7 years ago

Volume 20 Issue 2 - October 2014

  • Text
  • October
  • Toronto
  • Choir
  • November
  • Concerts
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Orchestra
  • Theatre
Includes the 2014 Blue Pages Member Directory

Conversations The

Conversations The WholeNoteGathering SteamPAUL ENNISWith repatriation of our “studio” facilities and means ofproduction to our own office at the Centre for SocialInnovation, 720 Bathurst, our Conversations TheWholeNote video series looks set to gather steam heading intothe 2014/15 season.During September, publisher David Perlman continued hisseries of conversations with Toronto’s musical players with awide-ranging interview with Noel Edison, conductor of theToronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Elora Festival Singers,and artistic director of the Elora Festival. Fresh from theMendelssohn’s second rehearsal of a very busy new season,Edison spoke of the choir’s new blood and the rigorous auditionprocess involved in adding it, of the juggling act to keephis organizations in sync and the ingenuity needed to stoke theflames of budgets approaching one million dollars a year.It was also fascinating to hear him speak of the connection hismother had to the Mendelssohn in the 1950s. (She was in the sopranosection.) Because of his parents’ friendship with the MacMillans(“Lady Mac and Sir Ernest”), they used to host the post-Messiahparties at their house in Rosedale, all-night affairs since in those daysMessiah would start at eight and end five hours later. “Oh you know,those tempos in the 1950s,” Edison recounted. “I mean, ‘Comfort ye inevery valley’ took close to 15 minutes!”And detailing the audition process: “I don’t hear them sing untilthey get through a really tough rhythmic audition first and once that’sdone, if they pass that with flying colours, then I’ll listen to the voice.But the rhythm has to be first and foremost. And it’s proved to be verysuccessful.”Edison spoke effusively about the sound of the choir: “It’s a verydifferent sound now. It’s a far warmer tone – to me. It’s the tone Ilove. I love that warmth, I love that rich sort of Mahlerian, chocolateysound. That’s the sound I very much express with.”For an unforgettable anecdote involving a party at Edison’sown Elora home and countertenor Daniel Taylor’s singing of LoisMarshall’s signature folk song “Ae Fond Kiss,” watch the full interviewwith Edison on The WholeNote’s YouTube channel. (You can accessthe channel directly from our website by clicking on “Our Videos”under the News tab.)The interview with Edison is only one of dozens you will find there.The most recent before the Edison finds publisher Perlman in conversationwith David Fallis, artistic director of the Toronto Consort.Fallis’ enthusiasmis contagious as heoutlines a brief historyof the Consort andhis own involvementwith the group – hejoined in 1979; theConsort began in 1972.After a few words onthe nature of consortmusic – “what’s on thepage is very much justthe beginning of thebeginning” – he moves on to Renaissance singing. He points out thata vocal treatise (on how to sing) was basically a compendium of ornaments,“which is to say you can’t be a singer if you can’t ornament.”He discloses how each Toronto Consort concert season is constructed,using the current year as an example, including The Play of Daniel,“the pinnacle of medieval music theatre,” and likely the high point ofwhat promises to be an engaging season.He twinkles especially as he speaks of “Paris Confidential” theopening concert of the new season November 7 and 8. It was designedby Alison McKay (his wife) “who is a wizard at designing programswith imagery and spoken word and music and weaving them infascinating ways.” It plunges right into Renaissance Paris roughly inthe 16th century, which he points out, was a very critical time in thedevelopment of both the city and early modern France itself. Paristhen was an intellectual centre and a hub for the new technologyof publishing with very important printers. He compared the factthat lute music was written in tablature to apps today. Then as now,figuring out how to make the best use of new technology was key.The three years of Conversations TheWholeNote are becomingan interesting archive of insights into a whole range of people, caughtat a particular moment in time. While the interviews may rapidlylose the topicality of the specific moment that was the reason for thevisit, it’s especially diverting to revisit them when the subjects areback in town. Wallis Giunta, for example, has been the subject of twoconversations in the past two and a half years. From October 23 toNovember 1 she’s singing the role of Bradamante in Opera Atelier’sproduction of Handel’s Alcina. And it’s instructive to see Jan Lisiecki’spoise in his conversation a few days before he turned 17, given that inNovember he will be back playing Beethoven’s Piano Concertos 3, 4,and 5 with the TSO.And as for PeterOundjian, theTSO’s peripateticmusic director,Conversations TheWholeNotecaught up to himjust two monthsbefore the orchestra’srecentEuropean tour, theoutcome of which,you can read about in William Littler’s article “Waving the MusicalFlag,” elsewhere in this issue.Among others captured in these conversations, and active in thismonth’s concert scene: Amici Ensemble’s Serouj Kradjian, soon afterjoining the group; new music champion, pianist Christina PetrowskaQuilico; and Stephen Ralls (interviewed here with AldeburghConnection partner Bruce Ubukata before their final seasongala concert).Like the magazine itself, the series is a work in progress, alwaysputting substance before style. Like the magazine, it is also a pricelessarchive-in-the-making.Paul Ennis is managing editor of The WholeNote.14 | October 1 - November 7, 2014

