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Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019

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Something Old, Something New! The Ide(a)s of March are Upon Us! Rob Harris's Rear View Mirror looks forward to a tonal revival; Tafelmusik expands their chronological envelope in two directions, Esprit makes wave after wave; Pax Christi's new oratorio by Barbara Croall catches the attention of our choral and new music columnists; and summer music education is our special focus, right when warm days are once again possible to imagine. All this and more in our March 2019 edition, available in flipthrough here, and on the stands starting Thursday Feb 28.

oscillators. It’s an

oscillators. It’s an orchestra constructed in the recording process, creating works that are literally our experience of them. Each piece is both constantly changing and never changing; each achieves timelessness in a remarkably brief time, 22:18 for Disseminate, 23:11 for Baobab. Here our experience of pitch confounds notions of unison and dissonance, as if the pieces are constantly between them, simultaneously moving towards and away. It’s like listening to long and failed orchestral tune-ups that are also a new kind of bliss, experiences to cherish. Stuart Broomer Tim Brady – Music for Large Ensemble Bradyworks Large Ensemble; Tim Brady Starkland ST-230 (starkland.com) !! With strident chords and single note triplets and arpeggios, Tim Brady’s guitar becomes a razoredged ignition into the elegant rolling atmospherics of reeds, woodwinds, strings and rhythm section of his Bradyworks Large Ensemble. Somehow the loud and amplified intrusion is smoothed over and the respective instruments are no longer strange bedfellows, even as the music veers from the utterly thrilling turbulence of ideas – a glittering introduction, dark passagework, triumphant fanfares by guitar, piano and electric piano, all of whom trade gigantic-sounding chords in the dark and foreboding Désir, the first part of the Concerto for electric guitar and large chamber ensemble. Darkness and foreboding are familiar tone colours and atmospheric soundscapes throughout Eight Songs about: Symphony #7, re-inking the palimpsests of Shostakovich’s work with all the glory and tension of the turbulent Soviet era, complete with principal players in the form of music sketched in the proverbial image and likeness of Josef Stalin (Bells), Shostakovich and his wife Nina Varzar (Exhaustion) the conductor Karl Eliasberg (August Ninth) and a number of incidental characters in the erstwhile Soviet landscape. In his works Brady recasts intensely Sovietized themes of tension, fearfulness and bitterness, tempering these with the sound of soaring hope via heraldic, ascending motifs and bright harmonics. The result is a work of brilliant impetuosity. Played on the knife edge of the guitar, Brady combines a disturbing history with Douglas Smith’s poignant text through recitation and arias and instrumentation to great effect. Raul da Gama Cannibale Danielle Palardy Roger Ambiances Magnétiques AM 241CD (actuellecd.com) !! Few compositions can more fully embody the enduring spirit of Québécois musique actuelle – playful, anarchic, witty, frequently barbed – than composer/ percussionist Danielle Palardy Roger’s Cannibale. The 11-movement work calls on a special kind of musician: here the performers sing as well as play, improvise as well as interpret; four even compose individual movements. Palardy Roger’s frequent musical partner Joane Hétu, also a distinguished composer, provides focused dramatic narration as well as voice and alto saxophone. The work’s special character is apparent from the beginning as Hétu intones “cannibale” repeatedly, a prayer, an invocation, a lover’s whisper. Each position is explored in depth