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Volume 7 Issue 6 - March 2002

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DISCOVERIES •

DISCOVERIES • Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition Evgeny Kissin, piano RCA Red Seal 09026 63884 Perhaps the most difficult aspect of being a child prodigy, a wunderkind, is that you must grow to adulthood while audiences expect you to become even more prodigious! Kissin made this recording three months before his 30'h birthday and, as expected, his interpretations reflect a maturing artist. The program is well chosen. Following the Busoni arrangement of Bach's Toccata, Adqgio and Fugue in C, BWV564 and Balakirev's arrangement ofGlinka's song The Lark, is an unarranged Pictures at an Exhibition. There is no question of Kissin's technical prowess. Interpretively, the Bach is nob\y cast, elegantly cultured without the slightest hint of any idiosyncrasy to break the spell. And yet Kissin manages to subliminally build tension and release. Quite refreshing. The Lark, ,a wistful not quite pastoral little Glinka song, is"a heard in this fiveminute, Lisztian transcription. Pictures at an Exhibition enters an already crowded field. We have two superhumans on tap, Horowitz (RCA live, 1951) and Richter (PHILIPS live, 1958) but their sonic age is showing. Kissin is not superhuman but has a firm grasp of the arch and architecture of the 15 sections, realized with the utmost clarity and colour. As we compared all three, and others, referring back and forth, it was the Kissin that consistently sounded 'just right.' The spectacular sound places us about third row centre. When the news gets out, this will be the CD to own. Bruce Sunees Korngold: The Sea Hawk - Music for four Errol Flynn Movies The London Symphony/Andre Previn DG4713472 There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the meticulously constructed scores of Erich Wolfgang Korngold added an essential dimension to, and contributed to the success of, the films for which he wrote the music. Born in 1897, Korngold was feted in Vienna at an early age. His 'classical' works still in the active repertoire include his opera Die Tote Stadt, his violin concerto, cello concerto, piano concerto, a.nd much excellent chamber music. Heifetz was a big fan! Korngold also arranged Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream for the Max Reinhardt film of 1935. Beginning in 1935 with the swashbuckling Captain Blood, an Errol Flynn movie meant money in the till. In this one, as physician turned pirate, our hero wins the heart of prim and proper Olivia de Havilland. No lady for Flynn in The Prince and the Pauper. In 1939's 'historical drama,' Elizabeth and Essex Queen Bette Davis wants him but he doesn't get to even peek into her boudoir. Instead he has Olivia de Havilland again. In 1940 Warners gave him The Sea Hawk, wherein he swashbuckles like mad and wins, not Olivia but the ravishing Brenda Marshall. Still, they did give his pet monkey a featured role. None of these scores is new to CD but Previn, a movie musician himself, delivers these exhilarating masterpieces in the grandest manner of all. DG brings Previn, the LSO, and yes, Erich Wolfgang Korngold right into your living room. Bruce Surtees . . WORT°H RE PEA Tl NG Compositions and Demonstrations 1946-1974 Hugh Lecaine JWD Music (ridge@vaxxine.com) JWD 03 Impulsion Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux Empreintes DIGIT ALes IMED 0159 Canada has long been regarded. as a breeding Elliott Carter ground for electronic and electroacoustic activity. Nouvel Ensemble Moderne/Lorraine One reason for this was the creative genius of Vaillancourt artistically inclined scientific inventor Hugh ATMA Classiques ACD2 2280 Lecaine (1914-1977). Thanks to his invaluable contributions in the Since the early fields of radar and atomic physics Lecaine was 1980s Elliott given free rein to explore and develop his ideas Carter has com- regarding musical instrument design at the posed a succes- National Research Council. He developed a sion of crystal- variety of instr:,uments and devices incorporating line chamber technolo'gy several decades ahead of its time. works of modest Among his achievements were the "electronic di mens ions, sackbut", one of the very first analog synthesizers, bristling with the "special purpose tape recorder" which supremely cha!- allowed pitch alteration and incorporated primitive lenging instru- multi-tracking techniques, and the "touch sensitive mental writing. keyboard" which enabled a performer to Many of these incisive and rhythmically nimble manipulate the notes on an electronic keyboard in solos, duets and trios commemorate the ways that have only recently become camaraderie he has enjoyed amongst his European commercially available. colleagues in the course of his 96 years. Among Gayle Young, who literally "wrote the book" the dedicatees of the nine works included on this on Hugh Lecaine (a biography entitled The Sackbut superlative disc by the Montreal-based Nouvel Blues) has produced a compact di~c of incredible Ensemble Moderne one finds the names of Witold historic import. This document presents not only Lutoslawski, Italo Calvino, Pierre Boulez and · the technological achievements of this ingenious Goffredo Petrassi. Canadian inventor, but also captures his sense of Though aggressively modern in sound, certain humour. While Lecaine did not consider himself of these works exhibit structural principles of an a "composer" as such, he did have a background almost medieval austerity. Carter notes that 90+, in music and the creative drive to use his training composed in honour of Petrassi's 90th birthday, to create some exquisite "exercises" to show off "is built entirely around ninety short accented notes his machines. And he created at least one played in a slow regular beat against which the "classic" of the electroacoustic genre, Dripsody, context changes character continually." In a constructed entirely from the manipulated and similar fashion the design of Esprit rude/Esprit transfigured sounds of a single drop of water. · doux I and II, dedicated to Boulez on his 60t)1 and This CD provides not only an important piece 70th birthdays, is derived from a musical acrostic of Canadian history, but also gives an insight into based on the syllables of his colleague's name. one of Canada's most creative minds. Two large-scale ensemble works are also Perhaps more artistically creative than the offered here. The Triple Duo composed for scientific genius Hugh Lecaine, Quebec composer Maxwell Davies' elite Fires of London sextet in Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux ( 1938-1985) 1983 is Carter at his most hermetic. was another Canadian pioneer in the field of Unfortunately, following this dense and electroacoustic music. unremittingly complex score is made needlessly In 1968, at the suggestion of Iannis Xenakis, difficult by an unduly arid studio recording. By she went off to Paris to study at the Groupe de comparison the Concerto pour clarinette recherches musicales and also attended classes composed for Pierre Boulez's. Ensemble with Pierre Schaeffer, one of the original InterContemporain in 1996 is all fleetness and exponents of "musique concrete". Returning to I ight, enlivened here by the effervescent Montreal in J 971 she worked with colleagues Otto interpretation of soloist Simon Aldrich. The Joachim and Gilles Tremblay to establish an remainder of the works, recorded at Montreal's electroacoustic studio at the Conservatoire de beloved Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, offer musique de Montreal where over the next fifteen a much warmer and engaging acoustic. years she created an impressive body of work. · Daniel Foley Coulombe SaintcMarcoux made significant contributions in a variety of areas: exploration of the voice as an instrument; the integration of electroacoustics with other artistic disciplines; reflection on the role of women composers; and 52 www.thewholenote.com . March 1 -- Apri I 7 2002

