8 years ago

Volume 7 Issue 10 - July/August 2002

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DISCOVERIES wntmg, as evinced by Artaud as quoted in his liner notes. "Every true effigy has its shadow, its double; and art descends only once the sculptor giving it form thinks to free a kind of shadow, the haunting existence of which will now prevent him from any rest." From the outset, Voices reveals the impeccable orchestration and high level of craft common on the Parisian contemporary music scene, albeit suffering at times from ineffectively directed harmonic rhythm. With Die runde Zahl (scored for Les Percussions de Strasbourg), D'Adamo begins to make his most vital musical statements. Literally surrounding his public with relentlessly fluttering contrapuntal metal or wooden pitched percussion lines and trills, it evokes a sextet of shimmying hummingbirds. Cceli et terrce, for Double Bass and Bass Saxophone, bursts forth with similar rhythmic vitality, this time in the form of short, disparately bopping figures in relatively sequential variation. In these more acutely detailed rhythms, D' Adamo moves subtly beyond the expected stylistic boundaries. Composed at IRCAM, d'Omhra I, for Bass Clarinet and live electronics (processing of the clarinet part in real time) reviews D'Adamo's ideas on the shadow and deformity. Its successor, d'Omhra //, is perhaps the most elegant - both the conceptual counterpart of its predecessor, and a more comfortable implementation of the studied harmonic and sinewy gestural worlds of the opening work. Paul Steenhuisen Americas Lynn Harting-Ware, guitar; Jim Wallenberg, violin Acoma GXD 5736 Fernando Sor to the timeless and familiar charms of Harting' s own arrangements of four well-known Celtic melodies in her Folksong Suite and her affectionate set of seven Variations on 0 Canada! Music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras is well represented by the reflective guitar Fantasia by John Dowland and Harting's arrangerangement of the noble Prelude and Fugue in a minor (BWV 894-895) by J.S. Bach. The remainder of the album is devoted to more challenging fare from our own times. Clifford Crawley's fine Phantasia lends a delicate Spanish tinge to the theme of the album, while Aris Carastathis' Four Vignettes lends a bracing dose of international modernism to the proceedings. Toronto Symphony violinist Jim Wallenberg contributes mightily to the success of the closing works on this disc. Peter Ware's contemplative essay, Chama 'The Eagle and the Plumed Serpent', originally scored for two flutes and piano, has been quite convincingly transformed here into duet form. Robert Rollin's American Variations is a valiant attempt to appropriate the rhythmic cliches of American popular music within an atonal context. Acoma is to be commended for recording as well as publishing these worthy contemporary additions to the guitar repertoire. Additional information may be found at www Daniel Foley DISCS OF THE MONTH As you will know if you read part one of Paul Steenhuisen's Composer to Composer interview with John Weinzweig in last month's WholeNote, the CBC and the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) have joined forces to help rectify the appalling lack of music by senior Canadian composers available on compact disc. There are three aspects to the project: a series of hour long radio documentaries about each of the featured composers; multiple disc sets on the CMC's Centrediscs label which include these documentaries and an additional disc(s) of selected works by each composer; and a companion set of discs on the CBC label which provide another hour (or more) of music by each of the composers. The projected series is to include as many as 30 composers. The first five volumes are now available. It seems the driving force behind this important initiative was Weinzweig himself through the campaign he has been waging for a number of years aimed at increasing the profile of Canadian composers on the CBC radio airwaves. It is only fitting then that the first, and most substantial, offering in the new Canadian Composer Portraits series is devoted to this "Dean of Canadian Composers." diverse examples of his chamber writing, featuring the Orford String Quartet, the Toronto Woodwind Quintet and the Canadian Brass. The other disc features orchestral works of which highlights for me include the brooding Symphonic Ode and the Violin Concerto, a twelve-tone work that combines the angular rhythmic drive of Stravinsky with the lyricism of Alban Berg. I cannot understand why this showpiece is not more frequently performed. The other four composers involved in the initial release of the Canadian Composer Portraits series are the recently deceased West Coasters Jean Coulthard and Murray Adaskin, Ontario's Harry Freedman and Quebecker Jacques Hetu. Hetu is sort of the odd-man-out in this set. At 64 he is Freedman's junior by 16 years and three decades younger than the others. His music is perhaps closest to that of Jean Coulthard, in that they both produce unabashedly Romantic works, albeit in a distinctively modern language. Poetry plays an important part in Hetu's oeuvre. He is represented by two orchestral song cycles and an a cappella setting, all utilizing poems by Emile Nelligan, and an orchestral work in memory of this important Quebec writer. There's a little something for every- Canadian Composer Portraits: one to enjoy in Americas, Lynn John Weinzweig (3CDs) Harting-Ware's fifth recording for Centrediscs CMCCD 8002 her husband Peter Ware's Acoma label. A wide range of historical periods i.s represented, with the late Classical Grand Solo of guitar pioneer Jean Coulthard (2 CDs) Centrediscs CMCCD 8202 Murray Adaskin (2 CDs) Centrediscs CMCCD 8102 Jacques Hetu (2 CDs) Centrediscs CMCCD 8302 Harry Freedman (2 CDs) Centrediscs CMCCD 8402 Ovation, Volume 1: (5 CDs) Weinzweig I Coulthard I Freedman I Hetu I Adaskin CBC Records PSCD 2026-5 In the words of documentary producer Eitan Cornfield, "There was a time, not too long ago, when there wasn't a single full-time composer in all of Canada, a time when no one was even teaching composition. John Weinzweig did more than anyone to change that. You could say that he established the profession of composer in Canada." In the hour that follows this statement we learn a lot about the man who was instrumental in founding both Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Music Centre. Along the way we learn much about the history of music in our country. There are two discs devoted to the music ofWeinzweig that accompany this documentary. One offers three Coulthard, who had to overcome myriad prejudices to establish herself as Canada's first important woman composer, is represented by works in a variety of genres: a concerto, a set of piano pieces and a work for string octet. 38 July 1 - September 7 2002

