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Volume 8 Issue 10 - July/August 2003

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  • Bach

dered by the warm

dered by the warm resonance of Saint Matthew's Anglican Church. Producers Ratuski and Wilson should feel justly proud. The liner is the usual CBC stapled booklet, in . both languages. Considering the subject matter, it is curious that the designers chose Carmichael's painting North Shore, Lake Superior, 1927 as the cover image: something further removed from the real sea is hard to imagine. John S. Gray Villa-Lobos: Orchestral Works Odense Symphony Orchestra; Jan Wagner Bridge 9129 Alberto Ginastera: Orchestral Works Odense Symphony Orchestra; Jan Wagner Bridge 9130 Though it might seem a bit odd to travel to the brisk climes of Denmark for insights into the steamy splendours of South American music, the Odense Symphony Orchestra's Venezuelan music director, Jan Wagner, proves to be an ardent proponent of this repertoire. These outstanding recordings on the Bridge label offer superb introductions to two patriarchs of South American musical nationalism. The great Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) was bless ~d by a gift for melody and possessed of a relentless energy which, fuelled by the consumption of preposterously elongated cigars, led to the completion of an astounding 2 ,000 scores. Perhaps the best known of these are the series of nine works entitled' Bachianas Br'asileiras, the fourth of which, composed • in 1941, is well represented here. The remainder of the disc is devoted to two folkloristic ballet sco'res. The Tomkins - Above the Starrs first of these, an Amazonian · (Verse Anthems and Consort Music) paraphrase of Stravinsky·' s The Fretwork with Emma Kirby Firebird entitled Uirapuru , was and others Villa-Lobos' response to a visit to Harmonia Mundi HMU 907320 Buenos Aires by Diaghelev's Ballet Russe in 1'917. Jan Wagner himself Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656), a . discovered the missing orchestral student of William Byrd, a graduate parts to Villa-Lobos' final ballet of Oxford and a Gentleman of the score, The Emperor Jones (1956), . Chapel Royal, is not exactly ahousesquirreled away amongst the packing hold name, but his musical output is crates of the Jose Limon dance significant, indeed remarkable for its company, and here brings it virtuosityandimaginationasonewill convincingly back to life. Both are note on this recording. powerful, lurching scores teeming From the opening track, Fretwork with primitive energy. The Odense (comprised of Richard Boothby, Ribrass section in particular responds chard Campbell, Wendy Gillespie, to Villa-Lobos' muy macho writing Julia Hodgson, William Hunt and with evident glee. Susanna Pelis) establishes unquestionable musical command of this The compositions of the eminent Argentinean composer Alberto repertoire. One can luxuriate in the Ginastera (1916-1983), while far richness of the six-part polyphony, fewer in number, are considerably tickle the ear with playful three-part more elegant than those of his rough- fantasias, and marvel at the intrica. hewn Brazilian counterpart. Though cies of Thomas Tomkins' craftsman­ in his later years Ginastera would ship. embrace the techniques of the Euro- On! y six of the twenty tracks are pean avant-garde, the present record- devoted to verse anthems, and the ing is restricted to his overtly na- rest to instrumental consort music, tionalistic scores of the 1940s and but what fine performances they are,. 50s. These are all highly accessible using historical pronunciation. and truly memorable works, brilliant- Richard Wistreich (bass), who ly orchestrated and bursting with surprises the listener with his exinfectious Latin rhythms. Included traordinary range in. Thou art my are the popular Dances from the king, is also featured with Emma Ballet 'Estancia•, the symphonic Kirkby in the verse anthem, Sing unto poem Ollantay, the Overture to the God. Catherine King is the reserved Creole Faust, and the dance suite countertenor-like soloist in Woe is PampeanaNo.3. Once again Wagner me. Charles Daniels's ultra smooth and his Odense musicians prove cathedral tenor complements the lyrthemselves dazzling interpreters of icism of 0 Lord, Lett me knowe myne this music. Both recordings are end. attractively packaged, well documented and excellently recorded. Fretwork, with their fearless, bold strokes of the bow, together with Daniel Foley these distinguished vocal practitioners of early music, guarantee the listener of an astounding sonic treat of counterpoint and interplay . Frank Nakashima Concert Note: Emma-Kirkby will peiform music of Bach and Handel ivith Daniel Taylor in the Elora Festival concert "The Spl1:11dour {!l · Baroque" on August 2 in the Gambrel Barn. The Miracles of Notre-Dame Poems in praise of the Virgin set by Gautier de Coincy The Harp Consort; Andrew Lawrence Harmonia Mundi HMU 907317 Bestiario de Cri~to Alia Musica; Miguel Sanchez Harmonia Mundi HMI 987033 These two CDs illustrate the big question: does music get better·the more you know about its culture? (Or is music just music?) Miguel Sanchez .and Alia Musica have assembled a fascinating collection of 13th-century pieces, impeccably collated from Spanish sources, every one referring to some animal symbolism in medieval Christianity . The most astonishing of these is the Pelican Song, written by the poetking Teobaldo I of Navarre, in which the Christ-like bird pierces its own breast to save its children. The lyrics tell about some very bad birds that betray Christian (and pelican) principles: they preach sermons inciting RECORDS LIM I "TED 38

