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.

Beat by Beat | World

Beat by Beat | World View Lost And Found ANDREW TIMAR Here, patrolling The WholeNote world music beat, most months bring a consistent flow of concerts to preview. There’s always too much going on in the GTA to include more than just a sampling in this column for my trusting WholeNote readers. In the extent of its exclusions, this December-January column is no exception. However, as my deadline rushed ever closer, it initially seemed that something unusual was taking place, namely a large hole in the January World View concert listings. Just as I thought I would have to leave out the first month of 2016 entirely, an announcement surfaced for a late January concert of newly discovered Yiddish music from WWII – with a most intriguing backstory. While that concert is well into 2016 (Happy Lunar New Year, dear reader?!), it is as good a place to start as any. Lost Yiddish Songs of the USSR: January 27, Svetlana Dvoretsky/ Show One Productions present “Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of Life and Fate” at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. A mixed ensemble of outstanding Russian, Jewish and Canadian musicians premiere Yiddish songs discovered in Ukraine. Their creation, collection, banning and recent discovery tell a story of resistance and reclamation, describing a wide historical and musicological sweep. Our compelling story begins during the turbulent late days of World War II when leading Soviet linguists and ethnomusicologists including the eminent Moisei Beregovsky collected and notated the songs of Jewish refugees, Jewish soldiers in the Red Army and Holocaust survivors in Ukraine. Their extensive collection documented these survivors’ defiance of the Third Reich in song. Our narrative takes a dark turn when in 1949 the Soviet government arrested Beregovsky and his colleagues, confiscating and hiding the documents. Researchers had long considered them lost. We pick up the story a few years ago, in the holdings of the Ukrainian National Library in Kiev. Enter Anna Shternshis, associate professor of Yiddish and Diaspora Studies at the University of Toronto. When she opened the sealed boxes she found a trove of thousands of hand-notated Yiddish songs which had lain unheard for nearly 70 years, until now. Shternshis worked closely with Psoy Korolenko, Psoy Korolenko the Russian poet, philologist, “avant-bard” singer/songwriter and renowned klezmer performer, to produce performing versions of these songs. Selections will receive their world premiere in “Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of Life and Fate” performed by Korolenko, the virtuoso Russian trio Loyko, plus Canadian vocalists including the JUNO Award-winning singer Sophie Milman. Accordionist extraordinaire Alexander Sevastian, award-winning trumpeter David Buchbinder and clarinetist/conductor Shalom Bard round out the international cast. A recording of this music is being produced by Shternshis and Dan Rosenberg. Going Home Star. February 5 and 6 another musically powered story of suffering, resistance and the ultimate reassertion of personal and cultural identity is being performed, this time at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. The critically acclaimed ballet Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation has a story by Joseph Boyden, score by Christos Hatzis and choreography by Mark Godden. It explores the 26 | December 1 2015 - February 7, 2016

