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Volume 9 Issue 5 - February 2004

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  • February
  • Toronto
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  • Quartet

DISC VE RIES Editor's

DISC VE RIES Editor's Corner· by David Olds This month we try to catch up with the mountain of discs .that have arrived since the onset of the Christmas season. To accommodate'the plethora of material we have supplemented our stable of reviewers and it is with.great pleasure that I welcome John Lehr, Colin Savage, Robert Tomas and the enigmatic "ARB" to our team. This month I al-so note the welcome return of distinguished Canadian music scholar John Beckwith with his contribution on one of this country's seminal composers, Rodolphe Mathieu. Speaking of distinguished Canadian composers, we lost one in the early days of 2004 with the tleath of Lothar Klein. I have marked his passing with repeated listenings to the 1977 cello concerto Espaiia as performed by Gisela Depkat, and the other selections on the independent CD release "Espana and other Orchestral Works" (RD RCD 5174, distributed by the Canadian Music Centre, www.musiccentre.ca). This release is a welcome monument to Klein's parody compositions, and I mean parody simply in the musical sense of "in the style of" without the implication of ridicule or caricature. I find Espmia to be a significant contribution to the Romantic cell9 repertoire, and a worthy continuation of the tradition of tributes to the music of Spain by non-Spaniards such as Bizet and Ravel. For another aspect of Klein's eclectic offerings I would encourage you to revisit Daniel Foley's review of his vocal music "The Philosopher in the Kitchen" (RDRCD 7780) reviewed in the July/ August 2003 issue of WholeNote, available at www. thewholenote.com Lothar Klein departure Bach's original keyboard variations. Their friendship with Yo-Yo Ma led to the condition that the works would include cello, and their circle of friends included some of America's most distinguished composers: Kenneth Frazelle, Christopher Rouse, Peter Lieberson, John Corigliano, Peter Schickele and Richard Danielpour. I'm not sure why Yo-Yo Ma has not yet recorded these intriguing works, but thankfully they have been adopted by Edmonton cellist Tanya Prochazka and pianist Jacques Despres who are featured on this excellent world premiere recording (Arktos 200368). While listening to "The New Goldberg Variations" I was pleasantly reminded of other "new Goldbergs" that have appeared in recent years: transcriptions of Bach's keyboard original ranging from string trio and brass quintet to a version for full chamber orchestra by Les . Violons du Roy director Bernard There are several other discs that I Labadie (Dorian xCD-90281). This would like to bring to your attention latter recording, m'!de in the mar-· this month .. The first is the "New velous acoustic of the Fran9ois­ Goldberg Variations", which marks . Bernier Concert Hall at the Dothe culmination of a project ·insti- maine Forget in rural Quebec, is a gated by the late American arts masterwork _ a worthy addition to patron Robert Goldberg and his Bach's orchestral repertoire. Lawife. It began as a celebration of badie changes textures from varia­ Iife, but in mid-stream became a tion to variation, with an· evetmemorial to the commissioner, who changing continua using combinawas diagnosed wjth cancer shortly tions oftheorbo, cello, harpsichord after the project began. The Gold- and bass. The melodic .forces vary bergs' vision was for a set of works from duets to full string.orchestra, . that would take as their point of making for a diverse but wonderfully balanced program. As so many of our reviewers are wont to say: highly recommended! Ake Parmerud's "Jeu d'ombres" (empreintes DIGITALes. IMED 0361), provided a strong reminder to me that this independent Montreal label (www.electrocd.com) is not just the most significant producer of Canadian electroacoustic recordings, but also has the most important catalogue of international electroa_coustic artists. Swedish composer Ake Parmerud has been.. working in the field since the 1970 1 s and is recognized as a master of the genre. This current disc, with offerings from I 986 through 1999, provides an excellent introduction to his work. Of particular note are the mixed works: Strings & Shadows for harp and tape with -Sofia Asuncion Claro and Retur with the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet. I also enjoyed comparing Parmerud's 1988 Stringquartett, a tape composition based on the manipulation of recorded string .sounds, with Canadian Yves Daoust's earlier Quatuor, which uses many of the same techniques. This latter work is, of course, also available · from · empreintes DIGIT ALes, on Daoust's "Anec.­ dotes" (IMED-9106-CD). We welcome your feedba.ck and invite submissions. Catalogues, review copies of CDs and comments should be sent to: The WholeNote, 503 - 720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4. We also welcome your input via our website, www.thewholenote.com David Olds Editor, DISCoveries fOR THIS MONTH'S DISCOVERIES: CD REVIEWS, PLEASE TURN TO PAGE 52 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM FEBR UAR Y1 2004 - M ARC H 7 2004

