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Volume 9 Issue 10 - July/August 2004

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has for children's choral music. Ms. Henderson also serves as music director at Kingsway-Lambton United Church and her treatment of religious texts such as the Gloria, Cantata Domino, Come Holy Spirit. and Psalm 150 display 'her depth of passion for liturgical music. And who better to record this music than the Elmer lseler Singers who deliver a flawless performance under the direction of Lydia Adams . After all, Ms. Henderson also served as accompanist for Iseler's Festi.val Singers . Dia1111e Wells The Passing of the Year University of Alberta Madrigal Singers Arktos 200477 The University of Alberta Madrigal Singers began, as their name would suggest, as a 12-voice early music ensemble. When the choir's ranks swelled to their current membership of forty-four, they expanded their range of repertoire to include many periods and styles. Their newest recording, "The Passing of the Year", is named for one of the more modern compositions on the disc, by Jona.than Dove, who weaves his eight-part textures around a variety of lyrics on seasonal themes by poets Thomas Nash, George Peele, William Blake, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Emily, Dickinson. Another doublechoir setting, Hail Gladdening light by Charles Wood features a meditative middle section framed by actively textured beginning and endings. Another deeply textured work is Felix Mendelssohn's Ave Maria, beginning with solo tenor, moving to eight-part chorus, with a final section in sixteen-part counterpoint. The choir handles this rather well , and seems at ease with the complex demands of this repertoire. It's easy to understand why' at the recent CBC Competition for Amateur Choirs, they took top honours in the Mixed Choirs (University-based Adult) category and taking first prize in the 2004 CBC competition's College choir division. Dia1111e Wells Live In Concert Lachan, The Toronto Jewish Chamber Choir Independent Created I 0 years ago by Cantor Benjamin Maissner, Lachan (which means melody in Hebrew) is dedicated to the performance of Jewish or Jewish:influenced music from a variety of traditions and eras. The 25 member auditioned volunteer choir has performed in. Canada, the US and Europe, and represented Canada at "Sounds of Healing", an international gathering of Jewish choirs in 2000, in Nuremberg, Germany. Their first CD presents spirited renditions of works based' mostly on liturgical or biblical texts, by Canadian composers Srul Irving Glick, Sid Robinovitch and Ben Steinberg, Israelis Tzvi A vni, Paul Ben-Haim and Yeheskel Braun, Italian Renaissance composer Salomone Rossi, and others. The works, sung a cappella or with accompaniment, are in Hebrew and English, and there is one delightful piece in Yiddish. A highlight is Glick's four movement Sing Umo the Lord a New Song, with exquisite harp accompaniment by Jacqueline Goring. As the subtitle implies, most of the selections were recorded live, so there is some coughing and other extraneous noise from the audience, and in a couple of instances the sound is a little muddied making the text difficult to discern (it's hard to say whether the fault is with acoustics, diction or engineering), but thankfully this is the exception rather than the rule. Although the liner notes give bios of the choir, Cantor Maissner and piano accom- . panist Nadya Adler, there is sadly no information on the composers or compositions. Overall however, the choir's enthusiasm, love of the music and shear joy of singing is what shines in this recording. Visit www.lachan.org to order, Karen Ages EARLY MUSIC Alessandro Scarlatti: Colpa, Pentimento e Grazia Maria Espada, Lola Casariego, Martin Oro Orquestra Barroca de Sevilla Eduardo Lopez Banzo, director Harmonia Mundi HMI 987045.46 Sicilian Alessandro Scarlatti, who lived mostly in Naples and Rome, wrote hundreds of innovative oratorios, cantatas and operas, while 'his son Domenico, who was born the same year as Handel and Bach and spent much of his career in Spain, is best known for his highly original keyboard sonatas. This oratorio by Alessandro is at first glance somewhat, austere. It was written in 1708 for Holy Week. There is no chorus or keyboard continua, and orchestral passages are kept to a minimum. It really amounts to an extended series of recitatives, arias and ensembles for the three singers . But they carry the emotional weight of the texts with such heart-wrenching passion that austerity gives way to sublime beauty. Spanish conductor Eduardo Lopez Banzo and his outstanding musicians, with their splendid trumpets and stringed instrume'nts from the period, reflect the best elements of baroque performance today. Although they readi ly achieve vivid dramatic momentum, they spurn hurried tempos, exaggerated accents, excessive ornamentation, and obtrusive continua in favour of a naturally flowing style. Soprano Marfa Espada has an uncommon mastery of shading, giving her role as Grazia (Grace) many facets. Mezzo Lola Casariego shapes the forceful phrases of Colpa (Sin) with thrilling expressive power. The gorgeous voice of countertenor Martin Oro as Pentimento (Repentance) effectively combines purity with robustness. The detailed booklet notes justifiably call this work a masterpiece. It was recorded live, with realistic immediacy, at what must have been an enthralling concert. PamMargles John Dowland - Ayres Gerard Lesne, alto Ensemble Orlando Gibbons Naive E8881 Well, he.re is a new CD featuring many of Dowland's best-known bon-bons - Can she excuse, Flow my teares, Fine knacks for ladies, In darkness let me dwell, and so on. There are so many recordings of this repertoire around, one won~ RE. C 0 RDS l IM IT E D 54 ----

CHAN DOS Chandos World Premiere DVD ders why we need another. Well, there are several good reasons why this one is worth a listen. Gerard Lesne. has likely been France's best-known male alto for the past two decades, and justifiably sp. Whatever he sings, it sounds like it.truly matters to him, and his intel!igence., sense of drama, and touc~ing expressiveness come shining thr01,igh. This recording is no exceptiop, and although there are somy .d,istinct problems wit.h diction; Lesne is so alive with the meanipg, of whatever text he happens to.be singing-that I don't care (much). I am delighted that 'Fine knacks' sounds SO utterly different from 'lt" that a sinner's sigh', because it should. Dowland is not always doleful. The program is well balanced, with several ayres played_ on four viols and lute, some for voice and lute, some for ,voice and viols of varylrjg IJUl).lbe;s,. The members of Ensemble Orlando Gibbons play with se

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