8 years ago

Volume 18 Issue 4 - December 2012

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  • Toronto
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BlackCMYKPantoneTicketsstart at !2012-2013 ConCert SerieSthe threeFACeS oFJerUSALeMA magical evening of music and poetry exploringthe rich cultural traditions of the Middle east.JAnUArY 27, 2013 At 3:00 pMKoerner hall, teLUS Centre for performance and LearningPantone versionFor tickets call 416.408.0208 or visit soundstreams.caCMYK versionBlack & White versionHetherington: The solos are filled with subtle and quiet effects.The bassoon, Sequenza XII, requires circular breathing which meansnever taking a breath. It’s like playing the bagpipes – you take the airin through the nose and breathe out through your mouth. SequenzaIII for woman’s voice was written in 1965, and is fairly typical of the1960s with its use of vocal effects. Nowadays, new music is much moremelodic. The 1960s was the peak of the classically weird. Later contemporarymusic is much more listenable and accessible.Petric: Berio also had a wink, wink, nudge, nudge sense of humour.For example, in the middle section of the accordion sequenza, afterplaying a bucketful of notes, you suddenly stop, and there is six secondsof silence. Will people think it’s a memory lapse, or will they clue inthat it’s part of the piece?I’m curious about something. Sequenza X is for trumpet andpiano resonance. I thought all the sequenze were solos.Hetherington: The pianist doesn’t actually play. She simply holds downkeys so that when the trumpet plays into the piano, the depressedpitches resonate sympathetically. It’s still a solo.What is the allure of Sequenza?Hetherington: The challenge of the solos. Some of them are more “listenable”than others, but they all stretch the technical and musicalpossibilities of each performer. The goal of the performer is to engagethe listener without drawing attention to their difficulties and, in somecases, quirkiness. Performing the sequenze is very rewarding.Petric: Right from his early pieces, Berio was pushing boundaries.He was also very collaborative. Musicians are eager to try new thingsand Berio was part of the rising tide of technical challenges. Sequenzaspans almost four and a half decades. I’m an interpreter, and throughSequenza, I can see the processes of a great mind — how he approachedthe artist and his art, what tweaked his interest to write each solo.Was Berio a modernist?Hetherington: Yes. Indeed he was. He experimented with the sonicpossibilities of all instruments and the voice. He also wrote a lot ofelectronic music.Petric: While many people consider him a modernist, I don’t necessarilydo so. Berio valued history. He didn’t reject the past like the modernists.He respected the past, and that’s what set him apart. For example,for each sequenza he would take a look at the history and repertoireof the instrument before writing the solo. Berio was also not afraid toadapt pieces, like his Armenian folk songs. And look at his interest inliterature. This made him unusual for his time.Is there an Italianate element in Berio’s music?Hetherington: I don’t perceive a specific Italian quality such as youmight find in his contemporary, Gian Carlo Menotti.Petric: I think he does have an Italianate sensibility which made himdifferent. Italians have an inclusive way of thinking. They are very inclusivepeople, secure in their identity which makes them open to newideas, a “Let’s try it!” mentality. For example, do you know that in Italythere is a publishing house devoted to translating only Canadian writersinto Italian? Italians are also conjunctive thinkers. They just don’tsay “Why?” They say “Why not?” Or, “If this is this, then what is that?”Berio had those qualities.Do you think that Berio had a game plan in terms ofSequenza? That he knew it would be a series of soloswhen he wrote the flute sequenza in 1958?Hetherington: I don’t think he began with a plan such as Hindemith didwhen he set out to write sonatas for every standard orchestral instrument.Sequenza wasn’t that deliberate. Berio wrote the solos when hewas inspired by an interpreter or when he got a commission.Petric: He must have thought about it, or else why produce solos thatkept coming decade after decade, and why number them as they werewritten? On the other hand, I never heard that Sequenza was deliberate,but he must have felt an inner need to do it. Nothing a creativeartist does is haphazard.Where does Berio stand in terms of thelexicon of New Music composers?Hetherington: I believe that he will last the test of time. Berio wasunique and didn’t subscribe to any particular style, but his compositionscommand respect. His music isn’t for everyone, so he couldn’tbe described as popular, although other pieces such as his folk songs10 December 1 – February 7, 2013

are regularly performed. Certain works will always be in the repertoire,such as his sequenze.Petric: Clearly Berio wrote music that will last. He’s been dead for tenyears, but there is still a strong connection. Musicians relate to him, anddesire to keep a relationship with his music. Audiences still respondpositively to Berio, and as long as that respect is there, his music willbe performed.Any last words?Hetherington: We should mention that a wonderful patron of the arts,Roger Moore, helped us out with a donation to put on the concert.{Berio’s Sequenza will be performed at Walter Hall on January 21, 2013,as part of the University of Toronto’s New Music Festival.}Paula Citron is a Toronto-based arts journalist. Her areas of specialinterest are dance, theatre, opera and arts commentary.Left to right, Few,Halladay, Mackie-Jackson, Sherkin.Berio Sequenza ProjectList of Musicians andthe Dates of CompositionJanuary 21, 2013, Walter Hall, 6:30pmThe impressive Sequenza soloists are all acclaimed recitalistsand chamber music artists in their own right who have gracedconcert stages around the world.!!Sequenza I for flute (1958): Robert Aitken (co-founder anddirector, New Music Concerts)!!Sequenza II for harp (1963): Sanya Eng (freelance artist)!!Sequenza III for woman’s voice (1965): Xin Wang(freelance artist)!!Sequenza IV for piano (1966): Adam Sherkin (composer;artistic director, The Sixth Sphere contemporary music series)!!Sequenza V for trombone (1966): Jean-Michel Malouf(conductor; artistic director of Choeur de métal)!!Sequenza VI for viola (1967): Diane Leung (member, TorontoSymphony Orchestra)!!Sequenza VII for oboe (1969): Keith Atkinson (associateprincipal oboe, Toronto Symphony Orchestra)!!Sequenza VIIb for soprano saxophone (1993): Wallace Halladay(assistant professor of saxophone, University of Toronto)!!Sequenza VIII for violin (1976): Mark Fewer (chair of the stringarea, Schulich School of Music, McGill University)!!Sequenza IX for clarinet (1980): Anthony Thompson(freelance artist)!!Sequenza X for trumpet in C and piano resonance (1984) GuyFew (part time faculty member, trumpet and chamber music,Wilfrid Laurier University); with Cecilia Lee, piano resonance!!Sequenza XI for guitar (1988): Jeffrey McFadden (lecturer inguitar, University of Toronto)!!Sequenza XII for bassoon (1995): Nadina Mackie-Jackson(principal bassoon, Toronto Chamber Orchestra)!!Sequenza XIII for accordion “Chanson” (1995): Joseph Petric(freelance artist)!!Sequenza XIV for violoncello (2002): David Hetherington(assistant principal cellist, Toronto Symphony Orchestra)December 1 – February 7, 2013 11

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