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Volume 18 Issue 9 - June/July/August 2013

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work is a large and lush

work is a large and lush canvas with Lortieforming a perfect musical partnership withthe orchestra. Saugefleurie had its originsin a poem by Robert de Bonnières and herethe prominent use of horns and chromaticharmonies shows the clear influence ofWagner. (Unlike many of his French contemporaries,d’Indy was a staunch Wagnerite).Also with a literary connotation is the orchestralsuite Medée, written for a tragedy byCatulle Mendès. The Iceland Symphonyperforms with a sensitive assurance,ably capturing the orchestral colours andcontrasting moods in this story of doomedlove, thus rounding out a most satisfyingrecording.This is a fine addition in the series devotedto the “Samson of music,” one which ishelping bring to light certain works that upto now have unjustly languished in obscurity.D’Indy would be gratified!—Richard HaskellJourneys: Tchaikovsky – Souvenir deFlorence; Schoenberg – Verklärte NachtEmerson String Quartet; Paul Neubauer;Colin CarrSony 887254 70602!!Firstly, I mustadmit my prejudiceagainst the EmersonString Quartet wasinitiated by a keendisappointment andlingering dislike oftheir Beethoven StringQuartets cycle of themid-1990s issued by DG. To my ears, thosecoldly efficient, shiny performances displayedno empathy at all for the human being behindthe scores. So it was with some trepidationthat I approached this new CD, recordedjust last year, but the interpretations areexemplary!Verklärte Nacht is a particular favouriteof mine, both in the original sextet versionof 1899 and the opulent version for stringorchestra revised in 1943. There is also aversion for piano trio by Eduard Steuermann,a pupil of Schoenberg, of which severalperformances are available. The Emersonsare right on the mark here. Their toweringperformance is completely focused withimpeccable ensemble. Sensitive to everynuance and reading between the notes, thegroup appears to be totally absorbed by thebeauty of the score and, just maybe, mindfulof the melodrama and imagery of the RichardDehmel poem that inspired it. Arguably, thisperformance sweeps the board.Souvenir de Florence is an exhilarating,less familiar four-movement sextet byTchaikovsky. It enjoys the same attention fromthe players who turn in a solid and joyousperformance of this beautifully decoratedscore that will surely convert new listenersinto fans of this captivating, abundantly energeticopus.The recording producer and engineer,Da-Hong Seetoo, deserves an award forachieving such stunning realism andimmediacy with apparent ease. This is aninspired disc that belongs on your shelf.—Bruce SurteesMahler – Symphony No.1London Philharmonic Orchestra;Vladimir JurowskiLPO LPO-00070!!The late release ofa 2010 performance ofMahler’s SymphonyNo.1 on the LondonPhilharmonic’s houselabel reveals a youngconductor, VladimirJurowski, leading anenthusiastic and quitecapable orchestra in repertoire he evidentlyhas not quite come to terms with. This ismost evident in the first movement, whereJurowski’s rigid phrasing robs the music ofmuch of its charm and freshness. The noveltyof this particular performance is the inclusionof a fifth movement titled “Blumine”(Flowers) inserted between the first andAlthough she doesn’t really do anymore than her collaboratorson her latest CD featuringSchubert’s String Quintet andSchoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, theterrific Janine Jansen gets virtuallysolo credit and attention onthe cover (Decca 478 3551). Herusual musical intelligence and sensitivity,however, is clearly matchedby violinist Boris Brovtsyn, violistsMaxim Rysanov and AmihaiGrosz, and cellists TorleifThedéen and Jens Peter Maintz.Schoenberg arranged VerklärteNacht for string orchestra, butwhat a ravishing and entrancingwork it is in this originalsextet form. Written in 1899,well before his journey into atonality, itremains a stunningly beautiful late-Romanticwork, given an exemplary performance here.The quality is just as high in the SchubertString Quintet, with impeccable balancebetween the voices revealing the intricateinner details with perfect clarity, andfar more successfully than most ensembles.Attention to detail, never for its own sake butalways with the aim of enriching the interpretation,is one of Jansen’s great strengths,and her leadership here is evident. This ismusic-making of the highest quality, andas engrossing and satisfying a