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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.

Ottorino Respighi –

Ottorino Respighi – Crepuscolo Timothy Fallon; Ammiel Bushakevitz BIS BIS-2632 SACD (bis.se) ! Respighi’s remarkably wideranging stylistic eclecticism in these 26 songs turns this CD into a bountiful sonic buffet offering a delectable array of variegated flavourful delicacies. The neo-Renaissance Cinque canti all’antiqua (Five Songs in Ancient Style) includes an aria from his opera Re Enzo and four plaintive love songs, three with texts by Boccaccio. The five extravagantly expressive songs of Deità Silvane (Woodland Deities) recall music by Debussy and Ravel, who also evoked sylvan myths, here replete with fauns and nymphs, cymbals and pipes, and mysterious dances. In the fifth song, Crepuscolo (Twilight), “Pan falls asleep… a joyful song quivers.” Inspired by a visit to Scotland, Respighi arranged his beguiling Quattro arie scozzeti (Four Scottish Songs) – the nostalgic When the Kye Come Home, Within a Mile of Edinburgh and My Heart’s in the Highlands, ending with the jaunty The Piper of Dundee, all sung in Scottish English. There are many beauties to be found within the other 12 songs, each steeped in the hyper emotionality of Late Romanticism, whether expressing sweet tenderness, passionate yearning or agonized desperation. American tenor Timothy Fallon invigorates these unfairly neglected, fervent songs with operatic ardour and a firm, shining tone, while Ammiel Bushakevitz sparkles and surges at the piano. One caveat – due to the very overreverberant acoustic, the bass response must be minimized in order to maximize the enjoyment of this most enjoyable CD. Texts and translations are included. Michael Schulman Silvestrov – Requiem für Larissa Solists; Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Münchner Rundfunkorcheste; Andres Mustonen BR Klassik BRK900344 (naxos.com/ CatalogueDetail/?id=900344) ! Valentin Silvestrov, Ukraine’s best-known living composer, wrote Requiem for Larissa in 1999 in response to the sudden death of his wife, Larissa Bondarenko. It’s a work of devastating beauty. Musical references to Silvestrov’s life with Bondarenko, a musicologist, reveal how deeply personal this work is. Yet it pulls us into the sweep of historical events. This new release, still just its second recording, was made in 2011. Today, with the attacks on the 85-year-old composer’s beloved homeland by Russia, Silvestrov’s Requiem resonates even more deeply. And the significance of this recording grows. The searing fourth movement, Goodbye, O World, O Earth, Farewell directly recalls the fifth song from Silvestrov’s mesmerizing cycle for baritone and piano, Silent Songs. Here it’s a tenor who sings the poignant lament, set to an excerpt from The Dream by Ukraine’s national bard, 19th-century poet Taras Shevchenko. Andreas Hirtreiter communicates the composer’s pain and longing while heeding his constraints on interpretive flourishes. The remaining six movements are set to sacred texts from the Latin Mass for the Dead. But Silvestrov has extracted fragments and jumbled them up. In the Agnus Dei, he revisits one of his strangest and most wonderful piano pieces, The Messenger. Invoking Mozart in style and spirit, it arrives mysteriously, an enigmatic dispatch bringing consolations from another world. A stirring performance by the Bavarian Radio Choir and the Munich Radio Orchestra under the adventurous Estonian conductor Andres Mustonen puts Silvestrov’s evocative harmonic shifts and uncanny colours into urgent focus. Pamela Margles Edie Hill; Michael Gilbertson – Born The Crossing; Donald Nally Navona Records nv6449 (navonarecords.com/catalog/nv6449) ! When classical radio stations seem agog with a cappella choral music who can fault them? After all, listening to human voices singing in multi-layered harmony sans instrūmentum is, indeed, irresistible. But when you are led to believe that the world of a cappella music is Voces 8 and, seemingly, no one else, surely something is amiss? I mean what about The Crossing directed by the masterful Donald Nally? What indeed…! Consider the album titled Born featuring the work of the same name bookended by Returning – both by Michael Gilbertson – with a revenant interpretation of Edie Hill’s Spectral Spirits nestling in between. The two latter works have been commissioned specially for The Crossing, who return the favour with a magical performance from start to finish. Gilbertson’s work is a mystical and transcendent fit for this mighty vocal ensemble. Nally and the singers navigate both works with absolute mastery. Born is an appropriately meditative unravelling of the evanescence of life. The gossamer-like Returning weaves epic narratives inspired by David and Jonathan. Hill’s Spectral Spirits dwell in light and dark. Perhaps they even summon the spectral shadow of Gérard Grisey. Nally lets this music unfold with sumptuous expansiveness throughout. The polyphonic lines gracefully reveal themselves in this opulent recording. The singers of The Crossing produce a rich and wonderfully balanced sound, marvellous depth in the basses and a delectable fluidity in the sopranos. Truly this is a choir of great distinction. Raul da Gama Between Worlds Donna Brown; Margaret Maria Centrediscs CMCCD 30522 (cmccanada. org/shop/cd-cmccd-30522) ! Between Worlds is a collaboration between composer-cellist Margaret Maria and soprano-poet Donna Brown. With poems set specifically to music and others adapted into music to fit a theme, the creators tell us that this project “uses words and music to explore the tension between Thanatos and Eros via a symbolic journey from Sunset to Sunrise.” In a series of eight movements set for soprano and cello orchestra, Sunrise, Fall, Lady Moon, Snakes and Demons, Caught Between Worlds, To Grasp Time, Sunset and One, aim to awaken listeners to their inner and higher states of consciousness, make sense of the world, and, ultimately, search for light and peace with an open heart. The movements each display styles and techniques that vary greatly, the voice moves from spoken (Sunset) and declamatory to complex extended vocals, while the cello(s) are at times thin, scattered and sparse (Sunrise, Sunset) or veer into more complex extended instrumental techniques (Snakes and Demons) and playing ponticello (Fall). The cello orchestra is created by Maria who overdubs the different cello parts. Donna Brown teaches voice at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal and her recordings have won several awards. Margaret Maria is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and has played on numerous Canadian and international stages. Between Worlds received its world premiere in 2019 by the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra with a full complement of strings. Sophie Bisson 50 | November 1 - December 13, 2022 thewholenote.com

