1 year ago

Volume 27 Issue 4 - February 2022

Gould's Wall -- Philip Akin's "breadcrumb trail; orchestras buying into hope; silver linings to the music theatre lockdown blues; Charlotte Siegel's watershed moments; Deep Wireless at 20; and guess who is Back in Focus. All this and more, now online for your reading pleasure.

“So much of the

“So much of the dialogue is inspired by and informed by Gould’s work, … a sort of contrapuntal musical play.” — Liza Balkan in this country. You know that dark skin, Black women have it tough. Right? So, is that mentorship? I guess you can call it that. In my head, I think of it as radicalization. It’s about trying to find fearless artists because I think there’s too much accommodation going on.” Movement and Magic In addition to writing, acting, directing and many other talents, librettist Liza Balkan is also a dancer, she brings the essence of motion, of movement to the text. “I feel the rhythm, in the language; working on something like this project where so much of the dialogue is inspired by and informed by Gould’s work, [I am] constantly hearing a sort of contrapuntal musical play – rhythm, speed and rests,” she tells me. CLASSICAL AND BEYOND Orchestras and others buying into hope PAUL ENNIS “It’s just a flesh wound!” says the Black Knight, after King Arthur chops his arms off in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. DAHLIA KATZ Brian Current – “A few years of writing and workshopping” How it all turns out remains to be seen. The show was originally scheduled for mid-January and has been postponed due to Ontario’s lockdown. In light of this new scenario, the idea of movement is even more poignant. Philip Akin’s martial arts influenced direction that ensures connection between performers working on multiple physical planes, is now translated into working with time as well. And to land us firmly in the present, Brian Currrent conductor and prime instigator of this enormous undertaking, will be on site, swaying and guiding each step of the musical journey. “I believe art is a freaking mystery,” Akin says. “So things happen serendipitously and my reaction when presented with a brick wall, a cast and crew, a libretto is, ‘Let’s go! Let’s make magic!’” Just as it seemed live music was reasserting its presence in the GTA and beyond, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 forced the Ontario government to pivot to new lockdown guidelines that nipped reopenings in the bud, and effectively curtailed live music for most of January. The new guidelines however offer hope. If they stick, from January 31 to February 21, live music attendance can resume, albeit capped at “50 percent or 500 people, whichever is smaller” a measure impacting disproportionately severely on the smallest and the largest venues. After February 21, barring setbacks, progress accelerates: 50 percent capacity, no matter the venue size, until March 15; and then, barring a further re-assessment, permission for a return to live performance at full capacity. Gloria Blizzard is a non-fiction writer, poet and penner of songs, whose wordsmithing has appeared in numerous literary publications, magazines and sound recordings. She is currently completing her first full-length book, a collection of essays, and can be reached at . 10 | February 2022

Angela Hewitt Available now at RICHARD TERMINE TSO Unlike the ill-fated fall reopening, when the TSO waited for the 50percent capacity cap before resuming, this time they are in, boots and all even at the 500-capacity cap. They have announced a full slate of diverse live programming over the next six weeks, with music director Gustavo Gimeno leading the orchestra, February 2, 3 and 5, in Schumann’s FIrst Symphony, “Spring,” composed in January and February of 1841 in anticipation of better weather ahead. Also on the program is Scylla, Jordan Pal’s concerto for trombone and orchestra written as a showcase for TSO principal trombone, Gordon Wolfe. Even before the February feast begins, there will be an appetizer available: a performance of Gimeno conducting Beethoven’s jovial Symphony No.2 Op.36, to be streamed live on January 28 and available on demand until February 4. In that concert, Beethoven’s Second proves to be a fruitful muse for Odawa First Nation composer Barbara Assiginaak, whose Innenohr meditates on the German master’s storied love of nature. Missy Mazzoli’s evocative Dark with Excessive Bright also draws inspiration from the past, bringing Baroque-era techniques into the 21st century through the skillful bow of TSO principal double bass, Jeffrey Beecher. There’s something for everyone in the mix. On February 12, the TSO and conductor Lucas Waldin celebrate Valentine’s Day (well, close enough!) with a selection of romantic songs from musical theatre and the movies, including favourites from The Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, La La Land and the iconic “Love Theme” from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet. Then celebrated pianist Angela Hewitt takes charge on February 16, 17 and 19, leading a varied program from the keyboard. Two wellknown concertos – Mozart’s No.12 K414 and Bach’s No.2 BWV1053 – anchor the concert. Two lesser-known works complete the program: Saint-Saëns’ charming Wedding Cake Op.76, a valse-caprice for piano and strings written as a nuptial tribute to pianist Caroline Montigny- Rémaury; and Finzi’s Eclogue for Piano and String Orchestra Op.10. Chinese-born Xian Zhang leads the TSO on February 26 and 27 in Beethoven’s energetic Symphony No.4; principal flute Kelly Zimba is the soloist in Nielsen’s masterful Flute Concerto. Then, on March 9, 10, 12 and 13, 32-year-old American, Ryan Bancroft, the newly appointed chief conductor of the the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, February 2022 | 11

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