5 years ago

Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016

  • Text
  • September
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • October
  • Festival
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Orchestra
  • Theatre
  • Quartet
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Music lover's TIFF (our fifth annual guide to the Toronto International Film Festival); Aix Marks the Spot (how Brexit could impact on operatic co-production); The Unstoppable Howard Cable (an affectionate memoir of a late chapter in the life of of a great Canadian arranger; Kensington Jazz Story (the newest kid on the festival block flexes its muscles). These stories and much more as we say a lingering goodbye to summer and turn to the task, for the 22nd season, of covering the live and recorded music that make Southern Ontario tick.

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y Americans such as drummer Sam Wooding or alto saxophonist Benny Carter, who were European residents at the time. Undoubtedly Carter (1907-2003), who spent time in Holland, Belgium, England and France, is the avatar of the session. Like comparing a pre-renaissance canvas to the Mona Lisa, hear how the primitive two-beat feel of Bull Feet Stomp, with its so-called hot choruses, first recorded by drummer Wooding in 1929 is replaced by the balanced classicism of Carter’s arrangements from less than ten years later. Tracks such as a mid-range treatment of Honeysuckle Rose, first recorded in Paris in 1937, with its buffed single-string break from guitarist Roman Vuillemin plus Badaroux’s alto, move the exposition forward to modernity, while the carefully harmonized reed section of I’m Coming Virginia, initially recorded in 1938 in Paris, confirms the music’s maturity. At the same time, while staying within the originals’ bumpysmooth parameters, the band members’ solos are neither clones nor caricatures. Despite the Charleston echoes on 1925’s Piccadilly Strut, pianist Bruno Ruder takes into account the relaxed Count Basie-type style that wouldn’t be common until a few years later. Similarly Emil Strandberg’s muted trumpet glides ocean-liner-like on the reed riffs created for Ellington’s 1933 Stockholm-cut Serenade to Sweden, while the high-pitched brass blasts of the trumpet plus trombonist Fidel Fourneyron transform the cartoon soundtrack-like feel of Wooding’s 1925 Berlin-recorded Shanghai Shuffle into something more pliable and daring. The most creditable solos come from clarinetist Antonin-Tri Hoang. He brings the same effective fluttering tonguing and animated commitment to his parts whether it’s partial singsong on Piccadilly Strut, timed modulations on Sweet Madness initially done by Freddy Johnson in 1933 Paris, or bolstered sound waves on Blue Room, a 1940 Carter arrangement for Jean Omer. The enthusiasms of the other bands may be singular, but an equally notable eponymous set by the Brooklyn Blowhards (Little (i) music is a case study in postmodernism. Arranged by reedist Jeff Lederer, and played by the eight-piece band plus two guests, the 14 tracks owe allegiance to both the over-the-top free jazz of saxophonist Albert Ayler (1936-1970), who died by drowning, and the obdurate melodies of traditional sea shanties. The linkage may seem opaque, but once the gale-force bluster that characterizes Lederer’s tenor saxophone glossolalia on Ayler’s Bells is immediately followed by the heaving plunger smears from Brian Drye’s trombone on the traditional Haul Away Joe, the primitive power and connection of both concepts is obvious. When two saxophones flutter tonguing and flurries of cornet and trombone breaths are coupled with tremolo throbs, other Ayler lines such as Dancing Flower and Heavenly Home conjure up images of the late saxophonist dancing a sailor’s hornpipe. A similar transformation is evident with the sea shanties. Like pieces of rural furniture which can become condominium showpieces, ditties such as Black Ball Line and Haul on the Bowline pick up unexpected contemporary cadences. The former matches Lederer’s commanding