8 years ago

Volume 7 Issue 4 - December 2001/January 2002

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • December
  • Theatre
  • January
  • Choir
  • Symphony
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Singers
  • Wholenote
  • Stuffers
  • Dvds
  • Discs

varied arrangements and

varied arrangements and generally high The five pieces that make up Salon Parisien ofmusicality. Not for the office Christmas party, fered, according to the liner notes, "a musical ,..·~) this collection explores the contemplative and snapshot of Paris when it was arguably the most even sombre mood of the season as well as the cosmopolitan city in the world." It would · be a SEASONAL joyful, with selections like In the Bl-eak strange salon that prograrqmed all of these pieces OFFERINGS Midwinter (the John Mutton version) and the together. With works by Enescu, Poulenc, Satie, Appalachian hymn I Wonder As I Wander. Some Turina, and Martinu, the really a Pica&so­ - Hurry, Hurry Yonder, Music for Advent of the standouts are the lovely title track Hurry· like collage of the leading French tendencies and Christmas · ' Hurry Yonder; a jazz Gloria with hand drums from the first half of the twentieth century. Hµmbercrest United Church Choir; Fred · and brass; Away· in a Manger, which opens with The pieces, with the exception of Enescu's Graham, director children's voices, and a jubilant 0 Come, All Ye Concertpiece for viola and piano (1906), are HTA1019 (self produced - 416-767-6122) Faithful that (literally) lets out all the stops. themselves collages of styles and expressions. With' the sound of bright bells, the choirs of Everywhere phrases abruptly change affect, al­ - All Things Bright & Beautiful St. Philip:s Lutheran Church Choirs (self produced - 61 West_ Deane Park Drive, Etobicoke M9B 2Sl) - A Christmlls Legacy Timmins Concert 'Singers; Rosanne Simunovic, conductor TCSCD9_9 ·(self produced - www .timmins concertsillger~.cpm) " - Welcome Yule! Christmas Music of Ronald Beckett Arcady; Ronald Beckett, director Crescendo CRESCD9022 - Choral Concert/Celebration chorale Various artists .,_. CBC Records SMCD-MlOO St. Philip's Lutheran Church have created a slow- ternating between romantic and glib, impassioned paced but resonant collection that's less slick and humorous. St. John and Sharon make every (we hear the occasional microphone bump or hairpin turn through their beautiful performance throat clearing), but offers a tender, sincere of Poulenc's Sonata for violin and piano. The selection of vocals and instrumentals, intermezzo and presto tragico movements esparticularly featuring Handel, Bach' and Holst. pecially evoke a grief-stricken anger. But Satie's At the other end of the spectrum is the glossy iconoclastic humour doesn't come off. Instead disc from the Timmins Concert Singers. Imagine of sending up the pomposity of Enescu, Choses "Christmas On Broadway": lots of showy vues a droite et a gauche (sans lunettes) sounds medleys (the work of music theatre vet Howard rather perfunctory. Cable) and plenty of "Dashing Through the The artists fare better with Turina's Sonata Snow". If you don't wallow in this kind of No. I, dripping with Spanish flavour, and the treatment (which I can) you'll find your teeth on jazzy Martinu Sonata for violin and piano (1930). edgei Both works rather clumsily incorporate their My second favourite for this year is Welcome "exotic" elements into the straitjacket of Yule!, which combines original music by Ronald . classical form, but are guilty pleasures. Beckett with standards like I Saw Three Ships The whole disc is really a collection of novel and Wassail Song. It ranks with my older fa- bonbons. Certainiy the Poulenc will initially atvourites like CBC's Choral Concert disc from tract most listeners, but Salon Parisien offers last year, which featured mainly Classical and other substantial delights . Scott St. John and Rena Baroque selections-(Handel's Zadok rhe Priest Sharon make a strong case for each. by thct Vancouver Chamber Choir and CBC Scott St. John will perform the Martinu sonata Chamber Choir; Tafelmusik's For Unto Us A in a fac ulty recital at U of T on December 7 Child ls Born), but also included Howard Ca- with pianist Lydia Wong. ble"s Christmas Medley, sung by the Toronto Brian McMillan Children's Chorus with Louis and Gino Quilico. Finally, check used bins for the Coles/ Smithbooks/Chapters A Noteworthy Christmas, a fundraiser for Frontier College's literacy programs. It's a truly lovely album of 18 favourite .. carols from a cross-Canada choir list, including the exquisite Exultate Chamber Singers' Huron Carol, the.Vancouver Children's Choir's poignant Sound the Trumpet, and the Cape Breton Chorale's Ding Dong Merrily On High . Merry Christmas to all! - Sarah B. Hood . . - A Noteworthy Christma!I, Great Canadian Choirs Sing Holiday Favourites Various artists Coles/Smithbooks/Chapters SCCCD0196 An inveterate Christmas hound like me can't resist "Christmas carols being sung by a choir", so I was pleased to review the latest crop of · Christmas recordings, discussed here along with a c6uple of my favourite older releases . The biggest delight was frnm Humbercrest United Church Choir, whose Hurry 'Hurry .· 'Yonder combines an unusual repertoire, nicely CONCERT PREP Salon Parisien Scott St. John, violin and viola; Rena Sharon; piano .CBC Records MVCD 1140 George Frideric Handel - Arias from Rinaldo & Orlando · . Ewa Podles, contralto; Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Constantine Orbelian, ·conductor Delos DE 3253 George Frideric Handel - Sacred Arias Daniel Taylor, countertenor Arion; Monica Huggett, Conductor and Concertmaster ATMA ACD2 2222 Polish contralto Eva Podles has one of the most gorgeous voices on the planet: With immense power, a huge range, ·and an absolutely distinctive timbre, she is one of the few women since Marilyn Horne to sound thoroughly convincing as one of Handel's muscular heroes.dn this disc, Podles sings thirteen arias originally written for castrato. fo moods ra~girrg from 54 Wholenote DECEM BER 1, 2001 - JANUARY 31 , 2002

