8 years ago

Volume 17 Issue 6 - March 2012

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We Are All Music’s

We Are All Music’s ChildrenMarch’s Child Alex Paukmj buellWho is April’s Child?That trademark smile, butleading with a bow instead ofa baton.Out on the Mira on softsummer nightsThe bonfires blaze to thechildren’s delightThey dance round the flamessinging songs with theirfriendsAnd I wish I was with themagain …So many songs, somany friends!Know our mysterychild’s name?Send your best guess tomusicschildren@thewholenote.comProvide your mailing addressin case your name is drawnfrom correct replies receivedby midnight on March 20,2012.A full-size violin for mybirthday! That’s my mom,Florence, on the Heintzman.Circa 1963. Glace Bay,Nova Scotia.About your childhood photo …?That photo of me playing theaccordion was taken in the schoolauditorium at Swansea PublicSchool, just south of what is nowBloor West Village. There wasa fantastic music teacher namedMrs. Melvin who ran a wonderfulmusic programme: all students inthe school were required to playrecorder and sing.She also took great care to encouragekids taking private musiclessons outside the school to displaytheir musical talent at schoolevents. She was probably the firstperson to recognize my talent as aperformer and therefore she thrustme onto the stage where the photowas taken. I recall at this concertbeing mesmerized — on a kind ofautomatic pilot — and hoping mymemory would hold out to get meto the end of the piece.This was the prelude to mystarting various bands thatinvolved me as leader and accordionist — polkabands playing at Ukrainian weddings, high schooldance bands (playing standards when we shouldhave been playing rock’n roll — bad move) andjazz bands for the sheer pleasure of it. Ultimately,even though I was fairly virtuosic, I switchedto piano to pursue studies at the U of T Facultyof Music. The accordion pioneering and legitimizationwas then left to Joe Macerollo. (Weused to play in an accordion quintet togetherwhen we were in short pants.)In those days, accordion music (otherthan folkloric) consisted of many transcriptionsof classical works as well as pieceslike Sharpshooter’s March and Lady ofSpain. The photo also reminds me of myexperiences in the 100-piece MundingerAccordion Orchestra (I played electric bassaccordion — the only one) and the sold-outconcerts the group gave at Massey Hall.This group played transcriptions of Beethovensymphonies, Romberg medleys etc.Anything you would like to tellthe young musician in that photo?I used to like improvising,and exploring the unusualsounds that could be made onthe instrument — playing clusterswith my ear to the bellows,using the air sounds from thebellows, playing flourishes onthe keyboard and buttons usingunusual register combinations.I was at the early stages of mycomposing career without knowingit.My advice to that child wouldhave been “Find a way to channelthis into composing or selfexpressionbeyond the practiceroom.” Such sounds ultimatelybecame standard fare in newmusic of the ensuing decades.Alex Pauk, composer, conductor,educator and entrepreneur,helped found Arraymusic, andin 1983 founded the 65-memberEsprit Orchestra. Espritperforms and promotes music by Canadian composers,and introduces significant internationalnew works through an annual concert series atKoerner Hall and through commissioning, recording,education and outreach initiatives.Pauk has composed more than 60 works fora diverse range of performing ensembles, fortheatre and dance companies, and many scoresfor film and television, some in collaboration withhis wife — composer Alexina Louie. He is a vigorousproponent of taking music to people in theircommunities (not always in concert halls) and anongoing champion for music education. He wasnamed Musician of the Year (1999) by peers atthe Toronto Musicians’ Association.Alex Pauk lives in the High Park area ofToronto with Alexina and their daughters, Jasmineand Jade Pauk.A full-length version of Alex Pauk’sinterview continues at TO OUR WINNERS! HERE’S WHAT THEY WONTurned On By Texture is the Esprit Orchestra’s fourth concert for the 2011-12 season(March 29, at Koerner Hall). Alex Pauk conducts Lontano by Ligeti, Jonchaies by Xenakis,a LeBlanc world premeiere called The Touch of Psyche (Le Toucher de Psyché), and theorchestra is joined by pianist Jamie Parker for Somers’ Third Piano Concerto.Christine Nicholls and Adrienne Pollak each win a pair of tickets.Maki Ishii Live features acclaimed percussionist Ryan Scott in North American premieres of three Ishiipercussion concerti, played from memory and recorded live in performance by CBC Radio 2, with the EspritOrchestra, Canada’s only full-sized orchestra devoted exclusively to performing and promoting new orchestralmusic. Conducted by Alex Pauk. (Innova 809) David Olsen and Mary Golbourne will each receive a copy.Music’s Children gratefully acknowledges Jenny, Peter, Alex and Jenny, Florence and Bob, Elena, and the Esprit Orchestra.68 March 1 – April 7, 2012

