8 years ago

Volume 14 - Issue 8 - May 2009

Concert Note: Christina

Concert Note: Christina Petrowska Quilicowill launch this CD on Tuesday, May 12 inGlenn Gould Studio with performances of themusic of Ann Southam.Fazil Say - 1001 Nights in the HaremPatricia Kopatchinskaja; LuzernerSinfonieorchester; John AxelrodNaïve V5147 ( Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Sayhas achieved great success in both classicaland jazz fields, with frequent concert hall andjazz festival appearances and a discographyranging from Bach to Stravinsky. As an accompanist,he toured with Maxim Vengerovin 2004, and in 2006 formed a duo partnershipwith the Moldovan violinist PatriciaKopatchinskaja.His violin concerto was written for Kopatchinskaja,and this CD is a live recordingof the world premiere performance in Lucernein February 2008. It is a very accessibleand extremely satisfying four-movementwork, the title ofwhich suggests thatin this particularmeeting of Eastand West the ‘East’is going to be thedominant partner,as indeed it is.Turkish percussioninstrumentsadd colour to a rich and warm orchestralscore full of sensuous oriental sonorities thatreaches its peak in a wonderfully lyrical thirdmovement.Kopatchinskaja interprets the music superbly,with great support from Axelrod andthe LSO. This is one concerto I’ll be playingover and over again.Three other works by Say complete thedisc. Patara, a quartet for soprano, ney flute,piano and percussion that was originally aballet, and Alla turca Jazz, for piano, areboth built on material from Mozart’s A majorPiano Sonata K331, while SummertimeVariations is Say’s third arrangement of theGershwin song, here conceived as a dazzlingsolo piece suitable for use in both his classicaland jazz appearances.Terry Robbins52JAZZ AND IMPROVISEDSarah Vaughan Live in Japan:The Complete EditionSarah VaughanJazz Lips JL758Sarah Lois Vaughan (1924-1990) branded asingular singing style that will never go outof style. Whether the song was traditional ormodern, dramatic or humorous, at the coreof each performance was an exquisitely controlled,astonishing voice that spanned overfour octaves. For her operatic instrumentshe was called “The Divine One” whereas“Sassy” was a moniker for her personalitybefore, during and especially after the gig.“Live in Japan” isa worthy re-issuewhich finds the DivineOne in heavenlyform, backedby her swingingtrio: Carl Schroederon piano, JohnGianelli on bassand Jimmy Cobb atthe drums. Pushing fifty, she was in supremevoice and apparently a jovial mood to boot.At the Sun Plaza Hall in Tokyo in Septemberof ’73, the audience ate it all up and cravedmore. The Nearness of You is a rare 7-minutetreat with Vaughan accompanying herselfon the piano, while Summertime is treatedlike a true aria and the last note of Over theRainbow inhabits 17 seconds. Similarly,the ballad renditions of ‘Round Midnight, IRemember You and My Funny Valentine showoff Sassy’s masterful approach to vibrato.Musically very savvy, Vaughan was a smartimproviser: There is No Greater Love beginswith three separate scat duets with drums,bass and piano; memorable wordless chorusesmake up I’ll Remember April, All of Me andThe Blues which showcase the rhythm section.The requested encore Bye Bye Blackbirdis a surprisingly joyous, swingin’ blast. In2006, the Library of Congress honoured thisalbum by adding it to the United States NationalRecording Registry. Formerly a costlyebay item, the complete edition retails for