3 years ago

Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020

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FEATURED: Music & Health writer Vivien Fellegi explores music, blindness & the plasticity of perception; David Jaeger digs into Gustavo Gimeno's plans for new music in his upcoming first season as music director at TSO; pianist James Rhodes, here for an early March recital, speaks his mind in a Q&A with Paul Ennis; and Lydia Perovic talks music and more with rising Turkish-Canadian mezzo Beste Kalender. Also, among our columns, Peggy Baker Dance Projects headlines Wende Bartley's In with the New; Steve Wallace's Jazz Notes rushes in definitionally where many fear to tread; ... and more.

Kreisleriana is perhaps

Kreisleriana is perhaps emotionally a kindred spirit – both with a lot of lyricism, but with unpredictably tempestuous outbursts. The Rameau makes for a good way to open a recital, and the Liszt Faust transcription is a good way to end. Rameau’s Gavotte and Variations in A Minor would have fit nicely into your Dances recording from 2014. What drew you to it? Can we look forward to a Dances 2 CD? I came to this work initially through the recording by Benno Moiseiwitsch, which has some adaptations by Leschetizky. It was quite a popular work by artists of that generation, with recordings also by Cherkassky, Marcelle Meyer and others. It is a very effective set of variations, virtuosically inclined. As with most Baroque music on the piano, there is a range of possibilities in terms of conceptual and stylistic approach that are interesting to explore. There are no plans for Dances 2 at the moment, but it is a nice idea! Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.4, Op.7 has been in your repertoire for many years. When did you first begin playing it? How has your approach to it evolved? I played this one for a season in around 2013 or so. It’s hard to say how my approach has evolved. With any piece one’s views naturally change over time, but I also don’t necessarily remember everything that I did last time I played the work. I’d probably say that on a large scale in this work not much has changed, but there are many small details that I may have approached differently this time. Do you have any further plans for performing Beethoven in this 250th anniversary year of his birth? I am playing some of the concerti in the latter half of the year, and also at that point I will be introducing Op.101 into my repertoire. I will have some all-Beethoven recitals with Op.7, Op.101 and Op.27 No.2, and then Op.101 continues into 2021. The second half of your Toronto recital begins with Kreisleriana, Schumann’s passionate, novelistic love letter to his future wife, Clara Wieck. How does it speak to you? It is a rich and enigmatic work, that is a thrilling piece to study and perform, filled with so many different emotions. At this time, his romance with Clara was forbidden by her father, and it seems to me an embodiment of all he was feeling in the moment, penned as it was over four days in a fit of inspiration. Full of moments of tenderness, intimacy, humour, there are also outbursts of frustration and anger. The novelistic influence is of course also interesting, and I think Schumann saw something of himself in the bipolar personality of Johannes Kreisler. Leslie Howard wrote of Liszt’s “ingenious elaboration” of Gounod’s Valse de l’Opéra Faust that “Musically, Gounod is transformed and transcended at a stroke!” What attracted you to it? How would you characterize it? I think there is genius in all of Liszt’s opera transcriptions. He takes the material and the essence of the opera and weaves with it his own rich musical tapestry. There is certainly something transcendent to this one – the bombast of the opening section waltz is balanced perfectly by his illuminating figuration in the central lyrical section, and emerges as a work with more deliciousness, humour and personality than the original. Music Toronto presents Benjamin Grosvenor on March 31 at 8pm in the Jane Mallett Theatre of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Castalian String Quartet CLASSICAL & BEYOND QUICK PICKS !! MAR 10, 12PM: The youthful, London-based Castalian String Quartet stops by the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on their way to Carnegie Hall for this COC free noonhour concert featuring Dutilleux’s Ainsi la nuit and Schumann’s String Quartet No.1, Op.41 No.1. !! MAR 12, 12:10PM: U of T Faculty of Music presents the Calidore String Quartet (the 26 | March 2020

Sarah Jeffrey James D. Stewart quartet-in-residence) celebrating their tenth anniversary with “Beethoven and the Fugue”, a free concert of Beethoven’s music in Walter Hall. !! MAR 13, 7:30PM; MAR 14 & 15, 8PM: Acclaimed Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, Sergei Babayan, known for his vast repertoire of 54 concerti, his two-piano partnership with Martha Argerich and his mentorship of Daniil Trifonov, joins the TSO and conductor Jader Bignamini for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s monumental Piano Concerto No.1. Bignamini, resident conductor of the Orchestra Sinfonica la Verdi and music director designate of the Detroit Symphony, also leads the TSO in Ravel’s colourful orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. !! MAR 14, 7:30PM: TSO principal oboist, Sarah Jeffrey, joins Gemma New and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for Vaughan Williams’ pastoral Oboe Concerto. Elgar’s Serenade and Haydn’s “London” Symphony No.104 add to the British atmosphere. !! MAR 19, 8PM: Music Toronto presents the Pavel Haas Quartet, winners of six Gramophone Awards and known for their rapport and immersive approach, playing Martinu’s Quartet No.4, Bartók’s Quartet No.4 and Beethoven’s divine Quartet in B-flat Major, Op.130 and “Grosse Fuge” Op.133. !! MAR 22, 3:15PM: Andrew Wan, concertmaster of Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and a member of the New Orford String Quartet, teams up with his recording partner, pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, silver medalist and laureate of the Krystian Zimerman prize at the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition, for three of Beethoven’s violin and piano sonatas: No.4 in A Minor, Op.23; No.10 in G Major, Op.96 “The Cockcrow”; and No.9 in A Major, Op.47 “Kreutzer”. Mooredale Concerts presents the duo at Walter Hall. !! MAR 26, 12:10PM: U of T Faculty of Music presents acclaimed pianist Dénes Várjon (this year’s Lorand Fenyves resident artist) in a free solo recital in Walter Hall. !! MAR 26, 7:30PM: Join conductor Gemma New and members of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for an unconventional, intimate, multi-sensory experience that integrates visual and multimedia arts in The Cotton Factory. Music is by Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Tse, Ryan, O’Callaghan and Palej. !! MAR 28, 7:30PM: The Academy Concert Series “Goin’ Fishing” is an inventive piece of programming with three works for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass: Ka Nin Chan’s Salmon Quintet; Vaughan Williams’ Piano Quintet in C; and Schubert’s delightful “Trout” Quintet. Consummate chamber musician Phil Chiu is the pianist; Amanda Goodburn, violin; Emily Eng, viola; Kerri McGonigle, cello; Joseph Philips, bass. !! MAR 29, 3PM: Amici, and special guest, Yehonatan Berick, revisit the tradition of silent films with live music. Man Ray’s Emak-Bakia, Guy Maddin’s Heart of the World and Buster Keaton’s The Playhouse will be shown; music by Milhaud, Kradjian, Poulenc, Rota and Saint-Saëns. At the Isabel Bader Theatre. !! APR 1 & 2, 8PM; APR 4, 8PM; APR 5, 3PM: Piano wunderkind Jan Lisiecki, JAIME HOGGE March 2020 | 27

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