7 years ago

Volume 7 Issue 10 - July/August 2002

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CONCERT PREP Schubert: String Quintet in C Major, D.956 Ottawa Chamber Music Society CMS Classics CMS-560102 (independent) Julian Armour.'s Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival is to thank for the happy convergence of five of this country's strongest string players (Andrew Dawes, Stephen Sitarski, Guylaine Lemaire, Elizabeth Dolin and Armour himself) in what I believe is the first comme;rcial release of an all-Canadian performance of this work. The piece itself is a masterful combination of many influences on Schubert's unconscious: the chamber works ofBoccherini and Haydn, the melodies and rhythms of Austria and Hungary, the.development techniques of the Classical Era and the overarching themes of longing and regret that Schubert revisited time and again in his works. Tl)ere are many points of view - some contradictory - driving this spirited performance. At every turn, first violinist Andrew Dawes seems to be urging the others to take their time and linger over the sensuous lines, especially in the first two movements. When the tempo picks up - as in the middle section of the second movement and the third and fourth movements ~ ,the ensemble comes alive and plays with vigour and vitality. There's a sense of ethereal mystery that is missing, for all the technical assuredness and precision in the playing; however, it's an .achievement - and represents a great deal of hard work- to rehearse, perform and record this remarkable piece at such a high level. Larry Beckwith Concert and Distribution Note: The Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival features 112 concerts from Ju,ly 27to August IO. Call (613) 234-8008 or visit www. chamberjest . com. While this CD has not yet found major distribution, it is available through the office of the Chamber Music Society and at festival venues. NEW RELEASES Osvaldo Golijov: Yiddishbbuk · St. Lawrence String Quartet with: Ying Quartet; Mark Dresser, double bass, Tara Helen O'Connor, flute; Todd Palmer, clarinet EMI Classics 7 2355 73562 1 The music of Osvaldo Golijov is an express car that stops nowhere near .the neighbourhood of Subtle Gesture, nor ~espects the city limits of Modern Ambiguity. Rather, he paints strokes of deep cultural influence, and with the certainty of his inheritance. If you ask me, it's about time that somebody was certain about the power of music to reveal culture. It's time for somebody to take off, unafraid to steer the whole bull, with a DISCOVERIES firm grip on the horns, and go in an unmistakable direction- even if its tendencies are toward the exoticism of the Jewish cultural inheritanceespecially if it's someone who knows how chamber music works, and someone who's not afraid to wrjte music that has far-reaching meanings and deep resonances in literature and ritual. Osvaldo Golijov is that someone. My take on the Yiddishbbuk, which represents a reconstituted set of Psalms set in a "lost Babylonian mode", is that it's a memorial for the Jewish People of the 20th century. The first movement is a triptych of brutally unfinished gestures (drawing on the poetry and artwork of three doomed children from the concentration camp Terezin, whom Golijov commemorates); the second is an insider's explanation of "Jewish" culture (correlative to Isaac Bashevis Singer's stories from the "ghetto," aimed at the outside world); the third is the fully assimilated voice of Bernstein conducting symphonic Mahler. And all of this masquerading as a simple string quartet! · Golijow relat~s that .his meeting with the St Lawrence String Quartet in 1992 while composing Yiddishbbukwas a prime life-changing instant, greater even than the childhood moment when he heard the Argentine tango player Piazzolla (and stayed up all light in awe). This d_isc also includes Golijov's Last Round, LUilaby and Daina and The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (a klezmer-inspired work featuring clarinetist Todd Palmer). Bravo to the St Lawrence, and all concerned, for painting so boldly and so convincingly! Alan Gasser Editor's note: The St.' Lawrence Quartet recently announced that after 1500 performances with the same personnel, cellist Marina Hoover will play her last concert with the quartet at the Banff Centre for the Arts this summer, following which she will move to the Chicago with her husband and two year old son. "Following an exhaustive search which included candidates from Canada, th~ United States, and Europe Mr. Alberto Parrini has been selected as the new cellist. " Second violinist Barry Shijfman says "We had the luxury of inviting fifteen cellists of exceptional ability to make music informally with us. While every candidate was an interesting musician and highly accomplished cellist, Alberto immediately captured the imagination of the group. His commanding presence, and genuine collaborative spirit have inspired us. We were introduced to Alberto by Joel Krosnick, cellist of the Juilliard Quartet[ .. with whom we worked] during our studies at Juilliard. " Lyricism Catheri.Qe Manoukian Marquis Classics 7 7471-81281-2 6 . Lyricism indeed! But these largely . short, romantic lyric pieces also showcase the violin's-and Manoukian' s- capacity for compelling IDlf e 1l!usit Otlf~mher 217 Danforth Ave. (416) 406-1641 Newand Used Classical and Jazz CDs Sheet Music, Reeds, Strings ,, ,.,....,,. Gifts and Gift ,,~ \t. Certificates JI \~ ~ 34

virtuosity and robust tunefulness. Tchaikovsky, Rachinaninoff, Elgar, Vieuxtemps and Massenet are joined by less familiar composers sufh as Armenians Nova and Babajanian, giving Manoukian the opportunity to engage in some exquisitely ornamental eastern stylings. DISCOVERIES Heifetz's arrangement of Khachaturian's Sabre Dance allows for further display of the violinist's versatility and we find the wonderfully rich and melancholic tones made manifest in the preceding tracks giving way to a more aggressive, husky timbre. The other pieces are played so smoothly that you never hear the bow, but here it is intended that you doand it's entirely appropriate to the spirit of the piece. 21-year-old Manoukian is already in command of her own very individual sound and has a lot going for her: tasteful vibrato, sweet but earthy consistent tone and flawless intonation (even in the cadenza at the end of Tartini 's Devil's Trill sonata, a 15 minute tour de force where fiendishly roaming trills are played in tandem with multiple stopped strings with apparent ease and grace). · Accompanist Satoshi Sando deserves credit here too for his very effective interpretations. Both.players execute these works with great conviction and vigour; their rhythmic timing is such that it is as if they'd been playing together for a quarter century and everything has moved to the realm of pure intuition. If you enjoy lyrical melodies and romantic violin-driven music, don't overlook this disc. Antonio Casciano NAXOS Classics & Jazz ... great selection at outstanding prices Disc-of-the-month -111c;\f;:1tem:,~t l:eXt...i>S ~~~"' t)l:-;1!'"~~,,,,_,t.:.""f>r-.>!~ ~ .... ,r,.,,,.o....,i.w,; l:':.C-:C•l'" ~''"' B:l."-"-J

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