8 years ago

Volume 14 - Issue 8 - May 2009


May’s Children are ...... the boys of summer!J and J will team up for an elegantJuly double-header launching thefourth year of a Toronto summerfestival.Left: circa 1985 in Brandon,Manitoba: From ash topernambuco: this young champtraded his bat for a bow, butremains a die-hard Red Sox fan.Right: circa 1966 in Vancouver,BC: “This is a very nice bowl, butwhere is the sushi? Beam me up,Scotty.”Think you know who MAY’s children are?Send your best guess to provide your mailing address, just in case your name is drawn!)Winners will be selected by random draw among correct replies received by May 20, 2009.Congratulations to our APRIL winners!Shawn Kazubowski-Houston (Peterborough) and Laura Hartenberger (Toronto) eachwin a pair of tickets to hear Ponds, Creeks, Soundstill and Noisy River: ChristinaPetrowska Quilico plays the music of Ann Southam (May 12) at The Glenn Gould Studio,in memory of visual artist Aiko Suzuki and in recognition of the work of The David SuzukiFoundation. At a reception following the concert, the Canadian Music Centre launches theCD Pond Life , Petrowska Quilico’s 22nd CD, her sixth on the Centrediscs label.Rob Mosher (Astoria, NY) will receive the CD Pond Life (Centrediscs CMCCD 14109)Ann Southam’s Rivers, and additional new river-inspired pieces composed for pianistChristina Petrowska Quilico: this two-CD set is a world premiere recording supervised bythe composer.Neil Martinez (Etobicoke) will receive INGS (Welspringe 10009)A two CD collection of live performances recorded by the CBC. Christina PetrowskaQuilico plays works by Ann Southam, Gavin Bryars, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez,David Jaeger, Alexina Louie, Toru Takemitsu, Lowell Liebermann, Henry Cowell, DavidDel Tredici, Frederick Rzewski, Masamitsu Takahashi, Bill Westcott, Art Tatum, and OmarDaniel.Music’s Children gratefully acknowledges Linda Litwack, Moira Johnson, the CanadianMusic Centre, Liz, Barbara, and Keiko.MarketPlace: EducationSinging LessonsSing with technical ease and vocal beautyOpera – Pops – Broadwaywww.JanetCatherineDea.comcall now: (416) 429-4502Book Shelfby Pamela MarglesSecret Agent: The Selected Journals andLetters of Harry Somersedited by William Scoular352 pages, photos; .00available from the Canadian Music CentreThree weeks before HarrySomers died, he wrote in hisjournal, “I list my occupationas secret agent. Whenever I’vebeen caught & it’s been frequently,I confess to anything& everything. ‘Yes, yes,’ Iconfess, escaping all torture.‘You are a traditional conservativecomposer?’ ‘YES.’ ‘You are an eclectic?’‘Oh YES.’ ‘You have been at times an avantgarde composer?’ ‘I’ll sign the paper!’ ‘You’reold hat?!’ ‘Yes. Yes. A beat up old hat.’”No-one except Somers himself could havecome up with this. That’s what makes thesejournals and letters so remarkable. Somers alwaysstood out for his elegance, wit, charm,forthrightness and passionate dedication. Wenow have a whole new dimension on him – histhoughts, his feelings, his worries, and evenwhat he read and listened to.Somers’ wife Barbara Chilcott and the editorWilliam Scoular have done a Herculean job ofassembling and editing the diaries and letters,written on scraps of paper over a period of 30years. Their importance makes it all the moredesirable that the next step be taken to havethem fully annotated and indexed.Certain situations need explaining, such aswhat happened in 1965 that would provokeSomers to curse ‘the commonwealth’, ‘theQueen’, ‘Ozawa’, ‘Walter Hamburger’ (sic),‘Bright’s champagne’, ‘the government’ and‘Irving Glick’, all in one breath? Important figureslike E. Robert Schmitz need to be identified.Names like ‘gord rainor’, ‘Milhoud’, and‘Crumm’, misspelled by Somers - whether inadvertentlyor on purpose - should have theirproper spelling noted. What annotations thereare, given in square brackets in the text, are notalways accurate. The published journal reads,“I remember Krenek [president of the USSR’scomposers’ union] referring to Copland as superficial.”But here Somers is surely referring tothe Austrian composer Ernst Krenek, not theSoviet composer Tikhon Khrennikov, who wasSomers’ dinner companion when he visited theUSSR in 1976.MarketPlace: Professional46 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COMMAY 1 – JUNE 7 2009