heartbreaking anguish to uncontained fury, she articulates Handel's genius for creating characters. She colours the words with such searing intensity that, while her diction may not always be.precise, the meaning is unequivocal. In Cor ingrato, from Rinaldo, the dramatic recitative is as bre&thtaking as the coloratura passagework. But occassionally her inte'rpretations are marred by excessive or incoherent ornaments, especially in the .da capo sections. The .Moscow Chamber Orchestra, while sprightly and charming, lacks the nuanced style of accents and phrasing that best serves this · repertoire. But there is much beautiful playing, as in Or la tromba from Rinaldo, where the trumpets pick up the jubilant embellishments of the voice, and the orchestra celebrates in response. More restrained and refined than Podles, Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor has an inner focus that lends purity to his beguiling voice and creates a contained intensity quite unlike her heightened dramatic impact. His ornaments are subtle and elegant. With his beautiful legato, he illuminates the broad sweep of Oh Lord, whose mercies numberless from Saul, which Handel wrote for countertenor. The Montreal ensemble Arion, under British violinist Monica Huggett's brilliant leadership, provides exemplary support. The su[)lime intertwining of Taylor's voice with Huggett' s solo violin in If God be for us, from Messiah, provides a glorious highlight. _ While we note that Taylor sings just six arias, the overtures and sinfonia that complete this disc are played with immense verve and vitality and contribute to this well-planned program. Daniel Taylor performs in Messiah with Les Violons du Roy at Massey Hall on Saturday, Dec. 8, and in the Brott Autumn Festival's performance at th.e George Weston Recital Hall on Friday, December 21 Ewa Podles sings Rossini arias with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra at the Toronto Centre for the Arts on Friday, January 25. Both Podles and Taylor will be featured in the Canadian Opera Company production of Handel's Julius Caesar at the Hummingbird Centre from April 6 to April 21. Pamela Margles The Overcoat [music by Dmitri Shostakovich] Angela Cheng, piano; Jens Lindemann, trumpet; CBC Radio Orchestra; Mario Bernardi, conductor CBC Records SMCD 5216 This month CBC Records will release a recording entitled The Overcoat that features some - surprisingly sunny music by Dmitri Shostakovich. The J?roject began as the soundtrack for a new feature length film based on the critically acclaimed [Vantouver] Playhouse Theatre Production of a play by Nikolai Gogol. · The press release tells us that The Overcoat, .filmed .without dialogue, uses choreography, music and visual imagery to tell a story of]oy and ·pathos. The soundtrack recording, which includes complete performances of the two piano concerti excerp'ted in the film; is indeed a testament to this joy. I must confess however, that as an aficionado of the darker music of the late Shostakovich, I find the lack of pathos on this disc a bit disconcerting. That being said, this is a fine recording depicting the lighter side of the Soviet master. Soloists Angela Cheng, Jens Lindemann and an unidentified saxophonist shine and Mario Bernardi seems well at home in the repertoire which, in addition to the piano DECEMBER 11 2001 - JANUARY 31 1 2002

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