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Volume 28 Issue 1 | September 20 - November 8, 2022

  • Text
  • Thewholenotecom
  • Arts
  • Jazz
  • Violin
  • Composer
  • Orchestra
  • October
  • November
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Our 28th season in print! “And Now, Back to Live Action”; a symphonic-sized listings section, compared to last season; clubs “On the move” ; FuturesStops Festival and Nuit Blanche; “Pianistic high-wire acts”; Season announcements include full-sized choral works like Mendelssohn’s Elijah; “Icons, innovators and renegades” pulling out all the stops.

We’re not for

We’re not for everyone. Technology Legacy…Classical Music Meets TikTok. - 4:30pm: Film Screening: The Goldberg Variations. - 7:30pm: Concert. Leila Josefowicz, violin. ● Sep 30. Royal Conservatory of Music. Special Event to Commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconcilitation. Featuring Toson Highway, Rebecca Cuddy, Sarain Fox, and others. Free. On arrival people will be greeted by a smudge ceremony outside, in the Reta Lila Weston Music Court, with Elder Banakonda Kennedy-Kish (Bell), who will also offer an “Opening and Closing of the Space” on the Koerner Hall stage. Livestreamed for free across Canada and internationally on www.RoyalConservatory. Live.Free tickets at www.rcmusic.com/ performance. LIVE REHEARSAL OPPORTUNITIES ● The Choralairs. Welcoming singers in all voice parts as they resume in-person rehearsals (with masks & Covid safety protocols) starting Tuesday September 13th. Rehearsals are 7pm- 8:45pm at Edithvale C.C. 131 Finch Ave W. Toronto. Please contact Elaine at 905-731-8416 or choralairs@gmail.com to let us know if you are coming. Check out our website at: www.choralairschoir.com. ● Etobicoke Centennial Choir welcomes new choristers for the 2022-2023 season. Interested singers are invited to attend our Open Rehearsal on Sep 13 at 7:30 pm at Humber Valley United Church, 76 Anglesey Blvd. in Etobicoke. Participants will sing with the choir during rehearsal, meet the conductor and choristers and discover what ECC has to offer. Some prior choral experience and ability to read music is recommended. Masking is required while singing and inside the building. Discover the rewards of singing in our wonderful community choir! For further information: info@ etobicokecentenniachoir.ca or 416-433- 5495 or www.etobicokecentennialchoir.ca ● Etobicoke Community Concert Band. Full rehearsals every Wednesday night at 7:30pm. 309 Horner Ave. Open to all who are looking for a great band to join. Text Rob Hunter at 416-878-1730. ● North Toronto Community Band. Openings for drums, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, French horns. Rehearsals held at Willowdale Presbyterian Church 38 Ellerslie Ave. (just north of Mel Lastman Square). Monday evenings 7:30-9:30 pm. Contact ntcband@gmail.com. ONGOING EVENTS ● Mix 669. Beyond the B-side: Open Mic @ The Mix 669. Adam Golding, host. 669 College St. 647-909-2109. cover. Weekly on Wed at 7pm. ONLINE GROUPS ● Recollectiv: A unique musical online meeting group made up of people affected by memory challenges caused by illness (such as dementia) or brain injury (stroke, PTSD, etc.) and their care partners. Participation is free with pre-registration. Email info@recollectiv.ca for meeting times, information and registration. ONLINE ON DEMAND & PODCASTS ● Arts@Home. A vibrant hub connecting Torontonians to arts and culture. Designed to strengthen personal and societal resilience through the arts. www.artsathome.ca. ● Canadian Opera Company. Bluebeard’s Castle (Digital Performance). In this hybrid work, Atom Egoyan melds his acclaimed film Felicia’s Journey with the chilling one-act opera about an infamous recluse whose previous young wives have mysteriously disappeared. Kyle Ketelsen, bass-baritone (Duke Bluebeard); Krisztina Szabó, mezzo (Judith). Free with COC’s digital membership. Sign-up now at www.coc. ca/stream and www.coc.ca/Bluebeard for more information on how to watch, cast and creative team, and other Spring programming. Streaming now until Sep 24. It’s part of our charm. Since 1908, celebrated creators and distinguished supporters of culture have gathered at the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto. So after 114 years it’s time we met you. For a visit please call 416-597-0223 or email visit@artsandlettersclub.ca If you can read this, thank a music teacher. (Skip the hug.) MosePianoForAll.com DO YOU DRIVE? Do you love The WholeNote? Share the love and earn a little money! Join our circulation team, and deliver 8 times a year. Currently seeking circulation associates in the Hamilton/ Halton area and Bloor St West (M6 postal area). Interested? Contact: circulation@thewholenote.com BUSINESS CLASSIFIEDS Economical and visible! Promote your services & products to our musically engaged readers, in print and on-line. BOOKING DEADLINE: OCTOBER 18 classad@thewholenote.com 46 | September 20 - November 8, 2022 thewholenote.com

