7 years ago

Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016

  • Text
  • December
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • February
  • January
  • Symphony
  • Theatre
  • Performing
  • Faculty
  • Volume
What's a vinyl renaissance? What happens when Handel's Messiah runs afoul of the rumba rhythm setting on a (gasp!) Hammond organ? What work does Marc-Andre Hamelin say he would be content to have on every recital program he plays? What are Steve Wallace's favourite fifty Christmas recordings? Why is violinist Daniel Hope celebrating Yehudi Menuhin's 100th birthday at Koerner Hall January 28? Answers to all these questions (and a whole lot more) in the Dec/Jan issue of The WholeNote.

own special father-son

own special father-son relationship, would have chosen Ives’ Concord Sonata as the first LP he bought “with his own pennies,” as he once put it. It was John Kirkpatrick’s second recording of the piece, recorded in 1968. Hamelin bought it in 1975. He gave me a typically detailed answer to my question of how he chose to buy that particular LP: “I really started to be intrigued by contemporary music. A few years earlier my dad had gotten a subscription to the Piano Quarterly and it featured reviews of scores at the beginning. And they reproduced the first page of almost everything. So there was everything from beginners’ pieces to the most advanced avant-garde scores. And those, the latter, really made an impression on me, you know, the ways of notation. And he also subscribed to Clavier magazine. In October ’74 there was an Ives special issue because it was the centenary of his birth. And there were a lot of articles and there was a discussion of the Concord Sonata, among other things. And it really intrigued me. At the same time I saw that a local record store had the Kirkpatrick recording, so I picked it up. .98. I still remember. Tenth of June, 1975. I remember it because it’s the only year I ever kept a diary.” He bought a lot of contemporary recordings after that – Stockhausen, Cage, Boulez, Xenakis – everything he could lay his hands on. “A lot of bargain records.” And “Oh my God, yes,” he THE ASSOCIATES OF THE TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 2016 SEASON Monday, January 18, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Colours in Music: Composers with Synaesthaesia Franz Liszt, Duke Ellington, Jean Sibelius, Constantine Caravassilis Monday, February 22, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Jean Françaix, Leoš Janáček, Johannes Brahms Monday, March 7, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Ensembles from the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra The talented young solo artists and orchestral musicians of the future, in a varied program. Monday, April 11, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Bow, Brush and Lens Kye Marshal, Arnold Schoenberg, Felix Mendelssohn Monday, May 16, 2016, 7:30 p.m. 2, 3 and 4 Robert Schumann, Ernst von Dohnányi, Sergei Prokofiev Tickets , Seniors and Students Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West Box Office 416-282-6636 | answered when I asked if he was still buying records. He elaborated: “You know, I shop a lot secondhand because first of all, regular record shops are dying and I don’t like the fact that one can’t browse online really, physically. So I much prefer second-hand shops and I buy vinyl at least as much as CDs these days. This is beside the fact that vinyl with young people has made a resurgence. But also because there are tons of things still to be found. And I’m not only talking classical music. I mean I can buy anything from classical music to comedy records to improvisation to noise to electronic music to all kinds of things.” When I asked if there is anything in particular he listened to for pleasure, he replied that there is so much in his collection to catch up on that he almost never listens to a recording twice. And he added something he deemed very important: “I was once asked who my pianistic heroes are and I had to answer: the score. Because as much as we have fantastic recordings, tons of fantastic recordings throughout history, throughout the 20th century, the score is still my ideal.” Trying to get a sense of the immensity of his collection I asked how extensive it was. Again, his answer took me by surprise. “It’s hard to quantify. The only thing I can quantify right now with any certainty is that I’m waiting for some funds to convert a garage into a sizable music room. And my sheet music collection right now is in 97 clear plastic bins. So that gives you an idea.” Of course, with over 70 CDs of his own to his credit, I was curious as to how he chose what to record. Hamelin volunteered that from the beginning of their association over 20 years ago, Hyperion has always been very open to what he wanted to do. “Of course, they were a little cautious at the beginning as far as more standard repertoire because I really wasn’t known for that, even though I have been playing standard repertoire all the time,” he said. “It’s just that my recorded repertoire was very maverick-y up to when I started with them. But gradually, I’m very happy to say, that they were willing to give me more freedom as far as standard repertoire. And that really started with the Haydn recordings that they let me do [recorded in December 2005; released in March 2007]. I had to do a little bit of persuading, but it’s really paid off,” he added. I had just recently listened to his Haydn Sonatas Vol. 3 and felt compelled to tell him that I found it to be totally seductive and smooth. I said that it reminded me of sipping a local wine in Beaune at lunch, which made him laugh. Because it was so elegant and supple. Which made him laugh even more and thank me. Among his own compositions on his Etudes CD is Cathy’s Variations, written for and about his domestic partner, Cathy Fuller, a classical music host for WCRB FM 99.5 in Boston. I found the theme to be very sweet and the experience of listening to it, coupled with a personal history of having heard Hamelin in concert several times during the last 20 years, compelled me to say that he seemed more relaxed in concert over the last several years. “Join the club,” he immediately interjected. “A lot of people have said that. Which couldn’t please me more. She’s an extraordinary person. She’s also trained as a pianist. A remarkable musician.” Coming from a man who is a remarkable musician himself, that’s more than a compliment to the woman he complements. In his liner notes to Cathy’s Variations, Hamelin wrote that the piece is “purely the work of a man in love…inspired by…my true soulmate, who fascinates me more with each passing day.” Marc-André Hamelin appears in recital for Music Toronto at the Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre, on January 5, 2016. The following month he returns to perform Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, February 25 and 27 at Roy Thomson Hall. Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. SIM CANETTY-CLARKE 16 | December 1 2015 - February 7, 2016

