8 years ago

Volume 7 Issue 10 - July/August 2002

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Death and the Maiden

Death and the Maiden Quartets by Franz Schubert, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Rebecca Clarke Lafayette String Quartet CBC Musica Viva MVCD 1149 The latest disc from Victoria's Lafayette Quartet features Schubert's great D minor quartet, Death and the Maiden, along with Fanny Mendelssohn's quartet in E­ flat major, and a single movement of an unfinished quartet by Rebecca Clarke. The rationale for combining this particular pillar of the string quartet literature with two unjustly neglected pieces by women composers (the Mendelssohn, completed in 1834, was not published until 1988; the Clarke, from 1926, remains unpublished) seems to have to do with the artistic deaths historically suffered by women composers. Perhaps it is quibbling to point out that death in the Schubert is a seducer. · Title aside, the Lafayette Quartet makes a compelling case for these two works. The Mendelssohn bears a family resemblance to he~ brother's quartets in.its melodic grace and lightness of sonority; but it is bracingly innovative in both structure and hamiony. The Clarke is more intense, in the late Romantic ·style, with the composer's characteristic intelligence and clarity of structure. It is variously titled Poem and "4th movement"; one can only wish she had completed the other three. The Lafayettes' reading of the Schubert is perhaps more sombre than seductive, but convincing nonetheless. Their sound could use a bit more strength on the bottom end at critical moments'(especially from viola), but overall it is sweet and smooth. The programme notes, by Robert Jordan, are excellent. / Mary McGeer L'lnvitati~n au Voyage: HeL i Duparc - Melodies Catherine Robbin, mezzo; Gerald Finley, baritone; 36 I Stephen Ralls, piano CBC Musica Viva MVCD 1148 When thinking of French art song, unlike Faure, Debussy and Poulenc, Henri Duparc does not immediately come to mind. In fact, it seems we are fortunate to have the opportunity to hear these melodies at all. The pieces reflect the composer's own deeply emotional and fragile psychological state: Duparc was such a perfectionist that he ct'estroyed many of the songs he composed, and even attempted to wipe out all evidence of some of the songs included on this recording. Yet these rare gems are positively brilliant in their ability to WORTH REPEATING Gr~at Coµductors of the 20th Century: Ferenc Friesay Various Orchestras EMI 72435 75109 DISCOVERIES - Bruno Walter Various Orchestras EMI 72435 75133 Great Conductors of the 20th Century is to be a series of 60 mid-priced, 2cd sets, each one devoted to a maestro ofnote, the first 15 of which are available now. · Ferenc Fricsay (1914-1963) was born and educated in Budapest. In the early '50s his recordings with Berlin's RIAS Orchestra attracted the attention of the music world. His many complete Mozart operas and Fidelio with a young Fischer­ Dieskau remain fresh and hiS collaborations with dara Haskil are convey the highly emotional quality . treasures. of the poetic texts chosen. For me, this is the most interesting album of the initial offering in this outstanding series. Here are eight unreleased recordings. From Berlin, seven 'live' studio tapings: a ravishing Sorcerer's Apprentice, a Shostakovich Ninth Symphony, Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis, Johann Strauss' Kunstlerleben, Beethoven's Lei;mora /II and an arresting Eroica. The lone Vienna Philharmonic performance, live from Salzburg, is Kodaly's D.ances of Galanta. The sound on this desirable package is clean, dynamic·and The selections ion the disc begin as gentle explorations of romantic audience free. The stamp of a great longing, soon giving way to the high ~onductor is on every piece. drama of horses at high speed (Le Bruno Walter (1876-1962) enjoyed Galop), young lovers in flight (La a recording career that extended Fuite) and the dark nature from the acoustic era to stereo. Often criticized for wearing his heart of romantic obsession (Le Manoir de Rosamonde). Accompaniments, on his sleeve, he was, nevertheless, (handled so well by pianist Stephen responsible for a multitude of exciting recordings. Ralls) for these more intense pieces recall those of Liszt and Schubert Here are nine works, including excerpts from Die Walkure with the (think Erlkonlg). And Wagnerian influences are especially apparent in VPO featuring Melchior, Lotte La Vague et la Cloche when a dream Lehmann, et al, recorded in 1935, transports the singer from the darkness of the sea to the tolling of a bell. VPO Pastoral from 1936. Walter's Haydn's Oxford Symphony and a Elegy, Testament and Lamento explore intense depths of grief. Others, acknowledged with the inclusion of personal connection with Mahler is such as Extase, Phidyle and Serenade Florentine, are simply phony (VPO 1938) and one song from the Adagietto from .the Fifth Sym­ gotgeous. Kindertotenlieder with Kathleen It is a delight to hear this repertoire shared by ·mezzo Catherine BUT the 1953 Brahms Second Ferrier. Robbin and baritone Gerald Finley Symphony with the New York Philharmonic alone is worth the price of . who provide impeccable realizations of this exquisite collection. the whole album. You may never Dianne Wells hear a version as exhilarating and focused. Bruce Sunees Turina:' Danzas Fantasticas Alma Petchersky CBC Musica Viva MVCD 1123 Following her fine recording of Spanish composers Albeniz, Granados and Falla (ASV CDQS6079), Alma Petchersky, an Argentinian pianist now based in Toronto, tackles Joaquin Turina on her latest. CD. Like his fellow countrymen, Turina sought to create a pure Spanish idiom using traditional folk rhythms and melodies. This is apparent in Mujeres Espafloles, where Tlirina uses songs and dances from various regions.of Spain to create eight delightful portraits. The longest of these, La Andaluza Sentimental, features gorgeous Andalusian melodies and exquisite flamenco rhythms. These are filtered through impressionist harmonies and diaphanous textures, testimony to the composer's years in France with d'lndy, Debussy and Ravel. Petchersky is particularly effective in expressing the constant shifts in mood, which range from vivacious to tenderly nostalgic. · The large-scale Sanlucar de Barrameda is a terrific piece filled with my,stery, passion, and exuberance. Petchersky conveys these sensibilities superbly. Her dramatic range of colours and textures makes this music throb with vitality. Petchersky's expansive phrasing and lyrical inflections in the two Danz/ls Fantasticas, tellingly entitled Exaltation and Orgia, add a poetic dimension to these two movements, which became popular in Turina's later orchestrations. Turina, unlike his contempo~es, has not quite received his due'. These compelling performances should go a long way towards rectifying that. Pamela Margles INDIE LIST Barrel of Keys - Piano Duos & Solos Dick Hyman &.Louis Mazetier Jazz Connaisseur JCCD 0140-2 (distributed by: Sackville Recordings 416 465-9093) Earlier this year I was at the March Of Jazz in Clearwater, Florida www.the wholenote.c om July 1 - -September 7 2002

