Views
1 year ago

Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Faculty
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Orchestra
  • Quartet
  • Performing
In this issue: Canadian Stage, Tapestry Opera and Vancouver Opera collaborate to take Gogol’s short story The Overcoat to the operatic stage; Montreal-based Sam Shalabi brings his ensemble Land of Kush, and his newest composition, to Toronto; Five Canadian composers, each with a different CBC connection, are nominated for JUNOs; and The WholeNote team presents its annual Summer Music Education Directory, a directory of summer music camps, programs and courses across the province and beyond.

Beat by Beat | Classical

Beat by Beat | Classical & Beyond Speaking of Quartets Free Noon Hour Choir & Organ Concert: OTTAWA BACH CHOIR Bach to the Beatles FRI APR 13 ◆ 12 PM Lisette Canton, conductor Matthew Larkin, organ NANA MOUSKOURI Forever Young Tour WED MAY 16 ◆ 8 PM EVGENY KISSIN Piano FRI MAY 25 ◆ 8 PM FOR TICKETS VISIT ROYTHOMSONHALL.COM OR CALL 416-872-4255 FREE Made possible by the generous support of Edwards Charitable Foundation Media Partner Presented by Roy Thomson Hall and Rubin Fogel Productions Media Partner PAUL ENNIS I recently had an email exchange with Edward Dusinberre, first violinist of the celebrated Takács Quartet, in anticipation of the Takács’ upcoming recital in Koerner Hall on March 25. I began by congratulating Dusinberre on his recent book, Beethoven for a Later Age (The University of Chicago Press, 2016), which I found to be a wonderful reading experience, rich in its multi-layered outlook and filled with keen insights into the string quartet experience in general and his in particular. The way he integrated the historical context of Beethoven’s own involvement with his quartets into the narrative was novel and instructive. And tying the history of the Takács to specific performances of specific Beethoven quartets was, I told him, an organic and deft touch. WN: Does the quartet still rehearse four hours at a time? How much rehearsal time per week? Your Koerner Hall concert on March 25 begins at 3pm. What effect will that have on your rehearsal process? ED: I’m glad you enjoyed the book! We rehearse between three to three and a half hours a day, five days a week when we are at home. On the road it’s more a matter of “maintenance” rehearsals, tweaking things here and there. The hard preparation work is done in Boulder. For an afternoon concert we usually meet two hours before the concert. Please speak about the importance of conveying emotion in the music. Conveying emotion is the end goal, but each audience member’s emotional response to a piece is unique. So we spend a lot of time discussing what character we want a phrase, section or movement to convey. The means for achieving that are of course many: bow stroke, type of sound, pacing, dynamic contrast, body language, etc. We hope if the characters are vivid and immediate, then the emotional responses they inspire will be stronger. How does the Koerner Hall acoustic influence your playing there? What a gorgeous hall and acoustic! Such a space creates the possibility for more varied dynamics and colours of sound: in particular it is more rewarding to play very quietly. Also timing can be affected. The last chord of a slow movement will fade beautifully into silence, where in a less good hall it might stop abruptly, so one is encouraged to linger. You wrote extensively about the interpretive challenges and your various approaches to Beethoven’s string quartets in your book. “Performing Opus 131 is always an adventure,” you wrote. And: “Of all the Beethoven quartets, Opus 131 is the most ambitious.” Please Friday, april 27 8:00pm An evening of beautiful English music, with organist David Briggs and The Choir of St. James Cathedral, featuring works by Vaughan Williams TickeTs & DeTails aT stjamescathedral.ca 18 | March 2018 thewholenote.com

elaborate on those two statements. The emotional range of the piece is staggering. And often the juxtapositions of fiercely contrasting emotions require a nimble approach from the performers. For example, after a lyrical fourth movement full of whimsy and fantasy, one is hurled into a helter skelter scherzo which requires fast fingers and finesse. Immediately after that, the sixth movement is a lament, again with the minimum of time to prepare. The piece is an adventure because traversing such a range of emotions feels a bit different each time. What is your approach to Opus 131 today? How might it change on March 25 in Toronto? How does the energy of the audience bear on it? The opening bars of the piece are like the beginning of a long story. Sometimes the opening feels introspective, sometimes more overtly despairing. This is music that can accommodate many different approaches, just like a Shakespeare play. The purpose of rehearsing Opus 131 is to feel comfortable enough to be open to minute changes of character, balance and pacing that can occur spontaneously onstage. Beethoven modestly remarked that in this music there is “less lack of fantasy (imagination).” It is hard to predict from one concert to the next how our feeling about performing the piece will change but our job is to be open to how that fantasy may unfold. How would you characterize the two other works on your Koerner Hall program – The Haydn E-flat Major, Op.76 No.5 and the Shostakovich No.11 in F Minor, Op.122? The Haydn is a wonderfully varied piece with a luminous slow movement worthy of a late Beethoven quartet. The outer movements are full of surprises. The first movement starts rather gently before delivering a rambunctious coda. The last movement is full of high spirits, comic turns and pregnant pauses – one of our favourites. The Shostakovich is an extraordinary piece. Like Opus 131, the movements are played without a break. And like Beethoven, Shostakovich takes simple thematic material and transforms it in imaginative ways, creating a satisfying narrative arc. Speaking of Quartets (2): The Rolston String Quartet’s international profile has recently been raised even higher, having been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Cleveland Quartet Award, the first time a Canadian ensemble has received this prestigious biennial award The Takács Quartet: (from left) Geraldine Walther, viola; Edward Dusinberre, violin; András Fejér, cello; Károly Schranz, violin. which honours young string quartets on the cusp of a major international career. It is given out by the Cleveland Quartet, Chamber Music America and eight notable chamber music presenters across the United States. Winning quartets receive a concert tour of the United States, including performances at Carnegie Hall and the Smithsonian in Washington DC. The prize is the latest in a string of accolades for the fast-rising ensemble since winning the top prize at the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2016. Currently the fellowship quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music, the Rolstons now join the ranks of previous Cleveland Quartet Award winners Brentano, Borromeo, Miami, Pacifica, Miro, Jupiter, Parker, Jasper, Ariel and Dover Quartets. As Bill Rankin wrote in La Scena in June 2017, Barry Shiffman, a founding member of the St. Lawrence Quartet and associate dean and director of chamber music at the RCM’s Glenn Gould School (GGS), recognized the group’s adventurous spirit from the outset. “There’s a bit of craziness to them, which I like in a young quartet,” he said. “They’re risk takers. They don’t play it safe. They have a concept, and they go for it.” “Some people think of a string quartet as a 16-string instrument; others see it more as four individuals, with a very distinct identity and characteristics. We lean more toward the latter,” Rolston cellist Jonathan Lo said. Cellist Norman Fischer, an alumnus of the Concord Quartet and a specialist in contemporary music, explained that at Rice University, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra March 21 Organist Cameron Carpenter April 11 905-681-6000 burlingtonpac.ca 440 Locust Street in Burlington thewholenote.com March 2018 | 19

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2019)

Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020
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)