8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 3 - November 2003

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60 Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill Ill mn mn 1ffif mrr mrr l\JAXOS 11111 11111 11111 11111 11111 MILKEN ARCHIVE OF AMERICAN JEWISH MUSIC One of the great recording projects of the new millennium Bernstein: Jewish Legacy Achron: 0 Violin Concerto Klezmer Concertos Yiddish Theatre Songs C-Tedesco: Naomi & Ruth Weill: The Eternal Road A Hanukka Celebration Jewish Voices in New World Milhaud: Service Sacre ALL N axos new releases available at: HMV Superstore 333 Yonge St, Toronto Torontq's most complete Naxos section seems to suit the slightly muted qua!- ity of the Anal~kta release - recorded in Saint John's Anglican Church, Elora. Ophelie Gaillard's ambroisie recording is, like her playing, slightly in your face - this can be extraordinarily exciting, but more often sounds a bit relentless. The most interesting issue seemed to be the degree to which the player could balance the music as a simple dance movement - which with Bach they never are - with the ability to bring out subtle shadings of sound and tone to go beyond the · music. The Sarabande of the 5th suite is a good example of this. The music is very sparse, no double-stopping and very few notes. The expressive gesture of the melody has to act as melody and bass. It is like raw, simple emotion - Zen and the art of the Sarabande. With Linden, the most experienced of the players here, this is portrayed as simpl.Y as the structure of the music. Sergei Istomin's playing is often similar, and yet there is a humanity . that he brings to the music. The Prelude to the 2nd suite could not be played in more touching a fashion. The music at the same time seems naive and yet tortured. You are led beyond the music and notes to one's own imagination. Ophelie Gaillard' s recording suffers from the excesses of many modern "baroque" performances - the fast movements are often too fast and the sarabandes are often too slow even for dance. She does have an admirable exuberance however, and should be congratulated for CD presentation - with exquisite cardboard packaging - and for being the first female baroque cellist to record the suites. This. old romantic though, still pre- thoroughly satisfying program of viol solos from the German High Baroque. For those who might find the idea of a solo recordiqg NOT devoted to Bach to be a potential bore, this CD will prove them wrong. The pro­ 'gram is well varied and beautifully . paced; the recording quality is topnotch; and the performance is one of great musical integrity, expressiveness, and technical excellence. I've always thought of the baroque viol as having both noble and intimate qualities, and this recording displays both in perfect balance. In fact, the only thing I was disappointed with was the rudimentary liner-notes .. Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-87), a viol virtuoso famous for his collaboration with Johann Christian Bach in I 8th-century London, is represented by about one-third of his "27 solos", played here with engaging elegance and expressive virtuosity, which Abel himself was reputed to have displayed. G.P. Telemann'sDmajor sonata from the "Getreue Musikmeister" receives an insightful and focused performance, particularly in its curious recitative-andaria third movement, and in the rhythmic and melodic energy of the closing Vivace. And two sonatas from Amsterdam-born Johannes Schenk's "L'echo du Danube" (op. 9), with their exptic writing for the viol, display lstomin's formidable technique and the eloquent musicianship that it serves. Alison Melville Graupner: Partien 1718 & Galanteries Partitas for Harpsichord, Vol.2 Genevieve Soly Analekta FL 2 3164 fers the set by Pablo Casals!! · Graupner: Cantate, Sonate, Kevin Mallon Ouverture - Instrumental and Vocal Music, Vol.2 Ingrid Schmithiisen Virtuoso Solos for the Viola da Helene Plouffe Gamba L'ensemble des ldees heureuses Sergei Istomin Genevieve Soly Analekta FL2 3144 Analekta FL 2 3180 This new release from Analekta fea- The baroque revival continues. It has tures violist da gamba Sergei lstomin, been a great adventure over the last a former Toronto resident now !iv- few decades - so much scholarly and ing in France, in an ambitious and , musical talent devoted to bringing the WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM masters of the past to us. The most pleasant of surprises is that there are so many past masters of which we previously .knew nothing at all. Thanks to Genevieve Soly for he.r efforts on behalf of one such unsung hero, Christoph Graupner. Graupner, like his contemporaries Bach, Handel, and Telemann, was required by his position to provide a lot of music for ceremonies, liturgies, celebrations, etc. His harpsichord music though, replete with keyboard gymnastics, was written for himself and his students. and thanks to the great technical and musical abilities of Genevieve Soly, we have here a real treat. , The Partitas on this CD are dance suites that never tire the ear or the imagination - the virtuosity serves the m.usic (not the reverse), With lots of power, and lots of charm too. The writing is distinctive and interesting, and the performances are spectacular. The harpsichord, by Henrick Broekman, is perfect for this music. It's a really substantial instrument after one by Haas - each of the registers has a very distinctive voice, and are all used to great effect and variety. Listen with headphones and hold on tight. !just couldn't sit still for this one. You have to hear it to believe it. Go buy it right away. Get a bunch of them for Christmas presents. Den Ciul Editor's Note: Genevieve Soly 's efforts to bring Graupner to the attention of the musical public also 'include a series of recordings devoted to his instrumental (i.e. ensemble) and vocal music. Analekta has recently released a second volume in this set, featuring soprano Ingrid Schmithilsen with Helene Plouffe and L 'ensemble des ldees heureuses under Soly 's direction. Den Ciul reports: "Graupner wrote over 1,400 cantatas. "Die Krankfleit, so mich drilckt" for Soprano and ensemble is a calm, serene work .. . Ingrid Schmithilsen is quite dramatic, but her interpretation is appropriate to the text ... [In the Ouverture in D minor GWV 426] the viola d 'amore of Helene Plouffe is warm and rich. . . Overall, this is NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2003

