4 years ago

Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Performing
  • Musical
  • Quartet
  • Jazz
  • Symphony
  • Theatre
  • Arts
  • Toronto
  • April
Arraymusic, the Music Gallery and Native Women in the Arts join for a mini-festival celebrating the work of composer, performer and installation artist Raven Chacon; Music and Health looks at the role of Healing Arts Ontario in supporting concerts in care facilities; Kingston-based composer Marjan Mozetich's life and work are celebrated in film; "Forest Bathing" recontextualizes Schumann, Shostakovich and Hindemith; in Judy Loman's hands, the harp can sing; Mahler's Resurrection bursts the bounds of symphonic form; Ed Bickert, guitar master remembered. All this and more in our April issue, now online in flip-through here, and on stands commencing Friday March 29.

performance using a

performance using a singing translation by Paul England. Berlioz composed this Dramatic Legend as he called it, for three soloists, Faust, Marguerite and Mephistopheles, to be performed in a concert setting. Faust is sung by the ubiquitous tenor of the day, Richard Lewis; Marguerite is Australian mezzo-soprano Joan Hammond; and Mephistopheles is the great Polish bass Marian Nowakowski. The three fit their roles convincingly. A fourth character, a student named Brander, sung by bass-baritone Hervey Alan seems to have nothing to do with the plot. I was most interested in hearing Joan Hammond as I was quite a fan and had not heard her for years. She was still in fine voice here, aged 41, but ten years later an operation affected her hearing and she retired to Australia. In addition to the Berlioz there is a live performance of Dvořák’s Te Deum from 1954 (the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death) also recorded in Royal Festival Hall. The soloists are Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and baritone Bruce Boyce. In this performance Sargent conducts the BBC Symphony and Choral Society. Ah, Schwarzkopf. One of the most deserving artists resurrected from the archives that I had not heard in a long time is the late Greek pianist Vasso Devetzi. Born in 1927 in Thessalonica, her outstanding talents were recognized at a young age, giving her first recital aged seven. Her international career began in Paris playing the Schumann Piano Concerto under Albert Wolff. In the Soviet Union where she remained for several years in the 1960s and 70s she was associated with classical music superstars David Oistrakh, Rostropovich and Rudolf Barshai with whom she performed and recorded extensively in a repertoire including Haydn, Mozart, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Bach, Fauré and others. Back in France she was a close friend of fellow Greeks Maria Callas and Mikis Theodorakis. Devetzi died in 1987. Devetzi’s keyboard artistry is a harmonious combination of style, control, transparency and touch. To elaborate somewhat, she demonstrates a most sympathetic affinity with the unique style of the each composer. Her control is manifested by a magic blend of energy and purity. Her level of performance transparency and clarity is reminiscent of Glenn Gould (without mannerism or arrogance) and Dinu Lipatti. She is providing us with a personal measure of humour and communication. Her touch has a rare versatility, the ability to transform her instrument into an organ, a harp, a clavichord or a mandolin. In addition, with captivating lightness she can almost make the piano a non-percussive instrument. In summary, a delightful treat for the listener. Volume 1 of the Doremi projected Vasso Devetzi / Rudolf Barshai collection (DHR- 8063/4 presents the six solo keyboard concertos, BWV1052 to BWV 1058 with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. In addition there are works for solo keyboard: Partita No.1 in B flat Major BWV825; Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue BWV903; French Suite No.6 in E major BWV817 and the Prelude and Fugue No.5 BWV850 from The Well- Tempered Clavier. Volume 2 (DHR-8069) is all Haydn, with the same cast playing the Concerto in D Major Op.21, (Hob. XIII:11) in addition to four solo piano sonatas: C Major, Hob.XVI:35; F Major Hob.XVI:23: D Major, Hob.XVI:51 and A-flat Major, Hob.XVI:46. The series is off to an exuberant start with the remarkable synergy between all concerned. There is lots of Mozart promised for the coming months. continued from page 18 the always uncertain future of our orchestras. And that’s where the upcoming June 12 to 14 Orchestras Canada conference at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, titled Designing the 21st Century Orchestra: Embedding Canadian Orchestras in Canadian Communities, promises to be rather useful. The notion of “embedding orchestras in communities” is catchy, but not if it becomes a lazy catch-all. It is ultimately only useful as a starting point for minutely specific exploration of what the two-way chemistry that needs to exist between communities and their orchestras actually consists of. Carleton thrives on this kind of detailed delving, fascinated by what it can uncover. “I’ll give you an example,” she says. “One of the fascinating conversations we have been involved with lately – quite amazing to me actually – led to becoming aware, among smaller groups with volunteer musicians, of the competition among these orchestras for the finest volunteer musicians. The clear sense from these players is that if the orchestra is not giving them the opportunity to play the repertoire that they want to in a setting that is congenial for their artistic goals and standards, musicians will go orchestra shopping; so when orchestras like that are asking the question What is our definition of the community we serve? the musicians themselves are going to be very high on that list, because if the entire trombone section walks, and we can’t attract trombones, then what do we do?” “So what are some of the other good questions, like that one, then?” I ask. “The question of where excellence fits in,” she says, “that’s a good one. Poor old Beethoven, you know. He often comes in for a bit of a beating in conversations like this. A bit ironic, really. We’ll be sitting around a table and someone will sometimes say, ‘Is our purpose to play Beethoven better every time that the group has the honour of engaging with that music?’ And sometimes it may simply be fine to say YES. That is our job, that is our role, that is our goal as an organization. But maybe there are times where it needs to be a ‘Yes, ... and’ as the improvisers say. Or maybe a ‘Yes … until’ as in ‘’Yes, until it becomes so highly prioritized, in some cases, that volunteer musicians are no longer welcome.’” “And more?” I ask. “Perhaps most important, because orchestras are complex contraptions, with lots of people with strong opinions, who are the people involved in these conversations about which way forward? What are the differing perspectives that are coming to the table? The musicians, highly trained and with very specific skills: how are they involved? Board and staff. Volunteers? Is there a living conversation at the place?” A pause … and then, “This is not dull work,” she says. FRESH & EXCITING NEW RECORDING David Perlman can be reached at 84 | April 2019

TS Toronto Symphony Orchestra Sir Andrew Davis, Interim Artistic Director Rebirth, revolution, and soul sisters— don’t miss out on these sensational Spring performances! BEETHOVEN EROICA SYMPHONY APR 10, 12 & 13 QUEENS OF SOUL MAY 7 & 8 MAY 8 PERFORMANCE SPONSOR MAHLER RESURRECTION SYMPHONY APR 17, 18 & 20 Reserve your seats today! 416.593.1285 TSO.CA SEASON PRESENTING SPONSOR

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)