8 years ago

Volume 18 Issue 2 - October 2012

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42-47 aptlydemonstrates, experimental sounds nevervanished; they just went underground. Asthe 24 often lengthy tracks that make up this6-CD set of hitherto unreleased material substantiatesin its breadth of performances,sonically questing players were improvisingand composing during those so-called lostyears. But it took the founding of the VisionFestival by Parker and his wife, dancer/choreographerPatricia Nicholson, to provide theproper medium for this work. Major stylistssuch as saxophonists Charles Gayle and DavidS. Ware, vocalist Ellen Christi and trumpeterRoy Campbell, all of whom are representedin the set, would go on to mentor a multiplyinggroundswell of younger rule stretchersand future Vision Fest participants. Also,despite being professionally recorded, theconservative climate of the times, plus thecost of producing and distributing LPs, leftthe tapes used for these CDs stacked in performers’apartments. Now the belated releaseof Centering fills in a blank in jazz history,equivalent to what coming across a cache ofunreleased John Cage or Morton Feldmanrecordings would do.Included in the packageis an attractivelydesigned 66-pagepaperback book withvintage photos, postersand sketches alongwith essays discussingthe background of thesessions, the musicians’experiences and theNew York scene.From a historical perspective the mostvaluable artifacts are those which featureParker playing alongside saxophonists whoare now major influences in the internationalavant garde. From 1980 the bassist and altosaxophonist Daniel Carter are involved inmusical discussions which make up for theirlack of nuance with brilliant and mercurialplaying, eviscerating every timbre and tonethat could be sourced from their instruments.As Parker’s chunky rhythms hold the bottomwhile simultaneously rubbing and stoppingstrings to produce unique interjections,Carter ranges all over his horn. On Thulin,for instance, multiphonic split tones, tripletonguing, barks and bites are just the beginningof the saxophonist’s agitated interface.Working his solo into a fever pitch of altissimocries and freak notes, he often soundsas if he’s playing two reed instruments.Eventually Parker’s juddering percussivenessgrounds the track, angling the two towards afinale, but not before an extended a cappellapassage by the bassist, where his multi-stringsinewy strokes expose timbres that couldbe created by a string quartet. Contrast thatwith the beefy pedal point Parker uses onthe two 1987 tracks with tenor saxophonistGayle. After the reedist’s almost continuousoverblowing exposes snarling altissimo ornephritic guttural tones, Parker asserts himselfon Entrusted Spirit with tremolo strumsand slaps which echo sympathetically alongsideGayle’s expansive multiphonics. Finallythe saxman’s pressurized snarls and mercurialsplit tones are muted to an affiliatedmoderato tone by smooth pizzicato lines fromParker, bringing wood tapping and top-ofrangeangling into the mix.Read the continuation of this reviewat POURRISaeculum AureumBand of the Royal Regiment of!!2012 marks the150th anniversary ofthe establishment ofthe Royal Regiment ofCanada. To commemoratethis anniversarythe Band of the RoyalRegiment (BRRC) hasproduced a 2-CD setof recordings tracing the history of the regimentand its band. From Elgar’s Pomp andCircumstance Military March No.4 andHolst’s First Suite in E-Flat Major throughGershwin and Ellington to Mancini and TheBeatles, this recording spans a broad spectrumof genres in the concert band style. Thetitle track, Saeculum Aureum (Golden Age),was written for the band by Major Paul A.Weston, formerly of the Royal Marines, nowAssociate Director of Music of the BRRC.For most aficionados of concert bandmusic, no CD of this sort would be completewithout one or more marches reflectingthe traditions of the modern band. Thisset includes two excellent marches with aCanadian connection which are rarely heard.The first is Vimy Ridge, written in 1921 byBritish composer Thomas Bidgood to commemoratethat great battle of April 1917. Myfather survived that battle, and I have memoriesof playing a 78rpm version of this marchwhich had been recorded in England duringWWII The second, lesser known marchis Men of Dieppe. This has an even strongerconnection to the regiment. The composer,Stephen H. Michell, was one of several hundredmembers of the Royals captured andtaken prisoner when the regiment