VINYL REVIVAL ORI DAGAN This holiday season, choose old-school LPs over iTunes gift certificates. The reason? #VinylRevival. It’s the old thing. It’s the new thing. And for the record: if you need cash, dig out those old LPs – they could be worth something. To get your money’s worth, check out a store called Good Music Toronto, recently relocated from its Queen Street location downstairs from Black Market Vintage Clothing to new premises at 1611 Dundas West, at Brock, just steps away from Lula Lounge. “I’ve been selling records in Toronto for ten years – eight as manager of Vortex Records and two as owner of Good Music [ilikegoodmusic. com],” says Lincoln Stewart, who prides himself on giving the fairest prices in town (half of what he sells the record for) for quality vinyl. “I have been a music lover my whole life and got into the business when the owner of Vortex asked me to work for him. Seven years prior I’d been the manager of his video store, Art & Trash.” What about this business has changed in the past few years? I asked him. “Certainly an increase in sales! Vortex has been in business since the ’70s and was one of the few Toronto stores to survive the drought of the ’90s/00s and come out the other side. Also, young people are buying vinyl again, which is very nice to see. I’ve also seen a drastic increase in prices, which is bad. Gone are the days when we could sell Fleetwood Mac and Dark Side of the Moon for . I find that disappointing because I’m a music lover first and a businessman second. Our motto sums us up nicely: Quality records bought and sold. Fair price in and out. Because we guarantee everything that we sell, we try not to carry records with audible marks on them. Our records play clean. If one doesn’t, bring it back for a full refund. I also photograph most everything that’s interesting and put it on Just one thing about Good Music Toronto – while they have a great jazz selection, they do not currently buy or sell classical music. Thankfully there’s Amoroso Records ( at 4 St. Patrick Street, across the street from the Rex Hotel, which specializes in classical as well as jazz, rock and rarities. This family-run business is co-owned by sisters Anne Lai and Jacqueline Lai. Says Jacqueline: “I decided to take a break from the bank, so I started working for a friend of mine at Second Vinyl. The year was 2000 and that was until 2004. Then, reality came in and I had to go back to the bank, so from 2004 to 2008 I worked for CIBC. At the beginning of 2008 I had had it, and I asked my family for help, and this is how Amoroso formed. ADAMS XENAKIS ZORN Beat by Beat | Jazz Stories JACK Quartet Jan.14 BOULEZ +BASHAW Feb.15 “In the beginning, vinyl hadn’t quite come back yet. I have to admit, now we are in our eighth year, and only in the last two years, vinyl did come back. But, the problem that we have is that people are very selective. People want only certain things. For example, in the rock section, people want Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, those are all sellable. Everyone comes in wanting just that and nothing else. In classical, only violin, cello, solo piano, nothing else. So I’m right here doing my best to introduce people to different music.” Lincoln Stewart at Good Music Toronto with an Original Canadian Mono Love Supreme with U.S. Van Gelder Stampers in VG+ condition. Very Rare. There are some great finds in this store and Jackie, as she is affectionately known, is a real gem in her support of the local music scene, always accepting flyers from musicians and eager to know about your next gig. Music lovers in the Annex still miss Sonic Boom (sonicboommusic. com) but the new location at 215 Spadina Avenue is a cool destination for the Hogtown vinyl lover. As well as being Canada’s largest independent record store, Sonic Boom is open 10am to midnight, 364 days a year. Says store manager Christopher Dufton: December 1 2015 - February 7, 2016 | 17 ORI DAGAN

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)