8 years ago

Volume 18 Issue 4 - December 2012

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • December
  • Theatre
  • Jazz
  • January
  • February
  • Arts
  • Symphony
  • Choir
  • Concerts

“Alleluia” from

“Alleluia” from “Exsultate Jubilate” will be part of both concerts. Claireis a Canadian singer (she was born in Penticton, B.C.), who studied inMontreal and now lives in New York City.Mad Dogs and more: On January 13 at 3pm the Talisker Playerswill present “Mad Dogs and Englishmen: the Noel Coward Songbook”at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre. Also on January 13, at 6:30pm, ArielHarwood-Jones will give a recital as a Prelude to Evensong, a freewilloffering at St. Thomas’s Church.There will be a free recital by voice students at York UniversityJanuary 18 at 1:30pm in the Martin Family Lounge, Room 219Accolade East Building.Monica Whicher, soprano, Liz Upchurch, piano, and Marie Bérard,violin, will perform a program of English-language songs by British,American and Canadian composers at 8pm on January 27 in theMazzoleni Concert Hall.The soprano Angela Meade will be the soloist in a performanceof Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Ontario Philharmonic,conducted by Marco Parisotto. The concert, in Koerner Hall at 8pmon January 20, will also include Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony. AndAdrienne Pieczonka performs the same work with the HamiltonPhilharmonic led by James Sommerville on December 15 at 7:30pm inHamilton Place.On February 2 at 7:30pm in the Mazzoleni Concert Hall, the GlennGould School presents a concert in which voice students at the schoolperform art songs and arias.And beyond the GTA: Anne Morrone, soprano, Marianne Sasso,mezzo, Anthony Macri, tenor, and Ian Amirthanathan, baritone, willbe the soloists in a Christmas Concert December 14 at 7:30pm at St.Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Nobleton.A postscript: I always have an eye (and two ears) open for newlyemerging singers and it gave me great pleasure to attend the doublebill offered by the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory onNovember 16. The works were the modernist Three Sisters Who Are NotSisters by Ned Rorem (libretto by Gertrude Stein) and the romantic LeLauréat by Joseph Vézina. The latter work was written in 1906 (it is anopéra comique with spoken dialogue but with arias and duets whichreminded me of Puccini); the production was updated to the 1960s.The casts in both works were accomplished and there were especiallyfine performances by the soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon and the mezzoEkaterina Utochkina. In February the Glenn Gould School will mountits annual production of a full-length opera. This year it will be Mozart’sDon Giovanni and that will be something to look forward to.Hans de Groot taught English Literature at the University of Torontofrom 1965 until the spring of 2012, and has been a concert-goerand active listener since the early 1950s; he also sings and playsrecorder. He can be contacted at December 1 – February 7, 2013

Beat by Beat | Early MusicMeet the PlayersSIMONE DESILETSWe go to concerts to hear music, sometimes not aware of theinteresting backgrounds of the artists there on stage, playingor singing their hearts out. In conjunction with two upcomingconcerts, here are two performers with fascinating stories to tell.Randall Rosenfeld has been a mainstayof Sine Nomine Ensemble forMedieval Music since its founding in1991. He’s often heard playing vielle,gittern, recorder and early flute inthis group which performs vocal andinstrumental music of Europe fromaround the tenth to the 15th centuries.But did you know that he’sreceived a major award from theRoyal Astronomical Society of Canadafor excellence in astronomical writingand has been honoured by havinga minor planet named after him? It’sall in his work as national archivist ofthe RASC; he’s received high praise forcreating a first-class archive that providesan insight on the developmentof Canadian astronomy in the last century.I asked him to talk about theco-existence of music and astronomyin his life; here, distilled, is a little ofwhat he told me:“My formal training wasn’t as a scientist,but rather as a medievalist. Onecan’t go very far in the exploration ofthe intellectual world of say, 1,200 or600 years ago without encounteringRandall Rosenfeld in a neogothicspace (the chair andwindows are late-medieval,the flute is a copy of aca. 1700 instrument).the very close connections between music and astronomy. They weresister mathematical disciplines through which an understanding ofthe world could be apprehended. Those connections could be founddirectly in music surviving from the 11th to the 15th centuries. There’sa surprising amount of medieval music with texts unmistakably usingthe technical vocabulary of astronomy, or describing types of celestialevents. Very convenient for someone with an interest in the history ofboth music and astronomy.“I can’t say that my work in the history of post-medieval astronomyinfluences what I do musically, or vice versa, with one notableexception. The problems associated with restaging historical observationsand those involved with recreating past musical practices are inmany respects quite similar — it is as difficult to fully recover or comprehendhow an experiment may have been done in the past or howthe results were perceived at the time as it is to recreate a past musicalperformance and hear it with the ears of the past (some aspectsand perceptions will never be recoverable). Much can be learned byendeavouring to do both, and each may provide an illuminating analogueto the other.”On December 21 at St. Thomas’s Anglican Church, Sine NomineEnsemble performs “A Christmas Court Entertainment: The Romanceof Erec and Enide,” one of the most popular Arthurian romances,with music by Machaut, Binchois, Dufay and other late medievalFrench composers. While the concert is not directly structured aroundan astrological theme, there’s astrological imagery: “Some of the repertoirementions celestial objects and is concerned with aspects ofthe construction of the world, and touches on questions of timeand eternity.”Katherine Hill is well known as a soprano in the early musicworld, here and in Europe — no doubt you’ve heard her in ensemblessuch as the Toronto Consort, Sine Nomine and Scaramella. Youmay have seen her playing the medieval fiddle or the gamba too. Butlately, another fascinating instrument has entered her life: The nyckelharpais a bowed stringed instrument with keys that can be tracedback to 14th-century northern Europe and is still widely used inSwedish traditional music. It got Hill’s attention when she heard it onrecordings many years ago. She says: “The sound reminded me of mymedieval fiddle, but I also loved the sound of the keys clicking away.And Swedish music, with its mix of major and minor modes, crazyrhythms and haunting songs also captivated me.”Having the good fortune to borrow one for a summer and thento buy it, she seized opportunities to do summer courses in Swedenin nyckelharpa and Swedish music. “The moreI learned, the more I wanted to learn! So lastyear I got a Canada Council grant to study technique,repertoire and Swedish traditional dancein Sweden for nine months, which was a very richexperience. Now that I’m home, I want to keepexploring the Swedish music side of things, butalso the medieval fiddle side.”There’s a good opportunity to hear her and thisinstrument, in the first concert of the TorontoEarly Music Centre (TEMC) 2013 season. Hillsays: “I will be playing nyckelharpa in this show.The general uniting element in the repertoire isthe nyckelharpa, first as a medieval fiddle (picturedin Siena in 1408 in the chapel of the townhall). So we’ll be playing some music from thattime and place. And second, the nyckelharpa as aSwedish traditional instrument; so there will besome Swedish songs and dance tunes. My partnerwill be Julia Seager-Scott, who will play a gothicharp for the medieval material and a folk (or a baroque)harp for the Swedish music. There’s a niceconnection too, with the word harp also being inA. budgeyDecember 1 – February 7, 2013 29

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