7 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 5 - February 2011

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Symphony
  • Orchestra
  • Musical
  • Trio
  • Concerts
  • Arts
  • Theatre


PHOTO SEAN PUCKETTexpression) for theVienna State Opera –a tradition going backfurther even than theidea that a great orchestradoes not needa principal conductor.theirs on ready call,it’s hard to disagree.One sometimesobserves that orchestrason the road playit safe, going for aas not to disappointthe buyers of theirrecords. With repertoireon tour thatBychkov is exploringfor upcoming projectshe’s passionate about,that ain’t going tohappen.Edwin Outwater.THERE’S A HUGE ORCHESTRAL BUZZ right through theconcert listings this month. Nowhere is that more evident than in theBeyond the GTA listings (page 43 on) where the Kingston, Hamilton,Huronia, Georgian Bay, Guelph, and Kitchener Waterloo SymphonyOrchestras account for almost a concert a day between them. Anoverall search for orchestral music in our online listings woulddoubtless yield a harvest several times that many.Particularly interesting to observe so far this season is the crackingpace being maintained by the Kitcher-Waterloo Symphony underEdwin Outwater’s aegis. Now in his fourth season with the KWS,Santa Monica born Outwater seems to stirring up a mix of musicsure to appeal to every taste – from rock-solid mainstage productionsof masterworks to family and child-centred fare with tantal-educational aspect of his job, and he has the track record to prove it.As former music director of the San Francisco Symphony, he championedprograms for school, community performances and outreach.Oddly enough, the most eclectic programming of all for theKWS in the next little while is happening not in the K-W area but ofall places, at Toronto’s Sony Centre. And what a contrast!March 1-6 the orchestra takes on the responsibility of playingfor the Mariinsky (aka Kirov) Ballet performances of Swan Lake.(Watch out for that Black Swan, though, Edwin. From what I sawin the trailer for the movie, she’s likely to rip your face off if shedoesn’t like your tempi!)And then April 9 (two shows only) they are back to provide liveorchestral backing for a cartoon-fest titled “Warner Brothers presentTunes cartoons set to Carl Stalling’s original scores. Stalling is aferociously interesting miniaturist – a bit like an orchestral Satieon speed. You can imagine why the project might have caughtOutwater’s interested eye.David Perlman is deputizing for Allan Pulker, the usual patroller ofthis beat.20 thewholenote.comFebruary 1 - March 7, 2011

Big Bach, Little BachBENJAMIN STEINSometimes I wonder which musicians love more, to play or toargue about music. It’s probably the former – it can be a hardway to make a living, so you’d blasted well better love it. Butif you get ten musicians in a room, you’ll get least eleven opinionsabout the right way to play/sing/compose a Scarlatti sonata/Fadosong/12 bar blues/raga/tuba concerto.Among composers, J.S. Bach is the uncontested favouritefor many musicians. But if we generally agree on Bach, the idealway to play his music is anything but uncontested. This topic isprobably more hotly debated among musicians than that of sportsteams, movies or microbrewed beer. Well, perhaps beer is discussedmore, but as this is a music column, I will leave that subject alone,and refrain from throwing down the gauntlet for Guinness, inconsideration for the feelings of those who may prefer other, inferiorbrands.Small armies of musicians and writers have done battle throughoutthe twentieth century regarding Bach orchestra and choir size,tuning, phrasing, trills, pitch level, instrumentation, phrasing andfor all I know, whether or not Bach tapped his foot while playing.The lines have often been most contentiously drawn between thosewho play modern instruments, and proponents of “historicallyacroynym HIP) who favour instruments designed like those usedin Bach’s time, and musical interpretations that are to some degreebased on research into the musical and rhetorical practices of the17th and 18th centuries.Most would agree that there has been a détente of late – earlymusic players have become a good deal less dogmatic in recentyears, and modern instrument players have allowed themselves tofrom the researches and experimentation of early music players.We have a chance to compare examples of these two different approachesin the coming weeks. Tafelmusik Orchestra and ChamberChoir are performing the Bach’s Mass in B Minor from 9-13 January,and Mendelssohn Singers (a pared down version of the TorontoMendelssohn Choir) perform the St. John Passion on March 3.The St. John Passion is a harrowing work, as intense as andénoument.While smaller ensemble Bach allows the interweaving of the variouslines of music to be heard with greater clarity, a larger ensemble canconvey a sense of grandeur, a sonic majesty that can overwhelm thelistener.Bach himself never actually heard his Mass in B Minor performedin full during his lifetime, which complicates the questionof interpretation, as music researchers sometimes refer to documentedinformation about an original premiere for clues to historicallyinformed performance. Musicians have had to look instead atthe musical resources with which Bach executed his weekly churchcantatas, and have drawn conclusions in part from this information.Modern custom hastended to settle on achamber choir andsmall orchestra, andit is in this mannerthat Tafelmusik willbe performing theMass.But the debatecontinues. LargescaleBach practitionerson modern instrumentsand smallerensembles of Baroqueplayers had learned tocoexist with the waryrespect of two neighbouringelephantherds. But then twomusicologist/performers,Joshua Rifkinand Andrew Parrott,leapt cheetah-likeacross the savannah,stampeding bothDorothy Mields.herds with meticulously researched books and essays (in 1981 and2000, respectively) suggesting that the ideal ensemble for BachPHOTO UJESKOPETER MAHONSales Representative416-322-8000pmahon@trebnet.comwww.petermahon.comFebruary 1 - March 7, 2011 21

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)