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Volume 27 Issue 8 | July 1 - September 20, 2022

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Final print issue of Volume 27 (259th, count 'em!). You'll see us in print again mid-September. Inside: A seat at one table at April's "Mayors Lunch" TAF Awards; RCM's 6th edition "Celebration Series" of piano music -- more than ODWGs; Classical and beyond at two festivals; two lakeshore venues reborn; our summer "Green Pages" festival directory; record reviews, listening room and more. On stands Tuesday July 5 2022.

ief Prologue featuring

ief Prologue featuring quiet wind chimes leads into Act I – we must leave this place forever in five instrumental sections, mostly calm but with occasional clarinet and violin shrieks reminiscent of ecstatic passages in Messiaen’s work. The six-movement Act II – we must run like wolves to the end begins with quiet solo clarinet, once again echoing Messiaen. In Ordway’s defence it must be virtually impossible to write for this combination of instruments without referring to that master; however, there is much original writing here in Ordway’s own voice. A contemplative Intermezzo – a prayer of thanksgiving leads to the final Act III – the things we lost we will never reclaim. This single extended movement gradually builds and builds before receding and fading once again into the sound of chimes. Ordway says “I have tried to create a work which honors and embodies the values of welcoming, of care and concern for others, of keen attention to the small and secret phenomena unfolding around us in the living world every day.” I would say he has succeeded, as has the SOLI Ensemble in bringing this work to life. I first listened to Vicky Chow’s CD Sierra (Cantaloupe Music CA21174 cantaloupemusic.com/albums/sierra) without reading the press release or the program notes and initially assumed I was hearing a remarkable piano solo. It turns out however that the compositions by Jane Antonia Cornish presented here are actually works for multiple pianos (up to six) with all the parts overdubbed by Chow in the studio. The lush, and luscious, pieces are beautifully performed, their multiple layers seamlessly interwoven to produce an entrancing experience. The five pieces, Sky, Ocean, Sunglitter, Last Light and the extended title work for four pianos, comprise a meditative, bell-like suite that I found perfect for releasing the tensions of everyday tribulations. Hmm, tintinnabulations as antidote to tribulations, I like that. I did not know what to expect from the title Quatuors pour trois instruments (Calliope Records CAL2195 calliope-records.com). I am familiar with trio sonatas – which, while called trios, actually require four musicians, two melody instruments and continuo often made up of a keyboard and a bass, kind of a Baroque rhythm section – but in this instance “quartet for three instruments” refers to a piano trio – violin, cello and piano – with two players in piano four hands formation. Evidently it was a common 19th-century grouping, which has since virtually disappeared. Violinist Hector Burgan and cellist Cyrielle Golin are joined by Antoine Mourlas and Mary Olivon sharing the piano bench in delightful multi-movement works by Hermann Berens (1826-1880) and Ferdinand Hummel (1855-1928). (Hummel is not related to Johann Nepomuk Hummel, the only composer of that name of whom I was previously aware.) The only composer represented here whom I did recognize is Felix Mendelssohn, whose Ruy Blas Overture was written in 1839 for a Leipzig production of Victor Hugo’s play of the same name. Fresh and sprightly, Hummel’s Sérénade Im Frühling from 1884 depicts Vienna in sunny springtime, while Berens’ two quartets from the 1860s are in a more classical style, harkening back to the aforementioned Mendelssohn. I was initially concerned that the four hands on the piano would make for muddy textures, hiding the two string instruments, but these well-balanced performances put the lie to that. I’m pleased to have made the acquaintance of these composers, and these fine players, in this great introduction to some little-known repertoire. We invite submissions. CDs, DVDs and comments should be sent to: DISCoveries, WholeNote Media Inc., The Centre for Social Innovation, 503 – 720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4. David Olds, DISCoveries Editor discoveries@thewholenote.com STRINGS ATTACHED TERRY ROBBINS Canadian violinist Karl Stobbe recently created a series of online concerts featuring video recordings of solo violin repertoire, including all six of the Bach Sonatas & Partitas. These recordings are now being turned into a series of albums, with Bach & Bartók the opening volume (karlstobbe.com). Stobbe pairs Bach’s Sonata No.3 in C Major BWV1005 with the Bartók Sonata for Solo Violin for historical as well as musical reasons: Bartók heard Yehudi Menuhin play the Bach in early 1944 when he was working on his own sonata, commissioned by Menuhin after their late-1943 meeting. Stobbe senses a connection, feeling that the Bach C Major is the only one of the Bach works that has a similar musical journey to the Bartók – from darkness to light, through uncertainty and wandering harmonies to an expression of celebration and joy. Stobbe has a big, rich sound, and the strength to navigate the fiendishly difficult Fuga in the Bach as well as the technical challenges in the Bartók. It promises to be a fascinating series. Concert Note: Karl Stobbe performs at the Festival of the Bay, Midland Cultural Centre, on July 26 and at the Festival of the Sound on July 28. There’s more Baroque violin music from an exact contemporary of Bach on Telemann 12 Fantasias for Violin Solo in supremely satisfying performances by Tomás Cotik (Centaur CRC 3949 tomascotik.com). In previous reviews I’ve noted that the Fantasias, written some 15 years after Bach’s Sonatas & Partitas at first appear less challenging than the Bach. They seem so much easier on the page, shorter and with simpler lines and less multiplestopping, but they’re fraught with technical pitfalls – angular, thewholenote.com/listening Philip Glass: Complete String Quartets – Vol. 1 Quatuor Molinari This digital-only release features string quartets 1 to 4 and will be followed by a second volume to be recorded next year." Im Wald Benedetto Boccuzzi In his new album, Italian pianist and composer Benedetto Boccuzzi presents a journey through an enchanted forest where reality is torn apart by uncanny hallucinations. 42 | July 1 - September 20, 2022 thewholenote.com

