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Volume 18 Issue 5 - February 2013

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Theatre
  • Quartet
  • Soprano
  • Orchestra

WE ARE ALL MUSIC’S

WE ARE ALL MUSIC’S CHILDRENWho Is March’s Child?Forever young and comfortably just one of the guys, his quintet plays at The Rex(Feb 12), where he just launched an octet debut CD. His trio honours OscarPeterson at the Heliconian Hall (Feb 21).Winnipeg Boys’ Choir circa 1952: already an upstanding musician but not yet anupright bass.Know our Mystery Child’s name?Send your best guess to musicschildren@thewholenote.com by February 21. Winconcert tickets and recordings!CONGRATULATIONS TOOUR 2012/2013 GRAND PRIZEWINNER!Joan Sayer identified all ten photosin our year-end quiz and matchedthem to the clues.She wins a two-person three-coursedinner and show package to hearJane Bunnett and Hilario Durán at thebrand new Paintbox Bistro (April 13),tickets for Aradia’s “Handel’s GrandConcerti” (April 5) and also forI FURIOSI’s “The Down-Low”(March 30).The answers: 1) Aisslinn Nosky,2) Alex Pauk, 3) Jane Bunnett, 4)Peter Appleyard, 5) Shannon Mercer,6) Josh Grossman, 7) Lydia Adams,8) Colin Ainsworth, 9) Kevin Mallon,and 10) Jonathan Crow.Music’s Children gratefully acknowledges Dorothy and William, Lesley, Barbara,Felix, Kevin and Chris.A NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART RECITAL HALL WELCOMESTHE KINDRED SPIRITS ORCHESTRAThe Kindred Spirits Orchestra has performedfor 2 seasons at Toronto’s renowned GlennGould Studio to great acclaim, sold-outaudiences, and standing ovations. Since 2011their season has included a 6-concertsubscription series at Flato Markham Theatrefor the Performing Arts, 3 community outreachconcerts and 2 educational concerts. Led bythe charismatic Maestro Kristian Alexander theKSO enjoys enormous popularity andcontinues to attract avid audiences across the Greater Toronto Area.The KSO has recently moved their rehearsals to the Cornell Community CentreRehearsal Hall in east Markham. This 5,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility with superbacoustics will allow the KSO to continue growing. "We simply fell in love with the new hall, "said Jobert Sevilleno, General Manager of the Kindred Spirits Orchestra. "There is a lot ofexcitement and we can't wait to start the rehearsals for one of the most beautiful pieces inthe orchestral repertoire, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde.”Because this piece requires a larger orchestra the KSO is inviting musicians whoplay the following instruments to join the orchestra: flute, oboe,clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon, horn, trumpet,trombone, mandolin, violin, viola, cello, contrabass, and percussion.Rehearsals are every Tuesday from 7:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.For more information please e-mail info@KSOrchestra.ca or visitwww.KSOrchestra.caVenue Rental• in the heart of Yorkville• historical heritage building• Steinway Grand Piano• recital and special events• lighting and sound systems• accomodates caterers• reasonable rates35 Hazelton Avenue, Heliconian Hall416-922-3618 rentals@heliconianclub.org52 thewholenote.com February 1 – March 7, 2013

