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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.

The wonderful Steven

The wonderful Steven Isserlis is back with another engrossing CD, this time celebrating a period which saw a huge expansion in the cello and piano repertoire on A Golden Cello Decade 1878-1888 with Canadian pianist Connie Shih (Hyperion CDA68394 dc.asp?dc=D_CDA68394). Bruch’s Kol Nidrei Op.47 from 1881 opens the disc, the sumptuous richness of Isserlis’ 1726 “Marquis de Corberon” Strad heard to full effect. Olivia Jageurs adds the harp part. The 15-year-old Richard Strauss and the 30-year-old German composer Luise Adolpha Le Beau both submitted cello sonatas to an 1881 competition, but neither won. At least Le Beau had her Sonata in D Major Op.17 published, but Strauss withdrew his Sonata in F Major Op.6 and rewrote it in 1883; the original sonata heard here was finally published in 2020. Le Beau’s 1878 sonata is a rarely heard gem, and deserves to be much better known. Dvořák’s 4 Romantic Pieces Op.75 from 1887 are heard in an arrangement by Isserlis, and two Footnotes close the disc: Ernst David Wagner’s Kol Nidrei and Isaac Nathan’s Oh! weep for these, the melody used in the second part of Bruch’s Kol Nidrei. Shadows, the new CD from cellist Lorenzo Meseguer and pianist Mario Mora features works by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann and Gustav Jenner, the connection apparently being “people living in the shadow of other composers” (Eudora EUD-SACD-2204 Certainly Fanny and Clara were overshadowed by their brother and husband respectively, and Jenner, Brahms’ only compositional student clearly qualifies, but it’s an extremely tenuous link to Felix, who seems to be regarded here as under-appreciated more than overshadowed. No matter, for there’s so much to enjoy and admire on this disc, from Fanny’s lovely but infrequently performed Fantasia in G Minor through Felix’s Sonata No.2 in D Major Op.58 – its really tricky passage-work in the Molto Allegro e vivace finale handled superbly – to Clara’s Drei Romanzen Op.22 (originally for violin and piano and transcribed here by the duo) and Jenner’s unsurprisingly quite Brahmsian Sonata in D Major. Fine, rich playing and a beautifully full, clean and resonant recording make for a quite outstanding CD. On Bridge/Britten: Viola Works the violist Hélène Clément plays the 1843 Francesco Giussani viola, on loan from Britten Pears Arts that was owned by Frank Bridge and gifted by him to Benjamin Britten in 1939, calling the CD “a testament to both composers and the instrument that binds them all together.” She is accompanied by pianist Alasdair Beatson (Chandos CHAN 20247 Bridge’s Cello Sonata in D Minor from 1913-17 is heard here in Clément’s arrangement for viola. There is a Willow Grows aslant a Brook: Impression for Small Orchestra from 1927 was arranged for viola and piano by Britten in 1932. Mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly is the soloist in the Three Songs for Medium Voice, Viola and Piano from 1906-07, not published until 1982. The two Britten works are the 1930 Elegy for Solo Viola and the Lachrymae: Reflections on a Song of Dowland Op.48 from 1950, revised in 1970. The knowledge that both composers played this instrument and would have had its sound in mind when writing for viola certainly adds to the impact of an excellent CD. The CD Ondulation: Bach & Kurtág features outstanding playing by guitarist Pedro Mateo González (Eudora EUD-SACD-2202 The three Bach works are the Lute Suite in C Minor BWV997, the Cello Suite in G Major BWV1007 and the Violin Partita No.2 in D Minor BWV1004. The Lute Suite is rhythmically bright, with crystal-clear ornamentation; the Cello Suite is sensitive and quite beautiful. There are some added bass notes and the occasional filling out of chords in the Partita, and brilliant clarity in the rapid runs in the challenging Chaconne. First recordings of four extremely brief pieces from the Darabok a Gitáriskolának by the Hungarian composer György Kurtág (b.1926) act as interludes between the Bach works. González is technically flawless, with a superb sense of line and phrase. With its beautifully clean playing and recording it’s as fine a guitar CD as I’ve heard lately. Yuri Liberzon is the guitarist on Konstantin Vassiliev Guitar Works 1, a recital of works by the Russian-born German composer that merge jazz, Russian folk music and contemporary Western trends in beautifully-crafted and entertaining short pieces (Naxos 8.574315 dSearchResults/?q=8.574315). One piece here – Fatum – is from 1996, with the remaining 11 composed between 2005 and 2019; three were written specifically for Liberzon. There are some fascinating and innovative percussive effects in the bossa nova-inspired Hommage à Tom Jobim, and some lovely melodic writing in numbers like Cavatina and Rose in the Snow. Patrick O’Connell, Liberzon’s partner in the Duo Equilibrium is the second guitarist on Obrío and on the Two Russian Pieces that close the disc. Recording quality, produced and edited by Norbert Kraft at St. Paul’s 48 | November 1 - December 13, 2022

