everysample she uses is carefully chosen and appropriatelyplaced. I love the sense of play in thismusic, from the live mimicking of skippingrecords, to the nostalgic use of cheesy 1980sheavy metal albums . When I close my eyes, alot of this music is the soundtrack to the cartoonin my mind.Girl You 're Living a Life of Crime is a popbasedpiece, reminding the listener that thecomposer is also a multi-instrumentalist in thesuccessful Montreal pop outfit Besnard Lakes.This piece certainly is not a standard pop tunethough as it messes with the idea of tape-splicingand in the end the musicians create a shakyostinato and eventually drive it off a cliff.F EBRUAR Y 7 - M ARCH 7 2009

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