stormedthe Dieppe beaches. This march was composedduring his time in a prison camp.On a few selections, the band is joined bycollaborators from many performances overthe years. These include vocalist DanielleBourré, the Pipes and Drums of the 48thHighlanders and Thomas Fitches at the keyboardof the organ of St. Clement’s AnglicanChurch. All of the numbers on the first CDare recent recordings under the direction ofdirector of music, Captain W. A. Mighton orassociate director, Major P. A. Weston. Most ofthose on the second CD are from the past 50years conducted by three previous conductors.For the most part the recording quality isexcellent. However, there are a few selectionson the second CD, included for historicalpurposes, where the recording quality is notup to the same standard. One such number isAlford’s Standard of Saint George. In this casethe previously unreleased recording has beentaken from the sound track of a 16mm film,The Trooping of the Colour, produced in 1962.For those interested in the origins ofthe music, combined with the history ofthe regiment and its bands over the years,the 20-page booklet contains excellentcommentary on every selection andhistorical connections where appropriate.It also includes information on the soloistsand guests.Available from: R Regt C Band, Fort YorkArmoury 660 Fleet St. W., Toronto, OntarioM5V 1A9 (—Jack MacQuarrieAsk The OracleAndy HaasResonant Music! ! You can go homeagain; at least that’swhat reedist AndyHaas, a Torontoniandomiciled in NewYork, proves withthis CD. Haas, whowill be playing solosaxophone at OCADUniversity October 17 with trumpet andelectronics player JP Carter in a concertpresented by the Music Gallery, was inToronto last year to record this fine eighttrackset of improvisations alongside localsColin Fisher playing saxophone and strings,Aaron Lumley on bass, plus Brandon Valdiviaand Matthew Dunn on percussion.Although Haas was a member of theMartha & The Muffins pop band and theother four are imbedded in this city’s improvcommunity, the tunes mostly balance onthe boundaries among rock, jazz and worldmusic. With Haas playing hojok or Koreanoboe as well as soprano saxophone andflute, some of the tracks are as delicate asEastern court music, others are dependent onchoppy guitar distortion or overblown reedriffs which could have migrated from 1960s“energy music.”Especially pertinent is comparing a tracksuch as Curse of the Horns to ScatteredThrough the Strings. On the former, Lumley’sthick bass scrubs concentrate the proceedingswith a Westernized ostinato as bothpercussionists clatter and ruff while Fisher ontenor saxophone and Haas on soprano snortand squeal in tandem. In contrast, the otherpiece exposes Fisher’s command of the multistringguzheng, with his spidery glissandiweaving a polyphonic sound web throughwhich Haas’ saxophone lines cut with sharpreed bites.—Ken Waxman70 October 1 – November 7, 2012

Old Wine, New Bottles | Fine Old Recordings Re-ReleasedBRUCE SURTEESThere remains something veryspecial about the EMI recordingsproduced by Walter Legge ofthe, actually “his” as it turnedout, Philharmonia Orchestra,particularly but not only thosewith Herbert von Karajanbefore his ascent to the BerlinPhilharmonic. Legge had been producingKarajan’s recordings since theconductor’s first post-WWII 78s with the ViennaPhilharmonic beginningwith the Beethoven Eighth in1946. The Ninth was recordedin 1947 and although Karajanhas recorded it many timessince then this is my favouriteversion (EMI 72434 76878). Thereis an air of expectant optimism(which is what this symphony isall about) not present elsewhere inthe catalogue. Legge founded thePhilharmonia Orchestra in 1945with the expectation that he andBeecham would run it together.The two fell out and the orchestrabecame essentially a recordingorchestra, producing landmarkrecordings with conductors andsoloists of now legendary fame.Karajan’s first concert withthem, April 11, 1948, includedthe Schumann piano concertowith Dinu Lipatti which theyrecorded for EMI later that month.All but a few of the EMI Philharmonia/Legge recordings have been re-issued andavailable on CD, attesting to the excellence ofthe performances by what had become oneof the best orchestras in the world and theinstantly engaging EMI sound, whether theearlier monaural or the later stereos. In allof them there is a sense of listening in on aformal performance and not a recording ofmusicians making a recording. Such is a newre-issue of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphonyand