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Volume 16 Issue 6 - March 2011

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Feigelson played them

Feigelson played them from the manuscripts,owin Moscow, having recorded Sonata No.1along with the 24 Cello Preludes in 1996.(Those recordings are now available onNaxos 8.572280.) If you are even remotelyinterested in music for unaccompanied cellothen this CD is an absolute “must” and atPlay it. And hang on to your socks.Despite hisEnglish name,George Onslow(1784-1853) was aFrench composer.Although highlyregarded in histime – he wasknown as the FrenchBeethoven! – his music was until recentlyCD from the French ensemble QuatuorDiotima (Naïve V5200) features three stringquartets from 1828 – Nos. 28, 29 and 30 –that Onslow wrote while still trying to comequartets, which he found both fascinatingand disconcerting. They marked a changefrom a pre-Romantic style to one of intenseexpressiveness, a quality captured perfectlyin these dazzling and clearly empathetic performances.The booklet notes describe thismusic as “exciting, personal, and amazinglyneglected” – a perfect description. Naxos hasissued another two excellent CDs featuringSergeiMikhailovichLyapunov (1859-1924) was a Russiannationalist composerwho studiedwith Balakirev andremained stronglyHis Violin Concerto nDminor minor, Op61 Op.61 isa one-movement work that sounds exactlyas you would expect: big, Tchaikovsky-likesolo part. Maxim Fedotov is in superb form,with excellent support from the RussianPhilharmonic Orchestra under DmitryYablonskySymphony No. 1 in B minor,Op.12 (Naxos 8.570462).MODERN & CONTEMPORARYraW – Chamber Music by James RolfeContinuum Contemporary MusicCentrediscs CMCCD 16210The Continuum ensemble, comprisedadds a third CD to its discography. Hereeffectively conducted by Gregory Oh, theentire album is dedicated to the music ofmulti award winning Toronto composerJames Rolfe (b.1961).raW (2003) is adelightful musicalromp. Based onBrandenburgConcerto, Rolfenotes that themusical elements of raW several reggae songs and the John PhilipSousa march Stars and Stripes Forever.The work starts smartly with a series ofrecognisable motoric sixteenths from theBach treated to syncopation and silencing.This stream is then subjected to a complexmulti-layered compositional process exposingevanescent and barely recognizable echoesof reggae and march. The effectiveness ofraW is heightened by its masterful scoring.musicians produced it. Graced with deftlywonder this effective work was awarded the2006 Jules Léger Prize for Chamber Music. re-appears in Devilled Swan (1995). Here thecomposer takes apart the late 18th-centuryhymn tune China by Timothy Swan, thecomposition teacher John Beckwith has oftendone in his own works, Devilled Swan takesan established hymn and re-composes it;except that the student takes compositionalmessing to new extremes. Rolfe virtuallyvivisects the hymn, proposing an ode tochromaticism and rhythmic stasis.The violin sonata Drop (1999) is mostmemorable where the extended violinmelody is doubled on the piano. Squeeze(1997) on the other hand starts off as alike insouciance. Further on it marches rightinto the mysterious dreamy realm of a Bachchorale, dissolving into an unresolved tonal,harmonic and textural mistiness.Composer Rolfe, evidently fond of bassdrum thumps of all dynamic gradations,indulges his penchant in Revenge! Revenge!!Revenge!!! (1995) to dramatic effect, addingbrake- and other drums for good measure.This is a distinguished album by one ofour most gifted composers of new concert—Andrew TimarJalsagharVivienne SpiteriCentrediscs CMCCD 16410This newoffering from theenigmatic CanadianharpsichordistVivienne Spiteri isbrilliantly unique.Although I do notmusical approach,I cannot help but respect and applaud herconviction and honesty to her art and herfeatured, she is able to seamlessly transportkeyboard, showing a talent so wide rangingthat it is mind boggling.and performers join Spiteri on her musicalIn the Beginning wasthe Endexquisite long tones juxtaposed against thecrisp harpsichord sounds move the compositionin an ethereal dimension that onlythis world-class accordion hero can achieve.The three duo works by John Beckwith arediverse. In both Ringaround with lever harpistSharlene Wallace, and Lines Overlappingsparse dialogue of overlapping parts createsa tinkling aural world. In contrast,Blurred Lines has Spiteri and violinistLawrence Beckwith blast into the sonicagainst droning, moaning or plucked violinmelodies jubilantly cross styles, moods andcenturies in this top track. Works by BruceMather, Linda Bouchard and Kirk Elliottcomplete the disc.A remarkable depth of performanceis key here. Spiteri never overshadows ordisappears in her ensemble playing. Sheknows what she wants yet lets others do whatthey do best.—Tiina KiikCanadian Flute QuartetsLaurier QuartetCML Productions CD 104This recordingby Canadiancomposers wasfunded by WilfridLaurier Universityin celebration of itscentennial year. Itcan also be seen asa celebration of the work of Amy Hamilton,since 1987: the four players are she andthree of her students, Jennifer Brimson,Heather Snowden, and Dawn Ellis-Mobbs,each of whom has gone on to pursue postand Britain. Their playing is consistentlyaccomplished and assured, excellentintonation, articulation, and tone quality,several of the six compositions on the disc.The repertoire covers a broad spectrumof contemporary genres, from the minimal-Writing the Voice (forpiccolo quartet) to the lyricism and piquantand sonorous harmonic vocabulary of Carlinteresting and individual are the piecesin between: the spellbinding counterpointA Gentle Melancholy,66 thewholenote.comMarch 1 - April 7, 2011

