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Volume 18 Issue 1 - September 2012

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  • September
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titled “The Canadian

titled “The Canadian Art Song Project.” The concert features WilliamShakespeare – Five Shakespeare Songs (2002) by Colin Eatock(recently released as a CD), Beloved (2005) by James Rolfe and DennisLee, and a work titled The Colour Blue by Erik Ross/Lorna Crozier.Performing will be two stellar alumnae of the COC’s Ensemble Studio,both now mainstage regulars, soprano Virginia Hatfield and mezzosopranoLauren Segal. Gregory Oh, the Music Gallery’s post-classicalcurator, accompanies.The Canadian Art Song project, according to information from theMusic Gallery, was founded by tenor Lawrence Wiliford and pianistSteven Philcox, to advocate for the performance of Canadian song repertoire.It’s an initiative we’ll be keeping an eye on.The involvement of tenor Wiliford and composer Rolfe in the projectalso serves as a neat segue back to the September 23 launch of NewMusic Concerts’ 42nd season, because Rolfe will have two works onthe NMC program, the second of which will be sung by Wiliford.“I met Lawrence when he sang a role in the COC’s production ofmy Swoon in 2006 — he was part of their ensemble,” recalls Rolfe. Hewas a great presence vocally and dramatically; he later sang with theToronto Masque Theatre in their revival of Orpheus and Eurydice in2010. Beloved was premiered in 2006 by Toca Loca, who commissionedthe piece, courtesy of Greg Oh, their co-artistic director. (Nicethat he’s accompanying them this time too.)”The first Rolfe work on the NMC program, Worry, which opens theconcert, was written in 2001. The second, Winter Songs (2012), is anoriginal NMC commission. “Worry was a Continuum commissionoriginally” says Rolfe. “They put together an 8-cello show, and MarkFewer played the solo violin part. They also issued a CD of that program.Curiously, this is my very first commission from NMC, and theirfirst performance of any piece of mine, though I think I’ve been performedby everyone else in Toronto. Never too late!”Though he hasn’t been on NMC’s programs, Rolfe is no strangerto NMC’s concerts. “I have attended many of their shows since comingto Toronto in 1979, including some with personal appearances bythe greats: Cage, Berio, Xenakis, Andriessen, many others. I think Bob[Aitken] forged a vital connection to the wider new music world, onewhich helped me develop my own work and aesthetic.”Talking to Aitken briefly on the phone in preparing this column, wejoked a bit about the numerology of the fact that this is NMC’s 42ndseason. “The bible says that seven fat years are always followed byseven lean ones, so you’re going into the last of seven lean years,” Itold him. True to the man, what it sparked from him was reflectionson the difference in curatorial approach when budgets are tight, forexample, programming concerts that are built around repeated clustersof instruments— such as this one, where cellos, solo or multiple,feature in all but one of the works. But with Aitken the financial taildoesn’t wag the artistic dog. Expect a concert as carefully crafted asany, and here’s to the return of the fat years!David Perlman has been writing this column for the past seasonand a bit, and is willing to entertain the notion that it’s someoneelse’s turn. He can be reached at publisher@thewholenote.com.Beat by Beat | Art of SongTasty PickingsHANS DE GROOTSeptember is never the best month for vocal concerts: the summerfestivals have come and gone and the regular series that takeplace in the fall may not have started yet. Nevertheless there aresome interesting concerts coming up:COC Vocal Series: The 2012/2013 free lunchtimeconcerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, FourSeasons Centre for the Performing Arts, will begin onSeptember 18. The first, kicking off the Vocal Series, willbe given by members of the Canadian Opera CompanyEnsemble Studio who will be singing their favouritearias. For the second concert in that series, artists of theU of T Opera Division will perform highlights from someof the best-loved operas by Britten, Donizetti, Offenbachand von Flotow on October 3.At the festivals: On September 21 at 8pm, a concertwill be given as part of the SweetWater Music Festival atLeith Church, in the hamlet of Leith near Owen Sound.The concert is billed as “Early Music” and will includemusic by Biber and Telemann, but also Dover Beach, thesong cycle for medium voice and string quartet whichSamuel Barber composed in 1931, to the text of MatthewArnold’s poem of the same name. Over the years thebaritone part has been sung and recorded by many distinguishedsingers such as Thomas Allen, Gerald Finley, ThomasHampson and Thomas Stewart. Barber himself was a baritone and hisrecording of the work is also available on CD. The baritone soloist atLeith will be Philippe Sly, who is at present a member of the EnsembleStudio of the Canadian Opera Company. He is to sing Guglielmo inMozart’s Così fan tutte for the San Francisco Opera next June.The tenth Colours of Music festival kicks off in Barrie onSeptember 21 and includes several vocal concerts. On September 22at 7:30pm, Virginia Hatfield, soprano, Kristina Szabó, mezzo-soprano,and Giles Tompkins, baritone, are the soloists in “Night at the Opera,”featuring music by Mozart, Puccini and Gershwin; on September 27at 2:30pm, mezzo-soprano Leigh-Anne Martin will be the soloistin a concert of music by Mozart, Brahms, Spohr and Gershwin;and on the 30th at 7:30pm, there will be a concert of music by IvorNovello and Noel Coward with soprano Hatfield and baritone JamesLevesque. All these concerts will take place at Barrie’s Burton AvenueUnited Church.At Picton’s Prince Edward County Music Festival, soprano EllenWieser will perform another Barber work, the Hermit Songs of 1953,a setting of English translations of Irish medieval songs. The concert,which is on September 22 at 7:30pm, at the Church of St MaryThe Constant LoverOct. 30 & Nov. 1, 2012, 8 pmthe sweet anguish of love>>> bonus concert >>>Time and TideMarch 5 & 6, 2013, 8 pma meditation on lives livedwhere words & music meetinfo: www.taliskerplayers.catickets: 416-978-8849 / uofttix.caOn the WingMay 7 & 8, 2013, 8 pmthe magic of birdsMad Dogs and EnglishmenJan. 13, 2013, 3 PM • the Noël Coward songbook2012 13www.taliskerplayers.ca28 thewholenote.com September 1 – October 7, 2012

