6 months ago

Volume 28 Issue 5 | April & May 2023

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  • Thewholenotecom
  • Festival
  • Quartet
  • Theatre
  • Jazz
  • Conductor
  • Symphony
  • Violin
  • Orchestra
  • April
  • Toronto
April and May is Canary Time in the world of WholeNote -- the time when choirs in larger than usual numbers refresh the info in our online "Who's Who" to inform prospective choristers and audiences what they have to offer. Also inside: There's a new New Wave to catch at Esprit; Toronto Bach Festival no 6 includes a Kafeehaus; another new small venue on the "Soft Seat Beat" (we assume the seats are soft!); an ever-so Musically Theatrical spring. And more.

of Wales conducted by

of Wales conducted by Vimbayi Kaziboni (Nimbus Records NI8109 The nine solo works to date range from 1995’s Incantation to three works from 2016. The CD’s title track from 2008 is intimately linked with the concerto, being essentially the opening and closing violin sections without the orchestra. Bevilacqua says that this album is the first of “hopefully many projects” championing works that reflect our present instead of our past. Certainly her technical prowess and interpretative skills promise great things ahead. The Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing makes her Sony Classical label debut with Arctic – A Musical Journey with the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra (19439936082 Celebrating the matchless beauty of the largely unexplored regions of Norway and acknowledging the threat posed by climate change, the CD is full of exhilarating melodies and impressively scored soundscapes, combining elements from American film music and European neo-classical music. The former is certainly covered by the one substantial work on the disc, the lush, cinematic six-part Arctic Suite by Los Angeles-based film composer Jacob Shea. The remaining nine tracks, mostly in arrangements by Ben Palmer, are short pieces by Henning Sommero, Frode Fjellheim, Ola Gjeillo, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Selim Palmgren, Ole Bull and James Newton Howard, with Grieg’s The Last Spring closing the disc. It’s all beautifully played and recorded, with Hemsing in superb form. Put two superb musicians together and three standard repertoire sonatas suddenly become anything but routine. So it is on Beethoven, Schumann, Franck: Violin Sonatas, where violinist Renaud Capuçon joins pianist Martha Argerich in thrilling performances of Schumann’s Sonata No.1 in A Minor Op.105, Beethoven’s Sonata No.9 in A Major Op.47 “Kreutzer” and the Franck Sonata in A Major (Deutsche Grammophon 486 3533 The two have performed together for many years, with Capuçon saying that Argerich makes him play “like nobody else makes me play.” Certainly this recital, recorded live in concert at the Aix-en- Provence Easter Festival in April 2022, more than bears that out, with a remarkable final movement of the Franck in particular bringing a stellar recital to an electrifying close. Violinist Manon Galy and pianist Jorge González Buajasán perform an engrossing recital of French music on nuits parisienne, with works by Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc and Milhaud (Aparté AP306 Debussy’s Beau soir and 1917 Violin Sonata open the disc, followed by Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte and the lush and expansive early Violin Sonata M.12 from 1897, not published until 1975. It’s Poulenc and Milhaud who steal the show however, with the former’s 1934 Presto and a welcome reappearance of his fascinating 1942 Violin Sonata setting the stage for Milhaud’s 1937 Brazileira (Scaramouche) and the tour-de-force Cinéma-fantasie (after Le boeuf sur le toit) Op.58b from 1919, a dazzling work that uses fragments of Brazilian songs in a rondo-like structure and includes a huge solo violin cadenza in the middle, apparently contributed by Arthur Honegger. It draws simply fabulous playing from both performers. On the digital-only release Mozart Sonatas for Piano and Violin Vol.2 violinist Claudio Cruz and pianist Olga Kopylova perform six of the mature sonatas Mozart wrote between 1778 and 1781 (Azul Music AMDA1813 The title reflects the developmental stage of the sonata at the time, with the violin not yet the main protagonist. The piano is certainly much to the fore here, with a warm tone and minimal resonance, but the balance never suffers; more importantly, there is beautifully judged playing from both performers, with crystal-clear, sensitive and unaffected performances of the Sonatas No.17 in C Major K296, No.24 in F Major K376, No.25 in F Major K377, No.26 in B-flat Major K378, No.27 in G Major K379 and No.28 in E-flat Major K380. Cellist Lionel Handy and pianist Jennifer Walsh are building an impressive discography of British works for cello and piano, their previous CDs of British Cello Music and works by Ireland, Delius and Bax being followed by their latest CD British Cello Works Volume 2 (Lyrita SRCD.412 The works here range from Ethel Smyth’s 1887 Sonata in A Minor Op.5, written in her post-Leipzig study period but not premiered until 1926 in London, to Britten’s Sonata in C Major Op.65 from 1960-61, its five individually-titled movements – Dialogo, Scherzo-Pizzicato, Elegia, Marcia and Moto Perpetuo – giving the work the feel of a suite of characteristic studies. In between are Delius’ 1916 three-part single-movement Sonata and the Armstrong Gibbs Sonata in E Minor Op.132 from 1951, a lovely work that draws particularly attractive playing. On Album for the Lute – Music from the former library of Dr. Werner Wolffheim the lutenist Bernhard Hofstötter has selected a number of characteristic pieces – all but one first recordings – from the handwritten and bound manuscript collection sold at auction in Berlin in 1929, the original context and ownership of which remains unknown (TYXart TXA22172 album-for-the-lute.html). All pieces in the collection are in D major (the “Käyserliche Stimmung” or imperial tuning) as opposed to the characteristic D minor tuning of the Baroque lute. Hofstötter has created three groups of selections – or “partitas” – and separated them with chaconnes in different keys and from other manuscripts. Most of the pieces are anonymous, but composers represented are Achaz Casimir Hültz, Esaias Reusner the Younger, Germain Pinel, Ennemond Gaultier, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and the wonderfully named but otherwise untraceable Jean Berdolde Bernard Bleystein de Prague. Hofstötter’s warm, rich tone and superb technique, together with the clean and beautifully resonant recording, make the 73 minutes of a fascinating recital simply fly by. The free-born African American, Justin Holland (1819-1887), was not only an important figure in the anti-slavery and civil rights movements but also the most influential and significant American guitarist of the 19th century, writing the country’s first published guitar method and publishing some 35 original works and 300 arrangements and variations on popular European and American themes. On Justin Holland Guitar Works and Arrangements the American guitarist Christopher Mallett gives us a fascinating look at a seldom-heard musician (Naxos Classics 8.559924 Only two of the 14 tracks – An Andante in C Major and Variations on L. Mason’s “Nearer My God, to Thee” – are Holland originals, 60 | April & May, 2023

