7 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 3 - November 2003

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A great Bookstore ... now with Music! GREAT ~OOK.S • GREAT Ml:JSfC JAZZ CLA~~fCAf;; Of>ERA C~ORAL JtOOT~ ~Ol:JN@TRACK.~ f>Of> tf~TENfNG ~TA TfON~ AN@ MOJtE rl'I• World'• f1n•U tlH•lul Q .J•U Mlltl~ ttnPP•h•fll L '!t~J.t~_r.~ri ·g .orian WANTED: Composer for Night 2004! "New Creations" Competition for Young Composers • Open to composers residing in Ontario, up to the age of 35 as of September 2004 '• Composers must be.Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents • Deadline for submissions: March 1, 2004 Music Director Designate Peter Oundjian is inviting young Canadian composers residing in Ontario to submit a work for possible inclusion in the opening concert of his first season as Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra ·(2004/2005). Scores will be judged by Peter Oundjian. \ , For details and application information, visit or call 416.593~776'9, ext. 382. BATTLER FOR BRITTEN . A mere year and a half after'his third major choral festival in Toronto, "The Joy of Singing within the Noise of the World," the ninety-five year old Nicholas Goldschmidt has masterminded "Benjamin Britten: A Celebration" in honour of the composer's ninetieth birthday. The event provides us with an opportunity not only t0 assess or re-assess Britten's contribution to music in the Twentieth Century, but also to examine our own ideas of what a composer could or should be, of "modernity"· or "contemporariness" in music, and the place of art in life. The Oxford Dictionary of Music says of Britten: "Few composers have caught the public's imagination in their lifetime as vividly as did Britten; each new work was eagerly awaited and absorbed." In 1964 he was honoured with the first Aspen Award, which was established the year before' to honour "the individual anywhere in the world judged to have made the greatest contribution to the advancement of the humanities." In 1976 he was honoured by being awarded a life peerage. He wrote music for the greatest performers of his time, including Rostropov ich, Vishnevskaya, Fischer- . Dieskau, Janet Baker' and Peter Pears and in his visits to the Soviet Union became, a friend of Shostakovich, who dedicated his Fourteenth Symphony to him. What perhaps makes these extraordinary accomplishments all the more remarkable is that his music was tonal and therefore stylistically out of the mainstream.' Retired Dean of Music at the University of Toronto,. Carl Morey, who will be giving lectures on "Britten and the Crisis in Tradition" as part of the festival, told me that in 1945- French composer 01- •ivier Messiaen called Britten brave for writing tonal music. One of the problems for post-romantic composers from Britten's day up to the present time, Professor Morey told me, is whether to stay within the parameters of a tradition considered moribund and thus rejected by many composers, or to follow the lead of those who had broken with the tradition - in Britten's day Stravinsky and Schoenberg. It was Britten's decision to write tonal music; and, according to Morey, to work within strict traditional musical forms. While this may have QUODLIBET by Allan Pulker Benjamin Britten 1975 been courageous it was ultimately a decision to be true to himself. He addressed this issue in his acceptance speech for the Aspen Award: "There are many dangers which hedge round the unfortunate composer: pressure groups which demand true proletarian music, snobs who demand the latest avant-garde tricks ... . [who] may makethe ... composer self-conscious, .and instead of writing his own music ... which springs naturally from his gift and personality, he may be frightened into writing pretentious nonsense or deliberate obscurity." While this decision resulted in Britten's music never being highly valued by musical academia, it did result in music that audiences were eager to hear. It is music which, 27 years after his untimely death, still speaks to those who hear it. "Benjamin Britten: A Celebration" will give people in Southern Ontario many opportunities to hear some of Britten's greatest works. The War Requiem, Noye's F,ludde, The Prodigal Son and concerts of his solo voice and chamber music in Toronto, London, Waterloo, Guelph and Goderich. Also veiy much in the spirit of Britten, the festival has commissioned Canadian composer, Gary Kulesha, to write a work for the event. "I believe," wrote Kulesha, "that the best way for a contemporary Canadian composer to celebrate Britten is to be true to the ideals that he established. Britten often spoke and wrote about the relationship between technique and expression, and articulated a paradigm which perfectly suits my own beliefs: technique must be elegant, polished, and detailed, but subservient to expression." You can hear the paradigm in action when Kulesha's Variations on CONTINUES ON PAGE 16 NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2003

World renowned tenor Michael Schade and mezzo soprano Norine Burgess, with the Toro~to Philharmonia, bring you an . evening of pure musical pleasure with 'excerpts from -Donizetti, Bizet, Lehar and Mozart. Sponsored by if ludwig l/{An were CA live. he'd hCAve (ion/ row seCAIS by now I December 1, 8:00 p.m. George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts Tickets: - TORONTO PHILH ,ARMONIA Ticketmaster: 416-870-8000 Toronto Centre for the Arts: 416-733-9388 Toronto Philharmonia: 416-499.-2204 wwwtorontophi l.on.c a Season Sponsors / CL A SS ICA~_9@g;[ f" AUdl · :-..Li k in g life so und l>

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