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Volume 28 Issue 2 | November 1 - December 13, 2022

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Available now for your online "flip-through" reading pleasure, The WholeNote Volume 28 no.2. For Openers, my uncle had a barn; then: Trichy Sankaran at 80; the return of the professional chamber choir; what makes music theatre more than just theatre; how to fit three violin concerti into one concert; and more.

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discern that the only instruments involved are those of the traditional piano trio, although at times the textures thin out and the violin, cello and piano of the Land’s End Ensemble become more easily discernable. The title track, which opens the disc, is an interactive composition for octet and computer, again with surround-sound projection. Instrumental phrases are processed in Eagle’s signature style to create “fluctuating and volatile sonic textures through filtering, granulating, delays, and transposing and harmonizing with just and microtonal intonation.” A Kinect motion sensor tracks the composer/interpreter’s hand movements to expressively transform and extend the ensemble, here Aventa under Bill Linwood. The disc closes with the earliest work, Two Forms of Intuition, an orchestral work (with computer) taking its inspiration and title from Immanuel Kant’s proposition of the same name that says we always perceive the world as phenomena in time and space. Commissioned by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and premiered in 2012, it was subsequently performed and later recorded for this CD by Turning Point Ensemble. They have certainly made it their own. Kudos to all involved in this excellent portrait of one of Canada’s most adventurous composers, one who has embraced technology and successfully and creatively integrated it into live instrumental performance. As far as I can tell, it was Béla Bartók who first wrote for the combination of piano and percussion in his Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion of 1937, later enlarged to include those soloists with orchestra in his concerto transcription of 1940. More about Bartók later, but he certainly started a significant trend for that combination, with such notables as George Crumb, Luciano Berio, Dieter Mack and, most recently, Canadian Monica Pearce contributing to the genre. Centrediscs has just released Textile Fantasies (CMCCD 30322 centrediscs.ca) comprising a cycle of chamber works for keyboards (harpsichord, piano, toy pianos) and percussion (a plethora of mallet instruments, plus tabla with tambura drone) in various combinations. Each piece is inspired by the particular texture of a specific fabric or pattern such as silks, velvet and houndstooth. My late father used to complain that Baroque music sounded to him like just so many sewing machines, referring to the ostinatos of the continuo. While I don’t agree, I do understand what he was getting at. I thought of him fondly while listening to the first of the Textile Fantasies, toile de jouy for solo harpsichord, exuberantly performed by Toronto keyboardist Wesley Shen. I know Dad would have found it disturbing (as does my wife), but not so his number one son. I find its relentless mechanical pounding, and I mean that in a respectful and musical way, quite fortifying in its journey Christina Raphaëlle Haldane and Carl Philippe Gionet’s Tu me voyais features Carl’s arrangements of 12 Acadian folk songs for Christina’s voice. Available now! towards an eventual vanishing point. This is followed by leather for piano and percussion performed by Ottawa’s SHHH!! Ensemble in which the piano is mostly used as a percussive instrument though various extended techniques, dampening the strings and such. I find it wonderfully reminiscent of Bartók’s seminal work. There are two pieces for multiple percussionists featuring Toronto’s TorQ Percussion Quartet; two contrasting works for solo piano, one aggressive and percussive played by Barbara Pritchard and the other, contemplative, featuring Cheryl Duval; another, Damask, for tabla (Shawn Mativetsky) and piano (Shen) which hints at the Middle Eastern origins of that fabric; and the concluding denim for two percussionists and two toy pianos. Did I mention that Pearce was a co-founder of the Toy Piano Composers collective? She has also penned works for Bicycle Opera (who toured extensively by pedal power across Ontario) and New Fangled Opera; pieces for new music specialists Thin Edge New Music Collective, junctQín, Array, New Music Detroit and the International Contemporary Ensemble among many others; but also for such mainstream organizations as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. This disc provides an intriguing introduction to her smaller works and if you’re not familiar with Pearce it would be a great place to start. Concert note: There will be performances and a reception to launch Textile Fantasies at the Canadian Music Centre, 20 St. Joseph St., Toronto on November 10 at 4pm. Getting back to Béla Bartók (1881-1945) for my final selection, a new recording by the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie under Pietari Inkinen (SWR Classic SWR19110CD naxos. com/CatalogueDetail/?id=SWR19110CD) features two fairly late large works, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (1936) and the Divertimento for Strings (1939). The final two of Bartók’s six string quartets, a cycle renowned for its craggy complexity, were composed around this same time – 1934 and 1939 respectively – but in spite of their proximity, these larger works are much more listener friendly than the quartets. This is not to say that they don’t have their moments of angularity and darkness, but unlike the quartets in which the four instruments often seem to go their own way, here there is more of a sense of unity and homogeneity. In these new recordings, made in Saarbrücken in 2020 and 2021, the orchestra captures all the nuances of the two works’ contrasting moods, especially in the spooky passages featuring the celesta. But more interesting to me in the context of this article are three transcriptions of Bartók solo piano pieces for percussion ensemble performed by members of the orchestra. These effective new adaptions were done by Bernhard Wulff, professor of percussion at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg and long-time associate of Toronto’s legendary flute soloist and pedagogue Robert Aitken. Wulff is the founder and artistic director of a number of international music festivals, including Two Days and Two Nights of New Music in Odessa (Ukraine), Roaring Hooves in Mongolia, Silk Sound Road in Kyrgyzstan, Caspian Fires in Azerbaijan and Cracking Bamboo in Vietnam, many of which included Aitken in the roster of performers. The works here make a striking bridge between large ensemble pieces, beginning with the dynamic second of Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm from the final volume of Mikrokosmos, published the same year as the Divertimento. This is followed by the calm and quiet, almost pastoral, The Night’s Music from Out of Doors (1926), incidentally the year the first volume of Mikrokosmos was published. I was amused to hear a toy piano among the instruments. The percussion suite ends with a rambunctious rendition of the bombastic Allegro Barbaro, the first work to bring Bartók to international attention back in 1911. All in all the entire disc is a treat for the ears! 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 www.leaf-music.ca 46 | November 1 - December 13, 2022 thewholenote.com