with arrangements varying from standards like ‘Tis the Last Rose of Summer and Henry Bishop’s Home Sweet Home, to traditional pieces and works by little-known names like Alfred Humphreys Pease, Ferdinand Beyer, W. H. Rulison, Alphons Czibulka, Tekla Badarzewska-Baranowska and Alphonse Leduc. Seven tracks are world-premiere recordings. Mallett’s idiomatic playing makes for an immensely enjoyable disc. Vienna was the centre of European musical life in the late-18th and early-19th centuries, and while there were hardly any original works for the rapidly emerging classical guitar there were many arrangements and transcriptions for the instrument. New arrangements of three emblematic works of the period are presented on Mozart Haydn Schubert, with the Bosnian lutenist Edin Karamazov and the Czech guitarist Pavel Steidl playing Karamazov’s transcriptions for two guitars of two keyboard works – Haydn’s Sonata in E-flat Major Hob.XVI:49 from around 1790 and Mozart’s Fantasia in C Minor K475 from 1785 – and Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata D821 from 1824 (Aparté AP309 Both players use modern copies of contemporary instruments, Steidl, a Bernd Kresse guitar after Johann Anton Stauffer and Karamazov, a Gabriele Lodi guitar after René Lacôte. The soft, warm sounds create beautiful and interesting tone colours, and the very effective transcriptions make for a delightful CD. VOCAL William Byrd Stile Antico Decca 485 3951 ( recordings/william-byrd) ! England under Elizabeth I was a dangerous place for Catholics. William Byrd was fined for not attending Anglican services, his movements monitored and restricted owing to his connections with known Catholic dissidents. Yet there’s evidence he received official dispensation to practise his faith, albeit covertly, perhaps because Elizabeth loved music and was a keyboard player herself. Most of the music on this richly rewarding CD comes from Byrd’s later years, all composed for small groups of singers. The main offering is the 26-minute Mass for Four Voices, printed in the late 1590s with no title or composer identified, intended for secret services in clandestine chapels. This gorgeous music is gorgeously sung, from the tender, affectionate Kyrie and Gloria to the earnest, complex Credo, fervently reverent Sanctus- Benedictus and, most strikingly, the haunting Agnus Dei. The CD concludes with the grandiose, 13-minute Tribue Domine for six voices, a work from Byrd’s younger years. The nine shorter selections include examples from Byrd’s publicly issued songbooks, music that appealed to singers and listeners of all persuasions, widely performed and appreciated. I particularly enjoyed the elegiac Retire, my soul, the jubilant Gaudeamus omnes, the prayerful Turn our captivity (Psalm 126) and the celebratory Laudate Dominum (Psalm 117). The 12-member, London-based Stile Antico, performing without a conductor, has won raves from its worldwide tours and numerous awards for its recordings; this latest CD will RAPHAËL FEUILLÂTRE VISAGES BAROQUES New Album | Available March 31 LISTEN April & May, 2023 | 61

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