experimentation with spatial trajectories to make the movement of sound more palpable to the listener. Although many of her compositions include live performance with pre-recorded tape, the disc Impulsion focuses on the purely electroacoustic aspects of Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux's compositional activity. It is a fitting tribute that this important historic document should be released by the Canadian success story empreintes DIGIT ALes, a Montreal label that twelve years after its founding boasts 65 titles in its catalog, featuring 76 composers and a total of 344 electroacoustic compositions. One suspects that none of this could have been achieved without the groundwork laid by the likes of Hugh Lecaine and Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux. David Olds INDIE LIST (Small and Independent Label~ Johannes Brahms: String Quartets Op. 51, No.1 &2 Penderecki String Quartet Eclectra ECCD-2054 The Penderecki String Quartet has been in existence for over 15 years and is named for the Dl.\CO\'ERIES distinguished Polish composer who encouraged its formation. The current members include the Guelphborn cellist Paul Pulford, violist Christine Vlajk and violinists Jerzy Kaplanek and Jeremy Bell. They play and teach together at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and are responsible for a flourishing chamber music program there. This recording is the first in a proposed series of the complete chamber music for strings by Brahms and we look forward to the next installments. The Penderecki has a wonderful feel for this repertoire and there's a warmth and unhurriedness about their performances on this CD. They strike the right balance between the classical sense of form and reserve and the romantic elements of angst and longing so present in this music. · A highlight is the intricate interplay and sensuousness of the Andante movement of the second quartet. The mood travels between tenderness and underlying tension and the players achieve these rapid mood swings with intensity. Of particular interest is the democratic spirit at the heart of these performances. The violinists switch parts for the two quartets and had an even hand in preparing notes for the final edit of the CD, which was recorded by master recording engineer Ed Marshall at the wonderful Forrester Recital Hall at Wilfrid Laurier. Alogos Bradshaw Pack Point - Spool SPP 201 Ornaments Allison Cameron Point - Spool SPP 202 Larry Beckwith (SPOOL http://www.spoolmusic.com) Uxbridge, Ontario-based SPOOL is a recently formed independent label aiming to represent a broad spectrum of experimental musicians. With the goal of developing a catalogue of works chosen for musical merit rather than commercial considerations SPOOL

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