4 years ago

Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • April
  • Arts
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From 30 camp profiles to spark thoughts of being your summer musical best, to testing LUDWIG as you while away the rest of so-called winter; from Scottish Opera and the Danish Midtvest, to a first Toronto recital appearance by violin superstar Maxim Vengerov; from musings on New Creations and new creation, to the boy who made a habit of crying Beowulf; it's a month of merry meetings and rousing recordings reviewed, all here to discover in The WholeNote.

Mar 19. Also Mar 19,

Mar 19. Also Mar 19, Jeffery Concerts presents the TSO Chamber Soloists – Nora Shulman, flute, Teng Li, viola, Jonathan Crow, violin, Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton, harp, and Joseph Johson, cello, in a program of music by Françaix, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Ravel and Jongen. The TSO: Stéphane Denève, principal conductor of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, leads the TSO in a crowd-pleasing program Mar 23 and 24 that features the charismatic Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist in Saint-Saëns’ exotic Piano Concerto No.5 “Egyptian.” On Mar 31 the TSO presents the Victoria Symphony conducted by Tania Miller with Stewart Goodyear as soloist in Grieg’s lyrical Piano Concerto. Soprano Carla Huhtanen, poet Dennis Lee and narrator Kevin Frank join conductor Earl Lee in two afternoon Young People’s Concert performances Apr 2 of Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s musical treatment of Lee’s iconic children’s classic, Alligator Pie. It would be a surprise if Gabriela Montero didn’t improvise her own cadenza in Mozart’s sublime Piano Concerto No.20 K466 when she appears as soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra under its new conductor Alexander Shelley Apr 2; two of Richard Strauss’ most exciting tone poems, Don Juan and Death and Transfiguration open and close the concert. Massey Hall/Roy Thomson Hall presents Chopin champion Yundi in his first Toronto recital in a decade Mar 19; the famously conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra features Pinchas Zukerman as soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.3 K216, a masterpiece of gallantry and lightness, and in Beethoven’s tender First Romance, Mar 20. Canzona presents the XIA Quartet – Edmonton Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Robert Uchida and Toronto Symphony Orchestra members, violinist Shane Kim, assistant principal violist, Theresa Rudolph, and principal cellist, Joseph Johnson, playing music by Bartók, Debussy and Schubert, Mar 20 at St. Andrew by-the-Lake, on Toronto Island, repeated Mar 21 on the mainland. Three years ago, Rashaan Allwood was the very rare recipient of a perfect 100 in his ARCT Royal Conservatory exam. Now he’s a U of T student with an upcoming free recital Mar 26 at Walter Hall of piano music inspired by birdsong and nature – Messiaen, Ravel, Liszt, Granados and others. Last month I wrote about Andrew Burashko, Art of Time Ensemble’s founder and artistic director; the group’s unmissable next concert, “Erwin Schulhoff: Dada, Jazz and the String Sextet: Portrait of a Forgotten Master,” takes place Apr 1 and 2 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Following their playing of Mendelssohn’s engaging String Quartet No.2, U of T Faculty of Music ensemble-in-residence, the Cecilia String Quartet is joined by James Campbell for a performance of Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet, a cornerstone of the clarinet repertoire, Apr 4. The COC orchestra’s top two violinists, Marie Bérard and Aaron Schwebel, give a free noontime concert featuring music by Ysaÿe and Leclair, in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Apr 5. Paul Ennis the managing editor of The WholeNote. Beat by Beat | In with the New Performing with Image and Sound WENDALYN BARTLEY The month of March begins in a big way this year with the annual New Creations Festival presented by the Toronto Symphony. In last month’s issue I introduced the main features of what is being planned for the three concerts happening on March 5, 9 and 12, including the presence of guest composer, conductor, violist and co-curator Brett Dean from Australia. One of the three commissioned works for this year’s festival is a unique collaboration between composer Paul Frehner and filmmaker Peter Mettler. I had an opportunity to speak with both of these creators to find out how their piece for orchestra and film came into being and what we can expect to experience on March 9, the night of the performance. I began by asking Frehner how the commission came to be and wondered if the two artists had worked together before. As it turned out, the project began when Frehner was approached by Gary Kulesha on behalf of the TSO with a request to be involved in the writing of a work for orchestra and film. According to Frehner, Mettler was then approached on a recommendation from film director Atom Egoyan. The two artists had never met before, so right from the beginning, they started with a dialogue that involved examples of each other’s work being sent back and forth, and engaging in conversations exploring various ideas that each were drawn to. Writing music for film often takes a predictable path, where the composer writes to a set sequence of images. Not so with the way Mettler works. He has spent the last 12 years developing software that functions as an instrument for editing and mixing both image and sound to create a film “on the spot.” He can use this instrument to both improvise and create, providing a personal challenge that is “far more exciting than just pushing play.” In the early stages of their collaboration, Mettler sent Frehner up to 90 minutes of raw footage, some of which were extended sequences. Frehner latched onto a few of these and wrote music inspired by those scenes. Using music software to create an orchestral rendering of the music, Frehner sent his sketches back to Mettler, who then began to improvise using his bank of 2000 or more images, finding visual complements to what the music was doing. Gradually a shape began to emerge as the dynamic exchange continued and in the end, many of the image sequences that Mettler chose were not related to those that Frehner was originally inspired to write music for. In their initial dialogues, they discovered that they shared a mutual interest in science and physics. Beginning with conversations on particle physics, they eventually decided to focus the piece on ideas of THE ASSOCIATES OF THE TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Monday, March 7, 2016, 7:30 p.m. ENSEMBLES FROM THE TORONTO SYMPHONY YOUTH ORCHESTRA Franz Schubert Octet in F major, D.803* Felix Mendelssohn String Quartet No.2, Op.13* Antonin Dvořák String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96 “American”* Aaron Copland Fanfare for the Common Man Eckhard Kopetzki Le Chant Du Serpent Christopher Weait Rainy River *Selected movements from each will be performed. Tickets , Seniors & Students Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street W. Box Office 416-282-6636 14 | March 1, 2016 - April 7, 2016

