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Volume 16 Issue 4 - December 2010

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  • December
  • February
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  • Toronto
  • Symphony
  • Jazz
  • Musical
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Publicity, press kits &

Publicity, press kits & image consultingfor performers416.544.1803 www.lizpr.comthe St Lawrence Quartet takes in “the act of connection.” There’sthe rock group Radiohead, who practises “a new kind of classicalmusic for the masses.” And there is Brahms, whose Intermezzo op117 no 1 is, he writes, “the music that you will hear when you die.” of knowing the world,” writes Ross. There is something infectiousabout his enthusiasm for such a broad range of genres; in a discussionof the history of the chaconne, he moves effortlessly fromclassical music into the realms of blues, jazz, and pop. As an attemptto show how these various genres are all related, Listen to This wason various musicians by the best music critic in North America, it’sa stand-out – especially once the headache-inducing dust-jacket isremoved.Fortepianist Richard Egarr is performing a program of Mozart andHaydn with Tafelmusik at Trinity-St. Paul’s from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5.Finishing the Hatby Stephen Sondheim; Knopf; 478 pages, photos; When songwriter Steven Sondheim turnedseventy, he made a list of his favourite songswritten by other song-writers. He called it SongsI Wish I’d Written (At Least In Part). This year,for his eightieth birthday, he has put togetherthis collection of his own songs, or at least thelyrics. This includes lyrics for his own showslike A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd andA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to theForum, as well as shows from earlier in his careerwhen he worked with composers like Leonard Bernstein forWest Side Story, and Jule Styne for Gypsy.Between the lyrics for each song he has written, including draftsand alternates, Sondheim adds choice comments about the songsand the shows they’re from, as well as the actors, directors andproducers who worked on them. Along the way, he discusses – notuncritically - song-writers of the past. These include his two favourites,Harold Arlen and Jerome Kern, as well as his beloved mentorOscar Hammerstein II, who became a surrogate father to him. Without the music to share the attention, you really notice how muchthe expressiveness of his songs is due to his brilliant use of language,especially his intricate and unusual rhymes. Even though songs likeSend in the Clowns and I’m Still Here have become standards ontheir own today, Sondheim emphasizes how important it is for himthat his lyrics enhance the dramatic action of the shows they’re in.So even one of his favourites songs, Multitudes of Amys, ended upbeing cut from Company when the story-line was changed.It’s tempting to see Sondheim himself in his characters, withtheir longings, regrets, and cynicism. But, as Sondheim remindsus, he does not create the characters in his shows – that’s for thebook-writer. “The only song I’ve written which is an immediateexpression of a personal internal experience is Finishing the Hat,”from Sunday in the Park with George. It’s a song about artisticexpression. But even though he used it as the title of this volume, it’snot included here since it’s from a show written in 1984, three yearsafter the cut-off date for this collection.Sondheim’s life and work have been extensively documented inbooks and recordings. His own recorded commentaries featured inthe recent revue Sondheim on Sondheim cover some of the samematerial as Finishing the Hat. But so far, this wonderful book is theclosest thing to an autobiography Sondheim has written. Fortunatelyhe promises a second volume.Stephen Sondheim will be introduced by Des McAnuff and interviewedby Robert Cushman on the stage of the Princess of WalesTheatre on December 6 at 8pm. Sondheim’s song-list has beenpublished in the new edition of Mark Eden Horowitz’s Sondheim onMusic (The Scarecrow Press)See Pamela Margles’ Holiday Picks online at thewholenote.com.66 thewholenote.comDecember 1, 2010 - February 7, 2011

Editor’s CornerDAVID OLDSLSchreiber for his feedback on JanosGardonyi’s guest editorial about on-lineshopping and digital downloads last month.caveat emptorportability, but compromises sound quality,much the same way that cassette tapes didversus LPs, and will not likely satisfy thetells us that there are three basic kinds of au---always, the onus is on the consumer to dothe research and decide to what extent to acceptcompromise for the sake of convenienceand economy.As the year endapproaches and theholiday season alongwith it, rather thanfocus on just a fewdiscs here I wantnumber of seasonaltitles and other specialgems which I think will be of interest.I expect you will see full reviews of the latteritems in coming issues, but let’s beginwith the seasonal releases. Top of the list isIn Midnight’s Stillness – St. Michael’s ChoirSchool (www.smcs.on.ca). This wonderfulcollection of Christmas fare is conducted byand features guest performances by the Truetivevoice as I’m sure they will be at the annualChristmas Fantasy performances atMassey Hall on December 10 and 11.On Noèl – Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà(Analekta) oquestring ensemble provide a musical tourersthree centuries and takes us to Finland,Italy, France, Germany,Austria, theUnited Kingdom,Russia, the USA,ada.Of specialhaunting impressionof the Huron Carol.On a completelydifferent note, jazzpianist Oliver Jones,singer Ranee Leeand the MontrealJubilation Choir providea joyous andexuberant take onthe season with ACelebration in Time (Justin Time). A highlightfor me is the island rhythms of GrasBondye/Seigneur J’élève Ton Nom featuringthe Daphnée Louis Singers.And there is one last Christmas disc tomention, which was not yet in hand at thetime of writing, but I am going to go out ona limb and recommend it anyway, becausehow could you go wrong with MonicaWhicher and Judy Loman? Lullabies andCarols for Christmas (Naxos) features Loman’sarrangements for soprano and harp ofsuch traditional favourites as the CoventryCarol, In the Bleak Mid-Winter; Bulalow, InDulce Jubilo, and the Wexford Carol alongwith seasonal solo harp pieces by Britten andTournier.recently received several boxed sets featuringCanadian artists that are particularlycollection of the art songs of the late 19thcentury Ukrainiancomposer MykolaLysenko. This is thesecond instalmentof the UkrainianArt Song Project(www.uasp.ca) followingon the 2006release of the songsof Kyrylo Stetsenko. The idea for the projectdates back to 2004 when bass baritonePavlo Hunka came to Toronto for the leadrole in the COC’s production of Falstaff andwas adopted as a native son by the TorontoUkrainian community. Lysenko (1842-1912)is considered the father modern Ukrainianclassical music and this impressive set, accompaniedby a 200 page book of libretti,translations, biographies and notes, includes124 of his 133 known art songs (the othernine have been lost). Recorded in GlennGould Studio the other singers involvedin the project are all well known on theCanadian opera scene including ElizabethColvin and Robert Gleadow, with pian-Roman Borys. Mykola Lysenko’s Art Songswill enjoy a gala launch at Koerner Hall onDecember 5 for which Pavlo Hunka will beand Russell Braun.Robert Silverman’smost recentrecording project isthe complete MozartPiano Sonatasfor the audiophile(www.isomike.com).stereo and four channel surround soundset in the February issue but I wanted tobring it to your attention in time for holidayshopping.The last set I willcollection of AngelaHewitt’s completeHyperion recordingsof the music ofJohann SebastianBach18 hours of musicby this renowned Bach interpreter priced atabout 0, this would make a great additionto anyone’s collection.several of my colleagues to bring to yourattention a number of items we missed thisyear which had we unlimited space andresources would certainly have found theirway into these pages:Geoff Chapman tells us that although hisCanada’s best classical & jazz onlinegrigorian.comDecember 1, 2010 - February 7, 2011 thewholenote.com 67

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