8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 4 - December 2003

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A similar treat is "The

A similar treat is "The Mystery of Christmas", originally recorded by the Elora Festival Singers in 1997. Accompanied by the rich and resounding organ accompaniment of Michael Bloss (at Toronto's Timothy Eaton Memorial Church), it offers a fine mixture of familiar carols, Canadian compositions, traditional folk tunes and work by such composers as Britten and Poulenc. The arrangements are embellished by some sublime descant (especially in 0 Come All Ye Faithful and Hark the Herald Angels Sing), while the final selection, John Tavener's God is with Us -A Christmas Proclamation, influenced by Orthodox church music, evokes real awe and mystery. A Song for All Seasons Toronto Children's Chorus; Sir David Willcocks Marquis 7 7471813122 6 The Toronto Children's Chorus has just released "A Song for All Seasons''. As the title suggests, it doesn't specifically feature Christmas music. Instead, it showcases the talents of this exceptional ensemble in 15 well-chosen works loosely linked by themes of nature and seasonal change by Bach, Elgar, Holst, Debussy and others. The finale is Paul Halley's heartfelt Song/or Canada, which, rendered by the true young voices, really does sound like "a new song" as it exorts us: "You happy neighbours, form but a single chorus In order to blend all your tones". 76 Sweet Songs of Christmas Mississauga Children's Choir Independent Meanwhile, the Mississauga Children's Choir offers "Sweet Songs of Christmas", a collection of familiar songs and a few fresh tunes, almost all focusing on the baby in the manger and the imagery of the little lambs, the gentle mother, the angels and the star. The opening Noel Nouvelet is an arrangement by Howard Cable at his best, with lots of vocal interest but not too showy a style. One of the nicest things about this recording is that the overall vocal tone lets the children sound like kids (and Canadian ones at that, who, in 0 Come All Ye Faithful, address the "cit-a-zins" of heaven above.) Love Came Down at Christmas Stacey Clark Independent SCCCD-1102 Finally, I'm of two minds about "Love Came Down At Christmas" by soprano Stacey Clark. Clark has some technical flaws (a tendency to bite off the ends of words in an overhasty trot through the Huron Carol, for instance). However, she has a warm, sweet voice and she's made a fresh selection of gentle French and English carols. Ultimately I found it very pleasant, despite initial doubts. Rhymes Reveries Rimes Tracy Dahl, soprano Shannon Hiebert, piano Erica Goodman, harp CBC Records MVCD 1163 This enchanting recording is jam packed full of children's songs geared to kids of all ages. A joint effort between Winnipeg coloratura soprano Tracy Dahl and pianist Shannon Hiebert, both mothers themselves, the quest for songs began with German and French material and their research has resulted in a selection of multilingual works. I must admit that this type of repertoire makes me go weak at the knees. From the traditional "My Love is like a red, red rose" to Brahm's Wiegenlied opus 49 no. 4, the opportunities to hum and/or sing along are endless (thanks also the words included in the liner notes!). Of note, is the inclusion of such selections as l.B. Veselovsky's haunting Cradle Song to my favourite, Sing, Smile, Slumber, with words of Victor Hugo. The performers are all in fine form. Dahl's operatic voice lends itself well to the material and shines brightly on the Strauss, Bizet and Brahms selections. Pianist Shannon Hiebert's accompaniement is always on the mark while a nice touch is the addition of Erica Goodman on harp, especially on the Irish numbers. "Reveries" is a wonderful panorama of selections. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, make sure to add this release to your giftgiving list. I know I am (but I'm not telling for who!). Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! TiinaKiik The World's Very Best Opera for Kids ... in English. Michael Schade; Jean Stilwell; Allan Monk; Tracy Dahl; Daniel Taylor; Suzie Leblanc The Children's Group 2 84341 Hallelujah Handel Classical Kids Sarah B. Hood The Children's Group 2 84263 WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COM A Classical Kids Christmas Classical Kids The Children's Group 2 84354 North America's leading producer of classical recordings for children is Toronto's own Children's Group. The company, now in its fourteenth year, is well known to educators via its Classical Kids and Mozart Effect series. The Children's Group's re- cordings should be assured of the wid< audience they deserve via a new dis tribution arrangement with Naxos The three titles reviewed here ar' prime candidates for musical Christ mas gifts. They've been pre-tested with a both thumbs up rating, by m: grandson and his child psychologist classical pianist mother. The World's Very Best Opera is ai unusually ambitious and creative el fort in children's recordings. Marl Goldman, the producer, employel the full Budapest Concert Orchestr; rather than the synthesizers or re duced forces typical for juvenile re cordings. The librettos of the four· teen selected arias were translatec and then beautifully adapted for youn~ minds by playwright David Libman. Goldman lined up eleven of Canada's rising opera stars from different regions of the country. There's a bonus of five sing-along tracks for the young or not-so-young Karaoke opera singer in your family. Hallelujah Handel is exemplary of the Classical Kids model for perking children's ears. A good yarn progresses through twenty tracks of selections from Handel's instrumental, operatic and choral repertoire. In this case, it's an elderly and gentle Handel recalling a story of a young orphan who could sing like an angel, but not speak, until he heard the first performance of Messiah. A little far fetched for an impresario notorious for keeping temperamental opera singers in line by occasionally hanging them out of upper floor windows, but, hey, it's Christmas. A cast of Toronto singers, actors, chamber orchestra and the High Park Girls' Choir turns out a wonderful performance. A Classical Kids Christmas belongs in every family's holiday collection. Susan Hammond, the producer, sees the recording as " ... my personal attempt to bring back the magnificence and reverence of Christmas through story, poetry and musicians." She succeeds. The mission is accomplished with the High Park Choirs, a chamber orchestra and singers who inspire ears of all ages to take in more classical music. Hallelujah. Phil Ehrensaft STOCKING STUFFERS ON PAGE 78 D ECE MB ER 1 2003 - FE BRUARY 7 2004