as the work unfolds, Palardy Roger’s sustained text and frame highlighting special episodes. Le sacrifice rituel, composed by percussionist Isaiah Ceccarelli, suggests the symbolic cannibalism of the mass with isolated percussion and Gregorian chant. Electric guitarist André Duchesne contributes the rocking La victoire du guerrier, while Alexandre St-Onge’s electronics drive his Sauvage, le côté party de la nécrophilie cannibale. Electronic musician Michel F Côté contributes Le gourmand épicurien, Palardy Roger’s ecstatic text animated by the voice, chewing sounds and clarinet of Elizabeth Lima, who elsewhere sounds the elegiac depths of Pitié Navire. At times, the brutalist roar of Ida Toninato’s baritone saxophone may represent the title character. Cannibale is a rich allegory in which genres from hard rock to free jazz to synth-pop and “traditional” electronic music are cannibalized with the same glee that the texts explore the modes of “Cannibale capitale brutal.” Stuart Broomer Glacier Music – Ecoacoustics of Matthew Burtner Matthew Burtner Ravello Records rr8001 (ravellorecords.com) !! Matthew Burtner is a multiple awardwinning Alaskanborn composer, augmented computer instrument designer, and ecoacoustician, currently professor of composition and computer music at the University of Virginia. In his thought-provoking album Glacier Music, Burtner presents five compositions based on field recordings he made on various Alaskan glaciers, or which include the sounds of snow (the raw material of glaciers). These recordings are further transformed and edited by the composer in various novel ways. Employing a musical ecoacoustics approach, he embeds environmental systems into musical and performative structures using new technologies. Burtner draws on techniques of sonification, acoustic ecology and soundscape composition pioneered by Canadian composers R. Murray Schafer, Barry Truax, Hildegard Westerkamp, et al. Three of the works here – Sound Cast of Matanuska Glacier, Sonic Physiography of a Time-stretched Glacier, and Syntax of Snow – also feature scores for standard orchestral instruments of the Rivanna Quartet, Albemarle Ensemble and percussionists Brandon Bell and Trevor Saint, providing timbral, harmonic and textural counterpoint to the field recordings and synthesized sounds. We’re reminded by the composer that at the threshold of mountain and ocean, glaciers “are highly susceptible to global warming … [providing] an indicator of the health of the region in a time of rapid climate change.” Burtner’s music on this album sites the environment at its core, aiming to decentralize standard human musical notions. It seems to be searching for more universal ecology-centered experiences, inspiring us to reflect on nature’s beauty in sound, and perhaps also to take action to protect it. Andrew Timar Radiance – A celebration of spiritual transformation and new creation Patricia Lazzara, flute Independent (patricialazzaraflutist.com) ! ! This, the ninth studio album by the distinguished American flutist, Patricia Lazzara, presents a fascinating program of contemporary compositions and arrangements for the flute by a collection of living American, Canadian, European and Japanese composers. The two Canadians are Toronto flutist and composer, Ron Korb, no stranger to these pages, and Uzbek-Canadian, now living in Toronto, Dmitriy Varelas. The first two tracks are works by Korb, Woodland Serenade and A Muse. The latter, unlike any other of Korb’s compositions that I have heard, is unaccompanied and offers both technically challenging passages and sections using extended technique which blend perfectly with the more conventional writing. Track three, Reflections of Radiance, by Varelas, for flute and alto flute played by Steve Markoff and cello played by Gerall 84 | March 2019 thewholenote.com