the suite from Swan Lake recorded in1955/56 with Karajan and the Philharmonia(EMI 6022992). This is the third of Karajan’sseven recordings of the Pathétique and themost satisfying in the sense described abovewith music making of the very highestquality. Most impressive in both works arethe flowing tempos without any bumps, theunanimous strings, outstanding brass andwinds all captured in the best analog sound. Ienjoyed it immensely.Jean Martinon was a superlative conductorexcelling in the repertoire of the 20thcentury, especially French composers, as hisrecordings will attest. During his time asthe Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s musicdirector (1963-68) he made only a couple ofLPs of Ravel but when he returned to Francewas engaged by EMI to record the orchestralworks of Debussy with the OrchestreNational de ORTF in 1973 and then themusic of Ravel with the Orchestre deParis through 1974. These renownedperformances and recordings havesince seen many incarnations butnow EMI has groupedthem all together in anirresistible 8-CD box,Debussy, Ravel OrchestralWorks at an ultrabudget price (EMI70444421). There are18 of Debussy’s wellknownand somelesser known works and 15by Ravel includingthe obvious titlesplus the completeDaphnis et Chloe(with the Chorusof the NationalOpera) and the twopiano concertos.Without exception,the performances arecommanding and authoritativeand the naturally balancedrecordings, made in Paris’ Salle Wagram,are a credit to France’s famed producer,René Challan.I don’t suppose that these days whencollectors express their preferences amongcompetitive versions of certain works itis likely that Clifford Curzon would comereadily to mind and yet in the day he was afrontrunner in most of the repertoire that isto be found in a new collection from Deccaof all his recordings made for them since1937, augmented with interviews and recitalsas late as 1980 (4784389, 23 CDs + 1 DVD).Curzon possessed impeccable and unerringtaste and musicianship and one can sensethat every note is played with the assurance ofa mind totally in control. Surprisingly, on firsthearing, the all-Liszt recital from Vienna’sSofiensaal (1963) seemed to be too closelymiked, contributing to the impression thatCurzon’s interpretation was ill-conceived.But on second hearing everything came intoperspective, revealing a towering version ofthe structured B Minor Sonata and pristineversions of the shorter pieces. In additionto many solo recitals including Schubert,Schumann and Brahms, there are concertosby Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg,Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, de Falla andthe dashing Scherzo by Litolff. Time has notdimmed these superb recordings. The fullcontents can be seen on Walcha was internationallyrespected as an interpreter of the music ofBach and other composers ofthe baroque era. DG (DGG at thetime) and EMI had both featuredhim twice in almost the entireBach keyboard repertoire. ForDG he was Walcha the organist,for EMI the harpsichordist. Itis interesting to note that thisauthoritative performer wastotally blind from the age of 16 andpossessed the astonishing abilityto have memorized his repertoirefrom hearing others play. Hiscommanding performancesare luminous and transparent.The sound of the harpsichordon a new DOREMI release ofperformances from 1957–1960is detailed and pleasant although somemay have reservations that in these recordingsWalcha, unlike most interpreters, observesno repeats. He plays a modern Ammerharpsichord. Bach: Six Partitas, BWV 825-830; Italian Concerto; Chromatic Fantasy andFugue in D Minor (DHR-7985/6, 2 CDs).What a pleasure to hear the Bach Six Suitesfor Solo Cello played with such unusuallyheartfelt expressivity and warmth as isheard from Antonio Janigro on another newDOREMI collection (DHR-8014/6, 3 CDs).A singing tone, perfect intonation, beautifularticulation and a refined style were histrademarks. In the three gamba sonatas,BWV1027 – 29, with harpsichordist RobertVeyron-Lacroix he is similarly impressive.In the mid 1950s he made a recording ofthe popular Boccherini B-Flat Major CelloConcerto, however here we have the youngJanigro from 1948 ... rare and captivating. Asplendid collection, faithfully remastered, thesuites are derived from 1954 Westminster LPs.Here is beautiful music making in the grandsense and not simply for cello lovers.October 1 – November 7, 2012 71

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