Romances Inciertos – Un autre Orlando Nino Laisné; François Chaignaud Alborada editions ALB002 (alboradaeditions.com) ! In 2020, choreographer/dancer/ singer François Chaignaud and stage/musical director/arranger Nino Laisné, along with their four virtuoso instrumentalists, recorded this high-quality in-studio release based on their show Romances inciertos, which they have toured internationally since 2017. The three-act dance stage show has Chaignaud and instrumentalists perform on stage together. Un autre Orlando is in three Acts, each featuring a popular traditional Spanish figure respectively – warrior maiden, archangel, and gypsy – set to centuries spanning Spanish musical traditions. The band is a tight musical unit. Opening Act I is Laisné’s arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s tango/pasacalle Tristeza de un doble A (1973) featuring bandoneonist Jean- Baptiste Henry’s calm rendition leading to intensity building of fast virtuosic lyrical lines above the other instruments. Act II’s Nana de Sevilla is a popular cradle song, with Romantic-flavoured instrumental improvisations using rubatos, held strings and fast lines, followed by the popular Baroque Folias, an improvisation driven by Pere Olivé’s percussion beats. Chaignaud also sings falsetto, and normal voice, in select songs like his well-placed lower-pitched vocals-tostrings backdrop by Daniel Zapico (guitar and theorbo) and François Joubert-Caillet (viola da gamba) in the Act III opening 1936 zambra, La farsa monea. Laisné’s arrangement of the popular coplas, La Tarara, closes the show featuring Chaignaud’s emotional higherpitched vocals. Other Spanish musical styles on display include processional marches to Sephardic laments, folk music to zarzuela, all arranged and performed to perfection. This is a successful, timeless leap from theatre stage to a 16-track audio recording! Tiina Kiik CLASSICAL AND BEYOND Being Golden Suzanne Shulman; Erica Goodman Wolftone (shulmangoodman.bandcamp. com/album/being-golden) ! Leading Canadian musicians on their respective instruments, flutist Suzanne Shulman and harpist Erica Goodman first played together in 1972. They’ve since enjoyed illustrious careers, performing with several generations of musicians. To commemorate their abiding musical friendship they commissioned Canadian-Scottish composer Eric N. Robertson to write The Rings to serve as an eight-movement centrepiece of Being Golden, their latest joint flute and harp album. Robertson’s The Rings not only celebrates Shulman and Goodman’s 50th anniversary, but also the golden wedding anniversary of Shulman and her husband Peter. Robertson’s music features colourful arrangements of Scottish rhythms and dances such as reels and strathspeys arranged in a straightforward manner. Geometry of Love (Bells), the title of the final movement, takes an entirely different tack. The strikingly effective interpretation of change ringing (the practice of ringing a set of tuned bells in a sequence) is an outstanding track. The balance of the record is devoted to French repertoire for the two instruments. Eloquently composed short works by “impressionist” composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel follow the retro-sounding and peppy 20th-century works by neoclassicists Jacques Bondon and Jean Françaix. Four pensive works by Ravel defiantly alter the album’s mood, particularly the concluding Deux mélodies hébraïques. Shulman shines in a melismatic near-vocalise in Kaddisch, while the all-too-brief L’énigme éternelle questions the puzzle of existence with bi-tonal passages and a repetitive accompaniment. Is Ravel suggesting that pursuing the topic is futile? Whatever the answer, there’s much to listen to, think about and enjoy here. Andrew Timar Bach Concertos L’Harmonie des saisons; Eric Milnes ATMA ACD2 2853 (atmaclassique.com/en) ! The talented combination of Quebec-born viola da gambist Mélisande Corriveau and American harpsichordist and conductor Eric Milnes is a truly fortuitous one, which 12 years ago resulted in the formation of the Baroque ensemble L’Harmonie des saisons. Founded in Granby, Québec the group has since earned considerable critical acclaim and has appeared at festivals throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and South America, and has been the recipient of two Juno and two Opus awards. This newest recording presenting an all-Bach program is further evidence of the group’s merit. The Concerto for Two Violins BWV1043 and that for solo violin BWV1041 were probably written for a concert series Bach organized What we're listening to this month: thewholenote.com/listening Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle On this new recording from LSO Live, Sir Simon Rattle conducts a new edition of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 by Benjamin- Gunnar Cohrs Scenes in Tin Can Alley: Piano Music of Florence Price Josh Tatsuo Cullen Hear the African American composer and pianist Florence Price at her ""freest and best"" in this collection of newly rediscovered piano miniatures. Présences Lointaines Andrew Zhou Rare gems of the French piano repertoire by Jacquet de la Guerre, Antoine Mariotte, Didier Rotella, and Maurice Ravel Quiver loadbang loadbang releases their fourth album on New Focus, featuring centerpieces by Heather Stebbins and Chaya Czernowin as well as music by ensemble members. thewholenote.com November 1 - December 13, 2022 | 51

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