vibrations with staccato overblowing from tenor saxophonist Petr Cancura as percussion replicates a flotilla call to arms. Cornetist Kirk Knuffke’s tongue pirouettes cunningly subvert the melody of the second shanty which speeds up to suggest a brass band blaring as it transverses the ship. Art Bailey’s accordion splatters owe more to zydeco than zig-zag sailing; while Gary Lucas’ bottleneck guitar runs help move Mary Larose’s singing of Shallow Brown and other ditties from traditionally paced to frenetic. Like a melancholy air played during a burial at sea The Language of Resistance, composed by Lederer and played with maximum solemnity on soprano saxophone precedes Larose’s recitation of The Seaman’s Hymn which in its transmogrifying sentiments, creates a proper memorial for Ayler and classic seafaring while transforming their qualities into bornagain music. Good music can make just about anything a source of inspiration. Old Wine, New Bottles Fine Old Recordings Re-Released BRUCE SURTEES In September of 1966, exactly 50 years ago, 18 years after the introduction of the long-playing vinyl disc and 17 years before the CD, there were 31 of Haydn’s 104 symphonies in the record catalogue. The name symphonies enjoyed multiple performances, including the Farewell, the Schoolmaster, the Oxford, the Surprise, the Miracle, the Military, the Clock, the Drum Roll and the London. The unnamed Symphony No.88 had five versions. Well-known, saleable conductors and their orchestras were the order of the day. These performances predated the formation of original instruments groups and their adoption of what are believed to be historically correct practices. Some years ago I had an informative conversation with a fellow from Decca who had recently returned from Esterházy where they were to film performances by Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music playing Haydn in the very location for which the works were written. The musicians arrived well-prepared but when the orchestra began playing, to everyone’s utter dismay, in that venue, what they had diligently rehearsed was clearly at odds with what Haydn would had heard. As I was given to understand, changes were made and lessons learned. Last year Decca issued a 32-CD set of all the Haydn Symphonies that Hogwood and the Academy were able to finish before the project ended. To top that, Decca has issued another box, this one of the Haydn – Complete 107 Symphonies (4989604, 35CDs). This new set incorporates all the Hogwood performances plus recordings by Frans Brüggen directing the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and also the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. Neither had set down the symphonies Nos.78 through 81.Decca selected the Accademia Bizantina conducted by Ottavio Dantone to provide them. This orchestra, managed autonomously by its guardian members, was founded in Ravenna, Italy in 1983 with the intention of “making music like a large quartet.” Recorded in 2015, their focus and totally unexpected energy comes as something of a shock as one plays through the set. If you wonder how the accepted 104 symphonies grew to 107 it is because of the inclusion of the “A & B” early symphonies and the Sinfonia Concertante in B-Flat major (Hob.1.105) from the same year, 1792, as the Symphonies 97 and 98. So here it is … the first complete edition of the historically informed performances of the 107 Haydn Symphonies employing “original” instruments. Yet, as performing music is not an exact science, each of the four ensembles is clearly different from the others, making the whole package all the more interesting. There is a fine collection of “the most beautiful operatic moments” from Decca Records appropriately titled Opera Gold (4788210, 6 CDs). In a box only 5/8 of an inch thick are 100 tracks of superb renditions of all the familiar and some, perhaps, unfamiliar solos, duets and larger ensembles drawn from the treasured archives of English Decca. Decca documented so many of the great ones: 74 | September 1, 2016 - October 7, 2016

