7 years ago

Volume 17 Issue 2 - October 2011

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Concerts
  • Toronto
  • Artistic
  • Choral
  • Singers
  • Arts
  • Orchestra
  • Performances
  • Musical

At Massey,By George!JIM

At Massey,By George!JIM GALLOWAYAlegend is a person, extremely well known, whose fame andachievements make him a source of sometimes glamourizedtales or exploits. Well, this article is about two musical legends,the late George Gershwin and, still with us and going strong,Herbie Hancock.On October 22,at Massey Hall,Hancock willperform Gershwin’sRhapsody In Bluewith the MasseyHall Orchestra, ledby Alain Trudel,Canadian musician,composer andconductor who beganhis career playingthe trombone, buthas more recentlyturned to conducting.He is currentlyartistic director andprincipal conductorof the NationalBroadcast Orchestraand Orchestre Symphonique de Laval. He is also conductor of theToronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.Rhapsody In Blue has an interesting history. In 1923 PaulWhiteman, leader of the most popular orchestra of the day, approachedGeorge Gershwin about composing an orchestral jazz work.Gershwin sketched out some themes but took it no further than that.He was, to say the least, somewhat surprised when the New YorkTribune of January 4, 1928, contained an article announcing thata jazz concerto by George Gershwin would be premiered by PaulWhiteman at the Aeolian Hall on February 12.The evening was billed as “An Experiment in Modern Music.”Although at the time he had Broadway commitments, and a jazzconcerto was farthest from his thoughts, he rose to the occasion,once more demonstrating that very often the deadline is the ultimateinspiration. And so, on February 12, 1934, towards the end ofthe programme, George Gershwin’s first large-scale work wasperformed with the composer himself playing the piano solo. Theaudience included Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Kreisler, Leopold Stokowski,Serge Rachmaninov and Igor Stravinsky.It was a huge success; over the next ten years it earned Gershwinover 0,000, and this was during the Great Depression! Gershwinlater said that the inspiration for Rhapsody’s title was James McNeillWhistler’s painting Nocturne in Black and Gold.Fast forward to Massey Hall, Toronto, on January 19, 1934.It was indeed a gala evening with Gershwin at the piano andCharles Previn, yes, the father of André, conducting the ReismanSymphonic Orchestra. The programme included Catfish Row,Symphonic Suite from Porgy and Bess and, of course, Rhapsody inBlue for piano and orchestra.Gershwin signeda programme thatevening as a mementofor a fortunatemember of theaudience. Throughthe IndependentOnline BooksellersAssociation, Ifound a programmefor that eveningboldly signed by thecomposer over hisprinted name. Youcan have it for amere 66.18.Like manymusicians, Gershwinwas something ofGeorge Gershwin and Herbie Hancock.a wit, but probablyno match for his good friend, fellow composer and pianist OscarLevant. At a Manhattan party in the 30s Levant said, “George ifyou had to do it all over, would you fall in love with yourself again?”Gershwin’s barbed response was, “Oscar, why don’t you play us amedley of your hit?”After Gershwin’s, death an admirer with musical aspirations wrotean elegy for him and took it to Oscar Levant. Levant reluctantlyagreed to hear the piece. After the man had finished playing it, heturned to Levant, looking for his approval. “I think,” said Levant,“it would have been better if you had died and Gershwin had writtenthe elegy.”FRANCIS WOLF24 thewholenote.comOctober 1 – November 7, 2011

Herbie Hancock, the principal performer on October 22, hardlyneeds any introduction. He started with a classical music educationand was regarded as something of a child prodigy. When he was 11years old, at a young people’s concert with the Chicago Symphony,he played the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 5.His early jazz work was with Donald Byrd and Coleman Hawkinsand later with Oliver Nelson and Phil Woods.In 1963 he joined Miles Davis’ “second great quintet” with RonCarter on bass, a 17-year-old drummer named Tony Williamsand, eventually, Wayne Shorter on tenor. From this point on hiscareer blossomed and is still flowering five decades later. HisEmpyrean Isles (1964) and Maiden Voyage (1965) were two of themost influential jazz LPs of the 60s and throughout the interveningyears he has remained a creative force, being recognized as oneof today’s major voices in contemporary jazz. More recently TheImagine Project, released in 2010, was recorded in many locationsthroughout the world, features collaborations from various artists,was complemented by a documentary and was released in CD,digital download and vinyl.In a career spanning five decades there are few artists in themusic industry who have had more influence on acoustic and electronicjazz than Herbie Hancock. In his autobiography Miles Davissaid, “Herbie was the step after Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk,and I haven’t heard anybody yet who has come after him.”Given his classical background and his creative genius, heis an ideal choice for this very special evening of the music ofGeorge Gershwin.It is worth remembering another Gershwin quotation: “Life is alot like jazz … it’s best when you improvise.”And the concert will, of course, be acoustic. Happy listening.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader andformer artistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz. Hecan be contacted at• St. Philip’s Anglican ChurchA casual, relaxing hour of prayer + great music•with the city’s finest musiciansSunday, October 2, 4:00 pm•Pat LaBarbera TrioSunday, October 16, 4:00 pm•Laura Fernandez + FriendsSunday, October 30, 4:00 pmLara Solnicki Trio• St. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • www.stphilips.netWhere the Music Begins!Register For Music Lessons TodayGuitar, Piano, Drums, Bass, Voice,Violin, Cello, Mandolin, Uke, and more.Why Choose Long & McQuade?Music lessons for all ages, stages and styles.Professional instructors make learning fun.Convenient lesson times for busy families.Affordable Instrument Rentals.No Registration Fees.Yamaha Presents:Trumpet Virtuoso Wayne Bergeronin concert with the Yamaha Jazz OrchestraSaturday October 15 th , 2011 - 3:00pmWalter Hall – Edward Johnson Building80 Queen’s Park CircleWayne BergeronTickets available online at or at the door (cash only)October 1 – November 7, 2011 25

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)