performanceTERRY ROBBINSsecond movements, an addition which wasdeleted by Mahler after three performancesand was presumed lost until it resurfacedin 1966. Over 20 recordings have includedthis movement since then, but consideringthe flood of recordings we have experiencedlately it’s still quite a rarity. Jurowski’s freakishlymuscular interpretation of this delicatemovement is certainly no bed of flowers, andfor my taste the plebeian lack of perfumespoils the contrast with the country bumpkincharm of the following Scherzo, which seemsto pass by in a flash in its wake. Having optedto reclaim the past by the inclusion of theextra movement, Jurowski inexplicably givesin to current revisionism by assigning thecelebrated double bass solo that launches theensuing bizarre funeral march to the entiresection according to the specious reasoningof the latest Mahler edition. Thankfully bythis point the conductor is beginning to showsome real enthusiasm, finally hitting hisstride in the hyper-theatrical grand finale andeventually saving the day with a fiery conclusion.The recorded sound from the recentlyrenovated Royal Festival Hall is quite acceptablewith no discernible distractions.—Daniel Foleyof this wonderful work as youcould wish for.Another of Decca’s youngEuropean superstar violinists,Julia Fischer, has a newCD of the Bruch and DvořákViolin Concertos, withDavid Zinman leading theTonhalle-Orchester Zürich(Decca 478 3544). In the old LP days,the Bruch Violin Concerto in G Minorwas nearly always paired withthe Mendelssohn, but theDvořák makes a surprisinglygood companion. The two workswere written only about 12 yearsapart, and share similarities inform — as indeed they do with theMendelssohn. Fischer clearly has agreat affection and affinity for theDvořák: her mother is Czech and studied inPrague, and the concerto was one of the firstthat Fischer studied as a child. It’s a lovelywork that has never really established itselfat the top of the standard repertoire. Fischerbelieves that this is changing; it wouldcertainly be difficult to find a more convincingargument than the one she presents here.From the very strong opening, through thebeautiful slow movement to the lively finale,this is a magnificent performance — intense,expansive, rich and warm throughout, with alustrous tone and lovely orchestral support.86 | June 7 – September 7, 2013

Exactly the same can be said for thebeautiful performance of the Bruch, whichmakes this old favourite sound new and fresh.Hyperion’s excellentongoing series TheRomantic ViolinConcerto has reachedVolume 14 with worksby AlexanderGlazunov and OthmarSchoeck (CDA67940);Chloë Hanslip is thesoloist, with the Orchestra della SvizzeraItaliana under Alexander Vedernikov. Abeautiful performance of the Glazunov AMinor Concerto reminds us what a trulylovely work this is, and the short MeditationOp.32 is no less lovely despite its brevity. TheMazurka-oberek dates from 1917, whenGlazunov’s work as head of the Conservatoryin St. Petersburg left him with little time forcomposition; its Polish flavour suggests that itmay have been one of the small number ofworks written with wartime patriotic associations.The Swiss composer Schoeck is knownprimarily for his vocal works, and hisConcerto quasi una fantasia in B-Flat Major,Op.21 is one of the few orchestral works thathe produced. Written in his early 20s, it is awork that is an appropriate and welcomeaddition to this Romantic series.Anotheroutstanding ongoingseries is The SovietExperience: StringQuartets by DmitriShostakovich andhis Contemporaries,which reaches VolumeIII with a 2-CD setof Shostakovich quartets Nos.9 through 12paired with Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s StringQuartet No.6 in E Minor (Cedille CDR 90000138). The Polish-born Weinberg was a closefriend of Shostakovich, and both composersinfluenced each other in their quartet writing.Weinberg’s quartet, one of a series of 17, waswritten in 1946 but never performed; it wasbriefly included on the list of “non-recommended”works produced in 1948 as part ofAndrei Zhdanov’s anti-formalist campaign.Not published until 1979, it was apparentlypremiered as late as 2007.The Pacifica Quartet is once again in simplysuperb form, playing these intensely personalworks with sensitivity and passion and awonderfully expressive range of dynamics.Strings Attached continues at thewholenote.comwith more Shostakovich performedby French cellist Emmanuelle Bertrand,Scenes from a New Music Séance featuringviolinist Kate Stenberg and pianist Eva-Marie