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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.

WE ARE ALL MUSIC’S

WE ARE ALL MUSIC’S CHILDREN March's Child DAVID BUCHBINDER NEW CONTEST Who is APRIL’S CHILD? MJ BUELL His ensembles and projects include: The Flying Bulgars, The David Buchbinder Quartet, Nomadica, Odessa/Havana, and KUNÉ – Canada’s Global Orchestra. He is the creator of multidisciplinary spectacles “The Ward”, “Shurum Burum Jazz Circus”, “Tumbling Into Light” and “Andalusia.” He is also a co-founder of Toronto’s Ashkenaz Festival, and founder and director of Diasporic Genius. DAVID BUCHBINDER (in his own words) lives in Toronto’s Trinity-Bellwoods neighbourhood, with his wife – teacher, musician and dancer Roula Said – their daughter Laila, and their communicative cat Calliope. In their basement apartment lives a very busy costume designer. Besides creating and playing music, producing shows and recordings for his own projects and a growing number of unique artists, not to mention his involvement with story as an engine of creative transformation and connection across boundaries, David is a student of art, cities and the power of direct experience. He loves to cook and garden (when he has time), and after many years as a baseball fan, he’s recently fallen in love with the Raptors. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Buchbinder grew up in St. Louis and then Toronto. His father was a social worker, community organizer, and then a university professor. His mother worked at home, went back to university to finish her degree, then worked in social services when the family moved to Toronto in 1969. Buchbinder’s father had an amateur folk-singing group that played at meetings, community events, even at a few demonstrations. “He played and sang in a rough but committed way.” David’s brother Amnon, who played bassoon for a few years, is a film director and writer who teaches screen writing at York University. After attending “a weird alternative public school called M.A.G.U. (I kid you not)” young David flew to London and spent the next few months hitchhiking alone around Europe, then lived on a kibbutz for eight months. Your earliest memories of hearing music? Likely recorded music, with biggest impact first from American folk music (Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger), and then 60s rock (Beatles, Stones, Frank Zappa). By the time I was seven I was attending events, concerts and 60s-style Happenings where I was always entranced by the band and the musicians; some classical concerts (St. Louis Symphony); my father singing and playing guitar and my mother singing, protest songs (the organizers of the St. Louis SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] lived in our house. We went to synagogue intermittently and we sang Jewish Sabbath and holiday songs regularly. First experiences making music? Beside lots of singing in various contexts, I remember playing music at some early piano lessons (didn’t last long, I was kind of scared of the very old teacher and her house smelled funny). My public school teacher connected me with my first trumpet teacher because I got into playing right away, in Grade 3. He was co-principal trombone in the St. Louis Symphony and I wish I could remember his name because he was an amazing teacher. He was warm, effective, and he encouraged me to write some music. The roots of your appetite for jazz and world music? All the experiences of hearing live music along the way: I was always entranced by it, regardless of the genre. When we moved to Toronto I stopped playing trumpet until I was almost 20 – during that time I got pulled into the folk/country blues world. Those source recordings of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Halloween 1975 This drum sure has a funny handle! Plays taiko, shinobue, and shakuhachi. His own ensemble was founded in 1998. Numerous collaborations include Drum Nation, Humdrum, Nishikawa Ensemble, Green Tea Dance Collective, Toronto Tabla Ensemble, Earth Spirit Orchestra, Ballet Creole … Find him In this issue on pages 4 and 24 Know our Mystery Child’s name? WIN PRIZES! Send your best guess by March 24 to musicschildren@thewholenote.com Previous artist profiles and full-length interviews can be read at thewholenote.com/ musicschildren the amazing African American musicians who were the pioneers of the music had a profound impact on me. In my mid-teens I got into jazz, with the bridge from the blues being Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Their music was a revelation because I could grasp what they were communicating, in sound and story both. This all led me to many concerts (very underage) at the Colonial Tavern on Yonge St.: Mingus, Yusef Lateef, Dizzy and many others. World music came much later. JUST RELEASED: a third CD for David Buchbinder’s Odessa/Havana – Conversations of the Birds – available at Soundscapes on College St. or contact info@odessahavana.com David Buchbinder’s full-length interview, and a list of his upcoming engagements can be read at thewholenote.com/musicschildren CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS! On April 7, 8pm, at Koerner Hall: KUNÉ, Canada’s Global Orchestra, features topnotch musicians from all over the world now living in Canada, who perform original music they have composed for instruments from every corner of the world. David Buchbinder is the artistic director for this project of the Royal Conservatory. KUNÉ launches their debut recording (Universal Music) at this concert. The evening is shared with trumpeter and composer Buchbinder, Cuban piano master, Hilario Durán, and their band, Odessa/Havana. NICKI POULOS and KEN MACDONALD should expect an evening of powerful, swinging unforgettable music. A pair of tickets each! Conversations of the Birds is Odessa/Havana’s third recording of genredefying and compelling music. This eight-member ensemble, which includes David Buchbinder and Hilario Duran, brings considerable jazz chops to bear on the most irresistible elements of Jewish and Cuban music. Laugh or cry, or do both at the same time but you’ll find it hard to take this music sitting still. Odessa/Havana is joined for this recording by guests Mor Karbasi (vocals), Raquy Danziger (percussion) and Benjamin Barrile (flamenco guitar). A copy each goes out to ABBY SEARS and WADE POTTS. 68 | March 2018 thewholenote.com

