8 years ago

Volume 5 Issue 3 - November 1999

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • November
  • Theatre
  • Choir
  • Symphony
  • Orchestra
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Bloor
  • Yonge
  • Barrier

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m ...,.......... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~; resident of the USA, whose ~~fA~!?;~;tn~~ calendar by: David CJI.Parsons ==~*-~~ Harvest is in, the weather is colder, the concert season is under way (well, minus the TSO so far!), and for fans of new music November is a veritable cornucopia. BREAKING THE SouND BARRIER Front and centre is the Massey Hall New Music Festival, subtitled 'Breaking the SoWld Barrier'. This is now the fourth year (the second exclusively at Massey Hall) that the city's contemporary music community bas banded together on a festival showcasing the best of Canadian and international compositional creativity. Six very different concerts over six days (November 14-19) promise to make this the best event yet. The Esprit Orchestra heads off the week (November 14) with a gala celebrating one of Canada's greatest contributors to contemporary music literature, the late Harry Somers. Esprit's association with Somers goes back to the orchestra's inception- commissioning and presenting a number of his pieces. For this concert Esprit music director, Alex Pauk, has put together an in-depth look at Somers' unique compositional talent as well as his spirituality. First, a gem that has remained hidden for a number of years, the 'Five Songs for Dark Voice" composed for Maureen Forrester in 1956. Mezzosoprano Jean Stilwell will interpret these haWiting settings of Michael Fram's poems, all concerned with the "inability of the human spirit to encompass the concrete impersonality of the city." Then, a forty-year leap, with a performance by James Parker of the 'Third Piano Concerto'. Premiered by Parker and Esprit in 1996, this virtuosic yet thoughtful concerto has since had several interpretations with different orchestras, and is of Canada's most important contributions to the genre. The evening concludes with a deeply profoWid and moving work, 'Elegy, Transformation, Jubilation" (1981). This piece, with musicians spatially divided into five groups aroWid the stage and on risers of varying heights, features a galaxy of multilayering techniques. The performance will mark the first occasion in which an orchestra has followed the numerous stage and SOWld directions exactly as the composer intended - a kind of posthumous premiere. While the above three pieces are not yet available on commercial CD, there are two albums devoted to Somers' music that readers may wish to explore: 'The Spring of Somers' with the National Arts Centre Orchestra on CBC Records [SMCD 5162], and 'Sacred and Profane 'Evralyi' for solo piano will be Somers', some of his greatest played by Stephen Clarke. choral music SWlg by the Elmer Canadian Michael Oesterle's lseler Siitgers on Centrediscs 'Urban Canticle', a yet-Wltitled [CMC-CD 5495). sextet by Luc Marcel; Lina Next at Massey it's 'Voices on Bouchard's 'Sept Couleurs'; an4' High' when the Hannaford Paul Dolden's Twilight No. I' for Silver Band and the Amadeus violin, cello and tape, complete Choir combine forces November this intriguing progranune. 15. Conductors Bramwell Tovey According to artistic director and Lydia Adams will share the Jennifer Waring, the concert title podium. The concert features reflects the osmotic process two commissioned world between teacher and student, one premieres-J. Scott Irvine's which sees the transfer not only 'Awakenings' and Maestro of techniques but of aesthetic 1i • 'R · Mas fi th elements as well. In this case, ovey s equlem s or e Oesterle studied with Andriessen Dead', inspired by recent tragic events in the Balkans. Other repertoire includes 'Fanfare No. 1 for the Uncommon Woman' by Joan Tower of the USA, 'Reconciliation' by Canadian Steven Chatman, 'Lamentations of Jeremiah' by Argentinian Alberto Ginestera, and the North American premiere of British composer Tim Souster's 'Echoes for brass band and live electronics'. The evening's blend of voices and brass should raise old Massey's rafters. November 16, Continuum changes the mood completely with its eagerly anticipated concert 'Osmosis'. Featured international composers are: Louis Andriessen of the Netherlands, whose'Dubbelspoor' for harpischord, piano, celesta and glockenspiel gets a welcome while Marcel was a student of Xenakis. Marcel describes his brand new work as atmospheric, "I use Wiusual instruments like a wind machine, a siren, bird whistles and, of course, the harpsichord to create something of an abstracted baroque qUality." 'Twilight No. I' is also a Continuum commission, and Paul Dolden has described the impetus · for its creation. "I've gone from enfant terrible to sentimental old man in five years. Rather than using rhythm, timbre or texture as the starting point, I now lool.c , to melodic design to provide the narrative." He adds that this represents the "beginning of a period of intimacy, of informed naivete" in his work. Provocative repertoire, evocative 'Pierrot LWiaire' instrumentation, and top-notch performers _ Ann Thompson

