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Volume 9 Issue 4 - December 2003

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • December
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • January
  • Symphony
  • Choir
  • February
  • Musical
  • Arts

Editor's Note: ·The

Editor's Note: ·The other five compositions, including a definitive Milken/Naxos releases are Mario performance of Copland's El Salon Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Choral Music Mexico; Barber'sAdagio for Strings, (8.559404); Abraham Ellstein: Great _ Ives' The Una11Swered Question, and Songs of the Yiddish Stage, Vol. I Gershwin's Rhapsody·in Blue .. ~ow~ (8.559405); Introducing The World erful performances of Stravinsky, of American Jewish Music Ravel, Bartok, Shostakovich and (8.559406); Leonard Bernstein: A Mahler are inducted as well . Jewish Legacy (8.559407); and 'Jose.ph Achron: Violin Concerto No. I ·and The Golem (8.559408). A Total Embrace: The Conductor Leonard Bernstein Sony Classical Legacy S3K 90578 A Total Embrace: The Composer Leonard Bernstein . Sony Classical Legacy S3K 90582 Following on its series of premium Volumes, The Bern.stein Century, SONY has delved into their extensive catalogue of Columbia ·recordings yet again to bring us these two inexpensive 3-disc compilation vol- · umes, timed to coincide with what would have been Bernstein's 85th birthday. Excerpts are generous and well thought out, in general allowing for complete movements from symphonies and concertos. Most of the performances were recorded during B!!rnstein's regime at the New York Philharmonic, though curiously the outside packaging makes no mention of the orchestra. The standard tepertoi re is well represented with characteristically bold and dynamic performances of Mozart, Haydn, Tchaikovsky and Brahms. One particularly felicitous stroke of pro- / gramming finds the whip-snap, isolated chords that end Sibelius' Fifth Symphony in E-flat leading directly into the analogous opening of Beethoven's Third. ' American music, a central component of Bernstein's career, is repr.esented by a handful'.of complete 70 VolumeTwoisdevotedtoBemstein the composer, and covers \lis stage music of the late 1950s with highlights from the priginal Cast recordings-of West Side Story, On The Town, Candide and Wonderful Town, as well as portions of his controversial Mass of 1971 . His instrumental music is represented with excerpts from theJer~ emiah and Age of Anxiety Sympho- -nies along With smaller chamber works. Although Bernstein was unquestionably a towering figure in American music.and an inspiration to many, the legend adorning this volume proclaiming him to be "the most beloved composer of the 20th Century" is', not unlike the man himself, way over the top. Daniel Foley Alan Hovhaness Celestial Fantasy Slovak R!ldio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava); Kerry Stratton, conductor Dorian Recordings DOR 93166 this sound like a mere academic exercise. The Concert Hall of the Slovak Radio in Bratislava is a warm envir~nment to record an ensemble such as these players; the sound is as impressive under headphones as it is on de­ . cent speakers. Stratton has done well, as have the engineers. Happy are we who once had to contend with a rag-tag collection 9f indifferent rewww.electrocd.com if you're curious. What I personally appreciate is Oswald's invitation to tune into a particular musical sound-world, and ·then to follow its effects upon one's own inner world. ·Kudos to empreintes digitales for i}roviding us with the opportunity. Alison Melville cordings just to get these works. Newschool The notes included tell us much Jean-Francois Gu~y about Hovhaness, hinting at his dis- Fidelio FACD009 missal at the hands of such august ·~rnscHOOI. figures as Lukas Foss and Leonard . Bernstein in the l 950's. Each of the works has a paragraph of notes. The. cover is nothing less than an image from NASA, a detail from the Lagoon Nebula. Highly recommended. Aparanthesi John Oswald empreintes digitales IMED0368, 2002 John S. Gray Montreal-based saxophonist Jean~. Franc,:ois Quay's "New School" is precisely that. Guay is 'clearly influenced .by his teacher's - the great Jean-Marie Londeix - philosophy: "i(the piece wasn't written in your lifetime, don't play .it". Thankfully for us, Jean-Franc,:ois also grew up listening to Supertramp, the British "" studio band of the 70s and 80s. This reviewer may already be sold. Louis-Noel Fontaine has revisited Supertramp's School and Hide in Your Shell (1974 alburq "Crime·of I first discovered this label through the Century"). The musical setting "Humeur de Facteur", an electro- is clever: Quay's flexible sound reacoustic recording created by Yves calls the wailing harmonica and the B~aupre from the various sounds 'cello matches well. I'm not sure how· made during construction ot" a harp- convincing the text "recitation" .sichord. It was a fascinating and rev- works, but~ must-hear nonetheless. elatory experience, and Aparanthesi Franc,:ois Rosse is well known to by John Oswald is no less so. saxophone players worldwide, and Oswald, born in 1953 to what he deserv.es wider recognition from all qescribes as "a profoundly amusical contemnorary music enthusiasts. Le Hovhaness fans, reJOICe. Kerry " 1am1 ·1 y ". , IS · a " 1am1 ·1· 1ar C ana d' 1an t- ig- Frene Egare " comes from his earlier Stratton's new Doria. n CD brings. u re 1 ·nth e wor ld o f new music. · H e · (more structuralist) period, and it is tog· ether a good selection of the works crea t e d A paran th est, · o t· w h' 1c h t wo now a staple in the saxophone reperof this sometimes-maligned composvers10ns · appear on th" is d" 1sc, as an toire. Guay executes this work with er. From the relativelv ,. early Celes- explorat'o . 1 n of a smg · l e p1 't c h , an 1 ·ct ea precision. tial Fantasy of 1935 to the Procesw1 ·th w h. 1c h h e h as wor · k e d m · sever- Quebecois composer Robert sional and Fugue from 1967, the a 1 ear l' 1er compos1 · ·t· 10ns. "I was h op! Lemay - another of the saxophoh- Slovak Radio Symphony takes us on · · t t·· d · t t' t mg · o m an meres mg way o ist's best friends - constructs piecan excellent . tour of the man's or- " 10 11 ow ... t h e morp h. mg o t· a p1tc · h es using the wide range of extended · chestral works. The disc opens with · th roug h vanous · · mstrumenta, 1 acous- techniques. His Five Etudes each The Holy City from 1965, a work t' ct l t · f 1c an e ec romc iorms, "h e t e 11 s th e explore one contemporary technique: which opens with delicious glissanrea d er m · a l h · · ~ngt Y mterv1ew .con- double-tonguing, multiphonics, etc. di before the entrance of the solo tame · d m · t h e . CD pac k age. Th e re- Although I would prefer each etude trumpet some two minutes later. su lt s are qui 't e remar k a bl e. u smg · th e as a separate track, the suggestion This CD shows us, among other soun d s o f piano, · ce 11 o, b. d th ir s, un- that they were recorded as one adds things, just how well Hovhanness d er an d ram, · ca ttl e, a " iog h om, an d to the perception ofGuay's stunning could write a fugue, with no .fewer more, o swa ld h as crea t e d an ex- virtuosity. than four examples of his melodic t raor ct· mary, · m t enor · / ex t enor · au d"t 1 o- · The album is rounded out with two contrapuntal gift revealed here. Stratry experience. · Th ere 1sn · 't su ffi icien · t electroacoustic works on which Guay ton and the orchestra are wonderful- h · fu h ' h · space ere to go mto rt er tee m- displays a more lyrical quality; even ly disciplined, yet they never make ca l' d e t a1 ·1 s; t· o 11 ow th e l. m k s at in the stratosphere of the instrument. CONTINUED ON PAGE 72 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM DECEMBER 1 2003 - FEBRU ARY 7 2004

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