awkward intervals, tricky string-crossing – and they play much faster than they look. Still, nothing challenges Cotik, who uses a Baroque bow to lovely effect in the slow sections and to simply dance through the Allegro, Presto and Vivace movements. There are 44 sections in all, some only a few bars long, but all are inventive, varied and charming. The booklet essay says that “every note of these often complex pieces lies perfectly, if not easily, [my italics] under the bow.” Well, yes – if you’re as superb a player as Tomás Cotik. The Bartók sonata also turns up in Ostinata: works for solo violin, the excellent debut recording from the young London-based French violinist Charlotte Saluste-Bridoux (Champs Hill CHRCD158 champshillrecords.co.uk). Biber’s Passacaglia in G Minor, “The Guardian Angel”, the final piece from his Rosary Sonatas, is followed by Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin and the Prokofiev Sonata in D Major Op.115. Grażyna Bacewicz’s Sonata No.2 from 1958 and Ysaÿe’s Sonata No.4 in E Minor Op.27, dedicated to Kreisler, complete the disc. There’s smooth, clean playing throughout, with technical assurance, strong melodic lines and no hint of roughness – I’ve certainly heard the Bartók Fuga (which Karl Stobbe interestingly terms “brutal”) played with more attack and spikiness. The Presto final movement in the Bacewicz is quite brilliant, and an idiomatic reading of the Ysaÿe sonata completes a highly satisfying recital. There should be a warning label on violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja CDs: “Fireworks – handle with care.” You always get something different and incredibly exciting from this player who never hesitates to take risks, and so it is with her latest CD Le Monde selon George Antheil with pianist Joonas Ahonen (Alpha Classics ALPHA797 outhere-music.com/en/albums/ le-monde-selon-george-antheil). Antheil, the American composer and pianist, caused riots in early 1920s Europe as a “Pianist-Futurist” who wrote machine-like and explosive piano works. Presented here is his astonishing Violin Sonata No.1 from 1923, its percussive and machine-like outer movements in particular drawing terrific playing from the duo. Antheil’s world, referenced in the CD title, included Morton Feldman and John Cage, the former represented here by the brief Piece (1950) and Extensions 1 (1951) and Cage by his 1947 Nocturne. It’s the Violin Sonata No.7 in C Minor Op.30 No.2 by Antheil’s lifelong hero Beethoven, however, that sees Kopatchinskaja really upping the excitement levels in a quite remarkable performance. There’s an outstanding new set of the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas, this time with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan (Pentatone PTC5186884 pentatonemusic.com/product/ beethoven-cello-sonatas). The two have been playing together since 2008 and are close friends, and their mutual understanding shows in every moment of these beautifully judged performances. They were recorded during the pandemic in 2020 for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, with Weilerstein saying that doing so “at such a fragile, chaotic time” helped make it an immensely rewarding experience. It certainly shows in superb performances that will more than hold their own against any competition. Denmark’s Nightingale String Quartet follows up its outstanding first volume of fellow-countryman Vagn Holmboe’s complete works in the genre with Vagn Holmboe String Quartets Vol.2 (Dacapo 6.220717 naxos.com/catalogue/ item.asp?item_code=6.220717). The three works this time are the String Quartet No.2 Op.47 from 1949, the String Quartet No.14 Op.125 from 1975 and the two-movement Quartetto sereno Op.197 posth., the shortest of Holmboe’s quartets and unofficially No.21. Started just two months before the composer’s death in 1996, it was completed by his friend and former pupil Per Nørgård. The exceptionally high standard of the initial volume is continued here, the publicity material accurately describing the performances as “energetic, precise yet lively and poetic interpretations” of works which “stand among the most significant contributions to the genre in the 20th century.” Swordsman, horseman, athlete, violinist, composer – what a fascinating individual Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges must have been. SAINT-GEORGES Six Concertante Quartets is the fourth Naxos CD devoted to his works, in performances by the Arabella String Quartet (8.574360 naxos.com/catalogue/item. asp?item_code=8.574360). Saint-Georges wrote three sets of six quartets, starting with Six Quatuors Op.1 in 1772 and ending with Six Quatuors concertans What we're listening to this month: thewholenote.com/listening Bach and Bartók Karl Stobbe Bach & Bartók is available on all major streaming platforms, June 17! Beethoven Cello Sonatas Vol. 1 Yegor Dyachkov, cello Jean Saulnier, piano These sonatas and variations for cello constitute a unique group within Beethoven’s oeuvre. The second volume of the complete works will be released in the fall. Brian Field: Choral and Orchestral Works An exciting collection of contemporary instrumental, a cappella choral and accompanied choral works in superb performance. Carlo Monza: Opera in Musica Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante Six never-before recorded string quartets by 18th century Milanese composer Carlo Monza thewholenote.com July 1 - September 20, 2022 | 43

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