a relaxing. uncomplicaJed collection. Well executed, charming, and calm in a way that otherwise did not survive the 18th century." Scarlatti/Vivaldi/ Avison Marie-Nicole Lemieux; Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; Jeanne Lamon. Analekta FL 2 3171 St~AilU,>\Tl~ *~% ·~s~ Mozart Keyboard Sonatas K.281, K.545, K.310 Ludwig SemerJian, fortepiano ATMA ACD22243 Now in its 25th anniversary season, the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra continues to amaze with stylish, wellinformed, passionate performances ofrepertoire covering the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. Their impressive "discography" includes dozens of recordings from outstanding performances of Corelli, Geminiani, Vivaldi, Handel and Bach to later Classical and early Romantic works of Gluck, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. This latest effort showcases the prodigious talents of the Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, a prizewinner who is active in concert halls and recording studios all over the world, working with some of the leading conductors and orchestras. This is a seductively entertaining disc, considering that the musical material is very thin on significance and meaning. Lemieux performs two extended settings of standard religious texts: the Salve Regina of Domenico Scarlatti and Vivaldi's solo setting of the Stabat Mater. The former piece is somewhat interesting as 'a rare example of vocal music from the master of the Italian harpsichord. The latter is - I'm afraid - a rather forgettable youthful exercise and I fear the Red Priest might be horrified to know it was still being performed. Like the proverbial "great actor reading the phone book", however, Lemieux and Tafelmusik give absolutely outstanding performances of these pieces. The shimmer. of the strings, the glorious timbre of the voice: with each changing chord tears came to my eyes. This disc is a clinic in the sheer art of performance and is recommended if the buyer is interested in surrounding him/herself with beautiful sounds. \ Larry Beckwith N OVEMBER 1 - D ECE MBER 7 2003 There are three Mozart Piano Sonatas recorded here on an· original Viennese fortepiano by Anton Walter, 1790. Hopefully, we are, most of us, acclimated to the sound of a Viennese piano so that we may judge the quality of performance and not be so surprised at the sounds made by such an instrument. Still, there are important considerations regarding historically informed performance . . The action is completely different from a modem piano - an action that does not have anywhere near the power of the modem instrurnent, but is very light and a great deal more sensitive to the touch ::- with hammerheads that are covered, not with felt, but with layers of leather. The strings are finer and the bass is strung in brass wire; and not overwound with copper. A fortepiano has a much richer' overtone structure than a modem instrument, but much less "fundamental" tone. This produces a much brighter sound with a lot less ·bass booming. There is nowhere to hide with a fortepiano, the sound is clearer and cleaner. These differences raise many issues regarding dynamics, phrasing, ornaments, and the use of the sustain and moderator mechanisms. In the case of this recording however, the difference that is most noticeable is not the sound of the instrument but the interpretation of the score. Of the three sonatas included here it is K. 310 that is most distinctive, very different from any other recording, on any piano. The tempo is slower, but strident, emphasizing the "martial'.' element of the work, grim, serious. While Malcolm Bilson's approach_(on a Walter copy) is rapid and driving, Semerjian is almost relentless - little variation in rhythm or tempo. The effect is, in fact, quite surprising, a very different sort of Mozart. The perf9rmances are interesting, the piano is particularly fine. If you are looking for a different approach

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