7 years ago

Volume 6 Issue 3 - November 2000

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' Cover story: AleX

' Cover story: AleX Pauk's Esprit by David Perlman . . The "wallpaper" in our cover photograph' of Esprit Orchestra founder and conductor Alex Pauk tells a big part of our cove.r story. It is, a detail from the marked-up score of a composition titled Trope, by . Canadian co!Ilposer OMAR DANIEL. Commissioned by Esprit, Trope will receive its premier~ performance iri a joint Esprit-Hannaford Street Siiver Band . concert, titled Urban Exchange, at Massey Hall on November 7. Trope is one of four Canadian works-three of them premieres-on the program that night: And the concert is one of seven in the Massey Hall New Music festival-an annual event 1that brings together mariy of the city's practitioners of new music. So, the big story is what? It's not the fact that there are three new works being premiered that night. We live, as , composer Allison. Cameron remarks elsewhere in this issue "in a premiere culture . Yo~ have your work played once, ·then that's it; it goes to the CMC archive." tras. What's noteworthy about Trope . Were it not for Alex Pauk and the and its program partners is not per se Esprit Orchestra, this would likely not be ' that they are premieres. It's ~othings: so. . one, that they are new orchestral works; ' Esprit's legal mandate is expres'sed in and two, that ha\Ting been premiered here, terms as obvious as they are visionary·in they stand a good chance ofbeihg played the company's Letters Patent, filed on again - by Esprit, and, in time as part, of September 13 1985: the "standard repertoire" of other orches- Objects: BE~H TZEDE&ON~REGATION GRACE CHURCH ON•THE•HILL PROUDLY PRESENT T\VO Voices ONE Heart Sunday, November 13, 3 pm MacMillan Theatre Edward Johnson Building 80 Queens Park (behind Planetarium) Adults /Students 488~7884, 'Ext-13 or 781 -351 { Chichester Psalms-, Bernstein · I ,Never Saw Another Butterfty • Davidson Hit the web. Join the future with Linda Maguire @ · to encourage and facilitate the growth of Canadian contemporary music and to promote its . appreciation in · Canada and · ~broad; to promote high standards of music c9mposition; and to maintain excellence in the orchestral performance 'of all " works played or recorded by the . Corporation. . David jaeger has been the product'.r of CBC Radio's.flagship contemporary music , program "Two New Hours" since its · ·inception in 1978 and has a better idea ·than some of the challenge that Alex Pauk was·setting for-himself. · '~I think you can go so far as to say" he told me "that in the late' 7o's and early Bo's orchestral composit~on was closeto' dying out." Things were so dire that a great composer/teacher like John . Weinzweig was telling composition students atthe faculty not to ,bother proposing orchestral projects, because there would be no-one to' play them. "The CBC national radio competition for young composers did not have an orchestral category until 19B8" Jaeger points out, ."and without Esprit I don't think it would even have happened then." · "I think_ you can safely say," he said, "that within English Canada the early activities of Esprit realiy did re~cue · orchestral composition from oblivion." ·So-struck was Jaeger with-Pauk's tenacity and visfon that the CBC has recorded, either on cd or live almost everything that Esprit has performed. . "We may have missed some in the earlier years, and some of the supplementary material, like the ~ave!, which is outside .our mandate, but otherwise it;s all there ~ " \ . .~ . . Alex Pauk in~st have answered questions like mine hundreds of.times over the years-but his answers come out fresh. "The whole idea of the tormation of Esprit was ·as a vehicle for composers to write at their fullest ext~nt for playe~s who would then get to perform the same way. In 1983 when I set about founding it, new . "new music" was at an all time low on the concert map -- a pariah. Esprit led the charge back from this· all time low." · "Ail through these·years," Pauk says, "a core of musicians has' dedicated an extraordinary amount of time to the orchestra that they could well have devoted more lucratively elsewhere -- pit engagements, whatever -- because Esprit. has. consistently pffered them the opportunity and situation to play their best." , : Saturday morning opera chats at 1 Lessons, coachings, consultations E-MAIL Also, don't miss... , 48 Wholenote NOVEMBER 1, 2000 - DECEMBER 7, 2000

