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Volume 16 Issue 9 - June 2011

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  • Jazz
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R E M E M B E R I N G

R E M E M B E R I N G …Harry SomersDAVID JAEGERHarry Somers was a man who wasalways noticed. He had a presenceroom he entered, large or small. Hehad an enormous intellect and potentcreativity, and a physical frame and abig, resonant voice to match. And hiscomposer’s voice was and continues tobe more than noticeable: it knocks youover with the force and beauty of itssound and its message. He died in 1999,but like all great composers, Harryremains with us, living in his music.The release of a Centrediscs DVDof the historic CBC Television production of Harry Somers, MavorMoore and Jean Languirand’s opera Louis Riel, together withanother CD volume of Somers’ orchestral works, gives us an occasionto look back and to remember Harry Somers. It more or lesscompletes, at least for now, the Canadian Music Centre’s Window onSomers project. There has never been a project on this scale to docu-Harry was, for me, both a colleague and a friend. He was a respectedcomposer, a creative powerhouse who could astound us withhis bold new ideas and the brilliant scores that embodied them. Andhe was also a fellow musician who would easily and happily lend anear to whatever topic we might wish to chat about. Harry loved big,ambitious projects and he also liked to have fun. It’s been 12 yearssince he died, and I still miss him.His voice was as strong as it was diverse and multi-faceted. Overthe span of his more than 100 works there are monumental creations,such as the operas Louis Riel and Mario and the Magician, and thereare miniatures and other small-scale pieces like the choral worksGloria and The Wonder Song. There are chamber works such ascompositions such as Images of Canada and Absract for Television.Churachurumfor voices, instruments and electronics, and Zen, Yeats andEmily Dickinson for actors, singers and instruments. His is a compositionalvoice that has such range that it can at various times expressitself via romantic, neo-baroque,indeterminate, interactive, graphic,polyspatial, polytemporal and otheradvanced means. In all cases, though,it remains distinctly and characteristicallyHarry’s voice. That unique, noble,glorious, sacred and profane voice thatwas and is Harry Somers’.Over the course of the last 12 yearsHarry’s widow Barbara Chilcott andhis friend Robert Cram have, withthe help of many supporters, spunout a long series of recordings andother projects known as A Windowon Somers. Iwaslucky enough to have been the person selected toproduce the CDs. There are 12 volumes of CDs on the Centrediscslabel, plus a few extra discs originally released as CBC Records butnow distributed by the Canadian Music Centre. These recordingscollect together a majority, although not yet all of Harry’s musicaloutput. The performances are by musicians whom Harry knew andwith whom he chose to work while he was alive. The underlyingartistic policy embraced by Barbara and Robert throughout theproject was, “just work with the best possible talent – the results willspeak for themselves.”The performances and recordings are made with great skill andsuperb musicianship, coupled with the affection these artists sharedwith Harry. The artistic achievement of A Window on Somers is one tobe proud of. And it gives us all that unique possession: Harry’s music.Of course, we would have traded all of this just to have Harryback. His passing at 73 years was, needless to say, premature. Hestill had so much to say. I bloody well do still miss him. But he gaveus a pretty great ride, and inestimable musical riches, along theway. This moment in Canadian musical history is something of amilestone. And we all thank Harry for that.INDEX OF ADVERTISERSDavid Jaeger is a broadcaster, composer, senior music producerat CBC Radio 2 and friend of the late Harry Somers.ALLEN PHOTOSAgainst the Grain 32Alexander Kats 44Amoroso 52ATMA 5Bayfield Festival of Song 20Bloor Cinema 48Blue Bridge Festival 27Brott Music Festival 14Bryson Winchester 45Canadian Opera Company G12Capital One BlackCreek SummerMusic Festival 3Chattanooga Boys Choir 34Christ Church Deer ParkJazz Vespers 22Church of St Mary Magdalene 32City of Toronto HistoricMuseums 17Classical 96.3fm 57Cosmo Music 21Culture Days 46Denise Williams 45East York Choir 33Elora Festival 20Esprit Orchestra 13Festival of the Sound 29Gallery 345 22George Heinl 16HATCH 46Hear Toronto 48Heliconian Hall 46John Ringereide 38Kindred Spirits Orchestra 36Lake Field Music Camp 43Leon Belov 45Liz Parker 44LIZPR 43Lockwood ARS 45Long & McQuade 18Metropolitan United Church 23Mississauga Symphony 11Music at Sharon 17Music Gallery 16Music Mondays 7Music Toronto 9New Music Concerts 35, 43No Strings Theatre 43Norm Pulker 45Oakville Children’s Choir 44Orpheus Choir 43Ottawa International ChamberMusic Festival 2Pandora’s Box 35Pasquale Bros 42Pattie Kelly 45Peter Mahon 21Philharmonic Music LTD 43Silverthorn Symphonic Winds 36Sinfonia Toronto 17St. Olave’s Church 35St. Philip’s Anglican ChurchJazz Vespers 22Steve’s Music Store 19Stratford Summer Music 60Studio 92 45Sue Crowe Connolly 45SunFest 19Sunrise Records 51Tafelmusik 4Tapestry New Opera 15The Singing Voice Studio 44The Sound Post 22Toronto Choral Artists 34Toronto Jazz Festival 12, 25, 31,32, 49Toronto Opera Repertoire 44Toronto Summer Music 10Toronto Symphony Orchestra 59Tryptych Concert and Opera 33Victoria Scholars 33Westben 24Yamaha Music School 4526 thewholenote.comJune 1 – July 7, 2011