Heiser is a beautiful and accomplished work, a really great addition to the flute ensemble repertoire. Track eight, Domingo Semenzato’s Divagando (choro) with guitarist, Darren O’Neill is played with just the right blend of vitality and sadness to lift the notes off the page, so to speak. A real surprise for me, and at first glance an incongruous part of a primarily contemporary program, is the Sicilienne by the Austrian composer and contemporary of Mozart, Maria Theresia von Paradis. This enchanting melody has a strangely contemporary feel to it though, and is actually a good fit. Many thanks to Patricia Lazzara for introducing us to some fine new repertoire by mostly not-well-known contemporary composers. Allan Pulker Launch Admiral Launch Duo Albany Records TROY1752 (albanyrecords.com) !! Launch may be described as a way to introduce something new, which is precisely what the US-based Admiral Launch Duo is achieving with their uncanny/intriguing instrumentation. Since their 2013 Fresh Inc Festival debut, saxophonist Jonathan Hulting- Cohen and harpist Jennifer R. Ellis have spent years working together. Their debut 10-composition release features wide-ranging stylistic commissions, transcriptions and premiere recordings. Five Admiral commissions are included. Patrick O’Malley’s three-movement Thaumaturgy is a current day exploration of harp and sax effects. Amazing how the performers can match colours on two such diverse instruments in an arpeggiated ripple section, while the loud programmatic final meteor movement stuns with harp glissandos and high pitch sax notes. More wailing sax extreme high dramatics with mournful contrasts appear in Christine Delphine Hedden’s Amhrán na Cásca, while dark low and high tones emulate emotional distress in Angélica Negrón’s Still Here. Close atonal interchanges and tight playing are heard on Jasper Sussman’s …nice box! “Oh So Square” and Natalie Moller’s nature-inspired starshine & moonfall. The other works include changes of sonic pace. Highlights include traditional Romantic harmonies and melodies in the duo’s arrangement of Marcel Tournier’s La Lettre du Jardinier, and a contemplative lyrical harp part against sensitive saxophone phrasing and surprising flute-like tone fluttering on composer Ida Gotkovsky’s own arrangement of her Eolienne. Musical common sense assumes that it just won’t work but like anything different, the Admiral Launch Duo’s talent, balance and sonic experimentation blossoms with repeated listening. Tiina Kiik Crosswind Tower Duo Ravello Records rr8003 (ravellorecords.com) !! Based in Columbus, Ohio the flute and saxophone Tower Duo specializes in performing contemporary works by emerging composers. Flutist Erin Helgeson Torres performs regularly in various Ohio orchestras, while saxophonist and composer Michael Rene Torres serves as the artistic director of the Columbus Ohio Discovery Ensemble (dedicated to the promotion and performance of contemporary concert music in Central Ohio). Both are active teaching their respective instruments at area universities. Performing new repertoire for their unusual wind instrument pairing (since 2007), Crosswind is Tower Duo’s debut album. It features eight of the duo’s favourite compositions by as many American and international composers. The album displays the duo’s mission: commissioning and performing new scores. Included is Scott Brickman’s epigrammatic Epic Suite (2012), Charlie Wilmoth’s disruptive Three Pieces (2013), Philip Sink’s Places Never Painted (2012), inspired by the composer’s poem evoking the quiet beauty of the natural world, as well as Michael Rene Torres’ four-part character study Four Short Episodes (2011). The title track from 2013 by Hong Kong composer Chin Ting Chan (b.1986), written for the duo, is an album highlight. Full of extended techniques and reflecting Chan’s harmonically exact, rhythmically defined and structurally strict M.O., it pays close attention to instrumental timbre and colour, and twovoice polyphony. It’s also infused with a playfully dramatic, tonally exploratory mood. This lightness of mood and unstrained virtuosity happily permeate this album, enjoyable to listeners far from the borders of the Buckeye State. Andrew Timar JAZZ AND IMPROVISED One Night in Kensington Laura Hubert Independent (laurahubert.com) !! Toronto singer Laura Hubert would be familiar to many readers as the energetic vocalist of the popular JUNO Award-winning Canadian folk/ rock band the Leslie Spit Treeo (1988-2000). Hubert continues her musical journey singing jazz in this live recording from the Poetry Jazz Café in Toronto’s Kensington Market, supported by a superb jazz quartet comprised of pianist Peter Hill, guitarist Eric St-Laurent, bassist Steve Wallace and Davide DiRenzo on drums. Hubert performs with an astounding, memorable sound. Her clear articulations of the storytelling lyrics are still present as she develops her expanding, still intense singing style in 13 contrasting cover tracks. The opening Mercer/Carmichael tune Lazy Bones is a great introduction to Hubert’s personal and at times idiosyncratic sound style, complete with swells, warble and growling vocal effects, and never over-thetop loud singing. A vocals/piano start leads to a full band rendition, with upbeat instrumental solos and background cymbal crashes nicely contrasting the vocal effects. The slower Ellington/Russell song I Didn’t Know About You has Hubert singing in a tenderly lush way, with dramatic held notes against standard jazz band backdrop sounds. The upbeat quasi cha-cha-cha tune Comes Love (Stept/Tobias/ Brown) is another intense, unique rendition driven by a tight rhythmic groove. Great musical interplay between Hubert and her band, extended colourful and exciting instrumental solos and clear production values, including the appreciative audience applause, complete this excellent live release from this musically evolving artist. Tiina Kiik Settling Up Simone Morris Independent (simonemorris.ca) ! ! Toronto jazz vocalist Simone Morris’ debut album Settling Up is an absolute treat to the listener, a pop of delicious and sultry goodness in an otherwise dull and dreary day. The album was born out of a longtime collaboration with guitarist Mike Freedman, who is featured as a co-writer on each track along with Morris. Freedman’s thewholenote.com March 2019 | 85

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