8 years ago

Volume 4 Issue 6 - March 1999

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1 0 M-Bxc••' '99 .

1 0 M-Bxc••' '99 . Toronto's Contemporary Music Calendar MARcH'S NEW MUSIC RUNS THE GAMUT (LIKE TilE WEATI-IER) BY DAVID G. H. PARSONS . The new music scene could be said to encompass both the lions and lambs of March, plus a range of wildlife in between. There is a little something for everyone this month. Once again, Hear & Now offers several advance listening suggestions for concerts listed in the column. (Canadian titles can be acquired at the Canadian Music Centre, where you can also explore repertoire in the Library's listening rooms.) The Toronto Children's Chorus is celebrating its 20tlt rumiversary tlus year, marking tlte occasion by a series of exchanges witlt choirs from · around the world. On March 5 and 7 tlte TCC Chrunber Choir combines forces witlt tlte Srut Francisco Girls Chorus and tlte Amabile Youtlt Singers for a programme titled "California Drerunin" at tlte Gleim Gould Studio. Canadian composers Eleanor Daley, Harry Freedman, Jolm Govedas, Stephen Hatfield, Ramona Luengen, David Macintyre, and Healey Willan are featured by the TCC and Amabile choirs; while the American group presents works by many contemporary composers, including a number of their compatriots: Conte, Holmes, Karai, Macha, Mellnas, Rautavaara, and Schickele. All three ensembles join forces for pieces by Gustav Holst, Michael Hurd, Randall Thompson and Howard Cable. "The Srut Francisco choir is also celebrating their 20th," says Heather Wood, TCC general manager, "and they are one of the best treble choirs in the world. This just seemed a wonderful opportunity to get together." The TCC is well represented on disc, and their recent title "My Heart Soars" (Marquis Classics) is a superb collection of their best Cru1adian repertoire. In addition, composers Hatfield (Missa: Our Lady of t11e Snows) and Daley (Requiem) can be heard on "Awake, My Heart: A Gallery of Canadian Choral Music" by tl1e Bell' Arte Singers ofToronto. One of tl1e great operas of the 20th century gets a welcome hearing on March 5, 6, 12 ru1d 13 when the Opera Division at tl1e . Faculty of Music, University of Toronto presents Poulenc's staggering Dialogues des Cannelites. This moving tale of the order of nuns sent to the guillotine during the Reign of Terror is conducted by Stephen Ralls and directed by Michael Patrick Albano. Concert goers encountering tl1e tragic and bloodthirsty work for the first time cru1 check out two available CDs - but the older EMI recording starring Rita Goer (who appeared as the old prioress in the COC's 1997 production), not to mention the radiant Regine Crespin, is especially fine. It's "All New" - the Esprit Orchestra on March 9 presents

three Canadian world premieres by Canadians Paul Dol den, Chris Paul Hannan and Alex Pauk, as well as a brand new work by Gennan composer Klaus Hinrich Staluner. Erica Goodman is the soloist for composer/conductor Alex Pauk's Concerto for Harp and Orchestra. · Surprisingly, the harp part was created first and can stand alone as an wtaccompanied work. "This is not a typical concerto in the 19th century sense of a dramatic conflict between individual and group," says the composer. "htstead, the harp part is 'embraced' by the orchestra, ' and the ensemble enhances and . supports the soloist's material.". Unconventional approaches to composing are extended in Chris Paul Hannan's Axle, which is actually built from the musical material found in Pauk's work. Hannan has derived his ideas from the sketches for the concerto, in a process he describes as akin to "musicogenetic cell splicing and engineering". "I don't know yet what Chris has done," says Pauk, "the only restriction provided was that he not use a harp in the orchestration. ht the end, our works may remain forever fused - rather like siamese twins in a David Cronenberg film!" Paul Dolden's Resonant Twilight for orchestra and computer electronics extends some of the techniques from his previous work for Esprit, TI1e Heart Tears Itself Apart with the Power oflts Own Muscles, although it promises a Itlore atmospheric and impressionistic quality. Lastly, Klaus Hinrich Staluner's May they come, may they disembark, may they stay and rest awhile in peace, takes·its inspiration from Henry Miller's book "Colossus of Marouss". Esprit is well represented on CD (four titles on CBC Records), with Hannan's Iridesence found on their recording of the same name. TI1e rising young composer h~s just been nominated for a 1999 JUNO Award for his Sonata for Viola and Piano, recorded by Rivka Golani on Centrediscs. Paul Dolden's explorations of electronics with acoustic instruments can be heard on several discs, with two titles devoted entirely to his music -·"The Threshold of Deafening Silence" (Ironia Disc) and "L'ivresse de Ia vitesse" (IMED). Down Here On Earth - a dark, disturbing experimental music theatre piece set in a nightmarish, abandoned urban landscape - is being remounted at Harbourfront's du Maurier .Theatre for two shows only (March 19, I :30 and 8:00 PM), prior to moving on for a run in Montreal.. Created by Victoria Ward (librettist) and Rainer Wiens (composer), and directed by Thom Sokoloski, Down Here On Earth delves into the interior worlds pf two homeless characters, Red and Mercy, who are trapped by their memories of.a mysterious lost child. An exceptionally challenging vocal work, it requires perfonners with solid backgrounds in extended voice techniques. Richard Armstrong, Fides Krucker and Susanna Hood reprise their roles in this revised production, three singers who were more than capable of negotiating the hair- Hear & Now continues page 12

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