Beat by Beat | In the ClubsFor a SyncopatedGood Time ...ORI DAGANORI DAGANThe Hogtown SyncopatorsIf you happen to fancy the music of the 1920s, 30s and 40s, youwould be wise to get to the Rex Hotel every Friday afternoon from 4to 6pm for The Hogtown Syncopators. While this kind of promise ishardly customary, I guarantee you will be entertained.First there are the vocals of Terra Hazelton. It’s not at all surprisingthat Jeff Healey chose this woman to front his Jazz Wizards for sixyears and that Jaymz Bee of Jazz.FM91 has said that she is one ofa handful of singers who take you back to the 1930s. Oozing withpersonality, Hazelton can be found singing jazz, roots, country andoriginal music, but her voice is ideal for the blues, reminiscent oftimeless singers like Bessie and Billie. She has a way with a lyric andsimply put, when she sings, it’s hard not to listen. Hazelton also playsthe snare drum in the Hogtown Syncopators, and does so with a senseof swing sublime.The rest of the rhythm section is guitarist Jay Danley, who also singsand contributes original material to the group, James Thomson onbass, and Richard Whiteman on piano. Each of them brings somethingdifferent to the band, but what they have in common is apassion for the music that is infectious.And then there is violinist/clarinetist/saxophonist/vocalist DrewJurecka. It is difficult not to be in awe of this versatile virtuoso, whowas classically trained at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He hasplayed the Hollywood Bowl with Diana Krall, Shirley Horn andDianne Reeves; he spent five years on the road with Jeff Healeyand now tours regularly as part of Jill Barber’s band. In addition tohis busy recording and performance schedule, Jurecka is a facultymember at Humber College where he has helped to develop a uniquejazz strings program that includes technique classes, ensembles andprivate lessons.“I played violin from a very young age, studying the Suzuki method,and then playing classically through my undergrad,” Jurecka recalls.“I also played flute, then clarinet, then saxophone in my middle schooland high school band. I studied the saxophone with two great privateteachers: Andy Ballantyne and Alex Dean. Both of them introducedme to jazz music and taught me how to appreciate and approachplaying it. Somehow it never occurred to me to play jazz on the violinuntil midway through my undergraduate degree at the ClevelandInstitute, when someone introduced me to the music of DjangoReinhardt (and his amazing violinist colleague Stéphane Grappelli).Playing jazz on the violin quickly became a passion, then a drive. Ilearned to apply the stuff I had been playing around with on the sax tothe violin, and now here we are.”In The Clubs continues on page 54Suzie LeBlancDaniel TaylorTheatre of Early MusicFRI, OCT 24, 7:30 PMTRINITY COLLEGE CHAPELIn support of Early Music studies atU of T, this special concert featuresrenowned vocalists Suzie LeBlancand Daniel Taylor in Handel’s LoveDuets and works by Monteverdi andCavalli, led by the brilliant UK violinistAdrian Butterfield and the musiciansof The Theatre of Early Music.NEXUS withSepideh RaissadatMON, OCT 27, 7:00 PMWALTER HALLPlayed to a sold-out house at theOpen Ears Festival, this scintillatingprogram includes RussellHartenberger’s Moondog Suite, hisnewly arranged Invisible Proverb forpercussion and voice, and a suiteentitled Persian Songs featuringPersian classical vocalist SepidehRaissadat.Wind & BrassTHUR, OCT 9, 7:30 PMMACMILLAN THEATREU of T Wind EnsembleJeffrey Reynolds, conductorFRI, OCT 17, 7:30 PMMACMILLAN THEATREU of T Wind SymphonyTony Gomes, conductorJohannes DebusGEIGER-TOREL LECTUREMON, OCT 20, 7:30 PMWALTER HALLThe Music Director of the CanadianOpera Company will deliver this year’sGeiger-Torel Lecture.University of TorontoSymphony OrchestraTHUR, OCT 2, 7:30 PMMACMILLAN THEATREDavid Briskin conductsTchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 andGrieg’s Piano Concerto featuringstudent soloist Victoria Chung.SAT, OCT 25, 7:30 PMMACMILLAN THEATREUri Mayer conducts Beethoven’sSymphony No. 7, Brahms’ HaydnVariations, Weber’s OberonOverture, and Mozart’s Exsultate,Jubilate, featuring student sopranoElizabeth Polese.U of T Jazz OrchestraWED, OCT 15, 7:30 PMWALTER HALLGordon Foote directs U of T’sflagship big band in a free concert.A Choral CollageSUN, OCT 19, 2:30 PMMACMILLAN THEATREChoral music by Bach, Holst andthe premiere of Kuzmenko’s Gloria.Tickets: October 1 - November 7, 2014 | 15

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