El9. by Colin Eatock Fine fours for the finding January 11, 2004: Perusing The New Yark Times, I find an article by Adam · Shatz about string quartets. Shatz begins by quoting the composer Pierre . Boulez, who apparently announced a few decades ago that "the string quartet is dead." The critic goes on to claim that the quartet - both the ensemble and the genre - is experiencing a Renaissance these days. The string quartet certainly isn't "dead" in Toronto - nor does it seem in need of a "Renaissance." As my trusty collection of WlwleNote backissues reveals, hardly a month passes in this city's concert season without appearances by quartets, both home-grown and imported. In fact, I see there are two quartet concerts in the coming week: one by a local, ad-hoc group, and another by an internationally celebrated full-time ensemble. January J2, 2004: This evening I attended a quartet performance presented by the Associates of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, at Trinity-St. Paul's United. I was glad to see that the programme included two pieces by living composers: Terry Riley's Sunrise of the Planetary' Dream Collector and Gavin Bryars' Str(ng Quartet No. 2 (I always consider it a healthy sign when I see recent works on a "regular" concert), intermixed with Britten's Three Divertimenti for String Quartet and Shos'takovich's String Quartet No. 3. The musicians were all members of the TSO - and although space here doesn't permit a detailed review, I can say that they performed like a seasoned quartet who had been together for years. But I noticed that no !1aij1e for the quartet was listed in the programme, and so I found my way backstage after the concert to find out if this information had been accidentally omitted. "We don't play together often· enough to have a name," said violinist Carol Lynn Fujino, modestly. They (Fujino, violinist Virginia Chen Wells, violist Daniel Blackman, and cellist Kirk Worthington) should play together more often - and come up with a name. January 15, 2004: The St. Lawrence Quartet (or, as Music Toronto general manager Jennifer Taylor likes to call them, "The Larrys") were in town, and despite frigid temperatures, played to a near-capacity audience in the Jane Mallett Theatre. Agair), there was a living composer on the programme: Osvaldo Golijov - whom the St. Lawrences seemed to have adopted of late - was represented by his Yiddishbuk, heard in between Ravel's Quatuor and Dvorak's Quartet in C Major. The group's new cellist, Chris Costanza, sounds like a fine addition to .the group - although if he leans any lower over his cello when he's playing, he may need a chin-rest. And of course first violinist Geoff Nuttall was his usual nutty self, flailmg about in his chair as he performed. Throughout, the playing was brilliant and virtuosic, often with a visceral quality that I thought worked better in the Ravel and the Golijov than in the Dvorak. And even though the St. Lawrences don't live here any more (the group is currently based at Stanford University in California), there was, I think, a sense of pride in the hall - pride in an excellent quartet that was nurtured in Toronto. This city has a strong quartet tradition. Older readers may remember the Hart House Quartet, which flourished from 1923 to 1946. In my own formative years, the Orford Quartet, which held court at the University of Toronto from 1968 to 1991, was the local string quartet. Since then, we've seen the St. Lawrences emerge, and also the (now disbanded) Toronto Quartet, in which Martin Beaver - currently first violinist in the Tokyo Quartet - honed his craft. Today there are several quartets in the city, including the Accordes Quartet, who specialize in contemporary music; a new group called the Madawaska Quartet; and a couple of young ensembles - the Tokai and the Downtown quartets - just emerging from U of T. Although Toronto currently lacks a famous resident quartet, there's plenty of activity - and I SllSpeCt it's only a matter of time before another "world-class" ensemble . emerges here. Upcommg quartet performances in Toronto include four in this month's listings alone (Feb 2,5; Mar 1,2) and then visits from Petersen (April 1) and Tokyo quartets (April 15), and such local groups as Marie Berard Quartet (May 2) and the Amaro Quartet (May 31). See future issues of The WlwleNote for details: Colin Eatock is a composer and writer in Toronto who contributes to the Globe and Mail and other publications. His T. 0. Musical Diary is a regular monthly f eature of The WholeNote. FEBRUARY 1 - MARCH 7 2004 ' celebrating PROFESSIONAL CHORAL SINGING AT 50 R. MURRAY SCHAFER ~T 70 February 28-29, 2004 with Tonu Kaljuste, Principal Gues\.Cond.uctor , 01CtS Elmer lseler Singers; Lydia Adams, conductor (ON) Elora Pestival Singers; Noel Edison, tonductor (ON) · ,Pro Coro Canada; Richard Sparks, conductor (AB) 'Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal; .Christopher Jackson, conductor (QC) Tafeltnusik·Chamber Choir; !vars Taurins, conductor (ON ) Vancouver Chamber Choir; Jon Washburn, conductor (BC) Canadian ·chi .ldre~'.s Opera Chorus; Ann .Cooper Gay, conductor' (ON) S P 0 T L' I G H t ' C 0 N C E R T S February 28, 2004 Metropolita n United Church, 56 Queen Street Ea ~ t, Toronto 2:30 p.m. Elora Festival Singers, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, and Vancouver Chamber Choir 7:30 p.m. Elmer lseler Singers, Pro Coro Canada, and Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal GALA CONCERT In cooperation with 94'.f it.. . ... CBC ~: · r.1 di o. ·:;."( ~ . Barbara Frum Atrium, Canadian Broadcasting Centre 250 Front Street West, Toronto Featuring the world premiere of Schafer' s The Fall into Light. Single Tickets WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM ' SPOTLIGHT CO NCERT: Adu l~ s $z5 [Seniors $zo [ Students $i5 GALA CONCERT: Adults I Seniors I Students $zo Festival passes and group sales ava ilable Contact St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts Box Office: 416.366.7723 or www.stlc.com c.tnadaCound1 for the Arts Conseitdes Arts duC;inada torontcartscou nc i I ~ ~ L.11d!,1w Fnw1cbt1(1n Quebec:::: l!.ure.;:udu Que tM!( 11 ro1on!1> ( .f ,,..,.,,r,: !:"·':·': ,,,.,.;\ ... • IE=' J ..... i!il Canadian Heritage Bank Financial Croup Patrlmoine cenadlen O rlic1JI P

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