8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 6 - March 2004

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.o,sc, VE RIES Piano

.o,sc, VE RIES Piano Competition, Xiang Zou, will August 2003). be the featured soloist with the Mississauga Symphony at Hammerson Hall on March 27.] EDITOR'S CORNER In this issue we find an abundance of pianists, from international luminaries Martha Argerich, Ronald Smith, Krystian Zimerman, Piotr Andeszewski and Gary Graffman, to notable Canadians Marc-Andre Hamelin, Alma Petchersky, Catherine Wilson and David Jalbert in the classical realm, and David Braid and Marilyn Lerner from the world of jazz. This merely scratches the surface of the plethora of piano releases that have crossed my desk in recent weeks, however, and I'd like to . bring some of the other titles to your attention. The Canadian Music Centre has recently released Heather Schmidt's first disc (Centrediscs CMC 9603). "Sol us" showcases this fi ery young pianist/composer in three ot'her own works along with offerings by fellow Albertans Kelly Marie Murphy, Allan Gordon Bell and Malcolm Forsyth. All of the virtuosic works included fall into the Romantic school of modern composition, with the title track providing moments of soul-searching contemplation juxtaposed with bursts of passion. One seeming anomaly is the title of Bell's Danse Sauvage,' a work that actually seems a wee bit tame following on the heels of Murphy's ecstatic Star Burning Blue. The disc concludes in a mote relaxed fashion with a work by Forsyth that maintains a modern sensibility while paying homage to Purcell, Schumann and Chopin. Speaking of fiery, Toronto's Marquis label has just· released the flamboyant and at times downright rambunctious "Latin American Journey" (Marquis 81303) featuring Duo Turgeon. Originally from Toronto and Montreal respectively, pianists Anne Louise and Edward Turgeon now make their 12 ---- -· - --.. home in Boca Raton and teach at Florida Atlantic University. Perhaps this change of climate explains their comfort in the steamy repertpire of Latin America. Pack your dancing shoes and fasten your seatbelts for this passionate journey through Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. · Arktos is an Edmonton-based label that has put out half a dozen interesting titles recently. Jacques Despres, the pianist from "The Other Goldberg Variations" project I mentioned last month, has a new solo release entitled "Ballade" (Arktos 200372), which explores the ·genre through works of Chopin, Brahms, Debussy and Hetu. The disc is programmed in reverse chronological order, beginning with the passionate exuberance of Jacques Hetu's required piece for the Canadian Music Competition in 1978. The Debussy provides welcome respite in the context of the otherwise ultra-Romantic program, but one wonders whether this early transitional work, originally entitled Slave, would not be better served by a more impassioned, less impressionistic interpretation. Arktos is committed to young performers as well as more seasoned artists like Despres, as shown in recent discs by several laureates of the Esther Honens Competition, notably Marko Martin performing Liszt (Arktos 200369) and Alessandra Maria Ammara performing Debussy, Scriabin and Chopin (Arktos 200370). This is definitely a label to -watch. [Concert Note: the laureate of the 2003 Honens International It should come as no surprise that Montreal's Analekta has also released a significant piano disc in recent months. Award-winning New Brunswick pianist Richard Raymond's second disc for the label (FL 2 3172) features one of the best-kept secrets of the Romantic era, Julius Reubke's Sonata in B Flat Minor, a work that garnered Raymond the top prize in the 2003 Web International Concert Hall Competition. Reubke, who died at the age of24 in 1858, left only two significant works, an organ sonata bas~d on the 94th Psalm, and this forward-looking work for piano modeled on Liszt's B minor sonata that actually foreshadows the music of Scriabin. The Reubke is paired with Beethoven's groundbreaking "Waldstein" sonata and his less-well-known variations on a theme of Siissmayr ("Tanden und Scherzen" WoO 76), in this fine recording. Next month is JUNO month; to give you a head start, we've included (on page 57) a "round-up" of the 20 titles nominated in the Classical categpries, and the issues ofWhole­ Note, they were reviewed in. Along that same line, the Quebec OPUS awards were recently announced and we would like to extend congratulations to the ATMA and Empreintes DIGIT ALes labels for their successes. Here are the winners and the Wholenote issues where you can find reviews of each, online at www. thewholenote.cpm: Baroque CD of the Year: "Handel: Love Duets", Suzie LeBlanc and Daniel Taylor (ATMA ACD 22260 - November 2002); Classic


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