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Volume 26 Issue 4 - December 2020 / January 2021

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Composer
  • Jazz
  • Symphony
  • Recording
  • Toronto
  • Orchestra
  • Musical
  • January
  • December
In this issue: Beautiful Exceptions, Sing-Alone Messiahs, Livingston’s Vocal Pleasures, Chamber Beethoven, Online Opera (Plexiglass & All), Playlist for the Winter of our Discontent, The Oud & the Fuzz, Who is Alex Trebek? All this and more available in flipthrough HERE, and in print Friday December 4.

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FRENCH HORN: great instrument in excellent condition, hard case included. Selmer/ Reynolds. mjbuell@gmail.com. WHAT’S IN YOUR CLOSET? Does your old guitar gently weep? Sell that nice old accordion / clarinet / drum kit and find it a new owner! Is dad’s vintage vinyl collection gathering dust? WholeNote classified ads start at just .00. INQUIRE BYJAN 23 for the FEB 2021 edition. classad@thewholenote. com INSTRUCTION ONLINE CELLO LESSONS with Dr. Dobrochna Zubek http://dobrochnazubek.com GOT A MASK? WANT PIANO LESSONS? I’ll supply the hydrogen peroxide, you bring the desire to learn music. We’ll stay six feet apart. Or two metres if metric is safer. Or we’ll Zoom if you’re really nervous. Doug Ford says it’s all ok - I think. Peter Kristian Mose, 416/923- 3060. MosePianoForAll.com. VIRTUAL VOICE LESSONS with Lisa DiMaria - award-winning and seasoned performer (COC, Calgary Opera & Opera Victoria etc.) with an MMus in Opera Perf., & BMus in Voice Performance. 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DISCOVERIES | RECORDINGS REVIEWED DAVID OLDS Housebound in these COVID-19 days, I find I’m reading even more than usual. And it’s taking longer than normal because I’m making a point of supplementing my reading by listening to all the music mentioned in the books as I go. Pauline Delabroy-Allard’s Ça raconte Sarah, a tragic story of the love between two young women, included Schubert’s Trout Quintet and the quartet Death and the Maiden, Bartók’s String Quartet No.4 and Mendelssohn’s Octet. Sarah Léon’s Wanderer, a saga of friendship and unrequited love between a child prodigy pianist and a young composer/ cellist featured Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata, his late piano works, Winterreise and other lieder, along with Chopin’s Piano Trio and Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody. Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety, the story of the lifelong friendship of two couples who meet early in their academic careers, led once again to the Trout Quintet, Ferde Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Most eclectic of all is Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, which I’m only a third of the way through. It has already sent me off to find Brahms’ Fourth Symphony and Piano Concerto No.2, Bill Evans’ Waltz for Debby, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band plus a number of pop classics and, strangely, a whistled version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary. (It took a while to track this last one down, but I was able to find it on Amazon for 99 cents.) All this could be considered incidental music to the books, although Death and the Maiden loomed larger than that in Delabroy-Allard’s tale, as did Winterreise in Léon’s, but two discs I want to talk about this month actually take their inspiration and raison d’être from specific works of literature. My interest was sparked for Osvaldo Golijov’s Falling Out of Time when I realized that it was based on a book of the same name by David Grossman, an author whose works I have previously enjoyed. And Kjartan Sveinsson’s Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen is based on the novel World Light by Icelandic Nobel Prize-winning author Halldór Laxness, another of my favourites. Golijov’s Falling Out of Time, performed by the Silk Road Ensemble (inacirclerecords.com/releases) has another serendipitous connection to my reading life. It seems that Golijov conceived of the project after a meeting with the founder of the Parents Circle, an organization that brings together Palestinian and Israeli parents who have lost children in the ongoing conflict in their homeland(s), in hopes of finding some semblance of healing and some road to eventual peace. I had not been aware of this organization until about a month ago when I read an incredibly moving “novel” called Apeirogon by Colum McCann. I use quotation marks to qualify the definition. Although a work of fiction, McCann’s main characters are actual members of the Parents Circle, a Palestinian whose daughter was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier, and an Israeli whose own daughter was killed by a Palestinian suicide-, or more accurately, murder-bomber, both as innocent bystanders. The book incorporates chapters by both of these real fathers who describe their own states of being and give context to McCann’s fiction (which they condone). A truly magnificent book. How does a person stay alive after losing a child? Grossman’s poetic book tells the stories of a number of people in that situation who, as a result, have fallen out of their own lives into a dreamlike state. It opens with a narration by the Town Chronicler who describes the village at night, much in the way of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood. We next meet a Man who decides he must go “there” to find his dead son, although his wife assures him “There is no such place. There does not exist.” Nevertheless he departs to wander, muttering, in everwidening circles in his search. As the book unfolds more and more lost parents join the ghostly parade, each telling of their own loss. For the Walkers, “Poetry is the language of my grief.” Golijov’s stark and wrenching adaptation of the texts, originally in Hebrew but presented in both Hebrew and English translation (included in the booklet), is extremely effective. Wu Tong is especially moving in his heartwrenching depiction of the Walking Man. Drawing on the resources of the Silk Road Ensemble, Golijov employs a variety of traditional and exotic instruments and some electronics to accompany and extend the voices of the various characters. As Grossman calls his book “a Novel in Voices,” Golijov describes his rendition not as an opera or a song cycle, but “a Tone Poem in Voices.” Grossman says in an introductory note: “In this work by Osvaldo and the wonderful Silk Road Ensemble, I heard the voice of human pain and grief laid bare – the scream of an animal. […] It is true that no one knows what hides behind the impenetrable wall of death. But there is one place, or rather one dimension, where we can feel, if only for an instant, both the absolute nihility of death and the full absence of life. And that dimension is art. It is literature and poetry, music, theatre and cinema, painting and sculpture. When we are in that place we can sense, concurrently, both the everything and the abysmal void. The negation of life and its affirmation. I hope that listening to this creation will provide you, too, with this sensation.” It did for me. Sveinsson, a member of the Icelandic ambient/post-rock band Sigur Rós, has in recent years become a celebrated film composer, including the 2005 Academy Award-nominated short film Síðasti bærinn (The Last Farm) and the 2011 Eldfjal (Volcano). Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen, The Explosive Sonics of Divinity in English, is performed by Filmorchester Babelsberg and Filmchoir Berlin under Davíð Þór Jónsson (sonoluminus.com/store/derklang). Laxness’ four-part novel revolves around Ólafur Kárason, an unloved foster child on a farm in rural Iceland around the turn of the last century, his belief that one day he will be a great poet, and his “incurable longing for beauty and its catastrophic consequences.” Sveinsson’s adaptation uses Kárason’s poems and thoughts from the book, translated into German. Magnus Magunsson’s English thewholenote.com December 2020 / January 2021 | 41

Volume 26 (2020- )

Volume 26 Issue 1 - September 2020
Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020
Volume 26 Issue 3 - November 2020
Volume 26 Issue 4 - December 2020 / January 2021

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)