Highlights? Hetu' s Les A mimes du reve featuring the fabulous basso voice of Joseph Rouleau and Coulthard' s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with Robert Silverman. Murray Adaskin was, until May 6, 2002 when he passed away several weeks after his 96th birthday, Canada's oldest living composer. He is represented here by orchestral works written across five decades. The p.rominence of the bassoon in both his Diversion and Suite for orchestra suggests his fondness for the instrument, a suspicion that is confirmed by the inclusion of the 1960 Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra written for, and performed by, George Zuckerman. The Divertimento No. 6 for Solo Percussion and Orchestra and In Praise of "Canadian Painting in the Thirties" complete this excellent portrait. I only wish the producer had seen fit to include a work that was seminal to my own development, the Algonquin Symphony. Harry Freedman, himself a painter and graphic artist, has often found inspiration for his music in the world of visual art. Two of the four orchestral works which comprise his Portrait reflect this: Tableau, inspired by a "brooding Arctic landscape" that hung in the foyer of the Winnipeg School of Art when he was a student there, and Town , a tribute to his friend the distinguished Canadian painter Harold Town. Curiously the titles of all four of the works included here begin with the letter "T", the other two being Tangents, written for the National Youth Orchestra, and Touchings, commissioned and performed by the percussion ensemble Nexus with Esprit Orchestra. My initial impression was that Harry Freedman got the short end of the stick in this series because three of the four pieces included were already easily available on compact disc. My opinion changed however when I explored the contents of the CBC companion set Ovation. Here Freedman is the big winner, with two DISCOVERIES important pieces that had never before been available to the public in any format: Celebration and Suite for the Ballet Rose Latulippe. It is the first of these that is most significant. Jazz has been an important influence for Freedman and this major work represents the epitome of his form. It was written in 1977 for the renowned saxophonist Gerry Mulligan with a through-composed orchestral part but with the bulk of the soloist's part left as improvisation. Freedman and Mulligan continued to "tinker" with the piece for a decade after its premiere. It's unfortunate that the liner notes don't reveal at what stage of the 10-year development the recording with the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra presented here dates from. The eleven discs that comprise the initial offering of five Canadian Composer Portraits and the five discs of the Ovation set provide a wealth of important and inspiring Canadian musical history and hours of great listening. The price is right too, with the Portraits selling for $10 a disc (i.e. - a set) and the Ovation package at only . The producers have promised that this is just the beginning and that is good news indeed. The archive of our national broadcaster is a vast treasure trove of material and it is essential that we mine it for its gems before time takes its toll and the recordings themselves deteriorate beyond salvation. Bravo to the producers for making such a fine start, and to John Weinzweig for inspiring them to doing so. David Olds The first of a series of box sets thatpresent an ideal introduction to Canada 'sfounding composers and the bre~tdth and diversif:y of their output~ 39

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