all-Canadian story of loss, resistance and reconciliation: that of the Indian residential school system, its survivors and their families. The ballet’s richly textured, cumulatively powerful music is not just the work of the Canadian veteran composer Hatzis, enthusiastically performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, but also enfolds important contributions of indigenous voices whose communities have been directly and profoundly affected by the Indian residential schools and their aftermath. They include Cree actor Tina Keeper, the boundary-breaking Inuk vocalist Tanya Tagaq, who won last year’s Polaris Prize, pow-wow stars Northern Cree Singers, as well as songs by Steve Wood (Mistikwaskihk Napesis). I’ve had a chance to listen to the impressive, recently released 2-CD recording of Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation. It comes chockablock with Hatzis’ signature inclusions of music in multiple vernacular music genres, as well as acoustic and electronic soundscapes diffused from the studi0-produced digital audio track, in addition to the symphonic core. I found the contribution of North American indigenous voices, however, to be the key to the work’s ethical and aesthetic fabric. These voices are essential texts in the story centred on the suffering imposed on children in Canada’s infamous Beat by Beat | Art of Song Indian residential schools. While the narrative contains much pain, loss and suffering, the ballet ends with the possibility of personal and intercultural redemption and reconciliation. It’s an important story for all of us to understand. Witnessing this production is, in my estimation, a fitting way to start a new year. Quick Picks Dec 1: Tanya Tagaq and her band share the stage with Owen Pallett and the guided improvising Element Choir directed by Christine Duncan, at Massey Hall and Feb 5 West coast blues and raga guitarist, singer-songwriter Harry Manx appears in the “Folk Under the Clock” series at the Market Hall Performing Arts Centre in Peterborough. For my “Quick Picks” of everything in between, please see the extended version of this column online at Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer. He can be contacted at Gauvin Returns HANS DE GROOT As in preceding years, Attila Glatz Concert Productions bring two events to Roy Thomson Hall, a salute to Vienna (Strauss waltzes and melodies from operettas by Strauss and Lehar) on New Year’s Day, to be repeated in Hamilton at Hamilton Place on January 3, and on New Year’s Eve, Bravissimo!, a selection from the most popular operas by Rossini, Offenbach, Verdi and Puccini. Care has always been taken to have both Canadian and non-Canadian singers in Bravissimo! This year both the tenor, Stefano La Colla, and the baritone, Lucio Gallo, are Italian, while the female singers are Canadian: Karina Gauvin, soprano, and Krisztina Szabó, mezzo. We have heard Szabó’s eloquent and powerful voice a number of times recently: in the dramatized version of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin by Against the Grain Theatre and in the Canadian Opera Company’s triple bill of Monteverdi and Monk Feldman. Gauvin has performed in Toronto many times, with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, with Tafelmusik and in recital, but she has been away too long and the December 31 concert will be a good opportunity to catch up. Toronto Masque Theatre presents “A Newfoundland Christmas Kitchen Party” on December 17, 18 and 19 at Enoch Turner Schoolhouse with music by Dean Burry. The singers are Carla Huhtanen, soprano, Marion Newman, mezzo, Christopher Mayell, tenor, and Giles Tomkins, baritone. Other performers are members of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company as well as two step dancers (Pierre Chartrand and Hannah Shira Naiman) and a jug band led by Larry Beckwith. This is a revival of The Mummers’ Masque, a work commissioned by the Toronto Masque Theatre and first performed on December 3, 2009. Looking back: On November 3, I attended the annual COC Ensemble Studio Competition, eight finalists chosen from a large number of contestants. The first prize (and the Audience Award) went to mezzo Emily D’Angelo, who gave a beautifully paced performance of Contro un cor from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. She needed a chair to lean on as she was on crutches, having broken her foot, but she deftly turned the chair into part of her act. The second prize went to Lauren Eberwein, also a mezzo, who sang Parto, parto from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito; third to Bruno Roy, baritone, who performed Hai già vinta la causa!, the Count’s aria from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. When there are prize-winners, there must also be those who receive no prizes, in this case including two especially fine performers: the baritone Zachary Read, who sang Valentin’s aria Avant de quitter ces lieux from Gounod’s Faust, and the soprano Eliza Johnson, who sang Caro Nome from Verdi’s Rigoletto. Other Events of Note (see listings for details): Dec 2: The Cathedral Church of St. James resumes its series “Cantatas in the Cathedral.” Soloists are Sheila Dietrich, soprano, Christina Stelmacovich, alto, Robert Busiakiewicz, tenor, and David Roth, bass. Dec 3,4,5,6:Tafelmusik Baroque Opera and Chamber Choir, conducted by Ivars Taurins, present Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Soloists are Jana Miller, soprano, Benno Schachtner, countertenor, James Gilchrist, tenor, and Peter Harvey, baritone. Dec 6 Toronto Classical Singers present the same work, conducted by Jurgen Petrenko with Jennifer Taverner, soprano, Sandra Boyes, mezzo, Asitha Tennekoon, tenor, and James Baldwin, baritone. Yet another performance of the work by the Spiritus Ensemble takes place in Waterloo Dec 13 with Sheila Dietrich, soprano, Jennifer Enns Modolo, mezzo, Steve Surian and Bud Roach, tenors, and Richard Hryztak, baritone. Dec 5 there is an Aradia Ensemble concert and CD launch of sacred music by Vivaldi; the singers are Hélène Brunet, soprano, and Vicky St. Pierre, contralto. Dec 5 and 6 there will be two performances by Pax Christi Chorale of Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ with soloists Nathalie Paulin, soprano, Olivier Laquerre, baritone, Alain Coulombe, bass, Sean Clark, tenor, and Matthew Zadow, baritone. Also Dec 6 Eliska Latawiec sings Dvořák at St. Wenceslaus Church. Dec 12, The Neapolitan Connection presents Allison Arends, Jennifer Mizzi and Victoria Gydov, sopranos, at Montgomery’s Inn. Dec 15 Mooredale Concerts presents the extraordinary Calmus Ensemble in “Christmas Carols of the World.” Dec 18, at St. Andrew’s Church, another concert of Christmas carols features Allison Angelo and Xin Wang, sopranos, as soloists; admission is by freewill offering in support of St. Andrew’s Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Fund. January offers much vocal music of note, too much to do justice to in this small space. For details please see the extended version of this column online at Karina Gauvin Hans de Groot is a concertgoer and active listener, who also sings and plays the recorder. He can be contacted at MICHAEL SLOBODIAN December 1 2015 - February 7, 2016 | 27

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)