5 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 5 - February 2004

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  • February
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y Pamela Margles In the

y Pamela Margles In the the local media's year-end wrap-ups of best books , I saw no mention of any of the outstanding books on music published this year. "" In Canada alone we had R. Murray Schafer's Patria, Walter Pitman's Louis Applebaum and Kevin Bau.a-. na 's biography of Glenn Gould. Why wasn 't at least one oj these on every Canadian list of top non-fiction? COMPOSERS Aaron Copland: A Reader - Selected Writings: 1923 - 1972 edited by Richard Kostelanetz Routledge 405 pages .00 urday, Feb. 7 at 8.00 The Toronto Symphony Kids' Klassics series features Copland's Buckaroo Holiday (from Rodeo) on Saturday, Feb 14 at 1.30 and 3.30 at Roy Thomson Hall The, Toronto Symphony performs Copland's Fanfare for the Common Mano~ Sunday June 19 at 7.30 at Roy Thomson Hall Musorgsky: His Life and Works by David Brown Oxford ·408 pages .00 Generous quotations from letters and other documents, examples from the scores, historical photos, a chronology and list of compositions, bibliography and index, with extensive footnotes and references compliment this, fascinating biography. Live music note: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performs Musorgsky ~s Introduction to Khovanshchina on Wednesday and Thursday, February I I and 12, at 8. 00 in Roy Thomson Hall Off Cent~e Music Salon presents Musorgsky - A Musical Portrait with soprano Mirela Tafaj, bass Robert Pomakov and pianist Boris 7.nranldn in the Glenn Gould Studio on Sunday April 25 at 2:00 LIVES LIVED "DoN•T LET ME de~troy myself'' THROUGHOUT HIS LONG and remarka- Mo~est Musorgsky pleaded to his bly successful career, American com- mentor Mily Balakirev early in their poser Aaron Copland was a persua- long friendship. But, sadly, his life sive spokesman for all music, not was plagued by the "nervous irritajust his own. This welcome collec- tion" of mental illness, and the altion of his writings starts with a de- choholism which eventually killed lightful autobiographical sketch and him at age forty-two. Lo. vably sweet, · includes essays, diary extracts, let- courteous, gentle and cheerfully wit- Great Russian Musicians: from ters, excerpts from his classic book Rubenstein to Richter What to Listen for in Music, and ty, he became morose when beset by Ernst Zaltsberg by bouts of devastating self-criticism Mosaic Press program notes, all very witty• eru- and feelings of intellectual inferiori- , dite and passionately serious. 146 pages In his own compositions, Copland ty. .00 paper was determined to create music that David Brown's new biography of this deeply intuitive composer is es- Toronto resident Ernst Zaltsberg, was "American in character", declar- pecially good at setting the scene for w h o t ra m· ed as a m u s1·c·an 1 1 ·n h' is ingthatcomposers "can stimulate and Musorgsky's strang!! life, and de- native Russia, offers biographical inspire love of country". Although scribing .the emotional and intellec- an d art'st1·c 1 sketches o· f eleven per - he used many different styles in his tual sustenance provided by the ex- formers born in Russia before the compositions, depending on the func- traordinary group of nationalist com- revolution. Nathan Milstein and tion and materials available, he al- posers known as the Mighty Hand- Wanda Landowska, (whose warways, as he explains, maintained this ful (Brown prefers to retain the Rus- time Scarlatti recording, Zaltsberg single vision. sian word kuchka). points out, picks up a French-Ger- Uncharacteristic exasperation Brown is a superb guide through man gun-battle) settled in North comtls out in an interview from America. Sviatoslav Richter, pmil 1967, when Copland chastises Musorgsky's highly original compositions, with their pungent harmo- Gilels, and David Oistrakh peryounger composers for lacking a nies, energetic rhythms and sardon- formed here and left numerous resense of history. 