6 years ago

Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017

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  • April
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
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In this issue: Our podcast ramps up with interviews in March with fight director Jenny Parr, countertenor Daniel Taylor, and baritone Russell Braun; two views of composer John Beckwith at 90; how music’s connection to memory can assist with the care of patients with Alzheimer’s; musical celebrations in film and jazz, at National Canadian Film Day and Jazz Day; and a preview of Louis Riel, which opens this month at the COC. These and other stories, in our April 2017 issue of the magazine!

freedom that can be

freedom that can be heard and seen in my body. It’s a freedom that comes from your heart, from within your creative centre. My voice is still my voice, I am classically trained, but I do have this curiosity for my ‘other voices.’ What else can my voice do, what else can my body do?” Of Jacobs’ piece she says: “I think of it as an anthem. He told me to do whatever my voice wanted, since he knows that my voice wants to do many things other than straight classical. You can hear the freedom and discovery in my voice.” Changing the conversation in the musical world to include race and gender has been much slower to emerge than in the visual arts, film and theatre worlds for example. Bickersteth commented on this: “What I love and see happening is the mixing of all art and genres. The more overlapping and connecting that occurs, the more these conversations will happen and changes will be quicker. I’m hopeful too that we can be free to do what we want.” Emergent Events: With the month of April marking the end of the academic year comes an abundance of student concerts occurring at all the local universities. I suggest you check out the listings for the full roster, but here are a few highlights: On April 3 at the Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University a concert by the Contemporary Music studio and on April 4, an “Electroacoustic Music Compositions Concert.” Also on at the University of Toronto, the gamUT: Contemporary Music Ensemble will be performing. Outside the academic world, two concerts from the Music Gallery’s Emergents series presents opportunities to hear the latest from young creators. The concert on April 7 offers performances by Castle If, the electronic composer Jess Forrest who works with a collection of analog synthesizers to create soundworlds inspired by the pioneers of electronica, and Laura Swankey, an innovative improvising vocalist. The May 5 Emergents concert features performances by The Toronto Harp Society, whose mandate is to encourage new works for the harp by Canadian composers, and Toronto’s newest saxophone duo Stereoscope Duo, with Olivia Shortt and Jacob Armstrong. They too share a passion for developing repertoire for their instruments, while celebrating beckwith Friday April 28, 2017 Neema Bickersteth performing “The Clutch” from Century Song also mixing in electronics and collaborations with dancers. Quick Picks: Apr 1: Academy Ballet Classique/Slant. “River Flow: Confluence of Music, Words, and Dance.” Interdisciplinary work celebrating rivers. World premiere by Owen Bloomfield; Cambridge. Apr 2: Esprit Orchestra. Works by Thomas Adès (England), Arthur Honegger (Switzerland), Alexander Mosolov (Russia), John Adams (USA), Chris Paul Harman (Canada). Apr 6, 13: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Sesquies by William Rowson (April 6) and Marc Bélanger (April 13). Apr 7: Canadian Music Centre. Centrediscs CD launch: Worlds Apart by pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico. Apr 14: Music at Metropolitan. Music for Good Friday. Works by composers Eleanor Daley, Stephanie Martin, Jeff Enns and others, along with Eternal Light – A Requiem by Howard Goodall. Apr 21: Canadian Music Centre. French ensemble Hanatsu miroir presents works by Canadian, Brazilian, French and Italian composers. Apr 23: Gallery 345. “The Art of the Flute: A Musical Aviary.” Works by James Shields, Andrew Staniland, Takemitsu, Saariaho, Hindemith, Feld and Richard Rodney Bennett. Apr 28: New Music Concerts. “Celebrating John Beckwith.” Works by Beckwith including premieres of two works: Calling and Quintet; John Weinzweig and Stravinsky. Apr 30, May 7: Wellington Winds. “Wind Symphony Whimsy.” Featuring The Seven Deadly Sins by Michael Purves-Smith. May 5: Spectrum Music. “Portraits de Georgian Bay.” Spectrum composers’ arrangements of songs composed by the Georgian Bay duo Kelly Lefaive and Joelle Westman. May 5: Array Ensemble. “The Hits: Array Percussion Trio.” Works by Jo Kondo, Rolf Wallin, Guo Wenjing and Erik Oña. May 6: Haliburton Concert Series. “Guy & Nadina.” Includes a work by Canadian Glenn Buhr. Wendalyn Bartley is a Toronto-based composer and electrovocal sound artist. JOHN LAUENER Benjamin Butterfield tenor | William Aide piano Accordes Quartet | NMC Ensemble | Robert Aitken direction Intro 7:15 | Concert 8:00 | Trinity St. Paul’s Centre | 427 Bloor St. W. Music by Beckwith, Stravinsky and Weinzweig Tickets || | Call 416.961.9594 24 | April 1, 2017 - May 7, 2017

