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Volume 29 Issue 1 | September 2023

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Bridges & intersections: Intersections of all kinds in the issue: the once and future Rex; philanthropy and music (Azrieli's AMPs); music and dance (TMChoir & Citadel + Compagnie); Baroque & Romantic (Tafelmusik's Beethoven). also Hugh's Room crosses the Don; DISCoveries looks at the first of fall's arrivals; this single-month September issue (Vol. 29, no.1) bridges summer & fall, and puts us on course for regular bimonthly issues (Oct/Nov; Dec/Jan; Feb/Mar, etc) for the rest of Volume 29. Welcome back.


STRINGS ATTACHED TERRY ROBBINS Violinist Tianwa Yang and pianist Nicholas Rimmer are absolutely superb on the incredibly challenging George Antheil Violin Sonatas Nos.1-4, a recital of remarkable music by the New Jersey-born pianist/composer who left America for Europe as a 21-year-old in 1922 intent on becoming “noted and notorious” – and succeeded (Naxos 8.559937 CatalogueDetail/?id=8.559937). Antheil met Stravinsky in Berlin and in 1923 followed him to Paris, where the first three sonatas were written, commissioned by Ezra Pound for his mistress, the American violinist Olga Rudge. Sonata No.1 shows the unmistakable influence of Stravinsky’s Les Noces (premiered the night Antheil arrived in Paris) and the earlier Rite of Spring. The single-movement Sonata No.2 is a dazzling collage of ragtime, popular melodies and folk songs. Stravinsky’s influence is back, albeit with a more melodic feel, in Sonata No.3, also a single movement. Sonata No.4 is from 1947, long after Antheil had moved back to the United States. Although built on Baroque and classical forms the rhythmic, mechanistic style of his Parisian sonatas is still discernible. In 2021/22 the American violinist Maria Ioudenitch won first prize at the Ysaÿe International Music Competition and both the Tibor Varga and Joseph Joachim International Violin Competitions, the latter also landing her the Warner Classics Prize that led to her debut Songbird CD with pianist Kenny Broberg (Warner Classics 5419737407 mariaioudenitch. com/listen). Her “journey through song” is a selection of short works by Robert and Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, Nadia Boulanger, Amy Beach, Tchaikovsky, Medtner, Rachmaninoff, Glinka and Richard Strauss. The one substantial work is Schubert’s four-movement Fantasie in C Major D934. Theresa Pilsl is the soprano on the Strauss song Morgen. Technically flawless, Ioudenitch draws a huge tone from the 1691 Pietro Guarneri of Mantua violin, her sweeping phrasing imbued with deep musicality and subtle nuances. On All Roads, the Shea-Kim Duo of violinist Brendan Shea and pianist Yerin Kim explore music by composers connected to the city of Vienna “in increasingly distant ways” (Blue Griffin Recording BGR643 shea-kimduo. com/shop-1). Beethoven moved there from Bonn; a beautifully expressive performance of his Sonata for Piano and Violin No.3 in E-flat Major Op.12 opens the disc. Robert Schumann is represented by his Sonata for Violin and Piano No.1 in A Minor Op.105. Alfred Schnittke also lived in Germany but studied in Vienna; included here is his Suite in the Old Style. The final work is the Romance Op.23 by the American Amy Beach, whose tenuous link to Vienna is that she apparently “visited once.” Warm, stylish playing, fine ensemble and a lovely recording quality make for a highly enjoyable disc. On The Living American the excellent violinist Timothy Schwarz continues to champion American music with a diverse collection of works by seven of today’s leading American composers, including five recording premieres; the pianist is Charles Abramovic (Albany Records TROY1930 There are three solo violin works: Fantasia on Lama badaa yatasana by Steven Sametz; Jessie Montgomery’s Rhapsody No.2; and Reena Esmail’s Raag Charukeshi from Drashan, a blend of Indian and Western classical music that explores grief in various forms. The third movement of Jennifer Higdon’s String Poetic is here, as is Avner Dorman’s wide-ranging single movement, Sonata No.1. The three entertaining pieces by musical theatre composer/pianist Joseph Goodrich were written for and premiered by Schwarz, as was the Sametz work and the final work on the CD, Denis DiBlasio’s Australian Sketches, in which the duo is joined by bassist Douglas Mapp and drummer Doug Hirlinger. Cellist John-Henry Crawford and pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion celebrate the composer’s 150th anniversary on Voice of Rachmaninoff, an album that explores the vocal nature of his music through original works and transcriptions (Orchid Classics ORC100241 The Cello Sonata in G Minor Op.19 anchors a recital that includes transcriptions of the Vocalise Op.34 No.14, two songs, a piano Prelude, the 19th variation from the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Fritz Kreisler’s arrangement of the theme from the slow movement of the Piano Concerto No.2. Crawford’s warm cello sound is perfectly suited to Rachmaninoff’s expansive, long-breathed melodies, ably supported by Asuncion in the often extremely difficult piano parts. What we're listening to this month: Variation David Rogosin New Brunswick pianist David Rogosin explores the ways a musical theme can be transformed, tracing an arc spanning 400 years of composition. Around Baermann Maryse Legault & Gili Loftus Around Baermann is Montreal clarinetist Maryse Legault’s love letter to one of the most formative players and developers of early clarinet technique and repertoire. 38 | September 2023

