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Volume 7 Issue 6 - March 2002

  • Text
  • Toronto
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  • April
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  • Choir
  • Cello

music and gets a fine

music and gets a fine performance out of the CBC Orchestra. I gather that the CBC Radio Orchestra is the CBC Vancouver Orchestra renamed and that Labadie is guest conducting. If one reads the fine print, one finds out that.Mario Bernardi is still the orchestra's principal conductor and it is still based in Vancouver. It used to be de rigeur to list the orchestra members in the booklet, providing a credit to the fine musicians therein. It would have been nice at least to know the name of the. clarinetist in the Schubert aria. Kudos to Rick Phillips though for his characteristically inf9rmative and unpretentious program notes. Lorry Beckwith Concert note: Karina Gauvin ean be heard in the CBC recital series OnSt~ge at Glenn Gould Studio on March 12. DISCOVERIES Robert Schumann: Davidsbilndlertanze; Grand Sonata No.I in F sharp minor Anton Kuerti, piano Analekta fleurs de lys FL 2 3126 · This disc confirms Cariadian pianist Anton Kuerti's stature as one of the great Schumann interpreters of our day. Kuerti explores the huge range of c9lours needed to express the contrasts of mood that underlie Schumann's music. His insight into this composer's psy­ . chological states The· Present Time: Songs from Shakespeare creates high Exultate Chamber Singers/John Tuttle drama. His energy Exultate (Independent) ECS03 and intensity unleash a flow of gorgeous sound, T_his recording a.nd his sense of irony lends depth to his of settings by performance of this highly complex music. Above five different all, he captures the singing quality of Schumann's composers of melodic lines. the 20th century Each of the eighteen short vignettes that make provides a de- up the Davidsbilndleniinze is assigned to either iightful musical Florestan or Eusebius, imaginary figures who evocation of the represent the heroic or poetic sides of Schumann's mi~ tu re of personality. Florestan presides over the unsettling strangeness and rhythmic displacement of the fourth piece, which beauty inherent Kuerti, in his wonderful program notes, calls an in Shakespeare's "impatient whirlwind''. Masterfully, Kuerti texts. Beginning with Welsh composer William seems to set metre and.tempo adrift, without Matthias, a variety of moods, from fanciful to impairing the structure! In the fifth, invoking funereal, are beautifully conveyed by th!'! choir Eusebius,,Kuerti creates a magical, contemplative under the direction of John Tutti~, while pianist stillness, with exquisite control of the subtlest Robert Kortgaard executes the complex rhythms details. in the accompaniment with great skill. Kuerti fulfills Schumann's architectural vision Though the Vaughan Williams selections were in the monumental Grand Sonata. Although his originally intended for amateur choir, these a textures can be diaphanous and his expressiveness capella settings are quite difficult harmonically. rigorously controlled, he achieves' stunning The acoustics in Grace Churc·h-on-the-Hill emotional immediacy. enhance the ringing aftertones of "ding dong bell" Schumann himself was a great pianist, and when in Full Fathom Five and Tuttle maintains a he gives such tricky performance instructions as wonderful light touch with the· choir skipping to play "without passion but expressively", or through the terrain of Over Hill, Over Dale. "like an oboe", "like a horn" , he is envisioning Similarly, the settings by Derek 'Holman are quite an ·ideal pianist such as Kuerti with the brilliance playful and romantic in nature · with lush and humanity to pull it off. harmonies. Pamela Margles Polegato, are outstanding. Mozart used a German translation. for his Viennese audience. But Parrott has gone biick to Handel's original English, probably because this recording is based. on live performances in Boston. Mozart re'?o'orked Handel's orchestral textures by adding flutes, clarinets and trombones. In 'The peoplethat walked' he filled :in Handel's stark chromatic steps with inner melodies for the flutes, clarinets and bassoons, and in 'All we like sheep' he added enchanting trombone motifs. One of the most splendid effects occurs when th'e four soloists turn 'For unto ·us', which in Handel's . original is for choir alone, into a splendid operatic ensemble. Ul')fortunately, one of Handel's most sublime arias; 'If God be for us', is reduced to a recitative in Mozart's hands. · This Messiah is strongly recommended as much for its musical qualities as for its historical value. But anyone new to Messiah on disc should start with a first­ ·rate period instrument performance of the original Handel version, such as Parrcltt's own recording from 1989 (currently available on Virgin 7243 ~ 61330 2) with the wonderful Taverner Choir and Players and such stellar soloists as Emma Kirkby and James Bowman. Parrott can be counted on for historically informed, thought provoking and, above all, beautiful performances. This makes his upcoming visit to the Tafelmusik podium at Trinity-St. Paul's Centre an event not to be missed. Pamela Margles Concert note: Andrew Parrott leads the Tafelmusik Orchestra and thineen soloists in J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion on March 21-23 and March 26 at 7:30.pm, .and March 24 at 3:30 pm. Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos in E and D Minor, The Fair Melussina Mayumi Seiler, violin; City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox Black Box BBM3005 The a capella setting of Let Not My Love be C~ncert note: Anton Kuerri perjonns with- Kristine Called Idolatry by Andrew Ager is gorgeous and Bogyo at the Arkell Schoolhouse on March 16 (see tuneful, easily soothing the savage breast. Bassist Further Afield listings) and at Walter Hall Sunday, Neil Swainson then joins the ensemble for George March 17. And on April 2 Kueni performs in the There are about a squillion recordings of the Shearing's Songs and Sonnets. The choir mem- · OnStage series at Glenn Gould Studio. Mendelssohn E Minor Violin Conceno - and I'm bers sound like they are having great fun with the .. · . pleased to say that this one, featuring the Torontohappy,, carefr~e nature of these jazzy vignettes, Han.de! arr. ~ozart: .Messiah based Mayumi Seiler, can prou91y hold its head without sacrificing good choral principles. Karma Gauvm; Jenmfer Lane; John Elwes; up among them. Revisiting your studies of Shakespeare, but look- Brett Polegato . In fact, this performance is engagingly different H d I & H d s from many: from the outset, Seiler offers an ing for some motivation? Take some time to re- an e ay n ociety/Andrew Parrott interpretation marked by subtlety and nuance. · lax with this disc first. Ar~besque z6743-2 While some violinists take the "molto Dianne Welts Thi~ .1s· a sup~rb per.formance of fascinating appassionato" instruction in the opening movement Concert note: John Tuttle leads Exultate, Aradia music-~andel s~es~iah as arranged by Mozart. · as license to beat the listener over the head, and the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble in , Tl).e cholf and penod. mstrume~t orche~tra 0~ ~e ~eiler,'s balance? appro.ach invitingly dr~ws us M d" 1610 v; v; d ll B Handel & Haydn Society underinnovat1ve Bnt1sh m without sacnficmg any of the passion called "om.ever, .1hs 1 1 e~peArs Mespro . e andeSata conductor Andrew Parrott are glorious. The four fo~ by the composer In the second movement vergme . wit voca so 01sts nn . onoyws a cot so I ms · t s, me · I u d' mg two c ana d" 1ans,, th e resplendent · Seiler · 1s · all sweetness · with · a rich warm lower ' Weir at Grace Church on-the-Hill on March 8. soprano K anna · G auvm, · an d th e thr'IJ' 1 mg b ass Brett register. · The finale 1s · ' an effervescent ' display of 48 www.thewholenote.com M arch 1 -- April 7 2002

