7 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 3 - November 2003

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to familiar music, this

to familiar music, this is a good choice. Den Cui/ CLASSICAL AND ROMANTIC Concert Note: The Zehetinair Quartet had been scheduled to perform Schumann for Music Toronto at the Jane Mallett Theatre on November 20, but they have cancelled, and have been replaced by the Jacques Thibaud Trif!. , Schumann: Quartets 1 & 3 Zehetmair Quartet ECM New Series 472 169-2 Grieg/Schumann Piano Concertos Leif Ove Andsnes Berliner Philharmoniker; Mariss Jansons EMI Classics 7243 5 57562 2 0 Thomas Zehetmair is one of the most versatile violinists around today. The Austrian violinist's mastery 9f baroque period style and the techniques of contemporary music as well as Every once in a while, a CD comes the virtuosic romantic repertoire, leads along to dispel all one's preconcephim to enthrallingly transparent tex- tions regarding the same old familiar tures and an exciting dynamic edge. warhorses. As luck would have it, His extensive experience as a con- this brilliant recording of the Grieg ductor results in a thrilling balance and Schumann concerti came across among the individual voices that my desk recently. Pianist Leif Ove make up his tight ensemble. Andsnes, a frequent guest of the This is one of the finest chamber TSO, is no stranger to Canadian recordings to come along in a long audiences, especially after his actime. The four excellent string play- claimed appearances at Vancouver's ers set up the ideal ofa conversation Chan Centre in January 2002 and between equally eloquent partici- October 2003. pants. The sound this group pro- · Both works are respectfully duces is refined and beautiful. Their treated, with orthodox readings. pacing is natural yet highly dramat- fiowever, there is a fiery verve here ic, especially in Schumann's tricky that makes one take notice. Mariss rhythmic shifts. Jansons, well known as the "hardest Schumann's Quartets are complex, working man in classical music" ~ut full of gorgeous melodies and displays a command of the Berliner compelling rhythms. The Zehetmair Philharmoniker that is nothing short Quartet captures Schumann's fragile of astounding. I hear an oboe romanticism, with its poignant un- passage in the Grieg that I don't recall dercurrent of conflicted yearning. having heard before. With steely But, in spite of the. weighty rriateri- polish on every line, it nonetheless al, they produce textures of elegant doe•sn 't seem contrived. The lightness. The second movement of Steinway Dis remarkably even across the Quartet No. 1 shows their terrif- the scale, more so than any that I've ic ensemble work, with breathtak- encountered "in the flesh". ing clarity in the inner voices. They The recording, production and eneven manage in the third movement gineering team deserve praise, having to restrain their intuitive expressive- successfully captured Andsnes and ness in order to suggest the exquisite Jansons' efforts. The included bookpossibility of things left unexpressed. let's covering essay o.n the concerti, The sound is clear, yet richly bur- by Jeremy Siepmann, reads in a nished. The miking is so close that ll!anner that virtually assumes that you can hear breathing, but ti} is_ the listener has a previous recording makes for exciting immediacy. The of the two works. My ancient Grieg/ comprehensive liner notes offer a Schumann Concertos LP with Leon refreshingly intellectual perspective. Fleischer and George Szell must fi­ Attractive photos are included, but nally take a back seat with the arrivno biographical material on these al of this CD. remarkable young musicians. Pam Marg/elf. John S. Gray N O VEMBER 1 ~ D E C EM B E R 7 2003

