Performance note: Royal Opera Canada presents The Mikado at the Living Arts Center, Mississauga, March 9, 10, 11. Speaking in Tongues Ganesh Anandan; Malcohn Goldstein; Rainer Wiens Ambiance Magnetiques AM 118 CD If you thought thatavanl-garde post-jazz improvisation had vanished forever, think again. Practitioners of the art have always needed to have at their fingertips a combination of incredible virtuosity, an innate grasp of musical form and the ability to listen analytically, even when wailing away on an instrument. In the past, some players revealed their weaknesses in this kind of exercise. But if anyone possesses such magic these days, Weins, Goldstein and Anandan have it, as evidenced on this new CD. The metallic combinations of the solo violin linked with guitar at times remind one of King Crimson in their wrk's Tongue in Aspic era, particularly in Ra Ma. However, this Montreal-based trio strives for more stratospheric heights than anything we heard in 1973. Of the most effective pieces, Fra Ma Ga Ra includes saxophonist Frank Lozano. Anandan's gentle kalimba leads us into an oasis of peace on the last track, Lullaby. Ambiances Magnetiques persist in publishing discs in cardboard tri-fold sleeves, for reasons unclear. They're easily bent or mangled if you pop them in pocket or purse. Nonetheless, it gives the designer a big area to work in. But the photo has the musicians posing stiftly, bundled in winterovercoats with instrument cases slung about them. Surely it would have been more interesting to show us a glimpse of the session itself, with musicians in the white heat of improvisation. Nevertheless, this is a remarkable disc. John Gray POT POURRI FOUR GENERATIONS OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN'S THE MIKADO 1. D'Oyly Carte Opera Company (1926/1936, 3 disks) 78s2cd GS16 (www.78s2cd.com) 2a. D'Oyly Carte O.C. (1950) Naxos Historical 8.110176-77 2b. D'Oyly Carte O.C. (1950) Sounds on CD VGS 221 3a. Sir Malcolm Sargent; Glyndebourne (1957) 68 EMI 0777 7 64403 2 3 (16-CD budget set, Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas, EMI 7243574468 2) 3b. D'Oyly Carte Opera Company (1973) Royal Philharmonic, Royston Nash, conductor Decca 2894736442 (24-CD budget set The Complete Gilbert and Sullivan, Decca 2894736312) 4. Sir Charles Mackerras; Welsh National Opera Gilbert and Sullivan (Mikado, Pirates, Pinafore, Trial, Yeoman). Telarc CD-80500 Audiences passionate for opera's ultimate odd-couple Gilbert and Sullivan attracted early attention from a nascent recording industry. The rich G&S discography, especially their most enduring work, The Mikado, provides a panorama of recorded sound. Richard D'Oyly Carte's shuttle diplomacy kept the volatile duo together. He earned the G&S copyright monopoly exercised by his company through the 1950's. Aficionados of historical recordings in general, as well as G&S fans, will want 78s2cd's superb restorations ofDOC's reference 1926/36 Mikados. Naxos commissioned Torontonian David Lennick 's restoration of the 1950 D'Oyly Carte recording on monaural LP, with the great Martyn Green in full prime. Specialist label Sounds On CD's restoration has better sonics, but the Naxos issue with its budget price captures the magic well enough, and is manufactured in Canada. When the copyright monopoly waned, Sir Malcolm Sargent used the new stereo LP format to challenge DOC's idiomatic style with the sensibilities of a grand conductor of grand opera. Sir Charles Mackerras picks up this baton with great aplomb in his superb 1992-95 Telarc recordings. N axos and Tel arc are the first steps in building a G&S collection, but G&S obsessives will covet either Decca's digitally restored DOC complete works from the 1960's/1970's, or Sargent's almost-complete works on EMI. Debate over relative merits of Decca vs. EMI approaches the theological. Either -is a winner. Philip Ehrensaft The Music of Leroy Anderson Catherine Wilson Toronto Symphony (members); Skitch Henderson Spy Recordings SRCD-1001 One of the nice things about reviewing recordings is the pleasant surprises that pop up from time to time. I've played a lot of Leroy Anderson's music, both in bands and orchestras, and I thought I knew it pretty well. Catherine Wilson's double CD has made me question just how well acquainted with it I am. For starters, I have to confess that I wasn't aware that Anderson had written a piano concerto. The Piano Conceno in C is unmistakably Anderson from beginningtoend ... once you're aware of his authorship. If you put this