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Volume 24 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2019

  • Text
  • Orchestra
  • Listings
  • Concerts
  • Quartet
  • Musical
  • Theatre
  • Jazz
  • August
  • Toronto
  • Festival
In this issue: The Toronto Brazilian bateria beat goes on; TD Jazz in Yorkville is three years young; Murray Schafer's earliest Wilderness forays revisited; cellist/composer Cris Derksen's Maada'ookkii Songlines to close Luminato (and it's free!); our 15th annual Green Pages summer music guide; all this and more in our combined June/July/August issue now available in flipthrough format here and on stands starting Thursday May 30.

WE ARE ALL MUSIC’S

WE ARE ALL MUSIC’S CHILDREN MJ BUELL If you’re a new reader, a word of explanation is in order. In our regular photo contest, We Are ALL Music’s Children – now completing its 16th season – readers identify members of the music community from a childhood photo, for a chance to win tickets and recordings. Who are September’s Children? And why are there SIX of them? In May five of them (plus a guest) premiered a piece for twelve hands and two pianos by jazz composer Darren Sigesmund at Bravo! Niagara. Six in “The Six”? In October you can experience how they all play together at a gala reunion in Toronto. But meanwhile … The first two have just returned from touring to small, remote communities in BC, Alberta and Ontario where international artists seldom make music. And this summer, while the rest of the new generation are off at camp, these six will be all over the map. Some kids just can’t sit still! Think you know who they all are AND the name of this re-launched ensemble, now in its first season? WIN PRIZES! Send your best guess by August 24 to musicschildren@thewholenote.com Previous artist profiles and full-length interviews can be read at thewholenote.com/musicschildren. Or — you can view them in their original magazine format by visiting our online back issues https://kiosk.thewholenote.com 1997 in Windsor ON. In addition to leading this ensemble I’m also artistic director and founder of a new classical, world and jazz music festival in Ontario (Jul 18 – Aug 11). I’m excited to perform at its opening concert in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and then on August 9 with the Rolston String Quartet. 1982 in the village of Paspébiac QC. I’ll be at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival in June; then I’m teaching at the Orford Music Academy; solo recitals in Ottawa, Saskatoon and Vancouver later in the summer, before a recording session for ATMA in early September. 2005 in Toronto, ON. This summer will be a bit of a rollercoaster with projects all over – in Norway, France; and also finding time to prepare (and eat) some amazing food with my loved ones, read some books, and try out the newest ride at Canada’s Wonderland!! 1983 in London ON. This summer: Toronto Summer Music Festival, Victoria Summer Festival, Edmonton Summer Solstice Festival, Kincardine, Waterside, Leith, Ottawa’s Music and Beyond. Plus an All-Beethoven Cello Sonata Cycle in Hamilton and KW, and a recording of EMIC’s Mosaïque Project. 1994 in Montreal QC. Dad really wanted it to be violin. My summers at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro NC are full of collaborative music, whether I’m performing, teaching, or going to concerts! 1987 in Burnaby, BC I will be in Desolation Sound and Gulf Islands, BC, where I study and prepare material, hike, swim, and BBQ with meticulously selected European red wines! 84 | June | July | August 2019 thewholenote.com