where Dick Hyman and Louis Mazetier mesmerized the audience. This CD, recorded in Switzerland five months earlier, gives you the opportunity to hear the sort of musical magic that these two superb musicians produce together. The old hand, (or should that be hands), is Dick Hyman, the incomparable musical chameleon of jazz piano. For almost fifty years he has been the pianist you automatically think of when it comes to versatility and is as close to the ultimate musician as anyone I know. He studied at Columbia University, and subsequently played with more jazz greats than I can possibly list here. But it was his years of experience working as a studio musician in the 1950s, shifting styles from one show to the next, which developed his amazing skills. Louis Mazetier; now in his early 40s is a great stride pianist, in the tradition of Fats Waller, James P. Johnson and Willie "the Lion" Smith. He studied classical piano, but as a teenager first heard Fats Waller on a record. He learned the tune by ear and was hooked! Mazetier, who combines piano playing with his work as a radiologist in Paris, performs throughout Europe and the U.S. As for the music on this CD, it is a joy to listen to, including classics like Pork And Beans by Lucky Roberts, a couple of originals, and interesting treatments of Tadd Dameron's Good Bait and Dizzy Gillespie's Groovin' High. Add some blues and some rarely, if ever, heard old pop tunes and you have some idea of the flexibility possessed by these two great pianists. I thoroughly recommend this recording to anyone interested in the traditions of jazz piano. Jim Galloway Voices on High Hannaford Street Silver Band; Amadeus Choir Bramwell Tovey and Lydia Adams, conductors Opening Day ODR 9342 The recording of symphony orchestras is in decline these days and the major labels seem to be afraid to touch anything that has the phrase "new music" attached to it. What then is the fan of large ensemble music to do? Get this CD! Voices On High contains just five DISCOVERIES works, but they are significant ones indeed. Not only does the recording feature the HSSB and Amadeus Choir together, it also pairs the band with violinist Marie Berard (in a concerto for the surprising combination of violin and brass band by Henry Kucharzyk), taped environmental sounds (J. Scott Irvine's Awakenings) and synthesized textures (in Harry Somers' final work A Thousand Ages). Awakenings opens the CD. I've come across a number of discs that use Irvine's works as openers, and it's easy to hear why. His writing is always attractive and fresh. Reconciliation by Stephen Chatman is a musical setting of a Walt Whitman text. The work uses the male chorus of the Amadeus Choir and the sumptuous solo flugelhom of Stuart Laughton to produce a hauntingly beautiful sound. The centrepiece of the album is the six movement Requiem For A Charred Skull by Bramwell Tovey. The composer utilizes the full resources and colour available within the band and choir most skillfully. Everything about Voices On High is absolutely top-notch. The sound quality is spectacular, the performances flawless. I highly recommend this CD! Merlin Williams Voices Daniel D' Adamo Musique Fram;aise d' Aujourd'hui MFA216039 Daniel Augusto D' Adamo is a 36 year-old Argentinian-born composer developing smoothly into France's new music scene. Voices, his first monograph CD, clearly outlines the path through the music chain of Boulez to Manoury to D' Adamo, yet with shadows of additional and more personal rhythmic writing that gives the music its most interesting colours. Not coincidentally, shadows figure prominently in his thinking and

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