the organic musical architecture of ClaudeEuphonie Fantasmique, the stun--The Undertow,and the poetic, almost uncanny way thatRoberta Stephens captures the mood and essenceof a moment in her three short pieces.I congratulate Quartet Laurier for reveal-quartet repertoire – a must-have CD notorchestrators, and, of course, anyone who—Allan PulkerJAZZ & IMPROVISEDSevendazeJames BrownIndependent NGP-002( may not be“The Godfather ofSoul” but this JamesBrown – “our”raised-in-Burlingtonnow-residing-in-TorontoJames Brown– brings much soul,sophistication, styleand serious skill to his latest CD. Currentlyteaching guitar and jazz improvisation at theRoyal Conservatory in Toronto, Brown hasproduced a vibrant and inventive CD of nineoriginal compositions. Joining him on thisest:Quinsin Nachoff on tenor and sopranoWholeNote online at; the always great Don Thompson onpiano; in-demand bassist Jim Vivian; andthe widely respected Anthony Michelli ondrums. A stellar local line-up!Brown is known for his lyrical tone,his classical training is evident and it is notsurprising to learn that he is an associatecomposer of the Canadian Music Fugue, where he weaves a beautifulexchange of fugal voices between the guitarand saxophone, joined in a third voice by thebass. The playing (as well as the writing) islanguid and expressive.Oddly, I found the title track, spelledSevendays, to be the least interesting,although still enjoyable. It is expansiveand breezy, reminiscent, at times, of earlyMetheny.Perhaps Brown is at his most soulfulin Central Eastern (part 1), an evocative,melancholic and lyrical preamble to CentralEastern (part 2), which, in contrast, is driving,exhilarating and had me at the edge ofmy seat. It really swings with its subtle, notso much central but more Middle Eastern,piano work and the drumming is especiallytasteful. reputation he does as a versatile and talentedus nine with “Sevendaze.”—Sharna SearleThe Story of Vektor 1984-1990VektorVBT 002 batemanvictor@gmail.comA swinging arti-recent past, where ashotgun wedding betweenthe technicalsophistication of freejazz and the relentlessrhythms of punkrock seemed inevitable,“The Story of Vektor” is very much arepresentative of its time.Led by bassist and sometime vocalistVictor Bateman, Vektor operated in an areahigh-class musicianship shares spacesardonically delivered lyrics. BesidesBateman, Vektor constants were tenorsaxophonist Perry White, playing with moreprickly and funky pacing than today, andtrombonist Stephen Donald, who when notharmonizing with the saxophonist, exposesas Head in a Bottle.Three changes each in the guitar andevolution and search for new sounds. BarryRomberg for instance, brings a jazz sensibilitywith his drumming; Graham Kirklandsame story with guitarists Mark McCarron,Kim Ratcliffe and Martin Rickert. The thirdis the most versatile, producing ringingstring reverb on Life is a Crutch, then turningaround to create hushed, atmosphericruns on Desolate Country.More than 20 years on, some of theVektor crew have allied themselves withmore experimental sounds; others maketheir living as conventional jazzers; somehave vanished altogether. Still, despite a fewoverly familiar arrangements, this CD isparticularly valuable as a reminder of a timewhen jazz-rock fusion was a recipe for tryingunusual blends, not a marketing label. —Ken WaxmanIt’s Our JazzDEBUT RECORDINGS by bands alreadypopular generate advance excitementand acclaimed tenor saxophonistMike Murley duly delivers with the MikeMurley Septet – Still Rollin’ (CornerstoneCRST CD 135 His writing is almost orchestralin scope, with strong,rich ensemble statements betweencatchy hooks from an impressiverhythm team (pianist DavidBraid, bass Jim Vivian, drummerMurley, his majestic horn workever accomplished, penned sevenof nine tunes for an artfully arranged,vibrant freewheelingsession giving trombonist TerryPromane, trumpeter KevinTurcotte (splendid throughout) andsaxist Tara Davidson plentiful opportunitiesfor fruitful exploration.Material ranges from the blusterysuch as Minas Mist via a witty rework ofGiant Steps, a lovingly languidCeltic theme, a meaty tribute to Murley idolSonny Rollins and a three-part suite inspiredby Alberta mountains.Paul Read, the pianist-composer bestGEOFF CHAPMANknown for key jazz roles at U of T andHumber, has run a 17-piece orchestra withnine tunes for the disc debut of Paul ReadOrchestra – Arc-En-Ciel (Addo, an excellentfeat of well-drilled innovationover-favouring lush balladsalto on opening swinger TooPretty For Words besting themellow beauty conjured bypianist David Braid, saxististJim Lewis on subsequentnumbers. Album highlight isthe lengthy title tune (meaningthick textures, time games andfascinating narrative celebrat-enon.Following are a leisurelyvehicle for trumpeter Chase Sanborn andtingthey then combine for a real rumble onOxymoron. The set closes with a two-partsuite, an elegy showcasing Braid followed byhis effervescent best.March 1 - April 7, 2011 67

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