8 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 3 - November 2013

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  • November
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • December
  • Theatre
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The work, Korngold’s

The work, Korngold’s only operetta, will be directed by Joel Ivany. Thepiece was recorded for the first time in 2009 on CPO.TrypTych: On November 16 and 17, TrypTych will present the firststaging in Canada of Verdi’s first opera, Oberto,Conte di San Bonifacio(1839), written when the composer was 26. The all-Canadian cast isled by bass Henry Irwin as Oberto and soprano Natalie Donnelly as hisdaughter Leonora — the first of Verdi’s many explorations of the bondbetween father and daughter. Tenor Lenard Whiting sings Riccardo,the man who seduced and abandoned Leonora, and mezzo-sopranoMichèle Bogdanowicz sings Cuniza, the woman whom Riccardo isabout to marry. Leonora’s bold plan is to confront Riccardo on hiswedding day.The production is directed and designed by Edward Franko withmusical direction at the piano by Timothy Cheung. Joining the castis an augmented Ensemble TrypTych Chamber Choir. November 17will be the 174th anniversary to the day of the opera’s premiere.Performances take place in the newly renovated West Hall Theatreof Trinity Presbyterian Church in Toronto, and will be sung in Italianwith English surtitles.Voicebox: 2013 is the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth and the100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth. While TrypTychcommemorates the first, Voicebox: Opera in Concert commemoratesthe second. On November 24 it presents the Canadian premiereof Britten’s Gloriana (1953), written for the celebration of thecoronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The opera concerns the publicand private faces of Queen Elizabeth I and the friendship and frictionbetween the monarch and the Earl of Essex, whose ambitionworries her advisors. Betty Wayne Allison sings Queen Elizabeth,Adam Luther is Essex, Jennifer Sullivan is Lady Rich and Jesse Clark isLord Mountjoy. Peter Tiefenbach is the music director and pianist andRobert Cooper is the choral director.Britten’s portrait of Elizabeth’s isolation and failing powers wasnot deemed celebratory enough and the opera’s reputation hasbeen tarnished by the negative reaction of its opening night audienceever since. Recently, however, singers and critics have spokenout against the opera’s neglect. Music critic Rupert Christiansen saysof the score that “it is magnificent, with episodes that show Britten atthe height of his powers” and the opera is “music theatre of Verdianscope and scale ... expressed through a brilliant evocation of the richesof Elizabethan music.” Since the larger opera companies in Ontarioare unlikely ever to stage any of the six works above, we are luckyto have so many institutions and small companies willing to fill inthese gaps.Christopher Hoile is a Toronto-based writer on opera and theatre.He can be contacted at by Beat | Jazz NotesFall Is In, SoHead On OutJIM GALLOWAYNovember may bring the colder weather but things are heatingup in the clubs and concert halls this month and there are acouple of appearances I’d like to single out.The Jazz Bistro will feature pianist Renee Rosnes for three nights,November 14 to 16; with her will be Peter Washington bass, LewisNash drums and Jimmy Greene saxophone.Renee is Canadian-born but moved to New York in 1986 whereshe quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with andat various times was the pianist of choice for such as Joe Henderson,Wayne Shorter, J.J. Johnson and James Moody.She has four JUNOs to her name and her compositions have beenrecorded by Phil Woods, J.J. Johnson, the Danish Radio Big Band andthe Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra. She is a very welcome addition tothe Jazz Bistro’s line-up and the band, I’m sure, will be a tight unitgiven that their appearance here follows on a tour of India, the onlychange being the substitution of Jimmy Greene for Steve Wilson. Ifyou enjoy contemporary jazz you should definitely mark your calendar.Massey: On November 22 at Massey Hall it’s a pretty special eveningwith the Wayne Shorter 80th Birthday Celebration, (he turned 80 onAugust 25), with Wayne accompanied by pianist Danilo Perez, bassistJohn Patitucci and Brian Blade on drums. Ben Ratliff of the New YorkTimes has described Shorter as “probably jazz’s greatest living smallgroupcomposer and a contender for greatest living improviser.” And ifthat isn’t enough there is also the trio of pianist Geri Allen, drummerTeri Lyne Carrington and bassist Esperanza Spalding playing musicfrom Shorter’s days with Weather Report.In addition there is the usual vigorous local club and concert activitywhich is splendidly covered in the club listings section of this magazine.(See page 53).Shaw wordfest: Last month I wrote a piece about an address givenby Artie Shaw at the 1998 IAJRC Convention. This month I would liketo follow it up with his answers to some of the questions put to him bymembers of the audience.28 | Novemberr 1 – December 7, 2013

