6 years ago

Volume 17 Issue 7 - April 2012

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

had proclaimed them to

had proclaimed them to be, into alignment with the cosmos he held inhis hands. The authority of fatherhood hung by a thread. “Jupiter andVenus” the smart phone said. Whew.I pushed my luck. “Lucky the phone uses Roman rather thanScandinavian mythology” I said, “or Fricka would get jealous, andbloody Wagner would go on and on about it.”“I’m not even going to ask,” he said.The name John Percy deserves to ring as many bells for readersof this magazine as the name Gustav Holst should for (ear-)budding astrophysicists with iPods. Devotees of Tafelmusik, Idaresay, will be more likely than most to already know the nameof this University of Toronto Professor Emeritus of Astronomyand Astrophysics. It was John Percy, after all, who mentoredTafelmusik’s The Galileo Project, and subsequently nominated itas Canada’s entry in the International Year of Astronomy’s 2009Prize for Excellence in Astronomy Education and Public Outreach.Following this, in April 2009, as we diligently reported back then,the International Astronomical Union named a newly observedasteroid after Tafelmusik.I would have been reminded of John Percy yesterday if he hadn’talready been in my mind. Because yesterday Tafelmusik Mediaannounced the release of The Galileo Project: Music of the SpheresTMK1001DVDCD (1DVD & 1 CD music soundtrack). “Conceived,programmed and scripted by Tafelmusik bassist Alison Mackay,” therelease proclaims, “[this] … fully-integrated concert program combinesprojected high-definition images from the Hubble telescopeand Canadian astronomers with music by such composers as Bach,Monteverdi, Rameau, and Handel — performed completely frommemory, exploring the fusion of arts, science and culture in the 17thand 18th centuries.”So as I say, I would have been reminded of John Percy, if I hadn’thad a letter from him, just the other week, about the U of T’s upcomingApril 28 symposium on, wait for it, the “forthcoming June 5transit of Venus at which we shall have Victor Davies give a shortpresentation about his opera The Transit of Venus. I’m really excitedby this linkage of astronomy and music/theatre.”Winnipeg composer Victor Davies’ opera, The Transit of Venus,was based on a stage play with the same name by Canadian playwrightMaureen Hunter (who wrote the libretto for the opera aswell). The play was first produced in 1997, the opera ten years later).But the particular transit that is their subject matter was not the 2004transit, but the 1761/1769 pair — an event in the life of nations asfitting a backdrop for grand opera as any that one could imagine.It was, after all, the equivalent of the space race, nation pittedagainst nation, using all the technological resources at their disposal,throwing “the works” into the battle for bragging rights to theprecious information about the cosmos, its size and mysteries, thatcould be gleaned from precisely measuring and triangulating themarch of Venus across the face of the sun.Of course, opera for its purposes requires not only the stars butthe star-crossed. In the case of Davies’ and Hunter’s opus, this is“the unfortunate Guillaume Le Gentil, French astronomer,” who,according to Wikipedia, “spent eight years travelling in an attemptto observe either of the transits, [and whose] … unsuccessful journeyled to him losing his wife and possessions and being declared dead.”The symposium on the transit of Venus takes place Saturday April 28,2012, in Alumni Hall 400 at St. Michael’s College, from 10am to5pm. The symposium is free and no registration is required.Other than, perhaps, excerpts from the CBC recording of Davies’opera during the coffee break, I offer no guarantee of music duringthe event (although Davies, I hear, will give a short presentation).But “opera” which is the focus of this issue, means “the works,”after all. In the case of science, I’d venture to say, that means opennessto art, and for art, to science. There’s all kinds of stuff in thisissue that reflects this.So a toast to “the works”: to the sphere of opera, and to the operaof the spheres!—David Perlman, publisher@thewholenote.comHear all that you’ve been missingE u r o p E ’ s L E g E n d a r y p i a n o sAs well as authentically restoredSteinway and rare historical pianoswww.remenyi.com210 Bloor St. West,(w. of Avenue Road, Customerparking in rear off Bedford Rd.)8 April 1 – May 7, 2012

“A Feast for the Earsand the Eyes!”- Classical 96.3FMANDRE WATTSWed., Apr. 18, 2012 8pmKoerner Hall”Mr. Watts has big sound,big technique and naturalmusicality.” (New YorkTimes) The piano superstarperforms for the first timeat Koerner Hall.GIL SHAHAMPLAYS BACHSat., Apr. 21, 2012 8pmKoerner Hall“A virtuoso and a player of deeplyintense sincerity” (The New YorkTimes) Combining flawless techniquewith inimitable warmth and agenerosity of spirit, award-winningviolinist Gil Shaham performs anall-Bach solo recital on the 1699“Countess Polignac” Stradivarius.EMANUEL AXSun., May 13, 2012 3pmKoerner HallCalled “a poet of the piano,”Ax performs Variations byCopland, Haydn, andBeethoven, along withSchumann’s Symphonic Etudes.“One of Ax's great strengthsas a performer, in fact, is hisability to blend tenderness andmuscle in a single amalgam.”(San Francisco Chronicle)AUSTRALIAN CHAMBERORCHESTRA WITHDAWN UPSHAWSun., Apr. 22, 2012 3pm Koerner HallSoprano Dawn Upshaw, “one of the mostconsequential performers of our time,”(Los Angeles Times) will perform theCanadian premiere of Maria Schneider’sWinter Morning Walks, and works byWebern, Crumb, Schönberg, Schumannand Schubert, with the incomparableAustralian chamber Orchestra.CHRISTIANGERHAHER WITHANDRÁS SCHIFFWed., May 16, 2012 8pmKoerner Hall“A baritone with a rich toneand a seemingly infallibleear for dramatic phrasing”(New York Times) and aniconic pianist performsBeethoven, Haydn, andSchumann’s Dichterliebe.ITZHAK PERLMANWITH THE PERLMANMUSIC PROGRAMSun., Apr. 29, 2012 3pm Koerner HallAs part of his week-long Torontoresidency, superstar violin virtuosoItzhak Perlman comes to Koerner Hallwith some of his students to performMozart: Viola Quintet in G Minor;Shostakovich: Prelude and Scherzo forString Octet; and Mendelssohn: StringOctet in E-flat Major.TICKETS ON SALE NOW! 416.408.0208273 Bloor St. W. (Bloor & Avenue Road) Toronto

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