'He warms up deic social commentary. Brown 1s · sym• cordings, unlike the less familiar cidedly when talking about some of pathetic to the motives of Musorg- Rosalie Pasternak (mother of Boris), the beloved figures who influenced sky's colleague and one-ttme · roomhim, like Serge Koussevitzky, Na- mate, Rimsky-Korsakov; and the Maria cYudina, and Heinrich Neu­ Samuel Samosud, the fascinating dia Boulanger, Paul Rosenfeld, Dar- th h ha bee · lied hims, author of my own teacher's ius Milhaud and Carlos Chavez. His many 0 ers w 0 ve n tmpe selected letters bring out a more play- to smooth out Musorgsky's often bible, The Art of Piano Playing. abrasive musical language by edit- Zaltsberg · heard most of these fully affectionate side, rounding out ing, finishing and orchestrating his musicians in concert. He effectively this comprehensive collection. works. But he emphasizes the on- describes the unique artistic atmos­ Live music note: The University of going need to reclaim the original phere which fostered them, and of­ Toronto concert band and wind en- music as best as possible, esi>ecially fers perceptive insights into each semble perform Copland's Quiet Boris Godunov, which Brown right- musician's performing style and City in the MacMillan Theatre at· ly sees as one of the greatest operat- ·what makes each so great. the Edward Johnson Building on Sat- ic masterpieces. Zaltsberg's extensive research cov- ers an impressive range of Russian sources, while his generous annotations and historical photos provide valuable backround. Unfortunately there are numerous typographical errors throughout the text. Nonetheless, Great Russian Musicians offers a valuable perspective on twentieth century performance history, and sent me out seeking recordings of these extraordinary artists. Perfect Pitch: An Autobiography by Nicolas Slonimsky New Expanded Edition edited by Electra Slonimsky Yourke Schirmer Trade Books 327 pages .00 paper Nicolas Slonimsky's autobiography, edited and expanded by his daughter with photos, articles and letters, was originally published in 1988, when the author was ninety-four (he died in 1995). Slonimsky's colourful life provides more than enough material for a fascinating autobiography. Born into a family of eccentric geniuses, he lost his father, then escaped Russia after the Revolution. Throughout his life he encountered remarkable people, from his hilariously overbearing mother, his extraordinary aunt Isabelle Vengerova, who became a legendary piano teacher in the United States, Serge Koussevitzky, Edgard Varese, who was best man at his wedding ~d dedicated his seminal Ionization to Slonimsky, Henry Cowell, and Charles Ives, whose Three Places in New England Slonimsky premiered. Although he calls himself a 'stale wunderkind' who ultimately failed, in his own view, as conductor, concert pianist, and composer, he invented a personal approoch to non-academic musicology with his indefatigable and innovative research skills, producing numerous significant books, including the famously entertaining Lexicon of Musical Invective. Slonimsky is a brilliant writer .. But reading this would not be such a thoroughly delightful experience without his keen humour and insatiable curiosity. • 28 WWW. THEWHOlENOTE.COM F EB RUA RY 1 - M ARCH 7 2004