!I ilia hi!.'torlc aJl-staireunion e.oucert ONE(:J~ NIGHT WITH blue note Dormant for five years, the venerable jazz label Blue Note Records was relaunched in 1985 by EM! Music under the direction of Bruce Lundvall. To celebrate the grand occasion, Lundvall decided to put on an all-star concert at Town Hall in midtown New York, featuring a grand cast of musicians from Blue Note's old and revitalized rosters playing classic music from the label's heyday. Captured on film, the February 22, 1985 event proved to be a rousing triumph, both for the participants (it was a welcome reunion for many of the performers) and the audience. which was treated to an epic concert of historic significance. This historic and exciting concert is now available for the first time on DVD Video. NEW FROM BLUE NOTE CONNOISSEUR SERIES - UMITED EDITION RE-ISSUES OF CLASSIC BLUE NOTE ALBUMS The Connoisseur Series consists of classic Blue Note albums newly remastered in 24-bit by Ron McMaster, engineered by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder, with state-of-the-art equipment. Reissues produced by Michael Cuscuna with bonus tracks & rare photographs. --~~~~~~~~~~~-- ~ PAT MARTINO THINK TANK One of the most Important jazz guitarists today, Pat Martino appears here as leader on his fourth album for Blue Note. Think Tank features an all-star lineup of today's top jazz musicians: tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash. ~ !!! i;;l ~ HANK MOBLEY TH E FLIP On CD at last, this is Mobley's second-to-last Blue Note session and it took place in Paris with Dizzy Reece, Slide Hampton, Vince Benedetti, Alby Cullaz and Ph!lly Joe Jones. SAM RIVERS FUCH SIA SWING SONG Rivers' magnificent debut album with Jaki Byard, Ron Carter and Tony Williams is pure chemistry by four masters. A classic album of taste, spirit and discovery with four alternate takes. LEE MORGAN SONIC BOOM This marvelous 1967 date with David Fathead Newman, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter and Billy Higgins was not released until 1980. This is its first CD issue with a bonus session made in 1969 with George Coleman, Julian Priester and Harold Mabern. LARRY YOUNG MOTH ER SHIP Larry Young's final Blue Note session with Lee Morgan, Herbert Morgan and Eddie Gladden has the instrumentation and exploratory feeling of "Unity" combined with the Intensity and power of Tony Williams' Lifetime, of which Larry was a member. On CD for the first time. CASSANDRA WILSON GLAMOU RED Cassandra Wilson Is recognized as an unequaled vocalist, a jazz singer for a new generation. Her distinctive style and daring aesthetic have earned her wide recognition, Including chart-topping albums, a Grammy and countless media accolades, such as Time Magazine's 2001 pick for America's Best Singer. Her latest album features her trademark mix of originals and adventurous covers, picking material by Sting, Bob Dylan, W!llie Nelson, Muddy Waters and Abbey Lincoln. "Down South, musicians have to be able to play In many different circumstances and in many contexts," she says. "They have to play jazz, they have to Integrate the blues, and they have to know country. And the lines are kinda blurry sometimes, 'cause that's what everybody wants to hear." CHARLIE ROUSE BOSSA NOVA BACCHANAL Rouse was the consummate hard-bopper, but he had an affinity for the delicate melodies and irresistible rhythms of Brazilian samba music. This 1962 album with Kenny Burrell, W!llie Bobo and Patato Valdes among others was his firs t foray Into the genre and his muscular lyricism suits the material perfectly. ANDREW HILL PASSING SHIPS This amazing 1969 nonet session, released here for the first time, features spectacular writing by H!ll that presages his current big band. A real find! i w1.vw.em

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