In one of responses he riffed on the theme that you can’t trainhuman beings to listen to music intelligently. Any publisher of bookswill tell you the same thing Shaw said: most people would ratherread Danielle Steel than Thomas Mann. Even although there is nocomparison they would rather have Liberace than Beethoven. Whatsells is what’s dominating the marketplace — we’re in a greed-drivenworld. If we want something good to go on we have to support it. Ifwe were at a concert by Kenny G there would be a very large audience.That doesn’t mean he’s better, it’s simply that more people like whathe does and that’s the way it works.By the way, do you know that Artie Shaw recorded with Jelly RollMorton? He was asked how that came about and explained that hewas on a recorddate withWingy Manone,so namedbecause he losthis right arm ina streetcar accidentwhen hewas ten yearsold. Jelly RollRenee Rosnes.happened to bethe piano playeron the date andthat’s how he came to play with him. Shaw found him to be “a niceguy” but a real hustler and always talking about how he invented jazz!Asked if there were any big bands that he listened to — bear in mindthat this is 1998 — he said that he liked Bill Holman and Bob Florencealthough he felt that Bob sometimes took too many liberties withsongs and that there is a limit to how much you should distort themusic without losing your audience. The more liberty you take theless audience you’re going to have and the less money you’ll make. Hewasn’t suggesting that money is the main goal, but you do have to facethe reality of making enough of it to pay the bills.He also had some interesting observations about Buddy Rich whomhe described as an athletic phenomenon; when he played he didincredible things with his feet and hands and had exuberance andtremendous energy. When Shaw hired him in 1938 he could not readmusic so he set him in front of the band for three or four nights tolisten, after which he said he could do it — and did!And speaking of drummers ... Over the years in jazz there havebeen as many musicians’ jokes about drummers as there are in classicalmusic about viola players; such as “We have a quintet — fourmusicians and a drummer”; or “A guitar player and a drummerwere walking through a park one day. The guitar player said, ‘HeyViolins, violas, cellos & bowsComplete line of strings & accessoriesExpert repairs & rehairsCanada’s largest stock of string musicFast mail order servicelook at that dog with one eye!’ The drummer covers one eye andsays, ‘Where?’”; “Why are drummers always losing their watches?Everyone knows they have trouble keeping time”; “Why put drumstickson the dash of your car? So you can park in the handicappedspot” ... and so on.Well, according to Artie Shaw Buddy Rich was not a musician, hewas a drummer — a different thing — the difference being that musiciansplay in terms of what the band is doing. So he and Buddy cameto a parting of the ways. Shaw took him aside and asked him who hewas playing for, the band or himself and Rich answered that he playedfor himself upon which Artie said, “I think you’ll be happier somewhereelse, you’re not going to be happy here and I’m going to leanon you pretty hard. So Buddy Rich left and joined Tommy Dorsey,although from what I’ve heard about Dorsey I’m surprised it didn’tturn out to be going from the frying pan into the fire.I’ve just realized that as I write this there might be a number ofyounger readers who may be familiar with the name Artie Shaw butdon’t really know much about him. He was a clarinetist, composer,bandleader and author. Acknowledged as one of the finest clarinetistsin jazz, he had one of the most successful big bands of the late 30s intothe early 40s. He also was the first white band leader to hire a fulltimeblack female singer to tour the segregated Southern U.S. but afterrecording “Any Old Time” she left the band due to hostility from audiencesin the South, as well as from music company executives. He wasalso actively involved in third stream music blending jazz and classicalmusic.In 1954 he walked away from a successful career and spent the restof the 50s living in Europe.His personal life was, to say the least, stormy; he was married eighttimes and his wives included Lana Turner, Betty Kern, the daughter ofsongwriter Jerome Kern, and Ava Gardner.He died on December 30, 2004 at age 94. I leave you with two ofhis quotes:“You have no idea of the people I didn’t marry.”“Shoot for the moon — if you miss you’ll end up in the stars.”Artie Shaw, a very different and talented human being.Happy listening and please make some of it live jazz.Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and formerartistic director of Toronto Downtown Jazz.He can be contacted at Philip’s Anglican Church● Sunday, November 3, 4pm | Jazz VespersChris Gale Quartet● Sunday, November 24, 4pm | Jazz VespersLynn Harrison● Sunday, December 1, 4pm | Jazz VespersPeter Togni Trio + special guest Mike MurleySt. Philip’s Anglican Church | Etobicoke25 St. Phillips Road (near Royal York + Dixon)416-247-5181 • • free will offeringthesoundpost.cominfo@the soundpost.com93 Grenville St, Toronto M5S 1B4416.971.6990 • fax 416.597.9923A treasure trove for string players& lovers of string November 1 – December 7, 2013 | 29

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