including good liner notes, an interview,photographs and a bonus track. Alternately,one can find this concert on iTunes, issuedunder Mainstream Records.Ori DaganExtended PlaySampling Soundscapesby Ken WaxmanCreating musical sounds without instrumentshas become widespread ever sincethe availability of first the portable taperecorder and then the lap top computer.Melding oscillations created with softwareplus amplifications of so-called found sounds,often re-mixed, these soundscapes are notablefor their subtle mixture of foreground andbackground.Canadians – especially Québécois – havebeen particularly proficient in this sort ofcomposing, as these CDs demonstrate. Sohave Europeans, which is why Habitat (CreativeSources CS 105 CD), by the Germandis.playce duo provides an interesting contrastto the Canadians’ work. For comparison,both that CD and Victoriaville MatièreSonore (Victo cd 0113) created by eightsound designers – Francisco López, LouisDufort, Chantal Dumas, A_Dontigny, SteveHeimbecker, Mathieu Lévesque, Hélène Prévostand Tomas Phillips – are audio portraitsof specific places.Geographical reflection is also involvedin Bill Gilonis’ and Chantale Laplante’sZürich-Bamberg (AD HOC 22) and ÉricNormand’s Vente de Bagages - Volume Un(Tour de Bras TDB 3001), but these collaborationsexpose another electronic musicvariant. Montrealer Laplante and LondonerGilonis, then living in cities which give thedisc its title, collaborate on sound collagesby tweaking individual audio files sent to oneanother. Rimouski-based Normand followsthe collaborativepattern, althoughthe found soundshe alters originatedin different Europeancities and inMontreal.Hélène Prévost,one of Normand’saudio pen-pals,is the only person represented on two CDs;and that’s appropriate. One of the doyennesof auditory creation, her contributions fitindividual situations in which they are placed.Matière Sonore’s VSM for instance, suggesta story line with muffled male and femalevoices, a ticking clock and sirens interminglingwith rumbling hisses, blurry rustlesand reverberated intonation traceable backto computer programming. On Vente deBagages however (,the bed track of static intonation and hissfrom her side is reconfigured with audioeffects and stutters created and equalized bythe noises produced with a microphone heldin Normand’s mouth. This overt physicalityand evident sonic building blocks is what distinguishesNormand’s sound postcards fromthe other discs. On another track, his circularcackles, cries and cock-a-doodle-doos expandthe quicksilver squeaks and tremolo fluttersproduced by the brass mouthpiece and valvesmanipulation of Toulouse-resident SébastienCirotteau.Organized by Spanish sound artist FranciscoLópez to create an audio portrait ofVictoriaville, Quebec, Matière Sonore’ssoundscape is more anonymous and selfless( Sequentially panningacross the aural landscape of the city whichhosts an annual experimental music festival,private and public spaces are exposed andtransformed. Particular starting points aremixed electronically and are simultaneouslylinked and divorced from sources. LouisDufort’s materio _***, for example, featuressnatches of gull caws and dog yelps, followedby slithery organ-like riffs and otherworldlyshrills, and preceded by ring modulatorechoes, plus swellingblurry thumps.Meanwhile ChantalDumas tells herstory on s/t w/t2 with intonationfrom spectralrailway-crossingpeals, thunderw w w .t h e w h o l e n o t e.c o m Ma y 1 – Ju n e 7 2009