DISCOVERIES | RECORDINGS REVIEWED STRINGS ATTACHED TERRY ROBBINS Violinists Gwen Hoebig and Karl Stobbe have been sitting together on the front desk of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for 20 years, and have been playing duets together for almost that long. A staple of their repertoire, the Six Sonatas for Two Violins by Jean-Marie Leclair is featured on a new CD from Analekta (AN 2 8786 analekta.com). Leclair (1697-1764) was considered the father of French violin playing, merging the Italian influence he picked up while working for the ballet in Turin in his 20s with the French dance forms. These Op.3 Duos are known for their difficulty, but despite the need for technical mastery and virtuosity are never merely brilliant show pieces but works full of elegance and reserve, and of “lilting pastorals, graceful sarabandes and fiery jigs.” Hoebig and Stobbe have technical mastery to spare, with a bright, clear sound and beautifully clean playing. The first and second violin parts are equally important here, with constant interplay and textural depth, and it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart. Leclair had what the publicity release calls a tumultuous life, and was stabbed to death in front of the house he owned in a rather seedy area of Paris, possibly at the instigation of his former wife, who had been left penniless upon their divorce and who inherited his house and possessions, or by his nephew, an aspiring violinist angered at Leclair’s refusal to help advance his career. In the booklet notes Stobbe suggests that the nature of the duos – “the intimacy of two violins working together through tribulations and trials, romance, and violence” – may well reflect the circumstances of Leclair’s life, giving the performers a good starting point to explore the music’s character. His hope that these performances go beyond the technical challenges to give a sense of the man who created them is more than fulfilled in an outstanding CD. Violinist Isabelle Faust and harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout are in outstanding form in a 2CD set of J.S. Bach: Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord (harmonia mundi 90225657). These six works BWV 1014-1019 probably date from the Cöthen period of 1717-23, but Bach apparently continued to revisit and revise them throughout his life, suggesting that they were works that meant a great deal to him. From a historical perspective they form a crucial link between the Baroque trio sonata and the violin and piano sonatas of the Classical and Romantic periods, Bach treating the left and right hand keyboard parts as bass line and melodic voice respectively, with the violin interacting primarily with the melodic voice. The performances here are quite superb, with a lovely balance between the instruments and a striking warmth and clarity. In his perceptive booklet notes Bezuidenhout offers the suggestion that the acquisition of a new double-manual harpsichord by Michael Mietke of Berlin at Cöthen in 1719 may well have provided the inspiration for Bach’s sudden keyboard innovations; there seem to be no other sources for this sudden departure from the standard trio sonata form. The harpsichord used here, courtesy of Trevor Pinnock, is a modern John Phillips instrument modelled after a 1722 harpsichord by Johann Heinrich Grabner. Bezuidenhout notes that the sound “is both full… and wonderfully articulate,” the clarity between the registers ideal for the three-voice counterpoint so much at the heart of these sonatas. Faust plays a 1658 Jacob Stainer violin, which Bezuidenhout notes has the “necessary brilliance... but also a certain warmth and darkness of tone that is ideally suited to the more melancholy moments.” All in all, it’s a wonderful set. I didn’t know the playing of Tomas Cotik before last month’s outstanding Piazzolla Legacy CD, but his latest release, a simply beautiful 4CD set of the Complete Mozart 16 Sonatas for Violin and Piano with his regular partner Tao Lin (Centaur CRC 3619/20/21/22 centaurrecords.com), leaves me in no doubt as to what I must have been missing. This set – Cotik’s 14th issue – does not include the “juvenile” sonatas for keyboard and violin from 1763-66, where the violin rarely does little more than conform to the keyboard right hand, but presents the 16 sonatas written in the period 1778-88: the six sonatas K301- 306 published in Paris in late 1778 and known as the Kurfürstin or Palatine Sonatas; the six sonatas K296 and K376-380 published by Artaria in Vienna in late 1781 and dedicated to Mozart’s pupil Josepha Aurnhammer; and the later Viennese sonatas K454 (1784), K481 (1785), K526 (1787) and K547 (1788). In the accompanying publicity material, Cotik describes the lengths to which he and Lin had to go to reduce and eliminate the extraneous noises from the Fort Lauderdale church they had chosen as the recording venue. The resulting full-movement takes more than justify their efforts: the sound quality and balance are excellent, with the violin never too far forward but never overshadowed by the piano either. Both performers play with a resonant, clear and warm tone, and dynamics, phrasing and tempi are all perfectly judged. Cotik readily admits to having always loved Mozart’s music, and calls his recordings of these sonatas a milestone in his musical life. It’s a sentiment that is clearly evident in every single track of this exemplary set. This really has been a tremendous month for violin CDs. The American violinist Rachel Barton Pine marks her 36th recording and her fourth album for the Avie label with the Elgar and Bruch Violin Concertos, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton (AV2375 avie-records.com). Pine calls the project an “indulgence in Romanticism,” being the first time that the shortest of the regular repertoire Romantic concertos – the Bruch Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor Op.26 – has been recorded together with the longest – Elgar’s Violin Concerto in B Minor Op.61. Although they have little in common from a historical perspective, Pine has long thought of them together because each work reminds her of the warm, rich and soulful sound she looks for in the other. The Bruch was the first Romantic concerto that Pine learned (at the age of eight!) and the Elgar was one of the last, its highly A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR We welcome your feedback and invite submissions. CDs and comments should be sent to: DISCoveries, WholeNote Media Inc., The Centre for Social Innovation, 503 – 720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4. We also encourage you to visit our website, thewholenote.com, where you can find enhanced reviews in the Listening Room with audio samples, upcoming performance details and direct links to performers, composers and record labels. David Olds, DISCoveries Editor discoveries@thewholenote.com thewholenote.com March 2018 | 69

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

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