(flute), Peter Stoll (clarinet), Mark Fewer (violin), Paul Widner (cello), Stephen Clarke (piano), Ryan Scott (percussion) and Rosemary Thomson ( conductor) l suggest a wealth of delicate shades and intimate moments. Soundstreams Canada joins the Festival for the first time November 17, bringing into the programming mix its distinctive 'Encounters' formula that pairs a Canadian and international composer on the same concert. In this case we hear three works each by two distinctive and rising stars, Denys Bouliane (Canada) and Pascal Dusapin (France). Bouliane, who also serves as the evening's conductor, has been described as stylistically at a crossroads between America and Europe, modernity and postmodernity. Dusapin, making his Canadian debut, displays a 'playful' quality as well as inspirations from Classical literature and mythology. "What makes it an interesting pairing," says artistic director Lawrence Cherney, "is that each in his own way reflects the French musical tradition, approached from quite different · vantage points. The concert utilizes 13 musicians, but in small, highly unusual combinations, resulting in extraordinary orchestrations, colours and textures. The result is a tremendous variety." The offerings by Dusapin include 'Aks' (1987), based on a Provenoal folk song; 'Comoedia' ( 1993) for soprano and chamber ensemble with a text from Dante's Divine Comedy, and 'Cascando' (1997) for chamber ensemble. featured by Bouliane are the sensual 'Des caresses' (1994) played by Robert Cram (flute); 'Manche haben Trompinetten, a tour-de-force for soprano and bass clarinet interpreted by Valdine Anderson and Lori Freedman; and the acrobatic ' Trois petits simiodrames' (1990) Denys Bouliane can be sampled on two CDs, 'La Musique du Realisme Magique', volumes I and IT (SNE 543 I 567), while Pascal Dusapin has several recordings out including two operas, 'Medeamaterial' [HAM 7905215] and 'Romeo and Juliet' (ACCO 201162). Pehaps the best introduction to his work is the collection performed by the Acctoche Note Ensemble, 'Music ofDusapin' [ACCO 204582). November 18 then sees two backto-hack concerts featuring TSO musicians and the Elmer Iseler Singers on the same stage. 'Classic Jntros' at 6:45 PM will present Christopher Butterfield's 'Jappements a Ia lune' and Joan Tower's 'Noon Dance'. Butterfield's piece for mezzosoprano and 9 instruments is a setting of sound poems by Montreal writer Claude Gauvreau that eschew the use of conventional language. It is available on the CD 'Tree Line' [MVCD 1109) with the Vancouver New MusicEnsemble. Meanwhile, Tower is a guest international artist during this Festival, and she is heard again on the 8:00 PM programme, when the TSO and concertmaster Jacques Israelievitch perform her 'Concerto for Violin'. This rhapsodic fantasy for violin and orchestra is also available on a recording for interested listeners to explore'[DNC 1016]. The concert opens with Paul Steenhuisen's 'Airstream', a TSO commission and world premiere. Steenhuisen is one of two Affiliate Composers with the orchestra this year, and describes his work as a "fleeting caprice of juxtaposed ideas." The Iselers offerings are Claude Vivier's '0! Kosmos', · Jeffrey Ryan's 'Ecce Homo', and a work connecting old with new - Praetorius/Sandstrom's 'Es ist ein Ros Entsprungen'. Then, the TSO joins the choir for the world-premiere performance of Harry Somers' fmal work, 'A Thousand Ages'. Somers worked on this piece for boy solo, male choir and orchestra with electroacoustics, right up to his fmal days. This will be a unique opportunity to hear the last musical thoughts ofone of this country's greatest artists. Last, the TSO will give its second performance ever of Gary Kulesha's 'Symphony'. Kulesha seems to enjoy setting himself compositional challenges. In this, his largest orchestral work, whole sections are placed against each other in opposing meters and tempi, necessitating two conductors in performance. The ·composer's anticipation as to how these independently moving materials will interact, and ability to make them connect into an effective musical whole, results in a fascinating and Hear & Now continues ... ~ M U S I C eoeeooo NOVEMBER 1999 Tuesday November 2 CCMC FREE Wednesday November 3 SINE NOMINE 1 Thursday November 4 THE MUSIC OF DAVID TREVIS Friday November 5 SIMON DOCKING 1 Saturday November 6 LINDA SHUMAS / Sunday November 7 LES DIABOL/QUES 1 Tuesday November 9 CCMC FREE Wednesday November 10 GRAEWEIREIJSEGERIHEMINGWAY / Friday November 12 DE CONSTRUCTING TIINA 1 Saturday November 13 RENEE CLAUDE Sunday November 14 TALKING PICTURES FREE Tuesday November 16 CCMC FREE Thursday November 18 TSA ARTIST LECTURE SERIES 6PM Friday November 19 VOX THEATRE 1 Saturday November 20 ROBERT MINDEN DUO / Sunday November 21 STAR OF DAVID / Tuesday November 23 CCMC FREE Friday November 26 LILISON Friday+Saturday November 27+28 GRAEME KIRKLAND NEW WORKS 99 1 179 Richmond Street West (west of University)Concert tix and info: 416.204.1080 All shows SPM unless otherwise noted. The lower of two ticket prices for an event applies to artists, students and seniors. Check in at Radio Music Gallery with Christina Jol and Bruce Russell, Friday, lOAM FAX: 416.204.1084 EMAIL:

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