DISCOVERIES | RECORDINGS REVIEWED DAVID OLDS Russian composer Nicolai Korndorf (1947- 2001) was a co-founder of the “new” ACM (association for contemporary music) in Moscow in 1990, but upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union he emigrated to Canada the following year. Russia’s loss was Canada’s gain and for a decade, until his sudden death in 2001, Korndorf was an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre and an integral part of Vancouver’s contemporary music scene. The Smile of Maud Lewis (Redshift Records TK516 redshiftrecords.org), released to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the composer’s birth, features three works “that mark a creative highpoint and artistic rite of passage from his native Russia to Canada.” As the liner notes point out, all three are based on thematic material from earlier works. The booklet includes notational examples of these themes from Con Sordino for 16 strings and the included Lullaby, both dating from 1984, which became a sort of signature for Korndorf in his later works. The disc begins with the title work, a tribute to the Nova Scotia folk artist who lived from 1903 until 1970. Korndorf said in an interview in 1998: “Discovering the art of Maud Lewis was the most important cultural experience for me since moving to Canada.” The Smile of Maud Lewis captures the sunny disposition and sense of wonder inherent in Lewis’ paintings, with a joyous ostinato of mallet percussion, celesta, flute/piccolo/recorder and full strings underpinning long, melodious horn lines. Somewhat reminiscent of early John Adams, with swelling cadences à la Philip Glass, the work builds dynamically Bolero-like throughout its quarter-hour length, only relaxing in its final minute to a glorious, gentle close. Conductor Leslie Dala captures both the exuberance and the nuance of this sparkling work. Triptych for cello and piano opens abruptly with raucous chords in the cello which gradually resolve into an extended solo Lament in which Ariel Barnes is eventually joined by pianist Anna Levy. Levy begins the second movement Response with an ostinato once again drawing on Korndorf’s signature themes, this time supporting an extended melody line in the cello. Quiet pizzicato opens the final Glorification before arco cello and piano counterpoint gradually grow into celebratory ecstasy. Jane Hayes joins Levy for the final two tracks, Korndorf’s above-mentioned ebullient, though quiet, Lullaby for two pianos, and the gentle half-light, somnolent rains for piano duo by his former student Jocelyn Morlock, written in tribute to her mentor on the fifth anniversary of his death. These marvellous performances are a strong testament to the importance Nicolai Korndorf and his legacy. The title of this next disc, ppp (i.e. pianississimo), led me to expect a quiet and contemplative experience; it turns out, however, to be an acronym for the last names of the Latvian composers involved: Pēteris Plakidis, Kristaps Pētersons and Georgs Pelēcis. ppp features Gidon Kremer and his Kremerata Baltica (LMIC/SKANI 139 skani. lv) in works for various chamber combinations and for full ensemble. It begins with Little Concerto for two violins (1991) by Plakidis (1947- 2019), a three-movement work performed by Kremer and Madara Pētersone, which reminds me of Bartók and Berio violin duos with its folk-like idioms and exuberance. Pētersons (b.1982) performs his own craggy Ground for double bass solo and is joined by Iurii Gavrilyuk and Andrei Pushkarev for π = 3,14 for two double basses, percussion and recording, a work somewhat suggestive of a sci-fi soundtrack. Pētersons’ Music for Large Ensemble is performed by Kremerata Lettonica, a nine-piece string ensemble supplemented with electric guitar played by the composer. This too seems to have electronic aspects, presumably executed by the guitarist since no recording is mentioned. It is in three movements, the last and lengthiest of which is nominally minimalist and features violin solos themselves reminiscent of electric guitar lines. Three pieces from Fiori Musicali (2017-2022) by Pelēcis (b.1947) prove to be the most traditional on the album, the use of vibraphone as soloist with string orchestra notwithstanding. Pelēcis named his “blooming garden” after a collection of liturgical organ works by Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643). The middle movement Dance of the Peonies has definite shades of Respighi about it. Cosmea Melancholy features Kremer as soloist, and once again we hear the vibraphone in an unusual context in this gloomy finale to a somewhat surprising disc. Speaking of string ensembles, the All-American Cello Band performs the title track of the CD The Strange Highway featuring music by Iranian-American composer Gity Razaz (b.1986) (BIS-2634 bis.se). (I feel compelled to point out that this so-called all-American band includes the Halifax-born Denise Djokic of the famed Nova Scotia musical dynasty, and also Icelander Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, although admittedly they both currently reside in America.) The Strange Highway takes its title from a poem by Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño: “You wish the angst would disappear / While rain falls on the strange highway / Where you find yourself.” Razaz says she was “moved by the potent sense of desolation and vulnerability expressed through the poem’s imagery.” The cello octet she has created, beginning with a driving, almost violent, moto perpetuo that gradually shifts into lyrical melancholia before coming full circle and effectively “capture[s] and recreate[s] these emotions.” The next three works are for smaller forces – Duo for violin and piano, Legend of the Sigh for cello and electronics and Spellbound for solo viola – composed in 2007, 2015 and 2020 respectively. Francesca daPasquale and Scott Cuellar shine in the two movements of the Duo that explores contrasting aspects of a single melody. Inbal Segev is the dedicatee of Legend and he performs the challenging yet lyrical live and pre-recorded cello parts against an eerie and effective electronic backdrop. Katharina Kang Litton is the soloist in the haunting Spellbound, based on an original melody that “evokes the improvisatory lyricism of traditional Persian music.” The final work, Metamorphosis of Narcissus for chamber orchestra thewholenote.com September 20 - November 8, 2022 | 47

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