That, when you get right down to it, was the breathtaking simpl,icity ofPauk's vision. You put together a ~ ·real orchestra" -a _core of 40-45 musicians all playing the standard instruments in the standard sections. "That way composers are challenged to their fullest expression. And in turn the players get to stretch." Player enjoyment and consequent loyalty over the years has been fundamental to Esprit's success. "You have to understand how much it means to be given the situation to play their best," says Pauk. "With new music, audiences often can't tell whether the music is being played well or badly! but Esprit consistently allows enough rehearsal time for musicians to play properly. And because the instrumentation is standard -- the chances of works being picked up by standard orchestras are hugely increased. "With Esprit, works go on to have lives!" This philosophy extends to works neglected after being commissioned elsewhere, Alex says, and gives as an exampl~ Denis Bouvien's Bass Clarinet Concerto for the Winnipeg symphony. · The pivotal factor in the Esprit equation, though, is the company's record over the years of commissioning new works and then bringing them to performed fruition. "Composers are informed that "the basic premise is to create for an orchestra of classical size and structure" he says. "That's the baseline. If you want to add, fine, but the premise is to create works that will travel and become part of the concert repertoire." On the question of scores, he is similarly flexible. "I'm used to dealing with a wide range of materials. Sometimes a score will come completely laid out, sometimes requiring assembly from the composer's indication of general effect. Esprit does not insist on a compositional vocabulary. We strive to accommodate the composer's means of achieving a statement of intention." Esprit has commissioned well over fifty works in its fifteen years by more than forty composers. Jeff Ryan, one of two TSO affiliate composers this year, talked to me about his first Esprit commission, Pangaea. "I was still at graduate school in Cleveland," he said "And here was my first important commission, back in Canada. I had studied with Alex's wife, Alexina Louie, so I kne~ Esprit's work - the level of playing and commitment. It was daunting. These are people who really play music. So you really push yourself, challenge yourself to do a lot of things, because you know thanhe orchestra i~ capable of doing extraordinarty things in _ L?tta Aliclair M.Mus. Lyric Soprano A rich and warm voice combined with an impeccable presentation! * Available for operas, oratorios, recitals, orchestral works, _etc... · * Great packages for weddings, corporate events or any special occasion! * RCM registered teacher (private lessons for all ages / levels) · *Also offering coaching 1n French diction (416) 630-5786 2000-2001 SUBSCRIPTION SEASON @'elestial 97"u6°'fgs, Sunday, December 3, 2000, 3:00 p.m. George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts Concert features Erica Goodman, harp,,and includes Britten's Ceremony of Carols, Vaughan Wil1iams' Folk Songs of the Four Seasons, and La Montaine"s Wonder Tidings, as well as winning entries of the 14th Christmas Carol and Chanukah Song Writing Competition. .found the g;q,m/.Je.b Wednesday, December 13, 2000 7:30 p.m. Metropolitan United Church, Church arid Queen Streets The Hannaford Street Silver Band joins the Amadeus Choir in a thrilling evening of music for band and choir. Repertoire includes Somer's A Thousand Ages, Locklair's Glor_ia plus .works by Rutter, D. Willcocks and J. Willcocks. Gdwes, p/'the, Gas.b Sunday, AprirB, 2001, 3:00 p.m. George Weston Recital Hall, TorOnto Centre for the Arts with special guests Vesnivka (Ukrainian Women's Choir) Halyna Kvitka Kondracki, Conductor Fall in love with the music of the great choral composers of !;astern and Central Europe. Concert includes Rachmaninoff's Vespers, and works by Golonov and Tchaikovsky. f¥°f!diuat pf-'(J'fwjr,y, Thursday, June 7, 2001, 8:00 p.m. Part of the Chorus America Convention Amadeus Choir, LYDIA ADAMS, Conductor Elmer Iseler Singers, LYDIA ADAMS, Conductor Toronto Children's Chorus Chamber Choir JEAN ASHWORTH BARTLE, Conductor MacMillan Singers, DOREEN RAO, Conductor Single tickets are available through the office of the Amadeus Choir at (416)-446-0188 adults and seniors/students and THE AMADEUS CHOIR. IS GRATEFUL FOR. FUNDING RECEIVED FR.OM THE CANADA COUNCIL, THE ONTAR.10 ARTS COUNCIL AND THE TOR.ONTO AR.TS COUNCIL Tenor and Baritone Choral Leads . beginning January 1st (or earlier} required for Deer Park United Church Choir 129 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto. Good remuneration with excellent music Rehearsals Thursday evening One Sunday morning service Occasion"al concerts Contact WILLIAM WRIGHT (416) 576-7228 or (416). 923-2764 REOPENING IN TORONTO 18 years experience · in shiatsu and massage Hybrid technique allowing for profound states of rest and deepest psychosomatic healing by appoinfmenf 361·1690 NOVEMBER 1, 2000 - DECEMBER 7, 2000 Wholenote 49

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