6 years ago

Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • November
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Musical
  • Theatre
  • Symphony
  • Performing
  • Orchestra
  • Bloor
In this issue: conversations (of one kind or another) galore! Daniela Nardi on taking the reins at "best-kept secret" venue, 918 Bathurst; composer Jeff Ryan on his "Afghanistan" Requiem for a Generation" partnership with war poet, Susan Steele; lutenist Ben Stein on seventeenth century jazz; collaborative pianist Philip Chiu on going solo; Barbara Hannigan on her upcoming Viennese "Second School" recital at Koerner; Tina Pearson on Pauline Oliveros; and as always a whole lot more!


FEATURE MUSIC OF REMEMBRANCE continued from page 9 To commemorate Remembrance Day this year, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Tania Miller will give the Toronto premiere of Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation. The TSO production features soprano Measha Brueggergosman, mezzosoprano Allyson McHardy, tenor Colin Ainsworth and baritone Tania Miller Brett Polegato with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Children’s Chorus. TSO music director Peter Oundjian has written: “Of course, Jeffrey Ryan is one of the country’s most distinguished composers, and his work as our affiliate composer some years ago was outstanding. I am always keen to hear the most recent works by our former affiliates, and when our creative team brought this Requiem to me, I knew that we should program it. It is truly an epic work. Suzanne Steele’s moving poetry and Jeff’s powerful music make for an unforgettable experience.” The performances take place in 8pm concerts on November 9 and 11 at Roy Thomson Hall. The concert also contains music by Vaughan Williams, the Scottish piper G.S. McLennan and a short so-called “Sesquie for Canada’s 150th” by Julien Bilodeau. Jeffrey Ryan will attend both Toronto performances, as well as a November 10 Calgary Philharmonic performance, in Calgary. Steele and Ryan’s Requiem adds to the ever-growing repertoire of musical works honouring the sacrifices of Canada’s soldiers over the course of our history and makes for a poignant reminder of the reasons behind their creation. Ever since Canadian poet, doctor and soldier, Lt. Col. John McCrae (1872–1918) wrote In Flanders Fields, composers have been drawing inspiration from it and setting it to music. In 2006, Kingston, Ontario composer John Burge composed his Flanders Fields Reflections. Burge called McCrae’s work, “Perhaps the most famous poem ever written by a Canadian.” The recording of Burge’s work by Sinfonia Toronto on Marquis Classics won the 2009 JUNO for best classical composition. McCrae’s poem has been set numerous times by composers around the world. Interestingly, the very first setting was by American Charles Ives, in 1917. More recently, Canadians Stephen Chatman, Eleanor Daley and Alexander Tilley have also used the poem. In Chatman’s case, it was a setting commissioned by the Vancouver men’s choir, Chor Leoni. McCrae’s poem is of course not the only literary source for music of remembrance by Canadian composers. Chatman has also made Remembrance Day settings using poetry by Walt Whitman (Reconciliation) and by Christina Rossetti (Songs of Remembrance). (Music by Chatman, Daley and Tilley will be sung in a concert titled “Acquired Taste: Music for Remembrance,” at 7:30pm on Sunday, November 12 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church in Toronto’s west end.) Born in England, Healey Willan (1880–1968) came to Canada in 1913 and lived and worked through both world wars. He wrote An Apostrophe to the Heavenly Hosts in 1921 for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. It’s a work that was dedicated to the memory of those members of the choir who had been killed in WWI. Then, in 1939, as Canada entered WWII, Willan composed A Responsory for Use in the Time of War, while serving as precentor of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Toronto. Near the end of his life, Harry Somers (1925–1999) composed A Thousand Ages, a major work for boy soprano, men’s choir, orchestra and electronics. The title comes from a line in the hymn, Our God, Our Help in Ages Past. Somers’ father had served in WWI and was haunted by severe nightmares throughout his remaining life. Somers recalled how as a youth he had often awoken in the middle of the night to the sound of his father’s screams. A Thousand Ages is one of Somers’ most personal works, and it received its premiere during the Winnipeg Symphony’s New Music Festival in 2000, with Bramwell Tovey conducting. Tovey was so impressed with the work that he made a version that replaced the orchestra with silver band. This is the version that I recorded with my production team, for a CD featuring the Hannaford Street Silver Band and the men of the Amadeus Choir at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Toronto. It’s a powerful, visceral work that conveys the horrors that soldiers experience. Personally, I feel it’s an impactful work that should be performed more often at Remembrance Day observances. The same CD, on the Opening Day label, also contained an important work by Tovey. This was his Requiem for a Charred Skull, written as Tovey’s reaction to the war in Kosovo. It was this recording that won Tovey the 2003 JUNO for best classical composition. David Jaeger is a composer, producer and broadcaster based in Toronto. 86 | November 2017

KOERNER HALL IS: “ A beautiful space for music “ THE GLOBE AND MAIL Barbara Hannigan with Reinbert de Leeuw FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 8PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only Soprano Barbara Hannigan, in her Koerner Hall debut with pianist Reinbert de Leeuw, will perform a curated look at the Second Viennese School. The program features works by Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Alma Mahler, and Hugo Wolf. Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel The GGS Fall Opera FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 7:30PM SATURDAY NOVEMBER 18, 7:30PM PRE-CONCERT TALK 7PM BOTH NIGHTS MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL Tickets: Students from The Glenn Gould School’s vocal program present their annual autumn opera. Peter Tiefenbach returns as Music Director for the production, directed by Brent Krysa. Victor Danchenko SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2017 4PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL Tickets Internationally renowned violinist Victor Danchenko, known for his “unabashedly old-fashioned, romantic style,” (The Baltimore Sun) celebrates his 40th anniversary of arriving in Toronto and the 50th anniversary of his musical collaboration with his sister, pianist Vera Danchenko. Taylor Academy Showcase Concert SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 4:30PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL Free tickets can be reserved starting Fri., Oct. 20 The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists presents leading young classical musicians in Canada. Hear the stars of tomorrow! Tania Miller conducts the Royal Conservatory Orchestra FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2017 8PM PRELUDE RECITAL 6:45PM PRE-CONCERT TALK 7:15PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only Maestra Tania Miller conducts the Glenn Gould School’s Royal Conservatory Orchestra in a program that includes the world premiere of Michael Oesterle’s Home alongside works by Prokofiev and Stravinsky. Part of the Temerty Orchestral Program Danilo Pérez Trio and Alfredo Rodríguez Trio SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 8PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only Two of the best Latin jazz pianists and band leaders in the world bring their trios to Koerner Hall for an unforgettable double bill. TICKETS & GIFT CERTIFICATES ARE GREAT GIFTS! TICKETS & ROYAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW! 416.408.0208 WWW.RCMUSIC.COM/PERFORMANCE 273 BLOOR STREET WEST (BLOOR 237 BLOOR ST. & AVENUE STREET RD.) WEST TORONTO (BLOOR ST. & AVENUE RD.) TORONTO

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