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Volume 19 Issue 9 - June/July/August 2014

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three horn players.The

three horn players.The two-disc set is flanked by two overtures,opening with the Prometheus Overtureand ending with a commanding performanceof the Coriolanus Overture. These liveperformances were recorded in Toronto’sKoerner Hall in 2012 and 2013 with exceptionalclarity yet with nary a peep to be heardfrom the audience.Daniel FoleyVierne – String Quartet; Pierné – PianoQuintetGoldner String Quartet; Piers LaneHyperion CDA68036The Goldner Quartetfrom Australia shouldbe better known. DeneOlding and DimityHall, violins, IrinaMorozova, viola, andJulian Smiles, cello,are brilliant in theseseldom-heard works.YouTube footage shows the near-blind LouisVierne (1870-1937) playing the organ, erectand with head completely still, as thoughtotally wrapped up in a vision of the musicthat streams forth effortlessly from minimalfinger and foot motions. His String Quartetin D minor, Op.12 (1894) similarly seems anatural and complete mental conception fromthe young composer. Everything happensat just the right time. The Goldner Quartetbrings it off confidently, with impeccableensemble in the delightful Intermezzo anddeep feeling in the Andante.Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937) was a Parisconductor-composer who led the ColonneOrchestra in important premieres of compositionsby Stravinsky, Ravel and Debussy.Playing his sprawling late-Romantic PianoQuintet in E minor, Op.41 (1916), theGoldners do their best along with Australianpianist Piers Lane. This is a remarkable workbut, despite harmonic inventiveness, thecomposer’s obsessive repetition of rhythmicpatterns in the first movement becomestroubling. The second movement featuresabsolutely charming handling of the zortzico,a Basque dance in 5/8 time. Yet the manyrepetitions of the tune, re-harmonized usingalmost every move in the late-19th-centurytoolkit, were more than I could take.To be sure, the work has some fine mysticalmoments and Lane is a true virtuoso in thelast movement’s near-crazy ending!Roger KnoxImpressions of FranceCaroline LéonardelliCEN Classics CEN1453(carolineleonardelli.com)Ottawa-based harpist Caroline Léonardellipresents an attractive selection of late 19thandearly 20th-century harp music by ParisConservatory-educated composers. Herprevious recording El Dorado received aJUNO Award nomination. Beyond technicalproficiency and adherence to the Frenchschool of her teachers, it is her artistic senseof pacing and of shaping melodies withincascades of notes thathelp make theseperformancescommanding.Léonardelli capturesboth the sense of awonder-filled fairytale in MarcelGrandjany’s impressionistDans la forêt du charme et del’enchantement, and the moods of meditationand exaltation in his Gregorian chantinspiredRhapsodie. Grandjany’s teacher wasthe less-well-known Henriette Renié, whodeservedly receives recognition here with thepremiere recording of her challenging, aptlyconceived Ballade No.2.One of Léonardelli’s intentions for thisdisc is to honour the long French harp tradition,involving interaction between teachers,students, composers, performers and manufacturers.The disc opens with the Étudein E-Flat Minor by harp virtuoso FelixGodefroid, who helped the Érard Companyimprove the double-action harp, followed bythe Pièce de concert, Op.32 by centenarianHenri Büsser (1872-1973!), written for Renié’steacher Alphonse Hasselmans. There are alsointriguing works by more familiar composersSaint-Saëns, Roussel and Ibert. I foundRoussel’s ingeniously chromatic Impromptu,Op.21 especially heartfelt, and Léonardelli’spersonal association with its dedicateeLily Laskine makes this recording particularlyvaluable.Roger KnoxMODERN AND CONTEMPORARYShostakovich – Cello ConcertosTruls Mørk; Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra;Vasily PetrenkoOndine ODE 1218-2These concertos,particularly the first,are on my short list offavourite cello works.The Concerto No.1 inE-flat Major, Op.107has been recorded byalmost every prominentsolo cellist andis a regular on the programs of symphonyorchestras everywhere. Since Rostropovichpremiered and recorded the first concerto in1959 and the second in 1967 we have heardthem recorded by, to name a few, HeinrichSchiff, Mischa Maisky, Natalia Gutman and anearlier recording by Truls Mørk himself withJansons and the LPO from 1995.My first impression of this recording wasthat while it is energetic, forward moving,heartfelt and entertaining, it is also light andhappy in approach from both soloist andorchestra.Shostakovich