DISCOVERIES | RECORDINGS REVIEWEDThe National Youth Orchestra of Canadahas released a 2-CD set documentingits 2012 adventure under the baton ofAlain Trudel. Russian Masters – CanadianCreations (nyoc.ca) includes sterling performancesof selections from Prokofiev’s Romeoand Juliet, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overtureand Shostakovich’s Symphony No.10 in EMinor alongside new works from young(ish)Canadian composers Nicolas Gilbert andAdam Sherkin. If the playing on this disc isany indication, the future of orchestral musicin this country is in good hands. The playingis dynamic and nuanced with strong attentionto detail and line. Trudel is to be commendedfor his work bringing these young musiciansfrom across the country into a cohesive andconvincing whole. My only complaint is withthe lack of musicological information. Thereis a booklet with extensive details about theorganization — mission statement, auditionprocess, training and touring programs — anda biography of Trudel, a complete list of themusicians and even the recording personnel,but not a word about the composers or themusic. Perhaps the “Russian Masters” needno introduction, but this is a real disserviceto the Canadians. I assumed that they werecommissioned to write these works specificallyfor the NYOC and a visit to the websiteconfirms this was the case for Gilbert’sRésistance but that is the only informationI can find there. Sherkin’s Terra Incognitaremains “unknown” with no mention of itsorigin or context. (A Google search turned upthe information that this work was developedat an orchestral workshop of the BuffaloPhilharmonic and a revised version was performedin 2005 at the Royal Conservatory inToronto under Trudel’s direction.) Both worksmake full use of the orchestra’s resourcesskilfully although neither breaks any particularlynew ground.Montreal’s Nicolas Gilbert’s chambermusic has been heard in Toronto in severalcontexts, performed by the Ensemblecontemporain de Montréal, New MusicConcerts and Continuum, and in recentyears he has served as host on the ECM’scross-country “Generation” tours. Sherkinis a Toronto-based composer and pianistwith a burgeoning international careerwhose new Centrediscs release of solo pianocompositions is reviewed by Nic Gotham furtheron in these pages. It is great to have theopportunity to hear large scale orchestralcompositions by these two; I only wish wewere given some background information.There is no shortage of information on theCD Sharp Edges featuring music of Torontocomposer Robert A. Baker (robertabaker.net)who completed his doctorate at McGillDAVID OLDSUniversity in 2009 and now makes his homein Maryland. The notes start with an ArtisticStatement which states in part “At the heartof my musical imagination is a fundamentalcontradiction. On the one hand Iwant to hear music of the distantpast, maintain a sense of connectionto my musical heritage, andin this way feel a part of humankind.On the other hand, I feelan irresistible curiosity; a needto consider sound in as objectivea manner possible, embraceany sonic option that is relevantand practical, no matter howunconventional, and attempt tohear what I have not yet heard,and say what I have not yet said.”In addition to his activities asa composer, pianist, conductorand teacher, Baker is an activeresearcher on contemporary musicanalysis and philosophies on theperception of musical time. Theseconcerns are exemplified in theseven compositions showcased onthis excellent recording. A series offour works titled Valence, rangingfrom solo piano to an ensemble ofsix instruments, are interspersedwith independent pieces includingthe title track for four stringsand percussion, another pianosolo and a string quartet. Thislast which “evokes an array ofreferences ranging from the distantto the recent past in Westernmusical history” was premiered atthe Canadian Contemporary MusicWorkshop in Toronto in 2004. Thisrecording of the two part etherealthen angular piece features Toronto’s ElginQuartet. The Valence series was composedbetween 2008 and 2011 and is presentedhere in reverse chronology. The disc beginswith the final instalment, scored for clarinet,trumpet, piano, percussion, violin andcello, and ends with the solo piano precursor.It is intriguing to hear how the treatmentof the material changes from incarnation toincarnation. Sharp Edges is not only the titleof a 2009 composition for violin, viola, cello,double bass and percussion, but also an aptdescription of Baker’s uncompromising musicwhich encompasses the past while embracingthe future.In March 2012 the Toronto SymphonyOrchestra’s New Creations Festival was curatedby Hungarian conductor and composerPeter Eötvös. During the week Toronto audienceshad the opportunity to hear a numberof his works thanks to both the TSO and NewMusic Concerts. One of the highlights wasthe Canadian premiere of the Eötvös’ violinconcerto Seven, a memorial to the astronautsof the Space Shuttle Columbia. Thenumber seven provides the shape of not onlythe musical materials of the piece, but alsothe layout of the orchestra into seven mixedinstrumental groups and the placement of thesix tutti violins (seven violins counting thesoloist) throughout the hall, distant from thestage, “in space” as it were.A new recording of this stunning workappears on Bartók/Eötvös/Ligeti featuring violinist PatriciaKopatchinskaja, the FrankfurtRadio Symphony Orchestra andEnsemble Modern under Eötvös’direction (Naïve V 2585). The 2-CDset also includes Bartók’s ViolinConcerto No.2 dating from 1939and the five-movement version ofLigeti’s Violin Concerto from 1992,the premiere of which was conductedby Peter Eötvös in Cologne.Spanning roughly 70 years, thisrecording effectively bringstogether works by the mostimportant Hungarian composersof the 20th century insparkling performances by the youngMoldovan violinist.The Bartók concerto has ofcourse become a classic of therepertoire and this recordingreminds us why. The Ligeti,scored for a chamber orchestraof 23 players including naturalhorns and four winds doublingon ocarinas, is an extremely challengingwork first heard in Torontowith Fujiko Imajishi as the soloistwith New Music Concerts in1999. (She later reprised thework with Esprit Orchestra.)Described in the notes as “acharacteristic example ofLigeti’s late work ... Elementsof music from the Middle Ages to theBaroque, Bulgarian and Hungarian folksong,polyrhythmic superimpositions as inthe piano rolls of Conlon Nancarrow and anexorbitantly difficult solo part are forciblyyoked into complex constructs that liberateundreamt-of sonic energies and make listeninginto an adventure.” It is all that and more.My final selection for the month also hasa (perhaps tenuous) Toronto connection.Chinese born American composer Tan Dunwas selected by Glenn Gould Prize laureateToru Takemitsu for the City of Toronto ProtégéPrize in 1996. A recent Naxos release, TanDun – Concerto for Orchestra (8.570608)includes two compositions from 2012,the title work and the Symphonic Poemon Three Notes, juxtaposed with 1990’sOrchestral Theatre performed by the HongKong Philharmonic Orchestra under thecomposer’s direction. This disc provides awelcome entrée into the concert music of thecomposer who came to international atten-February 1 – March 7, 2013 thewholenote.com 53

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