8 months ago

Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020

  • Text
  • Faculty
  • Performing
  • Musical
  • Arts
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  • December
  • January
  • Toronto
Welcome to our December/January issue as we turn the annual calendar page, halfway through our season for the 25th time, juggling as always, secular stuff, the spirit of the season, new year resolve and winter journeys! Why is Mozart's Handel's Messiah's trumpet a trombone? Why when Laurie Anderson offers to fly you to the moon you should take her up on the invitation. Why messing with Winterreisse can (sometimes) be a very good thing! And a bumper crop of record reviews for your reading (and sometimes listening) pleasure. Available in flipthrough here right now, and on stands commencing Thursday Nov 28. See you on the other side!


NEW MUSIC THE ART OF FALLING Laurie Anderson at 21C WENDALYN BARTLEY EBRU YILDIZ Deep in the heart of Toronto’s upcoming winter, the poignant and idiosyncratic composer, violinist, singer, filmmaker, storyteller and electronics virtuoso, Laurie Anderson, will be appearing at the seventh edition of the Royal Conservatory’s 21C Music Festival. The Art of Falling is the title she is giving this sold-out performance happening on January 18 at Koerner Hall, and during a recent interview I had an opportunity to ask her about what to expect that evening. We also discussed other works that are being programmed as part of the festival: her film Heart of a Dog, her virtual reality piece To The Moon, and her string quartet Standing Island. As to whether or not Anderson considers The Art of Falling a new work is something she herself questions: “I don’t know to what extent it will be a brand-new work or to what extent it will be a collection of things. So much of what I do looks back and forward at the same time, and so it will probably be something like that. And then again it might go another direction too.” However, one aspect of this performance she is unquestionably excited about is the opportunity to work with cellist Rubin Kodheli. “He’s just an amazing musician and it’s a huge amount of fun to improvise with him. I’m leaving a lot of accordion-like room in this piece for us to do things that go off the track a little bit and take their own time. I never used to have the nerve to do that, so I’m really happy to make things a little bit more luxurious in that way.” Even the question of using projected images that are often part of her performances is unresolved. She is preparing some to use, but they might get edited out. “Sometimes I think: how about people just listen to this one. So we’ll see.” Musically, she’ll be using her familiar electronic setup that includes iPads, laptops, foot pedals and microphones, as well her electric string instrument which, although considered a violin in the world of its maker Ned Steinburger, is more like a viola with its low C string “which I like very much because it gives you access to a couple octaves down when used with the electronics. You can really get into double bass land with this instrument. It’s just a thrill to play down there.” Later on in our conversation, she offers a few glimpses into what elements may appear in the Toronto performance of The Art of Falling. In September of 2019, she along with musicians Tenzin Choegyal, Jesse Paris Smith, Rubin Kodheli and Shahzad Ismaily released an album titled Songs from the Bardo. This recording grew out of an improvisational performance at the Rubin Museum of Art in 2014, and offers an 80-minute meditation on mortality, through word and sound, designed to help people face the challenges of being alive at this time. The chanted and spoken texts are a translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, also called Liberation Through Hearing, and are designed to guide one through the experiences the consciousness has after death while in the bardo, the interval between death and the next rebirth. An adapted version from this album arranged for two instruments (violin and cello) along with electronics may appear in The Art of Falling, she told me. As well, Anderson’s Toronto performance may include a duet version of her orchestral piece, Amelia, a piece she created using texts from the legendary Amelia Earhart’s pilot logs and the telegrams Earhart sent to her husband. These excepts appear alongside Anderson’s imaginings of Earhart’s experiences while flying solo, with the constant sound of the plane’s engine in her ears. Earhart was the first woman to fly nonstop and alone across the Atlantic in 1932, but disappeared without a trace during her voyage around the world five years later. Recently, on November 13, an updated version of this piece was performed by the Brno Philharmonic in the Czech Republic with duets by Anderson and Kodheli. 12 | December 2019 / January 2020


Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volume 25 Issue 9 - July / August 2020
Volume 25 Issue 8 - May / June 2020
Volume 25 Issue 7 - April 2020
Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020
Volume 25 Issue 5 - February 2020
Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020
Volume 25 Issue 3 - November 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)