was such a genius that evenwith completely different approaches hismusic speaks to the listener effectively. Analternative take in this music is the digginginwith acidic and sarcastic statements.Shostakovich could be great as the “warcorrespondent”or the smiling composer ofdance music. Shostakovich devotees exploreboth interpretations and in between.This new version enjoys remarkable soloplaying wrapped in beautiful and warmsound. Under Petrenko, who has as ofthis writing completed all but one of hisShostakovich symphonies cycle, Mørk hasprecise and crisp orchestral support includingexcellent contributions from the solo winds.In addition, the wide-range recorded sound issuperb, well balanced and transparent. WhileI still appreciate the acerbic Shostakovich ofRostropovich (the versions on Supraphon SU4101), Messrs Mørk and Petrenko provide avery convincing second opinion.Bruce SurteesGlass Houses Vol.2 – Music of Ann SouthamChristina Petrowska QuilicoCentrediscs CMCCD 20114Glass Houses Vol. 2is an outstanding solopiano recording thatshowcases the artistryof concert pianistChristina PetrowskaQuilico and her depthof insight derived fromthe 30-year collaborationand friendship that she shared withcomposer Ann Southam (1937-2010).Petrowska Quilico has previouslyrecorded Southam’s Glass Houses Revisited(Centrediscs, CMCCD 16511), Rivers on thethree-CD set Canadian Composers Portraits:Ann Southam (CMCCD 10505), a two-CDset Pond Life (CMCCD 14109), and multipleindividual works on compilation albums.This stunning new release from Centrediscspresents six of the composition’s fifteenmovements composed in 1981 and laterrevised for the pianist in 2009.Inspired by the American minimalistcomposer Philip Glass, Southam’s GlassHouses features highly complex passageworkdelivered at lightning speed, with lengthyrepeating figures in the left hand interactingwith varying lines in the right hand. Thedynamics, articulations and pedalling areleft entirely to the performer’s discretion andthis is where Petrowska Quilico’s interpretivepowers are most impressive.The pianist and production team have givencareful thought to the order that the piecesappear on the album. From a shimmeringopening to intense, driving movements, thereare also playful moments with unexpectedjazz riffs. Petrowska Quilico’s recording78 | June 4, 2014 – Sept 7, 2014 thewholenote.com

exemplifies the artistry and physical endurancethat are required to create this seamlessmusical vision for one of Ann Southam’smasterpieces.Réa BeaumontSins & FantasiesMark Takeshi McGregorRedshift Records TK430(redshiftmusic.org)What a brilliantconceit – sevenpieces, each bya different livingCanadian composer,and inspired by theSeven Deadly Sins.Beginning in 2010,Vancouver-based flute virtuoso Mark TakeshiMcGregor gave life to this project, and theresults are gloriously presented here. Thedisc begins with Dorothy Chang’s Wrath, ahissing, spitting and raging exploration oftone, breath and vocal sound, followed byGregory Lee Newsome’s Avarice and OwenUnderhill’s Three Reflections on Pride whichemploy flute, piccolo and alto flute. JocelynMorlock’s take on lust makes exquisitelyerotic use of the alto flute, McGregor’s voice,and words from a 20th-century icon whichcompletely spooked me out. James BeckwithMaxwell’s Invidere (envy) wanders into thefar reaches of extended techniques, andBenton Roark’s Untitled gives a meditativeand melancholy spin to sloth.In all these, McGregor’s remarkable gifts asa player are mesmerizing. Besides his extraordinarytechnical mastery, his is playing ofthe most imaginative and creative kind. Andto top it off, the disc closes with McGregor’sown Le dernier repas de M. Creosote, inspiredby the infamous Monty Python characterand an absolute tour de force any way youslice it. Three of Telemann’s Fantasias arealso included as foils to the new pieces; forme, McGregor’s sense of musical adventurehere pales in comparison. But no matter: asChaucer says in The Parson’s Tale, the deadlysins “all run on one Leash, but in diversemanners,” and here their diversity is astonishing,inspiring, and only dangerous in thebest possible way.Alison MelvilleCanadian Flute DuosJennifer Brimson Cooper; Amy HamiltonIndependent (fluteworld.com)Rich tone, extraordinarilypreciseensemble playingand lyrical musicalphrases highlightthis new release,Canadian Flute Duos,performed by JenniferBrimson Cooper andAmy Hamilton. Both flutists are distinguishedprofessors at the university level, respectedsoloists and chamber performers. They havechosen seven contrasting Canadian worksfeaturing varied stylistic sensibilities whichilluminate the tremendous gifts of