STRINGS ATTACHED TERRY ROBBINS The Montreal-based cellist Elinor Frey is back with a second volume of premiere recordings of works by the cellist-composer Giuseppe Clemente Dall’Abaco (1710-1805!) on The Cello According to Dall’Abaco, accompanied by Catherine Jones (cello), Federica Bianchi (harpsichord) and Michele Pasotti (theorbo) (Passacaille PAS 1122 elinorfrey.com). Frey’s critical edition of the 35 accompanied cello sonatas of Dall’Abaco is published by Walhall Editions; five sonatas were featured on the first CD (PAS 1069) and a further three – in G Major ABV28, E-flat Major ABV37 and D Minor ABV45 – are heard here, together with all three of Dall’Abaco’s cello duets: the Duetto in G Major ABV47, the Duo in F Major ABV48 and the Duo in A Minor ABV49. No composition dates are known, but the music is probably from the 1730-1750 period. The second cello adds depth to the continuo in the sonatas, while in the quite lovely duos the roles of melody and accompaniment are continually exchanged between the two performers. Violinist Christian Tetzlaff cites “reasons of substance” to justify pairing the Brahms & Berg Violin Concertos on his latest CD, with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Robin Ticciati, both works searching the depths of the soul and having a lot to say about pain (Ondine ODE-1410-2 ondine.net). Tetzlaff has been playing both concertos for 40 years for a combined total of over 300 performances, and it shows. The Brahms is immensely satisfying, but the real joy here is the Berg, long recognized not only as a requiem for the 18-year-old Manon Gropius but also for Berg himself, the composer dying just four months after finishing the work. Moreover, the concerto is a deeply personal autobiography, full of intimate details of Berg’s life – tellingly, Tetzlaff’s detailed booklet essay is almost entirely about the Berg and its inner references. This is a performance by someone who knows this work inside out, and who finds the Bach chorale ending “incredibly beautiful whenever I play it.” And so it is. Secret Love Letters, the latest CD from violinist Lisa Batiashvili celebrates the concealment of the message of love in music, noting that so much of the message is secret and intimate (Deutsche Grammophon 00028948604623 lisabatiashvili.com/). Pianist Giorgi Gigashvili joins the violinist in an electrifying performance of the Franck Sonata in A Major. Batiashvili’s shimmering tone and strength in the highest register are fully evident in Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No.1 Op.35 with its gorgeous and heart-rending main theme, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin providing the accompaniment here and in Chausson’s Poème Op.25, originally called Le Chant d’amour triumphant. Nézet-Séguin is the pianist for the Heifetz arrangement of Debussy’s Beau soir which ends a CD that adds to Batiashvili’s already impressive discography. The Big B’s, the third CD from the fabulous Janoska Ensemble of Bratislava-born Janoska brothers Ondrej and Roman on violin and pianist František, with brotherin-law Julius Darvas on bass, features music by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bartók, Bernstein and Brubeck, all delivered in the inimitable virtuosic and semiimprovisational Janoska style (Deutsche Grammophon 00602445962075 deutschegrammophon.com/en/ catalogue/products/the-big-bs-janoska-ensemble-12750). The Bach Double Violin Concerto in D Minor BWV1043 sees the second violin take an improvised jazz approach. Two violins intertwine beautifully in the slow movement from Beethoven’s Pathétique Piano Sonata, and Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No.1 is a blast, as are Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances. There’s great piano in the Brubeck Blue Rondo à la Turk and superb ensemble in Bernstein’s Candide Overture. There are four original pieces inspired by the brothers’ children, and the CD ends with František’s riotous Beethoven paraphrase of Nine Symphonies in Nine Minutes. Wonderful violin playing and terrific piano anchor a dazzling CD which is a pure delight from start to finish. It’s hard to imagine more appropriate performers for a Dvořák string quartet recital than a top Czech ensemble, feelings more than borne out by listening to the Talich Quartet, originally formed in 1964 on their latest CD Dvořák American Quartet & Waltzes, their first recording with their new lineup (La Dolce Vita LDV101 ladolcevolta. com/?lang=en). The Eight Waltzes for Piano Op.54 B101 date from 1879-80; two were transcribed for string quartet by the composer himself, with the remaining six being transcribed for the Talich Quartet in 2020 by violist Jiří Kabát. They are an absolute delight. The Quartet Movement in F Major B120 from October 1880 was intended as the first movement of a new quartet but abandoned; not premiered until 1945, it was published in 1951. A beautifully warm performance of the String Quartet in F Major Op.96 B179 “American” that simply bursts with life and spontaneity closes an outstanding CD. thewholenote.com/listening Lalo; Lacombe; La Tombelle - piano and cello sonatas Paul Marleyn, Stéphane Lemelin Paul Marleyn, cello, and Stéphane Lemelin, piano, explore music by three French Romantic composers from the mid-19th century to the early 20th enfolding String Orchestra of Brooklyn Enfolding, presents premiere recordings by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti and Scott Wollschleger that integrate musical, environmental, and internal spaces to create tactile listening experiences. thewholenote.com November 1 - December 13, 2022 | 47

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