The WholeNote ListingsThe WholeNoteA.SUMMER FESTIVALS is organized alphabeticallyby festival name, including festivals inthe Greater Toronto Area and far beyond:Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, the Prairies, WesternCanada, Nunavut and a few in the United States.B.GTA (GREATER TORONTO AREA) Halton, Peel, York and Durham C.BEYOND THE GTAD.IN THE CLUBS (MOSTLY JAZZ)E.THE ETCETERASA GENERAL WORD OF CAUTION HOW TO LIST Listings in The WholeNotea free serviceNEXT, DOUBLE ISSUE ALERT! 6pm Wednesday June 15.LISTINGS LISTINGS ZONE MAP www.thewholenote.com.2011 SUMMER FESTIVALSThe following summer festivalshave events from June 1 –July 7. For detailed listings afterJuly 7, see our July–Augustmagazine.Abbey, TheNorth Lancaster, ONJune 5 – October 2613-347-1602www.theabbey.caAlianait Arts FestivalIqaluit, NUJune 30 – July 3867-979-6468www.alianait.caBaie des ChaleursInternational Chamber Music FestivalDalhousie, NBJuly 7 – July 10506-684-5825www.fmcbc.nb.caBanff Summer Arts FestivalBanff, ABMay 24 – September 17403-762-6100 or 1-800-413-8368www.banffcentre.caJune 3 – June 12416-735-7982 or 519-565-2435All concerts held at Town Hall, on the south sideJune 3 8:00: Colin Ainsworth, tenor; Stephen Ralls, piano..June 4 11:00am: Coffee Concert: An EnglishRebecca Collett, soprano; Julia Barber,mezzo; Graham Thomson, tenor; StephenJune 4 8:00: -Cesaroni, soprano; Colin Ainsworth, tenor; Ste-A. Summer FestivalsJune 5 2:30: Embraceable You! Gershwin. Rebecca Collett, soprano; Julia Barber,mezzo; Graham Thomson, tenor; Geoffrey-June 9 4:00: Singers’ Masterclass with Cather-.June 10 8:00: -piano. .June 11 11:00am: Coffee Concert: Schubert inRebeccaCollett, soprano; Julia Barber, mezzo; GrahamThomson, tenor; Geoffrey Sirett, baritone; Ste-June 11 8:00: Glamorous Night: songs of Ivorrano;Peter Barrett, baritone; Stephen RallsJune 12 2:30: See June 5.June 3 – June 5905-775-7149 or 289-470-1099ECM – Elman Campbell Museum, 134 Maintre,SuttonVG – Varley Gallery, 216 Main Street,June 3 7:30: --June 4 noon: Classical,-BLUE BRIDGEFESTIVALA River of Music, Poetry & Song in York RegionSutton Newmarket UnionvilleFriday, Saturday & Sunday 3, 4, 5 June 2011www.bluebridgefestival.com (289) 470–1099Presented by the Ardeleana Chamber Music SocietyA Registered Canadian Charity since 1988artistic director/brenda mullerJune 1 – July 7, 2011 thewholenote.com 27

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