Zimmermann and a new release fromthe Del Sol String Quartet.MODERN & CONTEMPORARYAnn Southam 5Eve EgoyanCentrediscs CMCCD 19113!!There are manyreasons to get excitedabout this recording oflate works by maverickCanadian composerAnn Southam. For onething, no one knewthese works existeduntil they turnedup in Southam’s Toronto home after herdeath in 2010. For another, this is a gorgeousrecording.What struck me the first time Ilistened — and after many listenings I’m stillnot ready to put this disc away — was thatalthough these works are strikingly austere,they throb with vitality. Like the watersculptedfallen trees on the booklet cover,they enchant by stealth, as though they areemerging from another world.Southam wrote these works with Torontopianist Eve Egoyan in mind, like the works onEgoyan’s two previous Southam recordings.Egoyan is able to bring special insights fromthose close collaborations with Southam toher exquisite handling of the lilting, haltingand shifting rhythmic patterns which connectthese works to each other, and to previousworks called Returnings (two of these sharethe name Returnings, while the rest were leftuntitled).The booklet throws light on Southam’spersonal sound-world, especially by reproducingpages from her manuscripts. The soundis clear and spacious, allowing the pauses toresonate. But this disc deserves a more meaningfultitle, especially since it makes such animportant addition to the already substantialevidence that Southam is not just one of ourfinest composers — hers is a significant voicein contemporary music.—Pamela MarglesConcert Note: Eve Egoyan plays a recital forMusic Toronto on November 26 in the JaneMallett Theatre at the St. Lawrence Centre forthe Arts.T. Patrick Carrabré – War of AngelsWinnipeg Symphony OrchestraCentrediscs CMCCD 18513! ! T. PatrickCarrabré’s accessible,modernistmusic is characterizedby angular linesand apt, dissonantsonorities orchestratedwith clarity andbalance. Inuit Games(2002) is an engrossing work in which Inuitthroat singers Pauline Pemik and InukshukAksalnik together weave continuous vocalpatterns. Around them Carrabré emphasizesthe low and high orchestra registers inmysterious, menacing sonorities. A uniqueand strong piece. In Symphony No.1: TheWar of Angels (1996), the opening movement’sfast triplet motion initially struck meas suggesting a finale. But then, shouldn’twars happen differently in angel spaceand time? The sombre slow movement hasprofound moments, while the concludingone needs more intensity, in my view. TheWinnipeg Symphony brass and winds shinein this work.Hearing the workmanlike first movementof Symphony No.3 (2003) left me withsome qualms about the composer’s propensityfor the moto perpetuo process. But thesecond one is richer and more expansive; theWinnipeg winds give their numerous atmosphericsolos loving treatment. And the finaleis dramatic and varied, with some intricatecounterpoint that builds to an impressiveclimax. The Dragon’s Tail (1997) is theexciting closer on this disc, featuring percussionpassages performed energetically as theother sections of the orchestra also generateplenty of menace! Kudos to Carrabré forhis compositions and his work (along withconductors Andrey Boreyko and BramwellTovey) for the annual Winnipeg New MusicFestival, which has helped composers,orchestra and audiences for contemporarymusic flourish.—Roger KnoxRiteJon Kimura ParkerIndependent FP!!Rite is an excitingCD of world premieretranscriptions ofStravinsky’s The Riteof Spring (1913) andthe complete balletPetrouchka (1911) bypianist extraordinaireJon Kimura Parker.There have been numerous transcriptions ofthe Rite, notably, by Stravinsky himself, SamRaphling and Dickran Atamian. There arecountless CDs and YouTube versions of threemovements from the ballet Petrouchka. EmilGilels, Grigory Sokolov, Alexis Weissenberg,Maurizio Pollini are excellent, Yuja Wangand Lang Lang with huge followings less so.What makes Parker’s version of Petrouchkaa “must listen” is his remarkable and sensitiveadaption of the complete ballet for solopiano. The focus is not so much on the pianisticfireworks of the famous dances but moreon the pathos and lyrical qualities of melodicpassages and the storyline. His attention todetail in transcribing is impeccable and hisperformance is never rushed but unfoldswith singing lines and capricious humour.The ballet breathes in shapes and emotions. Irealized at the end of the piece that I had June 7 – September 7, 2013 | 87

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