5 years ago

Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Symphony
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Quartet
  • Orchestra
  • Performing
  • Theatre
In this issue: an interview with composer/vocalist Jeremy Dutcher, on his upcoming debut album and unique compositional voice; a conversation with Boston Symphony hornist James Sommerville, as as the BSO gets ready to come to his hometown; Stuart Hamilton, fondly remembered; and an inside look at Hugh’s Room, as it enters a complicated chapter in the story of its life in the complex fabric of our musical city. These and other stories, as we celebrate the past and look forward to the rest of 2016/17, the first glimpses of 2017/18, and beyond!

CBC Radio Two: The

CBC Radio Two: The Living Legacy Harry Freedman’s Orchestral Works continued from page 8 Mulligan, was at Hamilton Place in September 1977, during what was called the CBC Hamilton Festival. The late Howard Cable (1920-2016) was engaged to lead the orchestra, which we called the CBC Hamilton Festival Orchestra but was largely made up of the members of the Hamilton Philharmonic. The chemistry between Freedman, Mulligan and Cable was wonderful and the premiere of the new concerto went famously. According to Walter Pittman (writing in Music Makers, his 2006 biography of Freedman and his wife, soprano Mary Morrison), Mulligan subsequently performed Freedman’s Celebration, “around the world.” Celebration was released in 2002 on the Ovation series on CBC Records. Jazz also constituted no small part of Freedman’s musical language. On the new Centrediscs CD this is reflected in Indigo, which CBC Radio commissioned in 1994 for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. Although it was scored just for the strings of the MCO, Freedman’s deft and subtle inflections echo a wide palette of jazz sonorities, and show how well Freedman understood the intricacies of string writing. In contrast, Freedman’s 2000 composition Graphic IX: For Harry Somers uses strings to evoke a succession of expressive textures that reference his close friendship with Somers, who died in 1999. In the interview with Larry Lake mentioned earlier, Freedman, a lifelong student of painting, shared the story of the memory that triggered Graphic IX. He said, “Somers came over one day. I was practising Japanese sumi-e painting, particular strokes. He was watching and was amazed at the brush I was using, a sumi-e brush, made from the hairs of a male Manchurian wolf. And you can do so many different things with that one brush: you can make some very thick textures, what they call ‘broken ink,’ or, depending on how much water and ink there is in the brush, you can make a fine point and draw a hairline, so versatile that one brush. And he was looking at me and he said, ‘That’s just like your music, it’s all about the textures.’ Harry, he recognized it: he had that kind of perception.” I was also involved with commissioning the last of the works Freedman wrote as a CBC Radio Music Commission, a large composition titled Borealis, in 1997. Borealis combined the forces of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Radio Choir, the Swedish Radio Choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Toronto Children’s Chorus, all under the direction of conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste. These combined forces surrounded the audience, from the ground floor up into the various levels of balconies ringing the tenstory Barbara Frum Atrium in the Canadian Broadcasting Centre. The occasion for this commission was our collaboration with the Northern Encounters Circumpolar Festival of the Arts, organized by Soundstreams Canada. The effect of the music was stunning. Harry Freedman himself considered it one of his finest achievements in writing for large-scale musical forces. He called it “a summation.” We subsequently presented Borealis to the International Rostrum of Composers (IRC) in Paris in 1998, where it was voted fourth overall among the submissions by the delegates from public radio services in 30 countries around the world, leading to broadcasts in all those countries. Harry was very pleased with this accomplishment, comparing it to the experience of “being shortlisted for the Booker Prize.” He pointed out that, in the big international competitions, “[the] shortlisted works receive just as much attention and visibility as the eventual winners.” Now that Borealis has been included in this new Centrediscs Freedman compilation, many more listeners can marvel at its sonic brilliance. The sense of soaring space in the Barbara Frum Atrium was wonderfully captured by the engineers in our Two New Hours production team. And the fact that Freedman responded The “two Harrys,” Somers (left) and Freedman (right) were close friends until Somers’ death in 1999. to the opportunity to write such a work for just such a big international occasion, with all the creative might he possessed is one of those miracles of Canadian artistic achievement. It’s significant that two of the works in this new CD (Borealis and Freedman’s iconic 1960s masterpiece Images) are performed by the TSO, an orchestra he knew intimately. Two other compositions, Graphic IX: For Harry Somers and Manipulating Mario are represented in performances by Toronto’s Esprit Orchestra and their founding music director and conductor, Alex Pauk, with whom Freedman had a close relationship. Pauk commissioned several of Freedman’s orchestral compositions and frequently programmed his music on Esprit Orchestra concerts. The performance of Indigo was by The Composers Orchestra, under conductor Gary Kulesha, recorded in Glenn Gould Studio. The five compositions in Harry Freedman: The Concert Recordings are all different in style, construction and message. This fact alone is indicative of the remarkable breadth of Freedman’s musical output. We hear, at various points, the sounds of jazz, impressionism, modernism, minimalism and many more textures and colours, all blended perfectly to serve his expressive purpose. Freedman was at ease with the music of many cultures around the world and he was always open to fresh musical discoveries. He was both an innovator and an artist who could unite different aesthetic trends. For the more than 30 years that we were colleagues, Freedman and the orchestras who played his music fuelled an ongoing stream of broadcasts on Two New Hours. But Harry was also my friend. I respected him for his prolific creativity and we enjoyed working together on all manner of innovative musical projects. I valued that our many conversations about composition, art making and life in general were always fresh and stimulating. Harry Freedman made a deep impression on many people in the musical community, and his work remains an example of the very highest level of achievement in Canadian music. David Jaeger is a composer, producer and broadcaster based in Toronto. REPRODUCED FROM WALTER PITMAN’S BOOK “MUSIC MAKERS” 86 | February 1, 2017 - March 7, 2017

