4 years ago

Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019

  • Text
  • Theatre
  • Composer
  • Arts
  • Quartet
  • Festival
  • Symphony
  • Musical
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • September
Vol 1 of our 25th season is now here! And speaking of 25, that's how many films in the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival editor Paul Ennis, in our Eighth Annual TIFF TIPS, has chosen to highlight for their particular musical interest. Also inside: Rob Harris looks through the Rear View Mirror at past and present prognostications about the imminent death of classical music; Mysterious Barricades and Systemic Barriers are Lydia Perović's preoccupations in Art of Song; Andrew Timar reflects on the evolving priorities of the Polaris Prize; and elsewhere, it's chocks away as yet another season creaks or roars (depending on the beat) into motion. Welcome back.


PLANTING NOT PAVING The Sound of Surprise GUELPH JAZZ FESTIVAL, September 12-15 STUART BROOMER NICO BUSTOS executed in 1943 for refusing to fight for the Nazis. The film’s composer James Newton Howard said (in the film’s press notes) that scoring the film was a highly collaborative process, which began with Malick sending him a series of short clips from the film without any sound or music. “I wrote very loosely to picture, but we were able to establish the key thematic material and sonic identity of the score ... One of the early ideas Terry brought to me, was to incorporate sounds he had captured during production such as church bells from the villages, cow and sheep bells, the saw mill, sounds from the prison, and scythes in the fields,” said Howard. “I took many of those sounds and processed them into musical elements that are woven throughout the score. We chose to work mostly scene by scene where I would write something that he would react to, and then he would often mould the edit to what I had done.” The score focuses on the emotional journeys and crises of conscience of the characters with a solo violin throughout the film, embodying the connection between the two main characters, performed by none other than violinist James Ehnes. Two Teasers According to TIFF senior programmer Steve Gravestock, Louise Archambault’s And the Birds Rained Down features one of the most beautiful musical moments of the year, when Rémy Girard, as an ailing musician living in the Quebec countryside, is coaxed into performing at a nearby club and delivers a soulful and heartbreaking rendition of Time (from Raindogs), one of Tom Waits› best tunes. And Jessica Kiang wrote about The Whistlers in Variety: “Corneliu Porumboiu goes large with the soundtrack, smashing into and out of scenes on abrupt, bombastic tracks, which often mimic the [film’s] whistling motif in the vibrato of an opera singer’s voice, or the exaggeratedly rolled ‘r’s and hissed ‘s’-es of Ute Lemper’s Mack the Knife, sung in the original German.” Music in Film, 8th Annual TIFF TIPS continues on page 78. Pain and Glory The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 to 15. Please check for further information. Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote. Since its inception in 1994, the Guelph Jazz Festival has devoted itself to the music’s creative and committed dimensions, the sound of surprise rather than the lounge. Its founding artistic director, Ajay Heble, presented vigorous and innovative figures like Randy Weston, William Parker and Milford Graves; he also commissioned largescale creative projects from Canadian musicians, including improvised chamber operas. The festival has become interwoven with the city, with two days of outdoor music stretching from traditional jazz to fusion and ticketed concerts that make creative use of churches, a youth music centre and a performing arts centre. In 2017, Heble ceded the reins to Scott Thomson, whose previous festival activities included the AIMToronto Orchestra’s 2007 project with Anthony Braxton. Thomson has since been named artistic and general director with Toronto saxophonist/programmer Karen Ng as assistant artistic and general director. Their collective vision is evident in a program that’s alive with fresh voices. Guelph is one of the few festivals where the music is getting younger, sparking with its own creative zeal. Thomson remarks, “I see my task as a balance between preserving continuity and evolution: the former to maintain the event’s signature that my predecessor worked so hard to establish; the latter as an animating impulse to keep the programming fresh and at least a bit surprising. Karen Ng feels the same way.” For 2019, The Guelph Jazz Festival presents jazz as a spontaneous global music that can arise anywhere and be played on any instrument, an inventive, creative response to the times, or maybe a time of its own: young Argentinian pianist Paula Shocron and drummer Pablo Diaz are joined in a trio with the émigré senior clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio (September 14) in a lilting, spontaneous take on the Second Viennese School; meanwhile, Brodie West’s Quintet (September 13) is all about time, right down to its two drummers. Thomson, a master of finding associations among musicians, makes the most of his resources. The NAIL concert (September 12) presents two 12 | September 2019

TRINA KOSTER. LYNN LANE JEAN MARTIN Clockwise L-R: Jen Shyu, Ajay Heble, Scott Thomson outstanding duos, the Montreal partnership of clarinetist Lori Freedman and bassist Nic Caloia and the Amsterdam team of violist Ig Henneman and saxophonist-clarinetist Ab Baars, then the duos join to explore connections long forged through the Canadian band Queen Mab and Henneman’s sextet, creating the quartet (and anagram) NAIL. Another international duo, saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey, expands to a rarely heard trio – suggested by Karen Ng – with cellist Hank Roberts (September 13). In other duo formations the great Chicago drummer Hamid Drake appears with a regular associate, percussionist Adam Rudolph (September 13), and then (on another day) with Breton piper Erwan Keravec (September 15). Piper? Yes, Keravec improvises on Scottish bagpipes, creating complex, noise-rich polyphony that suggests factory and cathedral as well as the instrument’s primal roots, and he’s just one of the solo improvisers applying novel approaches to unlikely instruments, sharing a double bill (September 14) with John Kameel Farah playing pipe organ and electronics. More? One triple bill (September 13) presents three soloists: Guelph-resident Ben Grossman finds new sounds in the antique hurdy-gurdy; Nova Scotian chik white turns the humble jaw harp into an intensely expressive (and sometimes “prepared”) instrument; Susan Alcorn plays pedal-steel guitar, extending her roots in country and western to work of soaring beauty and grace. Scott Thomson explains the explosion: “It’s important to present these artists as soloists because that’s the context in which we have heard them play so compellingly. It just worked out that they all reached the top of our ‘would-love-to-present’ list this year, and that they play instruments that one seldom or never hears at anything called a ‘jazz festival.’” No one, however, is likely to take the challenge of solo performance further than American composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer and vocalist Jen Shyu, presenting her Nine Doors (September 14), a moving tale in which a young woman travels through space and time meeting spirit guides. Along the way, Shyu sings in eight languages, while playing piano and various strings and percussion from Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The Guelph Jazz Festival plays September 12-15. For information go to Stuart Broomer writes frequently on music (mostly improvised) and is the author of Time and Anthony Braxton. His column “Ezz-thetics” appears regularly at September 2019| 13

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)