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Volume 20 Issue 1 - September 2014

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  • September
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Beat by Beat | Art of

Beat by Beat | Art of SongRecitals: Pastand To ComeHANS DE GROOTSong recitals are a thing of the past, we are told; the audiences justdon’t exist any more. But perhaps that statement is premature. Ican think of several recent events which suggest that there is stilllife there. The first was the July 20 recital in which Daniel Lichti sangSchubert’s Winterreise. The Heliconian Hall was not full but the sizeof the audience was respectable. I wrote about Lichti in June, so I shallonly add that his singing was just as fine as I had expected.The second was an August 6 recital given by baritone ChristopherMaltman and pianist Graham Johnson to a near-capacity (and veryenthusiastic) Walter Hall audience. One thing that struck me aboutboth recitals was their seriousness: no crossover items, no vacuouschitchat. Maltman’s recital was a commemoration of the start ofthe Great War. The songs of George Butterworth and Ivor Gurneywere central but there were other songs about war, such as theexcerpts from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn and the song fromMussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death. Maltman introduced theprogram by reading a moving poem by Wilfred Owen but he providednothing that was extraneous to the musical experience.The Maltman recital was part of Toronto Summer Music, whichoffers not only concerts by established musicians but also the TorontoSummer Music Academy, which this year provided opportunityto eight singers and five collaborative pianists. (There is a similarprogram for instrumentalists.) On August 8 we were able to hear all 13performers. The standard was high: a testament not only to the innatemusicality of the artists but also to the quality of the teaching (fromFrançois Le Roux and Graham Johnson, and from Christopher Newtonand Steven Philcox). I thought the best of the young singers was themezzo Evanna Chiew but there were also fine performances fromJin Xiang Yu, soprano, and Jean-Philippe McClish, baritone. Amongthe able accompanists, Brian Locke stood out. There was an addedbonus in that we also heard the lovely violist Ryan Davis in Brahms’Songs, Op.91.Meanwhile I look forward to next season, in particular to anotherperformance of Winterreise, to be sung by baritone ChristianGerhaher (February 26), to the recital by Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo,and Angela Hewitt, piano (January 9), to the Toronto debuts of thebaritone Elliot Madore (March 26) and mezzo Christianne Stotijn(April 16) and to the Kurt Weill recital by Adi Braun (December 6).Evanna Chiew (above)Christopher Maltman (left)Willibald von Gluck is now passing without notice (as is that ofC.P.E. Bach). But there is one exception: Essential Opera is giving usGluck’s rarely heard Paride ed Elena with Lyndsay Promane, mezzo,and Erin Bardua, soprano, in the title roles. The opera is staged andis performed with piano accompaniment at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre,September 27 at 8pm; there will be another performance in Kitchenerat the Registry Theatre on October 1 at 7:30pm.Katherine Hill will be the soprano soloist in the Ensemble Polarisconcert of Back to the Future: New Tunes from Sweden at 918Bathurst Street on October 3.On October 4 the soprano Emily D’Angelo will sing arias by Handel,Gounod and Rossini with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic at CalvinPresbyterian Church.PIA-CLODIUpcoming Events in the GTA:September 5 to 7, The Muted Note offers songs and dances basedon the poetry of P.K. Page at The Citadel and September 27 at GerrardArt Space .Linda Condy, mezzo, will be the singer in a free recital titled It’sEasy Being Green at Yorkminster Baptist Church on September 16 at12 noon, donations welcome.The first recital in the noon series at the Richard BradshawAmphitheatre in the Four Seasons Centre will be a concert by thenew members of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio onSeptember 23. It will be followed, on October 2, by a concert of ariasand ensembles based on Shakespeare’s plays, performed by studentsof the University of Toronto Opera Division, and, on October 7, bythree song cycles by Derek Holman (The Death of Orpheus, A LastingSpring, A Play of Passion) to be performed by Colin Ainsworth, tenor,and Stephen Ralls, piano. These concerts are free.Last year much was made of the centenary of the birth of BenjaminBritten and the bicentenary of the births of Richard Wagner andGiuseppe Verdi. By contrast, the tri-centenary of the birth of Christoph30 | September 1, 2014 – October 7, 2014 thewholenote.com

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