war, they stink and they have venomous beaks. How is this worked out in the music'1 Well, it's beautifully sung by Albina Cuadrado, richly intoned. yet somehow austere and properly respectful of everything that's historically verifiable. This is the conservative position, reflected beautifully in the surface of the Alia Musica CD. Everything's as complete as it can be, without doing anything. uh .. . outrageous. Consider the alternative: the '"cultural activist" position, from which the harpist Andrew Lawrence-King and his merry band of drummers, strings, singers and - oh, those reeds' - recreate the music of the I 2th-century abbot Gauthier de Coincy. Many of the normal laws of tasteful restraint seem forgotten in a riot of pleasure, more like Orff than like Alfred Deller, if you can imagine. I will try to believe in the truth of the austere pelican. but I've been completely seduced. swept away by the Harp Consort's amazingly spicy mix: the enduring rhythms and harmonies of folk-music have grabbed hold of the medieval raw materials, and spun everything around. If the Virgin Mary is really such a delicious piece of work, I'll dance with her anytime. Denzal Sinclaire Denzal Sinclaire Verve 4400385782 Alan Gasser If you· ve been looking for the male equivalent to Diana Krall, you may want to pick up on Denzal Sinclaire and his eponymous release on Verve. He's a Toronto-born singer/pianist who has lots of Montreal experience, and a few years back moved to Vancouver. Sinclaire's earlier releases have had backings ranging from just guitar to a potent 8-piece band, but here. it 's a classic trio format: Vancouver pianist Bruno Hubert (originally from Quebec), and two visiting Americans, Reuben Rogers on bass and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. Denzal adds some funky-sounding Wurlitzer electric piano, and wheezy melodica which is probably more fun to play than to listen to. It also reveals a softness on the album: another instrument would be welcome here, perhaps a Stan Getz-style tenor to add an obbligato or two, and a few tougher solos. You're not going to get 'tough ' when you listen to Denzal Sinclaire. You're going to get 'warm' and 'intimate', 'lyrical' and 'sensitive' . And swing: there's no doubt he's a jazz singer, but Denzal is more of a Nat Please visit www.ricktait.com for music, photos and biography. Contac'.:melanietait@rogers.com to order 'King ' Cole stylist than a shouter like Jimmy Rushing. He makes great tune choices here, updating solid old tunes like Day In, Day Out. I Got Rhythm (including the verse), and . Where Or 'When , adventurously done with just bassist Rogers' accompaniment. Sinclaire's proving to · be a pretty good composer too, with six tunes , including vegan praise on the jolly Tofu & Greens, and the self-describing A Peaceful Soul. Re: Bach Lara St. John Sony Classical SK89973 Sapphire Skies Parmela Attariwala Hornblower Recordings HR03l307 Ted O'Reilly Two very different CDs: Lara St. John's "Sony Classical" release is a disco/Bach crossover CD, Attariwala's independent CD is a thoughtful collection of original and South Asian influenced compositions. Several months ago I saw an extraordinary Celtic/Bach crossover project Lara St. John did with some Ontario fiddlers and dancers. The dances of Bach were coupled with t '( )NTJN\ 11.J> N l ~ :\T l'i\Cil '. Featuring Rick and his brothers Jim and Tom plus Rich Brown Richard Evans Debbie Fleming Rob Gusevs Mark Kelso Gordon Sheard Smooth jazz from Rick Tait, multiple ·• Juno award winner, composer, producer and musician. Rick wrote and performed with the legendary group Manteca before producing this extraordinary musical journey of his life. MCP Music Creation and Production Services •editing •mixing •mastering •composition •orchestration Pro Tools I Logic Audio Digital Suite Timothy Sullivan, Mus.Doc. Expertise, Intelligence and Musicality Competitive Rates (416) 923-9215 visit: www.classXdiscs.com timothy@classXdiscs.com www.thewholenote.com NAXOS NEW RELEASES :"-> _t ~ ~:pf lH !h'" ' °""'' :>; ·~." ;if~ B:,;t

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