7 years ago

Volume 15 Issue 6 - March 2010

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • April
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Symphony
  • Orchestra
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  • Concerts
  • Concerto

granulated rubs and

granulated rubs and rattles, sharp ruggedsmacks and motorized rasps with beneathhearing-levelclatter and hisses to reveal texturesranging from stallion-like whinnies toforte ostinatos replicating a dentist’s drill. Bythe climax of Cave 12 they create a doublecounterpointshowcase. The piece weavesvinyl needle rips, frenzied buzzes, static vibrating,video-game-like clanking and nearhumancries into a neat package of harmonicinterface, as multi-textural as it is percussive.Pierre-Yves Martel and Philippe Lauzieralso mix electro and acoustic timbres – andmore – on their CD Sainct Laurens (&records06 AlthoughMontrealer Lauzierconfines himselfto saxophoneand bass clarinet,Martel, wholives in Montrealand Paris, suggests17th Centurymusic atpoints, since heplays the viola da gamba. He’s thoroughlymodern elsewhere, preparing his instrumentwith speakers, contact mics and radios.The nine tracks range from lyrical showcaseswhere Lauzier’s wide woodwind warblesbrush up against sympathetic Renaissancestyledstring vibrations; to abrasive and grittyscrapes, squeaks and flanges from Martel’sextended strings that contrast with intense,horizontal split-tones from the saxophonist.Defiantly multiphonic, the most characteristictrack is Adda. It matches altissimo bassclarinet squeals with animal-like burrowingscratches plus droning oscillations from theplectrumist. Swelling into a cornucopia ofstifled reed split tones and pinched stringbuzzes, the piece rends the sound space withboth high and low-pitches before the distinctiveparts meld.Saxophonist Michael Blake’s and drummerKresten Osgood’s Control This (CleanFeed CF 136 CD a characteristic track as well,which is as postmodernas it istraditional. DukeEllington’s CreoleLove Call isre-imagined bythe Copenhagenbasedpercussionist’shanddrummedruffs,flams and back-beat bounces complementingoverdubbed soprano, alto and tenor saxophonetimbres from the Vancouverite-turnedNew Yorker. Layering his output so eachreed is distinctively harmonized – and simultaneouslyin focus – Blake’s overall thematicvariation is grainy and tough, with onehorn honking, another mellow and the thirdalways in the altissimo range. Reed workon others of the seven tracks ranges frombreathy and romantic to flat-line flutters tojolly dance-like, as Osgood’s patterning encompassesbass drum whaps and cymbal rattles.In sync throughout on Elephants areAfraid of Mice, the two demonstrate how thedrummer’s rim shots and press rolls don’tdisrupt, but extend Blake’s variants whichencompass spetrofluctuation and body-tubeechoes on soprano plus dense repeated tenorsaxophone trills.Two can be the most accommodating numberin music as these discs prove.POT POURRIDiasporaBrigaBriga & Bahtalo Records( product ofMontreal’s multiculturalmusicscene, and formerlywith Les Gitansde Sarajevo andRembetika Hipsters,Briga (BrigitteDajczer),launched her debutsolo project “Diaspora” in 2009, with recentperformances in Toronto and Kingston. Thisaccomplished violinist presents a lively andvaried mix of Balkan pop/jazz, gypsy styleviolin, and song, on two CD’s with a back-upband of equally polished musicians on keyboards,accordion, drums, various traditionalpercussion, and bass. The first disc is completelyinstrumental, and here Briga shinesas either composer or arranger of most of thetracks, as well as exuberant violin virtuoso,displaying extraordinary technique and passion.By contrast, the second disc is a collectionof songs, all but one (Les Paul’s Johnny,Tu n’es pas un Ange) with lyrics and musicby Briga, in English and French. While hersinging is not as developed yet as her violinplaying (her intonation is not always spot on),there is obvious talent here, both as singerand songwriter. And she still plays violin onthe vocal tracks, though it’s not clear whetherthis is simultaneous or overdubbed.One fault of this CD set is the lack of detailedliner notes; though the musicians andtheir instruments are named, and song lyricsare provided, there are no bios, nor anybackground information on the music itself,nor translations of the lyrics. Nevertheless,this is a praiseworthy first release by an artistworth following. Notable also is the stellardarbuka playing by Tacfarinas Kichouthroughout.Karen AgesNosSambacanaIndependent SACANA 001(’ve discoveredthat there are twotypes of Brazilianmusicians in ourmidst - those thatare born in Braziland adopt Canadaas their homeand those that arefrom here and becomeutterly smitten with this incredibly richmusical culture. And when the two groups ofpeople come together the results can be marvellous,as traditional Brazilian styles are flavouredwith North American sounds. Sambacanais just one of a number of examplesof these hybrids in Toronto and the drivingforce behind the band is Alan “Canadense”Hetherington.Hetherington is an in-demand percussionist,drummer, educator and leader of a numberof groups including Escola de Samba deToronto, a large percussion ensemble modelledafter the massive bands that are prolificthroughout Brazil and hit the streets at Carnavaltime. The other core members of Sambacana- John Yelland, bass, Wagner Petrilli,guitars, Luis Guerra, piano and keys, AlineMorales, vocals - and a dozen guests bringa range of styles and skills to “Nos”. So weget what amounts to a sampler of Brazilianmusical styles, mainly from the northeast regions. Amor Transcendental is a gorgeous,meditative bossa nova written by CibelleIglesias; Dança de Vida, an instrumentalfeaturing Bob Deangelis on clarinet, hastouches of choro and jazz; Neve is a fun pagodelament about snow, and Molho de H.P.(HP Sauce) is a complex tribute to the geniusBrazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal. Thisbeautiful disc and information about severalBrazilian groups can be found on the websitenoted above.Cathy RichesOLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLESFine Old Recordings Re-releasedBy Bruce SurteesLast summer there was a memorable concertin Toronto featuring Menahem Presslerand friends. Now 86 years of age, Presslerretains his dexterity, musical sensitivity andperfect ensemble.Not many ofhis fans rememberor even know thatbefore the BeauxArts Trio, Presslerhad an illustriouscareer includingnumerous guestappearances with60 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COMMarch 1 - April 7, 2010