claps and people shouting, plus radio dialtwisting that locates and loses snatches ofrecorded music. She ends with door slammingsounds.Coincidentally Zürich-Bamberg ( begins with the soundsof a door opening,follow by quiveringpiano strings.Completed by acouple of tracksof solo Laplantethat alternateprolonged silenceswith fortissimo,stop-time abrasionsand echoes, the CD’s key manipulatedcollages are These 12 Minutes and the titletrack. Undulating, intermittent oral gasps topan undercurrent of foot steps on the former.Eventually the textures are redirectedtogether as backwards-running beats. Sliversof English, French and German phrases studthe title track as these disembodied voicesphilosophize, hector and promote. Alsoaudible are intercut disconnected waves ofmelodic, hard-rock and Arab music thatoccasionally reveal simple guitar licks ordrum patterns. Surmounting this are furtherprocessed sounds which originate in fallingrain, whistling birds, draining sinks andidling engines. The result is both descriptiveand disconcerting.So too is Habitat ( by German electronicsmanipulators Maximilian Marcoll andHannes Galette Seidl to be site-specific, thetracks rely on recordings made in Frankfurtor Karlsruhe of the scratches, yowls,squeaks and criesthat reflect thosecities’ passingstreetscapes. Panningacross thesonic panorama,found sounds arecaptured at closerange or at a distance,sometimesdrawing away from the mikes as definition isestablished. As electronics distort the actualitieswith soothing watery squishes, flangedwoodpecker-like clatter or rumbling cheepsand buzzes, the process becomes nearly hypnoticin its regularity.Very much of its own place and style, thisEuropean CD confirms Canadians’ inventionand pre-eminence in this particular version ofsonic art.POT POURRILaterHeidi LangeIndependent ( Heidi Lange has flownin under the radar to drop her debut CD,“Later”. While Lange has spent most of hermusical career teaching and directing musicals,her own solo performing career hasn’tbeen high on herlist of priorities.But as a songwritershe felt compelled– by personal loss,as is so often thecase with songwriters– to get thesesongs out. The dischas two handfulsof tunes, only a few of which are covers, andnary a done-to-death standard in sight. Thegenre is hard to pinpoint – cabaret and soulwith a touch of jazz - seem to be the biggestinfluences. The original tunes have a certaincomforting familiarity to them. Any TimeSoon is an old school R&B lament for a lostlove, with appropriately yearning sax workby Pat Carey, and My Own is a gospelinspiredanthem to female independence, withstately accompaniment by brilliant pianistRobi Botos.Lange has a warm and expressive voicethat is at its best on the quieter, more controlledpieces which are predominant here.So her cover of Stevie Wonder’s TuesdayHeartbreak, which calls for more freedomand funkiness, sounds strained and out ofthe comfort zone for her and some of theband – with the exception of Colin Barrett’srelaxed, solid bass work, which holdsit together. While the other covers, GloomySunday – complete with Hammond organ bykeyboardist Peter Kadar – and Snuggled onYour Shoulder fit like a glove.Cathy RichesSunplaceJaffa RoadIndependent JR0001( 25 saw Toronto’s Lula Lounge atoverflow capacity, a lively party atmosphereon the occasion of the release of Jaffa Road'sfirst CD. While this band is relatively newon the world music scene, its musicians arenot. Jaffa Road, a Jewish-pop band rooted intradition, not only takes its place alongsidethe likes of Toronto’s other fusion groups,such as the Arabic–Greek ensemble MazaMezé, and Indian–Jazz ensembles Autorickshawand Tasa, it also shares some of theirmusicians. “Sunplace” opens with a tablariff delivered by Ravi Naimpally, and theCD features other well-known guest artistsor regulars, Dr. George Sawa (qanoon),Ernie Tollar (eastern flutes), Chris McKhool(violin), Chris Gartner (bass, guitar), SundarViswanathan (sax), Jeff Wilson (percussion,kalimba, etc.), and co-producer/composerAaron Lightstone(oud, guitars, saz,synthesizers).The star of thisrecording is howevervocalist AvivaChernick, whosings in Hebrew,English and Judeo-Spanish (Ladino).Also no stranger to Toronto's music scene,Chernick has previously released a CD withThe Huppah Project, as well as her solorecording, “In the Sea” (see“Sunplace” is a collection ofsongs, either newly composed to traditionaltexts, or arrangements of traditional songs,and a couple of entirely new ones. Theopening number is a call to peace, basedon the phrase from Isaiah “nation shall notlift up sword against nation, nor shall theylearn war any more”. The CD’s title trackMakom Shemesh (sun place) evokes a desertlandscape. Be’er Besade is a lively tune from1950’s Israel. Im Ninalu, a traditional Yemenitemelody, was first made popular (to myknowledge) by the late Yemenite-Israeli popsinger Ofra Haza; the version here opens withan introduction by Cantor Aaron Bensoussan.Love songs include the traditional LadinoUna Ora en la Ventana, and a new compositionbased on the Hebrew Song of Songs,(open the night for me) which closes this recording.Chernick and the band give polishedperformances throughout.Karen AgesOLD WINE INNEW BOTTLESFine Old Recordings Re-releasedBy Bruce SurteesLast December’s Gramophone magazinefeatured an evaluation of The World’s20 Greatest Orchestras according to theWorld’s Leading Critics. Third was TheVienna Philharmonic, second was The BerlinPhilharmonic and at the top of the list, TheRoyal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Theirchief conductoris Mariss Jansonswho succeededRicardo Chailly.That orchestra hasissued Volume5, 1980-1990, ofAnthology of theRoyal ConcertgebouwOrchestra,the penultimate set in their collection of asix decade’s worth of live performances(RCO 08005 14CDs and 84 page booklet).Conductors include Giulini, Kondrashin,Jochum, Haitink, Järvi, Sanderling, Chailly,Harnoncourt, Leinsdorf, de Waart, ColinDavis, Bernstein, Ivan Fischer, Dohnanyi,Dutoit, Albrecht, and others. One of themany highlights is Kirill Kondrashin withthe most persuasive performance of Rachmaninov’sSecond Symphony ever. I haveumpteen versions from Vladimir Sokoloff’s1928 Cleveland to the new Ashkenazy fromthe Sydney Symphony’s 2007 RachmaninovFestival, but Kondrashin surpasses themall in overall shaping and balance, with aluxuriously self-indulgent first movement.While there are several popular worksincluded; Tchaikovsky’s Sixth and The PoemMa y 1 – Ju n e 7 2009 w w w .t h e w h o l e n o t e.c o m53

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