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Volume 23 Issue 5 - February 2018

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • February
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Performing
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Orchestra
  • Quartet

ILLUMINATIONS March 2 &

ILLUMINATIONS March 2 & 3 at 8pm IN the Middle Ages, a manuscript book was a precious possession, often lavishly illuminated and illustrated. Illuminations takes you inside these treasures, in an evening where music and imagery from some of the most fabulous Medieval manuscripts combine in a feast for eyes and ears. While spectacular images are projected onto a huge screen behind the ensemble, we perform otherworldly cantigas, trouvere songs, medieval dances and sacred motets, with special performances by master Persian percussionist Naghmeh Farahmand, with Pejman Zahedian (voice and Persian Setar) and Demetri Petsalakis (Oud). TRINITY –ST. PAUL’S CENTRE 427 BLOOR ST WEST, TORONTO ON M5S 1X7 Great seats available for only ! 416-964-6337 | TorontoConsort.org a much deeper level. NA: It is very rewarding to spend your life communicating with people in the most diverse and powerful language. I am very aware and grateful for that every day. I am currently working on The Seasons by Haydn and it has been a revelation. The same goes for pieces I have already performed like the concertos by Dutilleux and Dvořák and the complete Bach Suite Cycle, that I am playing the following week. To be in touch and discover artworks that widen your awareness on a daily basis is the most wonderful thing to grow in life. George Li Last month I did a Q&A with pianist George Li whose Toronto debut recital in Koerner Hall on February 4 has been postponed with no new date announced as of press time. The Q&A prompted a comment by New England Conservatory visual assets manager Andrew Hurlbut who pointed out that Li’s musical education owed a great debt to the NEC and to his studies with Wha Ryung Byun as part of the NEC/ Harvard dual degree program. “It seems to me that long through line in his training is at least somewhat responsible for his current welldeserved success,” he wrote in an email. We appreciate and welcome the comments of readers far and wide. QUICK PICKS Feb 5: The Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society is taking full advantage of charismatic clarinetist Dionysis Grammenos’ stint as assistant conductor for the COC’s production of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio. K-WCMS is connecting him with the popular piano quartet, Ensemble Made in Canada, for a performance of Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet Op.115, another exquisite work from the composer’s last creative output. The performance will be repeated Feb 7 in Toronto as part of the COC’s free noontime concert series. Feb 11: Anyone who was fortunate enough to experience the electricity of Stravinsky’s Petrushka at David Jalbert’s and Wonny Song’s duo piano Mooredale Concerts recital January 14 need not be reminded of Jalbert’s next appearance in our area. For his K-WCMS solo concert, the Ottawa-based virtuoso will burnish his reputation as one of Canada’s finest pianists with three Prokofiev sonatas – Nos. 2, 3 and 5 – on the same program. Feb 15: TSO principal violist Teng Li brings her warmth and sensitivity to a program of transcriptions by the celebrated 20th-century violist William Primrose in a free noontime recital at U of T Faculty of Music’s Walter Hall. Lydia Wong is the collaborative pianist. Feb 16: Leon Fleisher, who turns 90 later this year, conducts the Royal Conservatory Orchestra performing Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Sibelius Symphony No.1 in Koerner Hall. He will give masterclasses in Mazzoleni Hall Feb 11 and 17. Masterclasses with Fleisher are inspirational and memorable, strewn with anecdotes. It’s no surprise, considering his close connection to Beethoven through his teacher, Artur Schnabel, a student of Theodor Leschetizky, who studied with Beethoven’s pupil, Carl Czerny. A few years ago, Fleisher said he once had “the pleasure of performing with three guys named Jascha, Grisha and Bill [Heifetz, Piatigorsky and Primrose]. And it really was a pleasure.” Feb 22: Music Toronto presents the Apollon Musagète Quartet in a program of Haydn, Arensky and Grieg. The dynamic young Polish quartet made a memorable debut in the Jane Mallett Theatre in November 2015 and their return is eagerly anticipated. Feb 25 and 26 Canzona Chamber Players give us another chance to hear Brahms’ great clarinet quintet (along with with Hindemith’s) with Canzona co-founder Jonathan Krehm joining Csaba Koczo, Jessica Tong (violins), Robin Howe (cello) and Pocket Concerts’ Rory McLeod (viola). Mar 1: Lang Lang, recovering from tendinitis in his left arm, will share the keyboard with 15-year-old Maxim Lando (a Lang Lang International Music Foundation Scholar) in a piano four hands arrangement of Gershwin’s exuberant Rhapsody in Blue. Peter Oundjian conducts the TSO. Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. 26 | February 2018 thewholenote.com