Lalo - Symphonic espagnole, Op.21; Saint-Saens; Ravel Maxim Vengerov, violin Philharmonia Orchestra Antonio Pappano · EMI Classics 7243 5 57593 2 0 and thematic invention that Ravel bring~ to bear is brought out wonderfully in this performance, as well. A good deal of the history of the violin - Stradivari, gypsy rooµi; Sar.· asate, Hungarian and Spanish }gfl·uences - meld with the promise of its future in this brilliant recording. I'd recommend it highly. Larry Beckwith Conversations (Brahms; Elgar; Saint-Saens ...) , Alain Trudel, trombone; Y anick Nezet-Seguin, piano This recording is indeed a classic. ATMA Acm22s9 The Siberian-born violinist Vengerov is among the top violinists .under the age of 30 in the world to~ay and could easily capitalize on his fame and srmply "chum out the hits". This recording is no knock-off, however. The connections .abound in the carefully-chosen program: the Saint­ Saens Concerto No.3 and Lalo's Symphonie espagnole were both written for the important 19th century Spanish virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate I took an Alain'Trudel CD into one and Ravel's Tzigane is one of the of the schools I work at recently and · more substantial short pieces in the played it for s01ye stu~ents. They violin repertoire, exploring as it does listened reasonably attentively, for an the "gypsy" roots of the fiddle. eighth grade class. The thing that The CD opens with Lalo's five- really made them sit up and pay atmovement Spanish-flavoured musi- tention was when I told them that cal essay. Vengerov handles the was a trombone they were hearing. flashy episodes with aplomb and Their reaction? "So THAT'S what injects maxrmum excitement into the a trombone is supposed to sound proceedings. The orchestra never like!" overpowers hrm; rather, one gets ~e Adults seem t 0 have a slightly mod• feeling Vengerov could hold his ified response; something along the own opposite an ensemble of twice lines of "I never knew a trombone the size! Conductor Pappano takes could sound that beautiful." My own full advantage of his soloist's poise . reaction to Alain Trudel's playing ·and really lets the orchestra loose at seems to encompass both of these several points. In the more poignant points of view. Trudel's work on moments, Vengerov lets his Strad "Conversations" has just reinforced , sing and plumbs the depth of Lalo's that opinion once again. lyrical lines. - The material on this CD is made The wonders conti~u~ in 'Saint- up of shorter recital pieces and v~­ Saens' underrated 3rd v1ohncon~rt?. calizes (the longest single track 1s The opening phrase~ from the v10lm . just over eight minutes). Each piece introduce several different colo~rs is performed with an achingly beauthan we heard in the Lalo, confirmmg tiful sound, and technique that is so Vengerov's large palette. M~ .only precise that it doesn't call attention quibble here conce~ns ~urpns1~gly to itself. The interplay between Truquestionable intonation m the wmds del and Nezet-Seguin is practically of the o:ches~ in the first move~ent, telepathic. . but all is well m the rest of the piece Such traditional recital favountes - a hint perhaps that the first move- as Faure's Sicilienne and Saint-Saens' ment was rec?rded in a separate Le cygne are presented along with session? The third movem~~t .1s han- music by Bruch, Brahms, Gliere and died with remarkable sens1t1v1ty: ~e Kreisler; all of it with impeccable dynamics and balance between solmst musicality. and orchestra are truly thrilling. Ravel's Tzigane rounds out the Merlin Williams disc and Vengerov dives into it with abandon. One never forgets this is vfrtuosic writing, but the harmonic J THE ACCLAIMED HAYDN EDITION IS FROM THE SAME TEAM: 'J can't think of a current recorded series that has given me more pleasure than Richard Hickox' survey of the Haydn . Masses. For my money, no other conductor on disc com:e;:s so happily the mingled drama, symphonic power and spmtual exhilaration.of thf?se works. ' Gramophone CHAN0592 Theresienmesse, Kleine Orgelmesse CHAN0640 Nelson Mass CHAN0599 Creation Mass - CHAN0645 · Heiligmesse Distributed in Canada by CH~N0612 Harmoniemesse M issa Cellensis S~!J?;.J. Paukenmesse Grosse Orgelmesse 638 The Kings~ay, Peterborough/ Ontario. K9J 7C8 Phone; 705-748-5422 Fax·:705-748-5628 Email: www.sncanada.~om NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 7 2003 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM 63

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