Brett Dean rehearsing his Viola Concerto with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic conducted by Sakari Oramo. cyclical rotation – orbits, tidal rhythms, and natural cycles, ending up with the title From the Vortex Perspective. Structurally, the music has both cyclical elements and abrupt changes. Several ideas return, each time with variations in orchestration. Frehner’s compositional style can be described as eclectic, integrating such influences as Brit and American rock, jazz pianists Oscar Peterson and Keith Jarrett, early music, as well as the music of a range of composers including Grisey, Vivier and Nancarrow. In this project with Mettler, Frehner chose to feature the brass instruments prominently in various places, incorporating unison writing and the low register instruments. In other places, the string section has the main idea, whereas at other times, strings provide a textural background. Visually, the film begins with images of an abstracted forest environment, moving into reflections on water. At one point when the music becomes heavily punctuated, the viewer is taken through a sequence of different grasses and reeds with the sunlight bursting through to create complementary accents. Some of the slowly evolving scenes created opportunities for Frehner to linger longer with some of his musical ideas, taking his time to explore them rather than looking for other directions. For the performance, the images will be projected onto three screens – two smaller monitors surrounded by a larger screen, with the spatial aspect of the three image sources becoming an aspect of the overall composition. And just as the conductor and musicians interpret the musical score, Mettler has created his own guiding score as an aid for his real-time performance during which he will respond to the subtleties of the music to create a live version of the film. Thus this work is a true performance in both mediums of image and sound. As mentioned above, Brett Dean is this year’s guest of the New Creations Festival. As it turns out, Frehner and Dean crossed paths over ten years ago on two different occasions – in 2002 at the Winnipeg New Music Festival where Dean was the featured composer and Frehner had a composition; and a few years later at the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra’s International Composers Competition where Dean was the judge and Frehner was one of the composers present. Dean’s role as curator for the New Creations Festival includes the programming of three of his own works, each substantial pieces for orchestra, as well as works by fellow Australians Anthony Pateras and James Ledger. New Music for Orchestra: The New Creations Festival is not the only chance to hear new orchestral work this next month. The Toronto Symphony will perform works by three Canadian composers: “Home” from New World by Michael Oesterle on March 31, Alligator Pie by Abigail Richardson-Schulte on April 2 in matinee performances, and Ringelspiel by Ana Sokolović, performed by the evening’s guest performers – the National Arts Centre Orchestra – on April 2. On March 31, Esprit Orchestra teams up with the Elmer Iseler Singers for their last concert of the season to perform two newly commissioned works with mythic themes: Soul and Psyche for choir and orchestra, composed by Esprit’s founder and conductor Alex Pauk, and Sirens by Canadian Douglas Schmidt. The program also includes Hussein Janmohamed’s choral work Nur: Reflections on Light, which weaves together Ismaili Muslim melodies, Quranic recitation and Indian ragas, and the classic orchestral dance score La création du monde by Darius Milhaud, infamous for its combination of jazz and classical rhythms from the early 1920s. Soundstreams: Soundstreams is cooking this month with several events. Starting off in early March, they will present three concerts of the music of Scottish composer James MacMillan in three cites: Kingston (March 4), Kitchener (March 6) and Toronto (March 8). The program will highlight MacMillan’s masterpiece, Seven Last Words from the Cross, as well as selections from Schafer’s The Fall into Light. The Toronto concert will include additional works by MacMillan WORLD PREMIERE! ISIS AND OSIRIS ISIS AND OSIRIS, Gods of Egypt by Peter-Anthony Togni and Sharon Singer Finally, an opera on one of the world’s most enigmatic and controversial love stories in all mythology. Transformation, redemption and the triumph of good over evil are brought forth with melody and words of transcendent beauty. Lucia Cesaroni Julie Nesrallah Michael Nyby Robert Cooper C.M., Conductor Stuart Graham, Leigh-Ann Allen, Christopher Wattam and The VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert Chorus Friday, April 1, 2016 at 8:00 pm Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 2:30 pm Paul Frehner (left) and Alex Pauk 416-366-7723 | 1-800-708-6754 | VOICEBOX OPERA IN CONCERT Guillermo Silva-Marin, General Director March 1, 2016 - April 7, 2016 | 15

Volume 26 (2020- )

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