KOERNER HALL IS: “ A beautiful space for music “ THE GLOBE AND MAIL Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica SAT., fEb. 4, 8pm / prE-CONCErT CHAT 7:15pm KOErNEr HALL Tickets start at only Violinist Gidon Kremer has been described as “freakishly brilliant” by The Washington Post. He and his Kremerata Baltica perform a program entitled “Russia – Masks and Faces” with works by Weinberg, Tchaikovsky, Pärt, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition accompanied by visuals by Soviet era artist Maxim Kantor. Generously supported by David G. Broadhurst Andrés Díaz SuN., fEb. 5, 2pm mAZZOLENI CONCErT HALL Free (ticket required) Inaugural Alexandra Koerner Yeo Chair in Cello at The Royal Conservatory, Díaz performs works by Martinů, Richard Strauss, and Pulitzer Prizewinning composer Kevin Puts, with Barry Shiffman and other special guests. Generously supported by Dorothy Cohen Shoichet Johannes Debus conducts the Royal Conservatory Orchestra with Bee Ungar, bassoon frI., fEb. 10, 8pm / prELuDE rECITAL 6:45pm KOErNEr HALL Tickets start at only Canadian Opera Company Music Director, Johannes Debus, conducts the RCO and bassoonist Bee Ungar in a program featuring John Burge’s Snowdrift, Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 97, Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Ciranda des sete notas, and Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5. Generously Supported by Leslie and Anna Dan Taylor Academy Showcase Concert SAT., fEb. 11, 4:30pm mAZZOLENI CONCErT HALL Free (Ticket Required) The phil and Eli Taylor performance Academy for Young Artists presents concerts by the leading young classical musicians in Canada. Hear the stars of tomorrow! Dover Quartet with Avi Avital SAT., fEb. 11, 8pm / prE-CONCErT CHAT 7:15pm KOErNEr HALL Tickets start at only Avi Avital does “everything you never dreamt a mandolin could do.” (Haaretz Daily) With The Dover Quartet he’ll perform solo mandolin pieces, Smetana’s String Quartet No.1, and Sulkhan Tsintsadze’s Six Miniatures. Generously supported by David G. Broadhurst Art of Time Ensemble with Brent Carver: The Songbook frI., fEb. 24, 8pm KOErNEr HALL Tickets start at only Brent Carver and the Art of Time Ensemble will perform classics from the American Songbook and Broadway, specially arranged by the best composers in Canada. TICKETS & ROYAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW! 416.408.0208 273 BLOOR STREET WEST (BLOOR 237 bLOOr ST. & AVENUE STrEET RD.) WEST TORONTO (bLOOr ST. & AVENuE rD.) TOrONTO

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