Beat by Beat | Early Music Missed Connections: Classical Music’s Not-so-Linear Histories MATTHEW WHITFIELD Reading a survey of “The History of Classical Music” is an experience similar to reading the Toronto Transit Commission subway map. Broken down into its basic elements, our subterranean transit system is a series of independent and direct lines with clear paths and destinations that intersect at a relatively small number of major junctions. These junctions are occasionally chaotic (think Bloor Station at 8:30am, with an obligatory delay or two) and often confusing, with the uninitiated and unfamiliar wondering just how to get from that yellow line to that green line without being trampled by a stampeding horde of commuters. Our conventional understanding of the history of classical music is, much like our system of underground transport, often considered in linear terms – take the Yonge line to Bloor, Bloor line to Bathurst – directional, but reading more like the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew: Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren… or, Buxtehude begat J.S. Bach; and J.S. Bach begat C.P.E. Bach; and C.P.E. Bach begat Mozart... These linear streams of music history intersect, like our Bloor and Yonge lines, relatively rarely (once every 150 years or so) often landmarked by a creative supernova: the masterworks of J.S. Bach; the creation and subsequent development of sonata form by Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven; the operas of Wagner; the invention of Schoenberg’s dodecaphony. These are the junctions which, we are told, changed the course of history and introduced the world to the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and modern eras, respectively. Nothing, however, is as simple as it seems. Once we reach the surface and take a bird’s-eye view of these systems, we find that they are infinitely more complex and intertwined than we initially thought. Anyone who has been redirected out of Toronto’s subways (Line One is closed from Lawrence to Bloor this weekend) and forced to take shuttle buses, streetcars, or any other form of surface transportation, immediately realizes, in addition to the linear and direct lines which run underneath the city, there is an entire network of surface routing which connects our city in much more complex, thorough and occasionally hard-to-navigate ways. This is what real-life music history looks like, the apparently direct connections and creative supernovae actually consisting of myriad local and international interactions, increasing in fascinating complexity until our historical concept of “begotten-ness” is replaced by the understanding that everything is connected in one way or another Once these connections are drawn and acknowledged, we see that it is no longer possible to parcel the history of classical music into comfortable categorizations. National musical schools, for example – Lully the Frenchman, Purcell the Englishman, Monteverdi the Italian, Bach the German – are no longer satisfactory criteria, for we often see that the country of one’s birth is significantly different from the country (or countries) responsible for one’s artistic development and inspiration. With a little bit of insight, broad categorizations, scholastically practical and academically satisfying though they are, are replaced by fascinating tales of professional musicians who worked, travelled, learned and borrowed from other countries and cultures, preserved and passed down through both musical and historical artifacts, such as Bach’s transcriptions of works by Vivaldi or the documented success of composers such as Zelenka and Heinichen, Bohemian composers who thrived within the courts of Dresden. It is from this perspective that music, particularly the music of the Baroque, comes to life, the world of 17th-century Europe drawing from within itself to produce works of unbelievable creativity and breadth while simultaneously echoing a sentiment written by the Sherman brothers for Walt Disney 250 years later: “It’s a small world after all!” Continental Contacts This February is a wonderful month for fans of Baroque music – with the passing of December’s overwhelming musical offerings, the start of a new year gives ensembles time to rehearse, prepare and produce new and exciting programs. There’s something for everyone this month, but remember: whether you prefer your music with a touch of French grace, Italian joviality, German complexity, or English propriety, it’s all connected! Rezonance: Last year Toronto’s newly-formed Rezonance Baroque Ensemble presented a fascinating concert which put the spotlight on partimenti, the study of improvisation in the Baroque era, drawing parallels between modern jazz and 17th-century classical music. The group is back on stage February 3 with “Versailles Confidential,” a multidisciplinary presentation featuring actress Ariana Marquis as the Marquise de Sévigné. With music by some of the French Baroque’s most esteemed composers including Rebel, D’Anglebert, Couperin and Jean-Baptiste Lully, official court composer of Louis XIV, this performance should be a delightful exploration of life in Baroque France. Melos: For those further east in Ontario, Melos Choir and Period Instruments ensemble performs in Kingston on February 9. Their concert, “A Venetian Carnevale,” puts the spotlight on period vocal and instrumental music, theatre and dance from the time of Carnevale celebrations of Baroque Europe. Featured composers include Gabrieli, Lassus and Telemann, a musical kaleidoscope coloured by some fascinating bits of history. The Gabrielis were a dominant musical force in Venice and bridged the transition period between Renaissance and Baroque eras. Giovanni Gabrieli studied with Orlando di Lasso (Lassus) in Munich and subsequently taught the German composers Hans Leo Hassler and Heinrich Schütz, who brought Gabrieli’s works to Germany and ultimately influenced the music of later composers such as Bach and Telemann. An innovator of the highest calibre, Gabrieli is attributed with being the first to use specified dynamics (forte, piano, etc.) in his compositions, as well as introducing the concept of instrumentation! Alexander’s Feast: George Frederic Handel is another composer whose influence on later generations of composers cannot be Harmonia Sacra Feb 15 at 7pm One Night Only at the ROM Gorgeous concert experience melding music and dance. BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW: EVENTBRITE.CA thewholenote.com February 2018 | 27

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2019)

Volume 25 Issue 2 - October 2019
Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019
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)