Somers’ speculations about writing an autobiographycome up constantly in these pages.“There are many sides of many things I’ve notspoken of,” he wrote in 1995. Fortunately heleft this candid, fascinating journal, and alongwith his letters, it makes an essential contributionto the cultural life of this country. A terrificcollection of photos and a DVD containingclips of TV and documentary interviews givereaders a sense of his physical presence.The People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s SovietYearsby Simon MorrisonOxford University Press504 pages, photos; .95If the secret agent who figuresin Harry Somers’ journal wasa romanticized fantasy, the secretagents in Prokofiev’s lifewere real, nasty, and dangerous– from the Russian émigrécellist in Hollywood whomade sure Prokofiev returnedto the Soviet Union, to the malicioushead of the Union of Soviet Composers,Tikhon Khrennikov, who Somers had foundto be “terribly kind” when he met him in Moscow.This brilliant chronicle of Prokofiev’s finalyears focuses on why he returned to what wasnow the Soviet Union, and how that irrevocablemove affected his life and music. “Hethought to influence Soviet cultural policy,”writes Morrison, “but instead it influencedhim.”Morrison explores how Prokofiev’s ambition,vanity, and naiveté led him to his fatefuldecision. It’s clear from his diaries (now beingpublished in English) that he missed his homeland.But he was lured by offers of performancesand money. Morrison considers the influenceof his fervent Christian Science spiritualism,which likely prevented him from seeingthe repression, incarcerations and murders ofartists that were occurring regularly in the SovietUnion under Stalin.Yet he shows thatProkofiev in fact had some sense of the personaland artistic freedom he would be sacrificing.In any case, as soon as he had moved hiswife Lina and their two sons from Paris toMoscow, he could only travel abroad withLina if he left his two sons behind. By 1938,neither he nor Lina was allowed to leave at all.But as difficult as things gradually becamefor Prokofiev, they were far worse for Lina,who was not even Russian. First, Prokofievleft her for a young admirer, and then, whenshe tried to leave the USSR, she ended upspending years in Soviet camps on fabricatedcharges of treason.Morrison is a Canadian scholar now teachingat Princeton. He has made full use of his unprecedentedaccess to unpublished documentsand scores now in the Russian State Archives.Morrison’s meticulous endnotes and indexmakes this detailed biography accessible, andhis elegant writing style makes it thoroughlyengrossing to read.Leonard Bernstein: American Originaledited by Burton Bernstein and Barbara B.HawsHarperCollins240 pages, photos; .95For years, Leonard Bernstein’sfather Sam pressuredhis musically precociouseldest son to go into thefamily beauty-supplies business.Later he defendedhimself by saying, “Howcould I know he would grow up to be a LeonardBernstein?” As his father had finally figuredout, Leonard Bernstein was an original.But no-one could live up to the title of thisbook and be a “modern renaissance man” who“transformed music and the world” – not evenMarketPlace: Home – Food – Recording ServicesPASQUALE BROS. “Quality since 1917”Cheeses from around the world,meats, groceries, dry goodsgift baskets...Everything you needfor reception planning.416-364-7397www.pasqualebros.com16 Goodrich Rd., Etobicoke(south of Bloor, west off Islington)Email: 1 800 664-0430this charismatic conductor, composer, writerand educator. Fortunately the ten essays in thisbook are less starry-eyed and more incisivethan the title would suggest. Together, they offera well-balanced portrait of a complex figure.There’s an eloquent memoir by music criticAlan Rich, who admits to often being hard onBernstein, mostly for ignoring contemporarymusic. Historian Paul Boyer discusses howBernstein added a political dimension to hisrole as conductor of the New York Philharmonic.Like Prokofiev, he believed that art notonly reflects but influences social reality. Hisoutspoken support for issues such as civil liberties,environmental protection and worldpeace was considered so audacious at the timethat he ended up with an FBI file almost 700pages long.Unlike the Soviet composer, he did achievesome influence. But, as his younger brotherBurton Bernstein writes in one of his memorablechapter-by-chapter commentaries, he paid aprice – in the press at least – for what hisbrother considers his naiveté. American composerJohn Adams offers the perspective of ayoung man first discovering Bernstein. “Ithought I’d found the model for what the futureof classical music in America would be,”he writes.The splendid photos and documents enrichthe texts. My favorite photo, from 1970,shows Bernstein in leisure clothes coaching hisbaseball team, the Philharmonic Penguins. Besidehim, watching intently in his baseball uniformand cap, is his protégé Seiji Ozawa, whowould have just finished his stint as conductorof the Toronto Symphony.The Toronto Symphony performs two works byBernstein, Three Dance Episodes from On theTown, and Symphonic Dances from West SideStory, on May 13 at 8:00 and May 14 at 2:00.Bernstein’s West Side Story is on stage atthe Stratford Festival from June 5 until October31.MAY 1 – JUNE 7 2009 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM47

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