many of the world’s finest orchestras. Circa1950, dozens of solo recordings and concertoswere available on LP, including works byMozart, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky,Grieg, Shostakovich and others. DOREMIhas begun restoring many of these early recordingsto CD, beginning with an all Mendelssohndisc (DHR-7889). The MendelssohnFirst Concerto in a vivacious, sparklingperformance conducted by Hans Swarowsky,is followed by an enthusiastic reading of thePiano Sextet opus 110 where Pressler is accompaniedby a string ensemble led by violinistDaniel Guilet, who was to become afounding member of the Beaux Arts Trio.This performance foreshadows the emergenceof Pressler as the consummate chambermusician. Delightful performances followof the Six Children’s Pieces Op.72; the VariationsSérieuses Op.54 and the happy RondoCapriccioso Op.14. Good sound.An impressive release from Archipel (ARP-CD 0433, 2 CDs) features the completeBeethoven concertgiven by theLucerne FestivalOrchestra conductedby Herbertvon Karajanon August 27,1955 with WolfgangSchneiderhanplayingthe violin concerto.Schneiderhan, born in Vienna in 1915,was an all round musician; soloist, chambermusician and concert master of the ViennaPhilharmonic from 1937 until 1951. Bestknown as a soloist via his many recordingson DG, his technical command of his instrumentwas blended with old time charm andon this live occasion he is in top form. Supportedby Karajan he offers a most engagingand sweeping performance. The concert beginswith the Coriolan Overture and concludeswith an all-stops-out, energised performanceof the Seventh Symphony. As abonus Karajan and the Philharmonia playthe Mozart 39th Symphony in Salzburg in1956. Excellent sound and exciting dynamicsthroughout. A fine document.The French label TAHRA has a new CD,“Le Violon en Fête!” (TAH 692) featuringtwo fine violinistsof the past. Itopens with a sublimeversion ofthe Brahms ViolinConcerto played byNathan Milsteinwith the LucerneFestival Orchestraunder Herbert vonKarajan, recorded live on 17 August, 1957.We find the great Milstein on ‘a very goodday’. A sublime treat, not exactly unexpectedfrom this legendary player, whose flawlessplaying is well supported by Karajan and theFestival Orchestra, an inspired, if not ‘perfect’ensemble. The Sibelius concerto followsplayed by Bronislaw Gimpel with theBerlin Philharmonic under Eugene Jochumrecorded live on 21/22 April 1956. Gimpeldid not have as brilliant a career as Milsteinbut based on the evidence presented here,he should have had. This is an exciting performanceexhibiting immaculate musicianship,lush sororities and perfect intonation.Jochum was not known as a Sibelius conductorbut his support is echt Sibelius. The soundon this disc is clear, accurate and dynamic. Afine addition to the catalogue.Bavarian Radio is opening their vaults andoffering some remarkable performances, thelatest of which features Martha Argerichplaying two popular concertos with the BavarianRadio Symphony (BR 403571900701).This 1983 Beethoven First concerto predatesher commercialrecording of 1985for DG. Suchsplendid musicmakingcould leadthe listener to believethat thisis the best concertoof the five.Guest conductorSeiji Ozawa’s support is wholly sympathetic,with an engaging freshness that is at a finerlevel of excellence than his average recordedlegacy. He certainly benefited from frontingone of the very best orchestras, honedto the highest level by Jochum and Kubelik.Argerich’s Mozart Concerto No.18 KV456,conducted by Eugen Jochum from 1973,while a good performance, is a few rungsbelow the Beethoven.The “Philadelphia Sound” described theglorious sound of that orchestra during thereign of Leopold Stokowskiand his successorEugene Ormandy.A DVD from EuroArts(EA 2072258) of Ormandydirecting sumptuousperformances ofthe Stravinsky’s 1919Firebird Suite andRachmaninov’s SecondSymphony were documentedlive in 1977 and1979. What a mighty orchestra this was andtheir tonal richness and fullness of soundare something to hear. The 5.1 surroundsound does full justice to these performances.Highly recommended on all counts.March 1 - April 7, 2010 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 61

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