COURTESY OF DOMONEY ARTISTSMagdalene. will also include works by César Franck and MarjanMozetich. If you want to sample Wieser’s voice, go to YouTubewhere you can hear her perform Atys by Schubert and Nuit d’étoilesby Debussy.Back in Toronto … : A performance will be given of ClaudioMonteverdi’s great Vespers of 1610, also at 7:30pm on the 22nd, atToronto’s Metropolitan United Church on Queen St. E. There have inrecent years been several performances of this work in Toronto butthis one is going to be different. There will be no chorus; instead thewhole work will be performed one on a part. This is a great chance tohear experienced choral singers performing as soloists or as part ofsmall ensembles.Virginia Hatfield.The singers are:Ariel Harwood-Jones and GiseleKulak, soprano;ChristinaStelmacovich andLaura McAlpine,alto; CharlesDavidson, ClanHorrobin, RobertKinar and JamieTuttle, tenor; JohnPepper and DavidRoth, bass.OnSeptember 23 at8pm, (with a preconcerttalk at7:15), New MusicConcerts’ “Cellos Galore” at the Betty Oliphant Theatre will includeWinter Words, a commissioned work by James Rolfe for tenor andeight cellos. The soloist will be Lawrence Wiliford.There will be a concert dedicated to the music of Claude Debussyat the Heliconian Club on September 28 at 8pm. Many of the selectionswill be instrumental, including a great deal of piano music andthe late sonata for violin and piano, but there will also be two of thesong cycles: Ariettes oubliées (set to texts by Verlaine and composedbetween 1885 and 1887) and Proses Lyriques (settings of Debussy’sown texts and composed between 1892 and 1893). The singers will besopranos Barbara Fris and Janet Catherine Dea.On September 29 at 8pm, in the Glenn Gould Studio, Kerry Strattonwill conduct the Grand Salon Orchestra in “Tribute to Edith Piaf.” TheAcadian singer Patsy Gallant will be the soloist.And down the road: If these concerts, while interesting, seem ratherfew in number, do not lose heart. There are plenty of exciting singerscoming in the course of the year: Colin Ainsworth, Allison Angelo,Françoise Atlan, Alexandru Badea, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Isaiah Bell,Scott Belluz, Gordon Bintner, Lesley Bouza, Leslie Ann Bradley, AdiBraun, Russell Braun, Measha Brueggergosman, Benjamin Butterfield,Lucia Cesaroni, Ho-Yoon Chung, Layla Claire, Neil Craighead, GregoryDahl, Elena Dediu, Alexander Dobson, Klara Ek, Gerald Finley, HallieFischel, Gordon Gietz, Carla Huhtanen, Joseph Kaiser, Miriam Khalil,Emma Kirkby, Marie-Josée Lord, Allyson McHardy, Amanda Martinez,Angela Meade, Shannon Mercer, Ileana Montalbetti, Nathalie Paulin,Ailyn Perez, Sophia Perlman, Sandrine Piau, Susan Platts, BrettPolegato, Robert Pomakov, Shenyang, Geoffrey Sirett, AnnalisaStroppa, Daniel Taylor, Erin Wall, Monica Whicher and Dave Young.Stay tuned!Two postscripts: We mourn the death and celebrate the life of JayMacpherson: poet, scholar, teacher, political activist, colleague, friend.There was some fine music at a service of remembrance on June 11:we sang two hymns that Jay had herself chosen, and listened to TeriDunn’s performance of Houses in Heaven (words by James Reaney,music by John Beckwith), one of Jay’s political poems (sung by MaryLove) and Sarastro’s aria “O Isis und Osiris” from The Magic Flute(sung by Michael-David Blostein). The last selection was especially aptSeptember 1 – October 7, 2012 thewholenote.com 29

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