recording on unannounced, you'd probably have people saying "That sounds a little like Rachmaninov there" or "That bit reminds me of Gershwin". It's an enjoyable work, and I applaud Catherine Wilson for championing it. The remainder of the two discs is given over to the Anderson works I know and a few that I haven't run across before. But rather than the familiar orchestra or band versions, new arrangements for various small ensembles built around Wilson's piano have been masterfully prepared by Rick Wilkins. All of the selections are played with elegance and reverence (and quite a bit of verve, where appropriate), and are beautifully recorded as well. Merlin Williams Autorickshaw Autorickshaw/ tala-wallah records twOOl (www.deepdownproductions.com) Indian music meets New Age and jazz, perhaps best sums up the first CD by this eclectic group of musicians - Suba Sankaran (vocals & piano), Ed Hanley (tabla), Rick Brown and Dylan Bell (bass) and Debashis Sinha (percussion). Three of the six tracks are modeled WWW, THEWHOLENOTE,COM on South Indian classical style, starting with the drone and voice exploring the melody, and gradually becoming faster and more rhythmic. The first track is even attributed to Tyagaraja, South India's most revered composer, though the result is definitely quite contemporary with the double tracking of the voice with added echo, bass, and the tabla drum-pair (instead of the usual South Indian barrel drum, mridangam). On other tracks rhythmic interplay between the tabla and bass are to the forefront and throughout we hear three kinds of vocaliz.ations - scat singing, Indian melodic and rhythmic mnemonics. The only non-Indian sounding piece is track 3, a piano-based jazz composition by Sankaran. Sankaran has a pretty voice, but more variation in dynamics and tone quality would add musical interest. I also felt that there is too much reliance on vocalization techniques and I was left longing for some words I could understand. Unfortunately, we are not given any translations or liner notes, and this limits our understanding of the music. Nevertheless, I found much to enjoy. The musicians are highly skilled, especially Ed Hanley who has an eloquent tabla style and technique. Overall, there are many creative musical ideas, including some neat effects from the mixing and overlaying of sounds in the studio. Annette Sanger The Banjo Special Arnie Naiman; Brian Taheny; Chris Coote; Chris Quinn Merriweather Records M03BS It's been cold, windy, icy and bleak outside, but listening to "The Banjo Special" has been an incredible ray of sunshine. This local independent release is just too much fun. The three styles of banjo playing here - clawhammer with Arnie Naiman and Chris Coole, tenor with Brian Taheny and bluegrass with MARC H 1 · APRIL 7 2004
BEN HEPPNER - ldeale Songs of Paolo Tosti "-"this CD makes wondertul listening" Opera Canada Magazine www.benheppner.com The press agree: the artistry on KRYSTIAN ZIMERMAN - Rachmaninov Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 'IHisl recnal at the Festival Hall in June was final proof, if nwere still needed, that Zimerman merns a place among the greatest pianists of all time.' The Guardian (London) www.deutschegrammophon.com/zimerman A UNIVERSAL MUSIC COMPANY is world class! BRYN TERFEL - Bryn Terfel Sings Favourites "Terlel is virtually unique amongst opera singers in being able to cross over the road to the side le be led musicals" Hi Fi News www.deutschegrammophon.com)tertel-favourites HIIARY HAHN - Bach Concertos "Hahn's approach, her expressive agility, intelligence and natural feel for the music do Bach proud" Gramophone www.deutschegrammophon.com}hahn HELENE GRIMAUD -Credo:Music by Corigliano, Beethoven & Part Grimaud's credo on her Deutsche Grammophon debutl ·une passion absolue pour la vie~. Le Monda da la Musique (Paris) www.deutschegrammophon.com/grimaud YUNDI U-Uszt Selected as one ol the best classical CD's of 2003 by the New York ~mes. www.deutschegremmophon.com/yundili·liszt !ANG !ANG - Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn: First Piano Concertos "Mit Tschaikowskys Klavierkonzert Nr. I b-Moll op.13 hatte die Ertolgsgeschichtebegonnen· DerMusikmarkt www.deutschegremmophon.comnanglang,tchaikovsky The pertect sequel to her best selling Wings In The Night release. "VonOtterremainsoneofthemostsearching, verbally aware of Lieder interpreters.' BBC Music Magazine www.deutsche rammophon.com/vonotter-watercolours , .· . . ·,. ,. :,'
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