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Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • December
  • January
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Symphony
  • Performing
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Orchestra
In this issue: composer Nicole Lizée talks about her love for analogue equipment, and the music that “glitching” evokes; Richard Rose, artistic director at the Tarragon Theatre, gives us insights into their a rock-and-roll Hamlet, now entering production; Toronto prepares for a mini-revival of Schoenberg’s music, with three upcoming shows at New Music Concerts; and the local music theatre community remembers and celebrates the life and work of Mi’kmaq playwright and performer Cathy Elliott . These and other stories, in our double-issue December/January edition of the magazine.

January

January 23, Stephen Hough: In October 2016 the brilliant British pianist Stephen Hough revealed on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island DIscs that he discovered he liked playing the piano when he went to visit his aunt’s house and could pick out more than one hundred nursery rhymes on her piano. After much pestering, his parents bought him a cheap second-hand piano from an antique shop. So began the storied career of this polymath, whose first novel, The Final Retreat, is to be published in March 2018. On January 23, he makes his fourth appearance for Music Toronto since 1996 with a program mixing four Debussy works (two of which, Images Bk 1 and II, appear on his latest Hyperion CD, anticipating the centenary of the composer’s death in 1918) with Schumann’s rapturous Fantasie Op.17 and Beethoven’s colossal Sonata in F Minor, Op.67, “Appassionata.” The next morning, Hough will make the trek north to Mazzoleni Hall for a public masterclass. Having been to two of these, I have no doubt it will be an insightful and inspirational experience. January 27, the Dover Quartet: The Dovers came to wide attention in 2013 when they won the Banff International String Quartet Competition. I wrote about their memorable Beethoven concert at Toronto Summer Music in 2016: “Musically mature, vibrant and uncannily unified in purpose and execution, the youthful players brought passion and grace to the first two movements [of Op.132], took a decisive approach to the fourth and emphasized the rhapsodic character of the finale.” Chamber Music Hamilton, a top-flight regional series, is presenting the young Americans in a recital of Schumann’s Second, Ullmann’s Third and Zemlinsky’s Second String Quartets, Sunday January 27 at 2pm at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. January 30, RCM and Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema (although the name has changed, the address remains Bloor Street) present Stefan Avalos’ compulsively watchable Strad Style, a film I saw at Hot Docs 2017. The documentary chronicles the improbable but triumphant story of a reclusive Ohio violin maker, Daniel Houck, whose confidence that he can produce a copy of “Il Canone,” the Guarneri violin built in 1742 that Paganini played, carries him through an eight-month journey that threatens to be derailed more than once. A violin aficionado who loves listening to old masters like Oistrakh and Heifetz and idolizes violin makers Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari – all from Cremona, Italy – Houck suffers from bipolar disorder but functions with medication. He befriends Razvan Stoica on Facebook when he discovers the Romanian-born violinist has won the Strad Prize at a Salzburg festival and offers to make him the Canone replica. There is magic stuff here. After the screening Jonathan Crow will bring out his own Guarneri for what promises to be a fascinating show-and-tell Q&A. And that’s why I’ll be there. And on into February: The astounding young pianist Daniil Trifonov continues his homage-to-Chopin tour February 1, with a sold-out concert at Koerner Hall. I’m lucky to have a ticket but unlucky to miss the St. Lawrence String Quartet’s annual Music Toronto visit the same evening. Fortunately I can attend the SLSQ’s masterclass in Mazzoleni Hall the next day at 10am. In 2008, clarinetist Dionysis Grammenos became the first wind player ever to be named European Young Musician of the Year. Two years later at 21, having been guided by Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach and Robert Spano, he made his conducting debut with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Johannes Debus hired him as assistant conductor for the COC’s 2018 production of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio February 7 to 24. “You find in him a musician who exudes an enthusiasm for music from every single pore and who equally has the talent to communicate and share his enthusiasm and euphoria with others – no matter if it’s about an audience or fellow musicians,” Debus says. Grammenos’ appearance at noon on February 7 in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with Ensemble Made in Canada (they will perform Brahms’ late masterpiece, the sublime Clarinet Quintet in B Minor Op.115) is the last stop in my winter festival. Given the abundance of live music available to all of us in the Toronto area, there’s an ad hoc personal winter festival out there for the making for every musical taste. How? JustASK. Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. DENIS MASTROMONACO MUSIC DIRECTOR & C O N D U C T O R 20 | December 2017 / January 2018 thewholenote.com

Beat by Beat | Music Theatre Multi-Layered Homecoming for Tale of a Town JENNIFER PARR November is almost over and two shows stood out for me recently: The Musical Stage Company’s Uncovered: Dylan & Springsteen with its brilliant storytelling through song, and the wild and wacky low-budget silliness of Christopher Bond’s Evil Dead, the Musical – an incredibly clever tribute to and parody of musicals, low-budget horror movies and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise in particular. (Good news is that the latter show’s run has just been extended to January 7.) Looking ahead to December there is a wealth of music theatre on offer. With the holiday season approaching, there are many familyoriented shows, including at least three versions of A Christmas Carol in which music is integral to the story and production. Ross Petty Productions gives us its usual anarchic take on a classic through the prism of the traditional English panto. At the Grand Theatre in London, new artistic director Dennis Garnhum is introducing himself to audiences through his own acclaimed version of Dickens’ classic, described as “brimming with music, dance, and ... all of your favourite carols.” And the Shaw Festival is joining the fray, with what I believe is their first Christmas season, in a production adapted and directed by new artistic director Tim Carroll with music direction by Paul Sportelli, movement and puppetry by Alexis Milligan, and as Scrooge, Michael Therriault, star of last season’s Me and My Girl. The Tale of a Town In and among Toronto’s rich smorgasbord of music theatre offerings to choose from, many of them not tied specifically to the season, two in particular (one in December, one in January) caught my eye because of their unusual – in different ways – weaving of music with text-based elements. The second of the two, chronologically, is the Tarragon Theatre’s rock-and-roll Hamlet commencing January 2. (You can read my interview with director Richard Rose elsewhere in the issue.) The other is Fixt Point’s production of The Tale of a Town, the creation of husband-and-wife duo Charles Ketchabaw and Lisa Marie DiLiberto which returns to its starting place at Theatre Passe Muraille, December 14 to 17. Since the show’s beginnings, Ketchabaw and DiLiberto have spent three years touring the country in their Storymobile (recording studio on wheels) gathering the stories and songs of communities from the Arctic to the East Coast and creating Lisa Marie DiLiberto and Charles Ketchabaw, with their Storymobile on PEI, July 2013 local performance installations. They also built a national story map that not only forms part of each local show but remains in place in each community, as well as online and as a ten-part series on TVO – a kind of national story archive. I spoke with DiLiberto as well as with the show’s current music COURTESY OF VICTORY PLAYHOUSE THE PEASANT CANTATA by Johann Sebastian Bach ALL THE DIAMONDS Songs and Poems Inspired by the Night Sky Bach’s raucous cantata followed by a mid-winter cabaret to warm the soul. Staring Patricia O’Callaghan and Giles Tomkins and a stellar band of singers and players. an Ontario government agency un organisme du gouvernement de l’Ontario 8, 9 & 10 February 2018 Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, 106 Trinity Street Tickets from torontomasquetheatre.com or call 416-410-4561 thewholenote.com December 2017 / January 2018 | 21

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019
Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019
Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019
Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
Volume 24 Issue 3 - November 2018
Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)