PAMELA MargLESSilence: Lectures and Writings –50th Anniversary Editionby John CageWesleyan University Press310 pages; .00 USThis special edition of American composerJohn Cage’s Silence celebrates twomilestones in 20th century music — the 50thanniversary of Cage’s first and still mostinfluential book, and the 100th anniversaryof his birth.Throughout the writings and lecturesgathered here, Cage is looking for variousways to say that all sounds are materialfor music. “Silence, like music, is nonexistent,”he writes. “There always aresounds. That is to say, if one is alive to hear them.” When Silencewas first published, the impact was explosive. Today, many of Cage’smost controversial ideas have become commonplace. But his probingquestions about sound, silence and life in general resonate just asintensely, and his answers still open doors. Reading him today werealize that the opportunities for musical experiment he offers haveyet to be fully explored.Cage is an irrepressible storyteller, and he embellishes these writingswith stories. In fact, one of the most well-known pieces here,Indeterminacy, is nothing but a series of stories. Many of his storiesare exceptionally funny, some are delightfully absurd, a numberare poignant, and a few are simply baffling. But they all hit home.In Edgard Varèse he describes a visit to his Aunt Marge. “She wasdoing her laundry. She turned to me and said, ‘You know? I lovethis machine more than I do your Uncle Walter.’” Then later, inIndeterminacy, he reveals that there is something more going onhere when he writes, “Uncle Walter insisted, when he married her,that Aunt Marge, who was a contralto, should give up her career.”In Composition as Process Cage takes inquisitiveness to new extremesby asking an extended sequence of questions such as, “Whydo I have to go on asking questions? Is it the same reason I have togo on writing music?”. Like everything else here, these questionsadd up to something powerful.For me, the actual beginningof this book is at the very end,when, in Music Lovers’ Field Companion, he describes his joy inperforming 4’33” (which he refers to here as “my silent piece”)all alone in a field where he has been gathering mushrooms. “Thesecond movement,” he writes, “was extremely dramatic, beginningwith the sounds of a buck and a doe leaping up to within ten feet ofmy rocky podium.”This edition has been reprinted with care, using the original typefaceand layout. The only difference from the original, apart fromthe cover design, is the addition of a perceptive and appropriatelyprovocative introduction by composer, critic and Cage expert KyleGann, who writes, “He thought his way out of the twentieth century’sartistic neuroses and discovered a more vibrant, less uptightworld that we didn’t realize was there. Silence is the traveler’s guideto that world.”Concert Note: Soundstreams presents “So Percussion: Cage @ 100”on Friday March 2, 8pm at Koerner Hall, with a pre-concert chat at7pm. The programme includes 4’33”.A conference on John Cage, “The Future of Cage: Credo,” will beheld at the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama at the Universityof Toronto from October 25 until October 28, 2012. Further informationis available at details.Antonio Carlos Jobim: An Illuminated Manby Helena Jobimtranslated by Dàrio Borim Jr.Hal Leonard Books314 pages, photos; .99 USLike John Cage, Brazilian composerAntonio Carlos Jobim was as much aninventor as a composer. But what Jobiminvented was a new style, rather than newsounds. By infusing traditional Braziliansamba with jazz rhythms, he came up withwhat became known as bossa nova.Jobim’s sophisticated melodies, complexrhythms, and unusual harmoniesproved irresistible, and his popularity soonreached far outside of Brazil, with songslike Girl from Ipanema, Corcovado (QuietNights of Quiet Stars) and Desifinado becominghuge international hits.Poet and novelist Helena Jobim has written a tender portrait ofher older brother, who died 18 years ago. She is able to offer insightsinto the anguish and self-destructive insecurities that drovehim. With her special access to his spiritual life she is equallyable to reveal the deep sensitivities of a man who thrived on atight-knit family atmosphere, and who, even after the break-up ofhis first marriage and subsequent marriage to a woman youngerthan his daughter, managed to maintain professional as well asUnheard OfMemoirs of aCanadianComposerJohnBeckwith.95 Paper • 408 pp.74 b/w photos, 8 music examples978-1-55458-358-4Life Writing seriesIn this fascinating personal and professional odyssey,John Beckwith delivers rich cultural history, openinga wide window on Canadian musical and educationalinstitutions of the mid-to-late twentieth century. Thebook’s wryly modest title reflects its author’s gentle wit,but don’t be misled: Unheard Of chronicles a life of highprofessional visibility and intellectual engagement.– Carol J. Oja, Department of Music,Harvard UniversityWILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY | 1-866-836-5551 | www.wlupress.wlu.caMarch 1 – April 7, 69

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