both thecomposers and the performers.Imant Raminsh’s Butterflies (Papillons)is a Romantic-like work with rapid movingflute lines and trills emulating the sound offluttering wings against a shifting chordalpiano backdrop (performed by Beth Ann DeSousa). Jim Hiscott’s Quatrain for two flutesis a four-movement work with minimalistqualities, contrapuntal lines and harmonictwo-part runs. Especially beautiful is thecomposer’s use of lengthy held single noteswhich are reminiscent of his accordion worksand performances. Composer/flutist RobertAitken’s expressive Wedding Song is basedon an American Sioux Indian song. Thehaunting melody, dynamic harmonics andswells and precise whistle tones make thistrack the highlight of the disc. Works by JohnBeckwith, R. Murray Schafer, François Moreland Tibor Polgar are also included.I continually forgot that I was listeningto two flutes as the performers share a closemusical relationship to both their instrumentsand each other. The precision, care,understanding and respect for the music byBrimson Cooper and Hamilton make thisrecording an artistic keeper.Tiina KiikChristos Hatzis – Flute ConcertosPatrick Gallois; Thessaloniki StateSymphony; Alexandre MyraNaxos 8.573091Released by Naxoson its CanadianClassics series, thisCD offers the recordedpremieres of twoflute concertos byChristos Hatzis, one ofCanada’s best-knownliving composers, asplayed by the celebrated French flutist PatrickGallois and the Thessaloniki State Symphony.The first, Departures, is a memorial piecewritten in 2011, a time of personal loss forHatzis and the year of Japan’s devastatingtsunami and nuclear disasters. Hatzis isknown for his use of multiple and eclecticinfluences, and here there are whiffs ofJapanese melody, blues patterns, Frenchimpressionism and much more. In the firstmovement, the flute flutters deftly betweentraditional and extended sound worlds, withseamlessly woven interplay between soloistand orchestra. The orchestral playing in thethird movement brings robust rhythms incisivelyto life.Overscript, written in 1993 and revised in2012, is described in the notes as a commentaryon Bach’s Concerto in G Minor BWV1056/1 for flute, strings and basso continuo.Bachophiles will know the root piece bettereither as the concerto for harpsichord in Fminor or as the G minor violin concerto. Herewe have a very different kind of piece, a kindof palimpset in which Hatzis superimposeshis own music over Bach’s in fragmentedformat, making for some intriguing comparisonswhich the listener is invited to make.Under Alexandre Meyrat’s first-rate direction,the orchestra plays in lively and expressivefashion throughout, and Gallois is his usualelegant, musically effervescent and technicallybrilliant self.Alison MelvilleAmerican ArtAmy Porter; Christopher HardingEquilibrium EQ 114 (equilibri.com)This CD’s title,American Art, is agood fit for the houror so of music itpresents. The threelong compositionson it, Eldin Burton’sSonatina, RobertBeaser’s Variations,Christopher Caliendo’s Flute Sonata No.3and the one short piece, Michael Daugherty’sCrystal, are all creations of highly accomplishedcomposers, and have an unmistakablyAmerican sound. They could not havebeen written anywhere else. As a matter ofinterest, they are also all tonal; not in a waythat is slavishly imitative of the great onesof the past, but in a way that brings to life abroad palette of human experience, singing,dancing, weeping and rejoicing its way intothe souls of performers and listeners alike, ina uniquely contemporary way.Above all, the performances are a flawlesscollaboration between flutist Amy Porter’sconfident and authoritative artistry andChristopher Harding’s superb work on thepiano. He caresses the keys, bringing fluidityand lyricism that you don’t always hear frompianists; and Porter, with her incomparabletechnique, incisive articulation and varieddynamics, is a match for everything thecomposers throw at her.The duo’s sparkling teamwork as wellas the virtuosity of both players is particularlyevident in the short final movement ofCaliendo’s Sonata, “Bronco Buster.” In thesecond movement of Beaser’s VariationsPorter’s effortless and gradual movementfrom primordial stillness to breathtakingexcitement and intensity is a good example ofher artistry.This recording opens a window on thepossibilities of contemporary music and aside of life south of the border that you willnever hear about on the news!Allan PulkerFrederic Rzewski – The People United WillNever Be DividedCorey HammRedshift Records TK431 (redshiftmusic.org)thewholenote.com June 4, 2014 – Sept 7, 2014 | 79

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