EDUCATION FRONT Focus on Health INTRODUCTION This Focus on Health serves three functions in the magazine this month. It is, as advertised, a one-off "special" raising some of the issues that link the topics of music and health. But in doing so it occ~pies the space usually irlhabited by our regular Education Front column, SO, in a sense, it constitutes a special edition Of that feature . And finally, it is an invitation to you, our readers, by your responses, to help us decide whether this is a topic worth visiting in our pages on a more regular basis. One of the -interesting findings of our recent reader survey was that over 40% of you regard yourselves as musically active beyond listening. Making music is, for many of you, in one way or another, a lifelong pursuit -- a pursuit that for better and worse has health implications. These three articles are all by people who fit the profile of WholeNote reader/musicians: Katarina Bulat is a health practitioner long active in the choral music scene. Christine Ardagh' s conviction, that we need a health facility based on recognition of artists' unique circumstances, arises from her own career as a flutist. And while Jim Tennyson's primary concern these days is the heaith of pianos rather than their players, if his piece does as much for other chagrined concert-goers' blood pressure as it did for mine, it will have earned its place in this special. We hope this little collection of pieces will ,interest and amuse you, musicians and nonmusidans alike in our audience. Please send any ideas, comll}ents and suggestions to David. Perlman, editor Just keep playing I just stop playing BY KATARINA BULAT "Just stop playing and you'll be fine. " How many athletes liave been prescribed this remedy for the aches and pains of their sport? We musicians are just like athletes - almost. We put our bodies through rigorous regimens many hqurs a day, are thoroughly committed to our art, want careers with longevity, often work through pain (not good), and are usually under-funded! Yet when we experience pain or discomfort, we are usually told to 'just stop playing' . Musicians are met with little awareness of the source of the injury and a lack of understanding and respect for the impact of lost practice time. This can be a prescription- for frustration for professional musicians in particular. The required treatment may be expensive enough on its own, but when compounded by a possible loss of income, stress mounts . That's when we wish we had a practitioner with personal knowledge of music and musicians. As a chiropractor, pianist and chorister, I understand that the show must go on. I work with musicians to retrain their bodies in order to heal their injuries and prevent further strain. Unlike athletes, musicians do not focus on training their bodies and using postures to limit strain and improve performance and longevity. That's where I can make a differem;:e, as these two case studies illustrate (don't even try to guess, the names have been changed!). Anna, a saxophone player, called me in desperation. Her throat and the roof of her ·mouth hurt so much whenever she played her instrument that she was unable to play for any length of time. Her doctor hlid recommended a 3- r••••••••• ••••••••• a -• : i HDNIST ID'S ~~ I= =llil ra :2 Optical depot ~- · 5 900 contemporary frames in stock I m ~ ,,~~ ~u . ~ fil1 month rest but the pain returned. Then she was told she needed surgery to reset her jaw and more time off. When I worked with Anna, it became clear that what was causing her pain was her head and neck positiqning while playing the saxophone. Treatment included chiropractic adjustments, muscle work, assigned home stretches, mirror work assignments and pointers on how to change her posture while playing. After only a few treatments she was able to practice long tones, and soon after she was playing gigs. Anna was discharged from my care, with the tools she needed to continue her career free of injury. ' Sophie did not complain of any pain, but felt her singing could improve. She was having difficulty with breath support, and could not sing for more than one or two bars without taking a breath. Her treatment focused on posture and on particular muscles and joints involved in breath and sound production. She practiced breathing exercises on top of other 'homework' and is now able to sustain and support four to five bars of singing. 'she has been able to relax enough to achieve vibrato, and has a richer and more supported tone. I now see Sophie every once in a while for a 'tune-up' when she notices a change in these elements - usually when life is a bit hectic or stressful and her body tenses. We all get used to certain patterns with our bodies, and certain ways of thinking and feeling about music and the way it's produced. We don't notice how we change year after year, altering our bodies from the ideal posture we were taught when younger. When it finally catches up with us, we may need professional help to keep on playing. Choose a health practitioner you feel comfortable with, and with whom you can talk about yourself and your music- as a whole! Dr. Katarina Bulat, ARCT, BSc, DC considers herself a "bi-professional!" Eight years in the making The Al and Malka Green Artists' Health Centre At' Toronto Western Hospital BY CHRISTINE LITTLE ARDAGH I have been a professional freelance musician for most of my life. I have had my share of aches and pains, and have worked through two car accidents. ·I have always found it frustrating to try to explain (yet again) to a health care practitioner that I don't have disability insurance, I can't stop playing to- allow my injuries to heal, and I have no extended medical benefits or health insurance to pay for extra therapies. I was delighted when, in 1994, I was asked by Joysanne Sidimus (Executive Director/Founder, Dancer Transition Resource Centre) to join a group of artists brought together with the goal of creating a health care facility specifically for artists. I met with other musicians, singers, dancers, actors, writers, and visual artists, and we shared our common stories of being unable to pay for necessary therapies not covered by OHIP (such as physiotherapy, massage, chiropractic and mental health counselling), of having to work through injuries or physical/emotional crises, because there was no other way to pay the bills (no unemploy CONTINUES NEXT PAGE Shiatsu Centre 720 Bathurst St., Suite 502 TorQnto, ON M5S--ZR4 416-534-1140 x2 Cell: 416-788-3187 Carlos Praniauskas, CST, has been treating musicians and performers for 15 years. I = 581 Bloor St. West & $hiatsu is effective for: ~ = Toronto, Ont M6G 1 K7 I ·treatment and prevention of repetitive strain injuries ----.._w:» Tel: ( 416) 531-77 57 I ·relief of tension and stress :~••mi•••• •• •• m.w • • -~·~:::m::_:llil~~~~~· ~pr~o~d~uc!ll!i ~ng~a!ll!fe~e!ll!li~n!ll!g~o!ll!f~w!ll!e~ ll-!ll!b~ei!ll! n !ll!g~~~~~~~~!! FEBRUARY 1 - MARCH 7 2004 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 2'J

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

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