6 years ago

Volume 17 Issue 7 - April 2012

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Chorus
  • Singers
  • Choir
  • Vocal
  • Musical

who just keeps getting

who just keeps getting better and better. Her main appearance is aspart of the Kabaret at Koerner series April 15 with Jordan Klapman(piano), George Koller (bass) and Daniel Barnes (drums). Her otherappearance will be two days earlier April 13 at a fundraiser for theCanadian Children’s Opera Company (see our “ETCeteras” on page60) where Braun and Klapman will share the billing with vocalistSophia Perlman and pianist Adrean Farrugia (to whose indisputablecollective talents our editorial rules on nepotism forbid me tosing praise).And speaking of solo vocal turns at galas and benefits: April 11the luminous Adrianne Pieczonka, with Stephen Ralls on piano,headlines a VIVA! Youth Singers gala evening at St. LawrenceHall; and May 6 Shannon Mercer, soprano, Krisztina Szabó, mezzo,Keith Klassen, tenor, and Roderick Williams, baritone, frontline PaxChristi’s 25th Anniversary Gala Concert presentation of Elgar’s TheKingdom at Koerner Hall. Stephanie Martin conducts.All this, and I have not even scratched the surface of the art songrecital treasury that waits to be discovered in the month’s listings.Those quick off the mark will not want to miss MooredaleConcerts’ April 1 Walter Hall presentation of Stéphane Lemelin,piano, and Donna Brown, soprano, performing works by Debussy,Fauré, Schubert, Mahler and Wolf. Ottawa-born Brown, betterknown on the concert stages of Europe than in her own home, is anall-too-infrequent visitor.And those wanting to be quick off the mark in spotting anup-and-comer should circle soprano Layla Claire’s May 3 GlennGould Studio appearance in the Massey/ RTH Art of Song series,performing works by Britten, Canteloube, Strauss and Golijov, withStephen Philcox on the piano. Claire will make a splash, I predict,in early 2013, performing Mozart with the TSO, so grab somecareer-spotting bragging rights while the getting’s good.It’s a good month too for Toronto’s longest established practitionersof salon-style concertizing, Aldeburgh Connection and OffCentre Music.April 29, at Walter Hall, Aldeburgh Connection presents the finalconcert of this, their 30th anniversary concert season. It’s titled “ACountry House Weekend: an English idyll,” and features sopranoLucia Cesaroni, mezzo Krisztina Szabó and baritone Peter Barrett,with Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata at the piano.And May 6 Inna Purkis’ and Boris Zarankin’s long-runningOff Centre Music Salon makes its usual Sunday afternoon GlennGould Studio touch-down with a salon titled “Spanish Balladewith a Russian Interlude.” Soprano Joni Henson, baritone PeterMcGillivray and mezzo Leigh-Anne Martin do the vocal honours.Aaron Jensen had it right. “Vocal renaissance” is indeed a goodway to describe the current state of things.David Perlman can be reached at publisher@thewholenote.com20 April 1 – May 7, 2012

Grain of the VoiceWould you like toexperience “TotalVocal Pleasure” thelikes of which you havenever dreamed possible?You don’t have to be ableto sing “O Mio BabbinoCaro” or “Nessun Dorma.”You don’t have to join aclassical ensemble andparticipate in the executionof intricate motets, cantatasor oratorios. You don’tneed to know how to tunejazz vocal harmonies likediminished ninths andsharp elevenths.Total Vocal Pleasure maybe achieved very simply,benjAMIN stEINBridging solitudes: Roberta BondarApril 21 with the Amadeus Choirand the Elmer Iseler Singers.and anyone can do it. The secret: imitate Tom Waits singing “Feedthe Birds” from Mary Poppins. Careful, though — this pastime isaddictive, and after a few tries in the shower or the car, you will findyourself alarming people in checkout lines and buses, as you growland croon about little birds and tuppence and saints and apostleslooking down.Why do singers move us so much? What is it about the voice thatmakes us respond? Why are the airwaves not filled with glamorousoboe or viola players? Well, aside from the fact that glamorous oboeand viola players do not actually exist, the voice is like no otherinstrument in its ability to inspire loyalty or antipathy, horror or love.The phrase “the grain of the voice” gives us this month’s theme.It is the title of an essay by Roland Barthes, a French critic andtheorist influential in academic circles and pretty much avoidedeverywhere else. “Grain” refers very generally to vocal timbre, butBarthes’ essay is a complex investigation into the subtle signals andhidden meanings that vocal timbre can convey.Barthes’ ideas have been used in studies of popular music toexplore the appeal of voices that are not stereotypically “beautiful,”when beautiful is understood to mean smooth and even — Tom Waits,Bob Dylan, Maria Callas, Shane MacGowan, Billie Holiday andDiamanda Galas, to name a few. These are voices with edges, roughspots, potholes and speedbumps.In a non-operatic choral context, these types ofvoices are almost useless — there is no way to makethem blend as choral voices must, though an entirechoir of singers who sound like Bob Dylan has a certainappeal. Still, many choirs experiment with vocaltimbres and techniques that lie outside a traditionalWestern classical music aesthetic, and, eschewing traditionalor popular programming choices, commissionand program unexpected and unusual repertoire.The Aradia Ensemble’s May 3 concert, “The Grainof the Voice,” (a free COC noonhour Vocal Seriesconcert) combines motets by Monteverdi and Gesualdo(the latter responsible for some of the most macabreItalian renaissance vocal works ever written) with guestchoir Darbazi, a Toronto vocal ensemble specializingin music from the Eastern European Caucasus regionof Georgia. Traditional Georgian music has a tuning!"#$#%"&%#'(#)$*+%"('",-.$#/0"+1(#$-")%#&3%+%Pax Christi Chorale!" !" AnniversarySeason############################$%&&'$%&$ELGAR - THE KINGDOM45*6"9":8";

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