7 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 6 - March 2011

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  • Toronto
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the music and cut

the music and cut grooves in the form of wavy lines into a revolvingslab of wax thus creating the sound track. It was, in fact, direct tobut they didn’t use wax slabs!).“Wild” Bill then went on to explain that if the band had to stopfor whatever reason during the take, a ring of gas burners would belowered to the wax in order to melt the surface making it smoothagain. You could have a maximum of three attemptsbefore the wax had to be replaced. An added complicationwas that the band could not set up as it normallywould on stage because the louder the instrument, thefarther it had to be from the horn in the wall! be overcome was described by American writer RudiBlesh, writing about a recording session with theKing Oliver band in the early 20s. The band had twoand when the band set up around the horn in the wall,Oliver and Armstrong drowned out the rest of theband and had to back off while clarinet player Johnny Dodds had toplay right into the horn. Drummer Baby Dodds couldn’t use his bassdrum at all, and had to limit himself to a greatly reduced kit.But that wasn’t the end of it; on the next try they could heareven more before they could achieve some semblance of balance!Far from ideal conditions you might say. Dixieland Jass Band. Note that they used the word jass. Theobliterate the letter ‘j’ from posters advertising the music! But thereOn Friday December 10, 2010 a tongue-in cheekJ. Jassin was issued. Here is a partial transcript ofthe letter. “In a ceremony on Friday, which exudedcame together and reconciled a 95-year dispute overexpanded column on the WholeNote web site.The letter closes with this quotation from Martinfor meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybodyneeds to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for Faith. Instone towards all of these.” sense of humour almost as much as his music. One of my favouriteexamples was the following; “When people ask me how is it I was aand in a previous life I was Johann Sebastian Bach’s guide dog.”Happy listening. Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and former artisticdirector of Toronto Downtown Jazz. He can be contacted St. Philip’s Anglican ChurchA casual, relaxing hour of prayer + great musicwith the city’s finest musiciansSunday, March 13, 4:00 pmFado Blues Vesperswith Caterina Cardeal +Mike SiracusaSunday, March 27, 4:00 pmAmanda Tosoff Quartet St. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 www.stphilips.net26 thewholenote.comMarch 1 - April 7, 2011

Tuba to the ForeJACK MACQUARRIEIn last month’s issue I mentioned an upcoming concert by theUniversity of Toronto Wind Symphony. I had the pleasure ofattending that concert, and can report on a superb performanceof all works on the programme. My principal reason for attendingwas to hear the solo performance of the Gregson Tuba Concertoby a young man whose development I have been following over theUniversity of Toronto, Eric Probst was this year’s recipient of the Uof T Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition. In 2008 Eric was thewinner of the Hannaford Youth Band Solo Competition.I have heard this concerto anumber of times in the past, and thisperformance ranks with the best thatI have heard. At some performances,I have had the impression that Ithe concerto as an adversary to besubdued. That was not the casein this performance. Throughoutthe performance Eric gave theimpression that he was embracingthe work as his friend. They werecooperating with each other to sharetheir mutual admiration with theaudience. Even in the technicallylanguage and facial expressions the performer told us that he wasenjoying himself at all times.The only really well known work on the program was theSymphonic Dance Music from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.Here the large woodwind section displayed a combination of precision,blend and depth of tone not often heard in a concert band.The other student highlighted in the programme was MeaghanDanielson a graduate student conductor. She displayed herconsiderable conducting talent and stage presence in Contre Qui,Rosehis choral compositions. Originally written as a choral work, underMiss Danielson’s sensitive baton this transcription for wind ensembleby H. Robert Reynolds retained the feeling of a choir of windinstruments expressing the poetry which inspired the work.The second half of the evening was devoted to Testament: Musicfor a Time of Trial and Give Us This Day: Short Symphony for WindEnsemble, two contrasting works by contemporary American composerDavid Maslanka. Dr. Maslanka left active teaching some yearsago and retired to a small town in Montana to devote most of histime to composition. He was spending several days in Toronto as theWilma and Clifford Smith Visitor in Music at the Faculty of Music.During an interval in the programme he spoke of his inspirations forthe two works featured and on his philosophy of composition. It wasThis “Visitorship” was established in 1986 by the Steven andJane Smith family to honour their parents. Since renowned singerfrom the counsel of many distinguished musicians. During his stayDr. Maslanka conducted master classes, sat in on rehearsals andconducted a forum with composition students.My visit to this concert introduced me to a series of concertsat Faculty of Music that are well worth more attention than theyusually receive. They provide top quality performances by talentedyoung musicians at very affordable prices and are at an excellentvenue just a few steps from two subway stations. They are worthinvestigating.Eric Probst, tuba, with Jeffrey Reynolds,U of T Wind Symphony conductor.Now, back to the tuba. Since the tuba is generally not lookedupon as a solo instrument, there is very little solo repertoire writtenconcertos for tuba; the one heard in this concert written by BritishRalph Vaughan Williams. I had a question. Since the tuba usuallyremains well hidden in all but small ensembles and is not generallyconsidered a solo instrument, what prompted these composers andresearcher, after consulting the Oxford Companion to Music andGrove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, I turned to the internet.Various submissions to this forum over a few months last year provideboth entertainment and insight. I encourage you to read them!(On a personal note, one of my all time favourite records isa set of duets for tuba and guitarand guitarist Frank Vignola. Inparticular, their renditions of worksby renowned French guitarist DjangoReinhart show those works in awhole new melodic light.)On the subject of compositions:the city for all its support over theyears, the members of the PickeringCommunity Concert Band werelooking for a project to help theCity of Pickering commemorate itsbicentennial year. By happy coincidence2010 also happened to be the20th anniversary of the band. The decision was made to sponsor acompetition open to amateur composers across Ontario. Entries weresolicited for two distinct types of composition to be performed atceremonies marking the two anniversaries. the winners for each of the two categories have been selected.“Elliott Overture,” by young Markham composer Sean Breen, willbe performed by the Pickering Community Concert Band at the Cityof Pickering’s March 4 celebratory event in the Pickering Recreationsinger Vern Kennedy, will be featured at the band’s 20th anniversarycelebration to take place April 16. The winning composers will beAnd finally, a clarification: In last month’s Bandstand columnwe talked about the new Artist in Residence Program offered bySilverthorn Symphonic Winds. Subsequent to publication of that-the inaugural Artist in Residence Program offered by SilverthornSymphonic Winds during the 2010/2011 season, rather than, aswe thought the Ontario Trillium Foundation. While the band is inreceipt of a Trillium grant these funds will be allocated for othercommunity activities, not the Artist in Residence Program. (TheArtist in Residence Program brings an established, professionalmusician as a collaborator with the band for a one-year term. Theartist provides coaching to ensemble members, performs at twopublic concerts, and offers a free public master class.Please write to us: DepartmentThis month’s lesser known musical term is flute flies: “thosetiny mosquitoes that bother musicians on outdoor gigs.”We invite submissions from readers. Our regular index of advertisers will return next issue.We apologize for the inconvenience.March 1 - April 7, 2010 27

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