Anglican Church in Newmarket, Ontario is of the usual top-notch Naxos level. Two elegiac piano trios honouring the memory of a close friend are featured on Elegie, the new CD from Trio Arriaga (Eudora EUD-SACD-2201 Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor Op.50 was composed in late 1881, the March 1882 premiere marking the first anniversary of the death of pianist Nikolai Rubinstein, founder of the Moscow Conservatory. It’s a large work with an interesting structure – a lengthy and rhapsodic opening Pezzo Elegiaco followed by an even longer Tema con variazioni, with virtuosic piano writing throughout. Shostakovich’s 1944 Piano Trio No.2 in E Minor Op.67 was in memory of the death of Ivan Sollertinsky, artistic director of the Leningrad Philharmonic. More than a lament for a lost friend, the work also reflects the growing awareness of the Nazi wartime atrocities. There’s outstanding playing and ensemble work throughout an excellent CD. During the pandemic lockdown the Santa Rosa Symphony under Francesco Lecce- Chong presented a series of live concerts recorded for a virtual audience, with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich the featured composer. The new CD Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Cello Concerto & Other Works is devoted to works that were performed during those concerts (Delos DE 3596 The Cello Concerto from 2019-20 is performed by Zuill Bailey, for whom it was commissioned. The third of its three fairly short movements in particular exploits the singing, lyrical nature of the instrument. Elizabeth Dorman is the soloist in Peanuts® Gallery for Piano and Orchestra, six short pieces written in 1996 on commission for a Carnegie Hall children’s concert and featuring characters from the Charles Schulz cartoon strip. Violinist Joseph Edelberg brings a warm, rich tone to the quite lovely 1993 Romance for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, and the Prologue and Variations for String Orchestra closes an entertaining disc. VOCAL Lionel Daunais – Melodies/Songs Jacqueline Woodley; Annina Haug; Pierre Rancourt; Marc Bourdeau; Michel Bellavance Centrediscs CMCCD 30122 (cmccanada. org/shop/cd-cmccd-30122) ! Lionel Daunais (1901-1982) was a French- Canadian baritone and a prolific composer. As a founding member of notable ensembles such as the Trio lyrique and the Variétés lyriques, and via his other numerous musical activities and roles such as artistic and stage director, Daunais had a lengthy career and a meaningful influence on Quebec’s musical scene of the mid- 20th century. With Mélodies, pianist Marc Bourdeau pays homage to Daunais’ legacy with a carefully considered curation of a large repertoire (over 250 songs). The final selection includes 27 songs that mix the diverse writing styles of art songs and popular songs with more traditional Quebec folklore songs. Bourdeau’s impeccable research and care of Daunais’ musical intentions, guided both by his appreciation for Daunais and the time he spent in the archives of the Lionel Daunais Fonds, allow for an authentic (re)discovery of this formidable artist. The detailed CD booklet is augmented by a website ( with considerable documentation, useful material on Daunais’ career for possible further research, behind-the-scenes details, as well as videos of recordings and rehearsals. Bourdeau’s collaborators are soprano Jacqueline Woodley, mezzo-soprano Annina Haug, baritone Pierre Rancourt and flutist Michel Bellavance. In a variety of ensembles, duets and trios, they excel at recreating the gentle humour, and sometimes sarcasm, the depth and subtle meanings of texts, as well as the appropriate tones for themes of earlier times. Mélodies is a not only a significant addition to the life, times and music of Lionel Daunais, it is also an important contribution to Quebec’s musical heritage. Sophie Bisson What we're listening to this month: As mountain winds David Eagle New recording of music by David Eagle, featuring Aventa Ensemble, Land’s End Ensemble, and Turning Point Ensemble with soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen. Between Worlds Margaret Maria and Donna Brown A unique collaboration between two artists whose hearts are very much aligned. Donna Brown's poetry and voice combined with Margaret Maria's music and cellos Bach Concertos L'Harmonie des saisons, Eric Milnes The JUNO Award-winning L’Harmonie des saisons returns with a brand new recording devoted to some of the best known concertos by J. S. Bach! Franz Liszt: Rhapsodies, Études and Transcriptions Sophia Agranovich “Private intimacies and poetic delicacies that exist beneath the glitzy surfaces... Probing and profoundly moving... jaw-dropping virtuosity... sparkling magic.” ~ Fanfare Magazine November 1 - December 13, 2022 | 49

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