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Volume 25 Issue 1 - September 2019

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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.

MUSIC IN FILM 8th Annual

MUSIC IN FILM 8th Annual TIFF TIPS ELLIOTT LANDY PAUL ENNIS Once again, it’s time for The WholeNote’s annual guide to films of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in which music plays an important role. This year, circumstances prevented me from viewing more than a few movies in advance so the current guide is based on track record, subject matter and gleanings from across the Internet. Out of the 245 features from 83 countries and regions that make up the festival’s 44th edition, I’ve focused on 25, beginning with a handful of documentaries directly linked to music. Directly Musical Documentaries TIFF opens with the world premiere of Daniel Roher’s Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, inspired by Robertson’s revealing autobiography, Testimony (2016). The book is a wellwritten page-turner, filled with surprises and musical insights, painting a vivid picture of Toronto’s music scene in the 1950s and 1960s before Robertson et al made their name backing up Bob Dylan and transformed into The Band. The movie promises even more, blending rare archival footage and photography with iconic songs and appearances by Martin Scorsese, Bruce Springsteen, Dylan, Robertson, Eric Clapton, Peter Gabriel, David Geffen, Rick Danko, Van Morrison, Ronnie Hawkins, Taj Mahal, Jann Wenner and Dominique Robertson – a host of built-in star power, much of which will likely be present at the premiere. (And if you do take this one in, consider also checking out the TIFF screening of The Last Waltz (the nominal conclusion of the book), which will feature a live appearance by Scorsese and Robertson.) Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band Another Springsteen appearance: he shares the director credit with longtime collaborator Thom Zimney in Western Stars, a filmic record of his latest album. “It’s largely performance, but there is a framing to it,” TIFF co-head Cameron Bailey said [quoted by]. “It’s very filmic, which is what attracted me. The album and the film are both about this fading Western movie B-level star who’s looking back on his life and the decisions he’s made. That narrative and that character shape all the songs. In between the songs, you’ve got Bruce really talking about this character he invented, the story he wrote for the character, and how it reflects back on his own life as he ages and other kinds of narratives he’s had in his previous albums.” Alla Kovgan’s Cunningham is said to be an eye-popping, entertaining 3D documentary about Merce Cunningham, the legendary American choreographer who died in 2009 at age 90. The film features 14 dances that were originally created by Cunningham between 1942 and 1972 – including 1942’s Totem Ancestor (his first collaboration with composer/life partner John Cage), 1958’s Summerspace (where Robert Rauschenberg’s pointillist costumes and decor – see our cover photo – create a camouflage effect to Morton Feldman’s music) and 1968’s Rainforest (in which Andy Warhol’s silver pillows wander around the stage; music by David Tudor). The film also mixes in archival material – some never before seen – touching on Cunningham’s early years, rehearsals, tours and “chance dance” technique, with his wry wit emerging in anecdotes. With his latest film, David Foster: Off the Record, Canadian director Barry Avrich mixes rare archival footage, interviews and unprecedented access to the Victoria, BC-born musician, producer, songwriter and composer who has helped sell more than a half-billion records and won 16 Grammy Awards and whose collaborators include Chicago, Barbra Streisand and Andrea Bocelli. Among others, he’s discovered and/or worked with Celine Dion, Michael Bublé and Josh Groban, many of whom (and more) are featured in the doc. As part of TIFF’s Special Events programming, triple-platinum artists The Lumineers bring their talents to Toronto with III, a visual 8 | September 2019

GREAT CHAMBER MUSIC DOWNTOWN STRINGS Oct. 17 Nov. 7 Dec. 5 Jan. 9 Jan. 30 Feb. 27 Mar. 19 Apr. 16 Quartetto di Cremona Vision Quartet Gryphon Trio Miró Quartet St. Lawrence Quartet with pianist Stephen Prutsman Schumann Quartett Pavel Haas Quartet Quatuor Ébène St. Lawrence Quartet PIANO Oct. 22 Dec. 17 Feb. 18 Mar. 10 Mar. 31 Piano 6 Gala Jonathan Plowright Francesco Piemontesi André Laplante Benjamin Grosvenor Benjamin Grosvenor SINGLE TICKETS ON SALE SEPTEMBER 3RD Subscriptions still available All concerts at 8pm TICKETS: 416.366.7723 | 27 Front Street East, Toronto

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

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Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)