8 years ago

Volume 7 Issue 3 - November 2001

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • November
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Symphony
  • Arts
  • Quartet
  • Wholenote
  • Glenn

evocative Strumienie snu

evocative Strumienie snu and Linda Caitlin Smith's As You Pass a Reflective Surface. These two composers reveal an imaginative, surehanded control ofthe_medium. Ronald Hannah's String Quartet deploys the instruments most conservatively and, in this company, sounds merely ·pleasant. Prochazka's beautiful solo playing deserves sp~cial qote. Her spare, whimsical performance of In Darkness (Alfred Joel Fisher) balances perfectly with the turbulence of Alice Ho's Caprice. Unfortunately, this sampler never quite adds up to the promise of its parts. Still, the 1 performances are incisive anq the recording q.uaHty true. Composers' notes and artists' biographies are included. The Penderecki String Quartet will perform Pfotr Grella-Mozejko's Strumienie snu on Novemb~r 19 along with premieres by Gilles Tremblay and Raymond Luedeke at the Massey Hall NUMUFEST. Brian McMillan Tribute to the Kings of Swing Volume 1 The Galaxy All-Star Orch~tra Directed by Eddie Graf and Ross Wooldridge Diamond Entertainment (Full Price) Swing and big band are really genres of jazz, and as such, it is expected that performers improvise their own solos · in certain sections of a work. However, many solos on classic recordings have almost become as much a part of the piece as the notated passages. Perhaps the best solution to this .dilemma is the one taken by the Galaxy All-Star Orchestra on their CD Tribute to the Kings of Swing Vol. I. Soine of the classic solos are re-interpreted by ID!SC[~- 1 DISCS OF THE MONTH move at a slow tempo. of the Sharon leader Reaney' s David Willson (Doug script, rooted in real MacNaughton) set to events of ca. 1817, Willson's own text; opposes two factions and above all the specin Upper .Canada, the tacular coloratura vocolonial powers at calises of the Bird Girl York and the utopian (Lambroula Maria Children of Peace at Pappas). The melody Sharon. The former ~s invented by Somers represented by a "bad for Willson's hyi;in brother", young Sam "Bless'd is the garden of the Lord", Jarvis, and by a mu- hinted at several times in Act Two, sical toy c~lled a bloss'oms int~ an ensemble-finale of serinette, and the lat- telling poise and serenity. PHOTO: ANoRi= LEDUC ter by his fictional Matching the period quo- " good brother," tations in the libretto, Somers ech- Harry Somers - Serinette Colin, and by the barrel organ built oes a few contemporaneous musilibretto by James Reaney . by Richard Coates for the Sharon cal sources, among them the Scot- Mehgan Atchison; John Avey; Temple. tish song Jock O'Hazeldean (trans- Michael Colvin; Alain Coulombe; Given the opera's slow formed into a march), and the hymn Sally Dibblee; Doug MacNaughton; rubato pace and almost stuttery tunes Shirland, Wells, Lenox, and Allyson McHardy; Lambroula word-setting idiom, its dramatic China. Incidentally, Somers' instru­ Maria Pappas; David Pomeroy; emphases are more instrumental mental evocation of the barrel or­ Marcia Swanston; members of the than vocal. An attractive "div- gan's sound in China is especially Canadian Chamber Ensemble; ertimento" early in Act One sets cunriing and may now be the only Victor Feldbrill, conductor period and social tone; in the 1990 way to appreciate it: sad to say, the Ceritrediscs CMC-CD 7601-7701 premiere production its practical original instrument, housed in the (2 CDs, Mid-Price) ' purpose was to move the audience Sharon Temple Museum, was no This substantial entry in the slender list of recorded operas by Canadian composers is a compelling work and also an odd and unconventional one. Its genre is part historical pageant and part "festival opera", an indication that Serinette lacks the usual operatic quota of sex and violence and that many scenes 52 . Wholenote NOVEMBER 1, 2001 - DECEMBER 7, 2001 to their places in the Temple after longer playable when I visited last an open-air prologue. Listeners to month. the CD may be surprised how much The CD package is handof the dialogue is spoken rather than somely produced, and includes the sung - eight of the eighteen scenes full libretto in two languages. Andepend largely on speech, not sing- noyingly' some typos from the 1990 ing.Butsomesunghighlightsshine published text have not been out with special vividness and corrected, and the instrumentalists beauty: the brief aria of Sam (David are not credited. The recorded per­ Pomeroy); the "almsgiving" chant . formance is clear and well balanced. the performer, persbnalizing the dynamics, articulation and ornamentation to let a classic solo take on new life, and some are entirely new. It's a satisfying solution - a good mix of. old and new. , _This CD presents som~of the ·l}_lJigest hits of the big band era delivered with precision and panach~. · Tpe tunes include Sing, Sing, Sing, Begin the Beguine, Chattanooga Choo Choo and thirteen other favourites. Multiple threat Ross Wooldridge is ever present. His fiery clarinet solos are k;ey to the sound of the band, and he's also the piano player,baritone; saxophonist, producer and arranger Of several selection.s. Seven of the tracks are vocal numbers, with Matt Dusk and Robin Lea featured, along with The Moonglows. If you're looking for a good collection of swing era hits, this. CD is an excellent recreation. The digital sound and sensitive mix allow all of the nuances of both instrumentals and vocals to be clearly heard. Merlin Williams · Though the singing is uniformly first-class, more care might have been taken over expression in the spoken portions. All in all, this latest addition to the Window on Somers CD series is an important document for our history and for our music, and it offers an absorbing listening experience. John Beckwith. Editor's note: Mehgan Atchison, David Pomeroy and Douglas MacNaughton can be heard in the Aldeburgh Connection's Abracadabra! on November 25. Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring/ Scriabin: The Poem of Ecstasy Kirov Orchestra; Valery Gergiev conductor 1 Philips 468 035-2 (Full Price) Those who are familiar with· the Victor's 1929 Stokowski Le Sacre du Printemps will recognize the attention paid to the lower strings and deep brass in this new Philips

N OVEMBER 1, 2001 - D ECEMBER 7, 2001 Wholenote 53

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