Beat by Beat | Art of Song Pop Goes The Brahms! LYDIA PEROVIĆ Much of Brahms stays well apart from pop culture, but one piece is a colossal exception: the third movement of his Third Symphony has had a prolific afterlife no other piece by any Romantic composer can match. Serge Gainsbourg uses the melody for the song Baby Alone in Babylone written for Jane Birkin, and Carlos Santana lifts it for Love of My Life. John Cleese as Basil Fawlty plays it loudly to irritate his wife Sybil Sarah Slean in Fawlty Towers (“Brahms’ Third Racket”). In the 1961 romantic drama Goodbye Again, based on Françoise Sagan’s novel Aimezvous Brahms?, it appears in the score alongside other Brahms and reappears as a jazz song Say No More, It’s Goodbye sung by Diahann Carroll. Both the film and the novel are about an obstacle-ridden love affair between an older woman and a younger man, perhaps a nod to Brahms’ own love life (Clara Schumann was 13 years his senior). Few have dared tackle the Brahms lieder in pop and singer-songwriter register. The only one who did it in Canada in recent years is pianist and composer Lewis Furey. The Lewis Furey Brahms Lieder project is the result of years of translating, adapting, transposing and arranging lieder, a selection of which he performed last year in concert in Montreal. The only one that made YouTube, Forget You, after Nicht mehr zu dir zu gehen, is an intriguing piece of musical (re-)creation, but it’s probably too complex to be anywhere in the vicinity of pop. For readers quick off the mark this month, Art of Time Ensemble’s March 31/April 1 “Johannes Brahms: Portrait of a Musical Genius” program bodes well on this score. The always innovative ensemble under artistic director Andrew Burashko may yet turn Brahms into a contemporary pop star, since all the elements seem to be there: an actual pop singer – Sarah Slean – lending her distinct and recognizable voice; Burashko at the piano; and four Brahms’ lieder adapted in English and arranged, fingers crossed, to keep the intricacy of Brahms’ originals while also achieving the easy communicability and immediacy of pop songs. Benjamin Bowman (violin), Jethro Marks (viola) and Rachel Mercer (cello) make up the rest of the performing ensemble. Piano Quartet No.1 Op.25, Violin Sonata No 2 in A Major Op.100 and a selection of piano Intermezzi are also on this all-Brahms program. Will the strings be employed for the lieder too? It remains to be seen. Slean will sing four reinvented Brahms songs for the occasion. Sommerabend (Summer Evening) Op.85 No.1, to the poem by Heinrich Heine, tells of a quiet walk through the woods and meadows that ends with a secretive glimpse of a wood fairy bathing under the moonlight. Bei dir sind meine Gedanken (My Thoughts Are with You) Op.95 No.2, poem by Friedrich Halm, is a tad more lively: the piano flutters as do the excited and confused thoughts around the beloved, unwilling to leave her side, even if it means their wings will be burned “in the flame of your eyes.” Feldeinsamkeit (Solitude in the Fields) Op.86 No.2, poem by Hermann Allmers, sounds least amenable to pop treatment, but I hope to be proven wrong. It’s a resigned, deceptively brightly coloured, slow-paced meditation on mortality— through a description of nature, of course; a frequent Romantic device. Finally, Wie Melodien zieht es (Like Melodies It Passes) Op.105 April 1, 2017 - May 7, 2017 | 25

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