DISCOVERIES | RECORDINGS REVIEWED DAVID OLDS From 1984 until 1991 I was the host of Transfigured Night on CKLN-FM, a weekly contemporary music program that originally aired in the overnight slot from 2am, but eventually moved to a more civilized 10pm start. During that period I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing many of the important practitioners in the field brought to town by the likes of the Music Gallery, New Music Concerts, Esprit Orchestra and Arraymusic. One of the most memorable characters was the pianist and erstwhile ballroom dancer Yvar Mikhashoff, whose International Tango Project resulted in some 127 commissions. I met Yvar when he was in Toronto performing selections from the project at the Music Gallery in 1987, and again when he was the featured soloist with New Music Concerts at the Premiere Dance Theatre in 1990, performing works by Henry Brant, Alvin Curran and Nils Vigeland. As an aside I would mention that this latter concert was the occasion of the now internationally renowned soprano Barbara Hannigan’s first professional engagement, an obbligato role in Brant’s Inside Track, for two mixed ensembles and piano. Mikhashoff, who died at 52 in 1993, left a legacy that has been taken up by American pianist Hanna Shybayeva on Tangos for Yvar (Grand Piano GP794 naxosdirect.com). Shybayeva has constructed a varied and compelling program of 18 selections, mostly written for Mikhashoff, but concluding with her own arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s classic Libertango. Strangely, and without explanation that I can find, she also includes Stefan Wolpe’s 1927 Tango. While this is a good match for the rest of the project in its interpretation of the iconic dance form, and at three and a half minutes falling midway in the duration range of the commissions, its composition more than half a century before the project began surely deserves some note. There is a vast stylistic range presented here, from Chester Biscardi’s evocative Incitation to Desire, one of the earliest commissions and one of the least overtly reminiscent of the tango’s distinctive rhythm, to the serial approach of Milton Babbitt’s It Takes Twelve to Tango, the minimalism of Tom Johnson’s Tango, the moto perpetuo of Scott Pender’s Tango: Ms. Jackson Dances for the People (referencing Janet Jackson’s What Have You Done For Me Lately) and Frederic Rzewski’s rhythmic, lilting, Steptangle. Of local note is Douglas Finch’s Tango, one of four Canadian works commissioned for the marathon Music Gallery performance mentioned above, a fivepart affair including 50 tangos and a slide show of Mikhashoff in full splendour from his bygone ballroom days. As satisfying as this collection is, it leaves me wanting more. I’m very curious about what some of the composers mentioned, but not included here, came up with in response to Mikhashoff’s challenge. For instance, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Oliver Knussen and Canadian icon John Weinzweig (also commissioned by the Music Gallery for the marathon). Dare I hope for a Volume Two? The tango’s most familiar feature is the use of accordion, or more accurately, the South American variant the bandoneon, so it is surprising to find such an extensive collection as mentioned above without that distinctive instrument. We make up for that here with a disc of transcriptions for accordion, violin and clarinet of mostly familiar music from Eastern Europe, including such staples as two Hungarian Dances by Brahms, a Chopin Mazurka and Smetana’s Die Moldau in a very effective trio reduction. Tales from the Dinarides features Michael Bridge, Guillaume Tardif and Kornel Wolak and was released by the University of Alberta’s Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies (WIR06 michaelbridgemusic.com/store). Recipient of the Lieutenant- Governor of Alberta’s Emerging Artist Award, Bridge is currently in the Doctor of Musical Arts with Performance Emphasis on Accordion program at the University of Toronto, where for the second year in a row he has won the Joseph and Frances Macerollo Accordion Scholarship. He is no stranger to these pages where reviews of his group, Ladom, have appeared previously. At time of writing, the Bridge/Tardif/Wolak trio is on tour in Europe, having just finished concerts in Ukraine and Poland. The title of the disc is taken from a 2016 work by prolific Tartar- Canadian composer Airat Ichmouratov which is the centrepiece of the album and the only piece written specifically for this instrumental combination. As with much of his work, the inspiration comes from the Jewish folk traditions of Central Europe, in this case the traditional singing and dancing styles of the Dinaric Alps region (Dinarides). The notes tell us that “Using a water whistle, the composer first introduces a bird in a call-and-answer episode with stunning ganga singing from Croatia. The bird then flies over mountains and valleys, observing neighbouring communities […] field songs and […] village dances [from] Bosnia, Slovenia, Serbia and Albania, until the athletic klezmer style animates everyone in a fast dance punctuated with a cheering ‘Hey!’” The disc also includes Bridge’s striking adaptation of Brahms’ Rondo alla Zingarese and the trio’s transcription of Lutosławski’s Five Dance Preludes based on Polish folk rhythms, originally scored for clarinet and piano. The playing is animated throughout, although there is room for a bit more nuance from the clarinet. Three composers seemingly unfamiliar to me populate the next disc. Produced by the Polish Ministry of Culture, Wajnberg/ Tansman/Czajkowski (Accord ACD 247-2 naxosdirect.com) features the Wajnberg Trio performing music by three Polish-born composers active in the mid-20th century. I said the composers were unfamiliar to me, but in the case of the first, Mieczysław Wajnberg, it is actually just the spelling that threw me. AKA Vaynberg and Vainberg, it seems that the composer Weinberg (1919-1996) who escaped the Nazis in 1939 and spent the rest of his life in Russia, becoming a close friend of Shostakovich, was Wajnberg in his homeland. His music has been recorded with increasing frequency in recent years and has appeared here in review on numerous occasions. Wajnberg is represented by the 1945 Piano Trio, Op.24, which like much of his music is quite reminiscent of Shostakovich, especially in its more boisterous moments. For anyone who enjoys this – as I do – there is nothing here to disappoint. Aleksander Tansman is actually a name I know as a result of my New Music Concerts colleague Robert Aitken serving on an Aleksander Tansman Festival competition jury in the Polish city of Łódź one year when flute was the instrument in focus, but his music was not familiar to me. Tansman (1897-1986) was born and raised in Łódź during the era when Poland did not exist as an independent state, being part of Tsarist Russia. After completing his studies, he moved to France in 1919 and fell under the spell of Stravinsky, Ravel thewholenote.com June | July | August 2019 | 85

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)