It’s a digital-only release and fairly brief at just under 25 minutes, but Shostakovich/ Prokofiev – Violin Duos with violinists Julia Fischer and Kirill Troussov and pianist Henri Bonamy is well worth a listen (Orchid Classics ORC100234 The Shostakovich work is his Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano, short miniatures in a much more light-hearted vein than is often the case with this composer. The Prokofiev is his Sonata for Two Violins, a typically spiky but tuneful work with a high degree of difficulty. An interesting trivia note: Troussov’s violin is the 1702 “Brodsky” Stradivarius that Adolph Brodsky played at the December 1881 premiere of the Tchaikovsky concerto. The booklet essay for the Escher String Quartet CD of quartets by Leoš Janáček and Pavel Haas notes that while programmatic and autobiographical quartets date back to Beethoven nowhere have they been more prominent than in the Czech lands, and the three works here are all of a highly personal nature (BIS 2670 SACD Janáček’s voice in his later compositions is unmistakable, overflowing with raw emotion and passion. His 1923 String Quartet No.1 “Kreutzer Sonata” was inspired by Tolstoy’s novella about marriage and adultery, but it’s in his 1928 String Quartet No.2 “Intimate Letters” that his unrequited love for the much younger Kamila Stosslova finds full expression, perfectly captured by the Escher Quartet. The 1925 String Quartet No.2 “From the Monkey Mountains” by Pavel Haas recalls a memorable stay in the beautiful Czech Moravian Highlands, with reminiscences of an early love affair. Colin Currie handles the ad lib percussion part in the remarkable A Wild Night final movement. Two glorious chamber works are featured in outstanding performances on Mozart String Quintets K515 & 516, with violist Antoine Tamestit joining the Quatuor Ébène (Erato 5419721332 release/mozart-string-quintets). The two quintets, No.3 in C Major and No.4 in G Minor were written a month apart in April and May of 1787, with the extra viola – a favourite instrument of the composer’s – adding a warmth and richness to the heart of the music. The release blurb refers to K515 as being “radiant and energetic, exuding elegance and grace,” which is also a perfect description of the playing here, which gets to the emotional heart of this remarkable music. Beautifully recorded, it makes you wish for a complete set of the five mature quintets. The Japanese violinist Fumika Mohri is the soloist in the Violin Concertos Opp.2 & 7 by Mozart’s exact contemporary the remarkable Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, with the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice under Michael Halás (Naxos 8.574452 CatalogueDetail/?id=8.574452). The Concerto in G Major Op.2 No.1 and the Concerto in D Major Op.2 No.2 were published in Paris in 1773, and the Concerto in A Major Op.7 No.1 and the Concerto in B-flat Major Op.7 No.2 in 1777, although issues with the sources suggest a much earlier composition date. The editions here are by Allan Badley, who also wrote the excellent booklet notes. Comparison with Mozart is perhaps inevitable, but these showcases for Saint-Georges’ virtuoso technique are attractive and engaging works, described by Badley as “rich in melodic invention and displaying at times a striking degree of originality.” Performances are beautifully judged throughout a delightful CD. Beethoven and Beyond is the impressive Deutsche Grammophon debut CD by the young Spanish violinist Mária Dueñas, recorded live in Vienna’s Musikverein with the Wiener Symphoniker under Manfred Honeck (4863512 beethoven-and-beyond-dueas-12950). Dueñas says that in the Beethoven concerto “you have to reveal yourself. And that can only be done through sound.” And what a sound she produces: a crystal clear, bright and glowing tone full of warmth. All three cadenzas are her own, but she cleverly ends the CD with terrific performances of first movement cadenzas by Spohr, Ysaÿe, Saint-Saëns, Wieniawski and Kreisler for fascinating comparison, filling out the recital with an original work by each composer. Ysaÿe’s Berceuse Op.20 and Kreisler’s Liebeslied are from the live concert; Saint-Saëns’ Havanaise Op.83, Wieniawski’s Légende Op.17 and Spohr’s Adagio from his Symphonie concertante No.1 with harpist Volker Kempf are studio recordings. Breaking Barriers Carlos Bastidas Enjoy listening to this Classical music album by Canada's most diverse professional orchestra. Works by Mozart, Host, Bach and Vivaldi. Femmes de légende Élisabeth Pion A highly personal debut solo piano album featuring works by three giants of the 20th century: Debussy, Dutilleux, Lili Boulanger and Pion's first creation. Saint-Saëns Duos for Harmonium & Piano Miloš Milivojević & Simon Callaghan The performers hope that the modern classical accordion will help these delightful pieces be performed more & gain the widest audience. And the Lord Hath Taken Away The Holy Gasp is a 65-minute double album, composed for an orchestra of 45 musicians and vocalists, that delves into The Book of Job. Cinematic. Powerful. Unforgettable. September 2023 | 39

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