Pavarotti, Horne, Sutherland, Freni, Tebaldi, Kaufmann, Bergonzi, von Stade, Nucci, Te Kanawa, Milnes, Ghiaurov, Tourangeau, Fleming and Corelli. Conductors include Mehta, Bonynge, von Karajan, Pappano, Molinari-Pradelli, Serafin and Solti. All are on the first of the six CDs. This elegant little black box with gold lettering would be a thoughtful and lasting house gift instead of wine or flowers to take to an invitation to a friend’s home. Shop around, it can be found for about . Since 2013 when DG issued Archiv Produktion 1947-2013 (4791045, 55 CDs) we have waited for a follow-up set which has now arrived, Archiv Produktion Analogue Stereo Recordings 1959-2013 (4791045, 55 CDs). As a background to Archiv Produktions we should go back to the spring of 1941 when all shares of Deutsche Grammophon were transferred to Siemens AG. Through the 1940s and the 1950s, under Ernst von Siemens, a music lover, the company became the industry leader in Germany and garnered international recognition. Siemens worked passionately, building a spectacular catalogue of impeccable performances of classical music that was supported to a large extent by the company’s catalogue of popular and dance music that was exported to other European countries. Siemens undertook to document Germany’s profound and lasting contribution to music and to do so, in 1947, the Archiv label was born. Bach, of course was the initial focus and the 40-year-old blind organist, Helmut Walcha was chosen to record the master’s works on the 1659 Stralsund Stellwagen Organ in the Church of St. Jacob in Lübeck. Appropriately, some of these very first recordings appear on the first disc of the first box. Sometime after the launch of the Archiv label it was brought to Herr Siemens’ particular attention that Archiv Produktions was not a profitable division for the company, to which he countered most emphatically that Archiv was not conceived as a moneymaker but to document and disseminate German culture. One is reminded of the MGM motto, Ars Gratia Artis. In the second box, enthusiasts will applaud the return to the catalogue of classic performances by Karl Richter and the Munich Bach Orchestra, the Loewenguth Quartet, Simon Preston, Ralph Kirkpatrick, Pierre Fournier, August Wenzinger, Karl Ristenpart, Marcel Couraud, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Josef Ulsamer, Maurice André, Charles Mackerras, Fernando Germani, Michel Corboz, Edward Melkus, the Melos Quartet of Stuttgart, Jürgen Jürgens, Helmut Walcha, John Eliot Gardiner, Kenneth Gilbert, Jordi Savall and many, many others. The repertoire includes much Bach. Also of special particular interest are performances of Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata played on an arpeggione by Klaus Stock accompanied by Alfons Kontarsky and 19 Weber Lieder sung by Peter Schreier with Konrad Ragossnig playing guitar. Also David Munrow leading the Early Music Consort of London in Music of the Gothic Era now complete on 2 CDs. That group, as some remember, included Christopher Hogwood playing harp and portative organ. The curiosity in the mix is Gong Kebyar playing Gamelan Music from Bali, sacred and dance music recorded in there in 1972. The sets have booklets with photos of the artists and recording data. The complete details of both sets may be seen on line at This second Archiv box contains only performances from 1959 through to 1981. Does this hint of yet a third box? In ONLINE LISTENING ROOM More than 140 Enhanced Reviews of recent recordings are online for your browsing pleasure at you can CLICK to listen and even CLICK to buy. It’s as easy as ABC! including – Alpha Moment - Peter Hum Bach Goldberg Variations - Lars Vogt Chopin – Charles Richard-Hamelin Dean Burry – Baby Kintyre, An Opera Elements Eternal – Julie Nesrallah, Gryphon Trio Feelings of Affection – Sam Broverman Grain of Sand – Bill McBirnie & Bruce Jones House of Dreams – Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Jeanne Lamon Imagine Sounds Imagine Silences – Ocean Fanfare James Horner: Pas de Deux Khachaturian: Original Piano Works and Transcriptions – Kariné Poghosyan Leo Brouwer: Music for Bandurria and Guitar Massenet’s Elegy - William Aide New Seasons – Gidon Kremer Orbis – Valérie Pete Seeger CD/DVD Set: “Pete-Pak” – Pete Seeger Quincy Porter: String Quartets Nos.5-8 – Ives Quartet R. Murray Schafer: Apocalypsis Subcontinental Drift – Sultans of String Three Dancers – Ryan Choi SOUN St. Petersburg – Cecilia Bartoli; I Barocchisti; Diego Fasoli Volksmobiles - collectif9 Wild Man Dance – Charles Lloyd Shattered Expectations – Acclarion You’ve Been Watching Me – Tim Berne’s Snakeoil ZOFO Plays Terry Riley – Eva Maria-Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi • CLICK to LISTEN! • CLICK to BUY! • September 1, 2016 - October 7, 2016 | 75

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