pure joy. The less frequently heard Violin Concerto in D Minor, composed when Mendelssohn was just 13, is a slender work, but it's nonetheless a useful vehicle for Seiler's technique in lots of Vivaldiesque passage work. The last work on this disc; The Fair Melussina, is a charming piece, performed with noble elegance by the City of London Sinfonia under Hickox. One more thing: if this CD is inserted in any computer with an internet connection, it will take you to a website that offers an avalanche of information on Mendels.sohn and Seiler, mixed .with plenty of advertising for the ambitious little Black Box label. I. expect this clever gimmick is supposed to compensate for the meagre printed notes packaged with this disc - but it doesn't. Colin Eatock Concert note: Mayumi Seiler leads the Seiler Strings in a program featuring the virtuoso double bassist Joel Quarrington in two works by Giovanni Bottesini at Glenn Gould Studio on March 22, and at Ettore Mav.oleni Concert Hall on March 24. Other recommended Concert Prep recordings include Quarrington 's Bottesini - Music for Double Bass and Piano with Andrew Burashko (Naxos 8.554002) and Virtuoso Reality (CBC MVCD J.J 08 - reviewed in the November 2001 Wholenote). D1scov1mrns acquit themselves more than admirably. the Year" award jointly presented by the CBC and Schnittke created post-modem compositions the Women's Musical Club of Toronto for whom that encompass the whole history of twentieth he will give an afternoon recital on March 21. century music. His 1978 Sonata is a good launching point for those who want to explore what lies beyond the classical repertoire. There's an PeterSculthorpe: Island Dreaming String Quartets attractive balance between melodic approaches Brodsky Qµartet, Anne Sofie von Otter that are roughly recognizable to classical ears · Challenge Classics CC7Z007 with maneuvers that are quite outside the classical envelope. Peter Sculthorpe As fine as the concluding Prokofiev Sonata is, I has been called find it somewhat of an anticlimax, yet I would the spiritual buy the disc for the stunning performance of the father of new second movement of the Schnittke Sonata alone. music in Aus­ Dyachkov and Ossama El-Naggar (founder of this tralia, and it's Montrealcbased label) can be justly proud that one high time his of Pelleas' first discs has attracted such critical music was made praise and international recognition. more widely Philip Ehrensaft available outside Concert note: The 27 year old Yegor Dyachkov captured the first Career Development "Artist of of his native country - especially in Canada, given the fascinating similarities and differences in the Shostakovich, Schnittke and ·Prokofiev: Sonatas for Cello and Piano Yegor Dyachkov; Jean Saulnier Pelleas CD-0109 When Yo-Yo Ma listened to this disc, he invited Yegor Dyachkov down to Tanglewood as part of the team creating the Silk Road Project. That's how good this recording · is. It was been honoured by Opus magazine with an award as best Canadian chamber music recording of the year as well as a prize from the Conseil Quebecois de la Musique for best classical recording. Shostakovich's Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 40 is a devil of a piece to play. The cellist and pianist must, in rapid order, pass the lead back and forth or play in unison as a micro-orchestra. Dynamics range from a whisper to full Russian intensity while Shostakovich employs the full tonal range of each instrument. Sometimes virtuosity must be exercised at a stunning pace, other times with a languor that is even harder to mainta.in. Dyachkov and Saulnier M arch 1 -- April 7 2002

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