5 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 7 - April 2004

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aging tenors into the

aging tenors into the history books as they descend from their vocal prime. Sure, international televised monumental concerts by Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti have made it difficult for any other tenors to be taken seriously. But as in life, timing is everything, and the 26-year old tenor is at the right stage in his career and vocal development to step onto world stages as they discover him. Already winning competitions and . . singing internationally, backing by as is this . collection of l 9'h century DECCA and endorsement by Ricca- Itahan anas, which combines serdo Chailly certainly can't hurt. - lecti~ns fr~m c.handos' Opera in The liner notes describe him as a Enghs_h senes with newly recorded light lyrical tenor - but that's surely mate~ial. . . a momentary assessment. This is 0~1e succeeds m making the already a young powerhouse voice unwieldy, consonant-laden English that will settle further into the chest, lang~age sound bot~ idiomatic and darken somewhat with a few more poetic .. The well-mixed pr9gram, Dave Brubeck - The Gates of years work and become the next b~lanc1~g the unusual with the fa- Justice tenor wunderkind (ivhat's that in mi!iar, d.isplays Opie's incisive, pow- Dave Brubeck Trio Italian?). erful 0 · v01ce. Kevin Deas, bass baritone He easily delivers a few high B nat- p~e's. versatility allows him to be Cantor Alberto Mizrahi urals and then stunningly finishes co~~,mcmgly male~?lent in "All in Baltimore Choral Arts Society "Possente amor mi chiama" t·rom"'- vam from Domzettl s LuctaofLam- Russell Gloyd Verdi's Rigoletto with a sustained mermoor, or tenderly vulnerable in . Naxos/Milken Archive 8.559414 high D that I h~d to play it twice to Ros~)ni's poi~n.ant "Keep very still make sure I was hearing the right now from w_illtam Tell. The famous note. The more I listened the more Prologue from Leoncavallo's I liked this young voice. Occasional- Pagli~cci ben.efits most from being ly he moves into a rather fast vibrato sung m Enghsh since the verismo so typical in the first half of the 20'" style,. encapsulated in. Tonio's line, century, but that will likely slow '.'WeJust~howthemth~truthinlife", down as he matures and relaxes into is .rooted m the dramatic declamation his delivery. It certainly gives him of the text. . the momentum to move through The various orchestras, mainly fi g ures and dense me lismatic un?er the direction of conductor, passages. editor and translator David Parry, Start a collection of Joseph Calle- are buo~ant a~d colourful, and the ja recordings with this first CD and supporting artists are all terrific. follow the soaring career of this . The otherwise excellent booklet Maltese falcon. g1~es the texts only in English trans- Alex Baran lat10n, unfortunately omitting the original Italian or French. Since less than half the arias are in be/ canto Alan Opie Sings Bel Canto Arias Alan Opie, baritone English National Opera Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra David Parry, Gabriele Bellini, conductors Chandos Opera in English CHAN3085 A highlight of the spring opera season is sure to be British baritone Alan Opie's Rigoletto with the Canadian Opera Company. Opie, a leading interpreter of Verdi's tragic jester, headlined the recent re v iva l of Jonathan Miller's groundbreaking, and, for me, unforgettable, production of Rigoletto at the English National Opera. Following ENO tradition, that production was sung entirely in English - style, the title of this disc is puzzling - unless it refers to the literal meaning of be/ canto, "beautiful singing", which indeed aptly describes this disc. Pame~ Margles Concert Note: Alan Opie sings the title role (in Italian) in Verdi's Rigoletto with the Canadian Opera Company at the Hummingbird Centre on April 7, 10, 13, 16, 22, and 24 at 7:30, and o~ April 18 at 2:00. Darius Milhaud - Service Sacre Varon Windmueller, baritone Rabbi Rodney Mariner, reader Prague Philharmonic Choir Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Gerald Schwarz Naxos/Milken Archive 8.559409 Once regarded as a brilliant innovator, Dave Brubeck committed the crime of becoming immensely popular. Anyone that popular must be watering things down, right? No, dead wrong. After World War II stints in military jazz bands, Brubeck studied with Darius Milhaud, one of France's "Les Six" musical vanguard. Born into the unique Proven9al Jewish community, Milhaud escaped the Nazis and reached California. He respected jazz and counseled Brubeck against "getting serious" by switching solely to composed music. Milhaud's polytonality and polyrhythms took on new life in Brubeck's keyboard. Like Debussy, Brubeck's innovative, complex music sounds gorgeous. Milhaud's Service Sacre was commissioned in 1947. He reset the Sabbath morning liturgy for Mahleri an forces using Proven9al themes, his habitual bag of tricks. Like Schoenberg in A Survivor From Warsaw, Milhaud both grieves for his literally . vaporized community and affirms a will to move on. Grief and affirmation are not up front as in Survivor, but they are palpable. Service Sacre ranks alongside Survivor and Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps as ultimate musical statements on the carnage of World War II. Brubeck's cantata follows parallel sufferings in Jewish and African-American history. He deftly weaves Jewish and African-American materials, and composed versus improvised music. Just as you don't have to be Jewish to like bagels, Brubeck, the ultimate nice Protestant boy, has a solid handle on Jewish music and scripture. Biblical passages mesh with powerful words from the Reverend Martin Luther King. Brubeck selected a master camor, Alberto Mizrahi, to get Jewish vocalization just right. African-American opera singer Kevin Deas is no stranger to gospel and blues. Exceptional music from a real mensch. Phil Ehrensaft I Follow a Voice Within Me: A Portrait of the Singer Waltraud Meier (includes) Mahler - Das Lied von der Erde WDR Radio Symphony Orchestra, Cologne Semyon Bychkov 1 EuroArts DVD 20-5188-9 The German .mezzo, Waltraud M~ier, is best known as a Wagnerian singer, having had leading roles in the world's opera houses in The Ring, Parsifal, Tristan, Tannlwuser, and Lohengrin. Scenes from al! the above are seen here, along with comments by Meier and others concerning her illumination of each character. Items from works by Berg, Mahler, and Richard Strauss are also included in this engaging, full-length video biography of the sought-after diva. However, the disc's main attraction may well be the only Das lied von der Erde on DVD presently available. The Das lied was recorded live in Cologne's Philharmonie in 2001 and as is usual in these documents, th~ audience, occasionally seen but not heard, strengthens. the sense of occasion. The performance is not related to the emotionally animated one of Leonard Bernstein [ whose DVD with the Israel Philharmonic has now disappeared entirely] but a dramatic one with a straight-ahead, wellfocused Mahler style. Bychkov is a more literal interpreter, which will satisfy those who found Bernstein's emotional displays off-putting. The world class Meier, whose beauty can do nothing but make watching her more pleasurable, is in top form with ample power to rise above the or- WWW. THEWHOLENOTE,COM A PRIL 1 - MAY 7 2004

chestra when required. Tenor Torsten Kerl, also quite attractive, has a clear ringing voice and is in full agreement with the conductor. The wide screen video is crystal clear, even on a large screen and the camera work exemplary. This disc will be a worthwhile addition to a select DVD library. Bruce Swtees not to mention almost 75 minutes of pleasant listening. Frank Nakashima Chopin Eludes Op.IO & 25 William Aide Eloquence (Universal/CBC) EQCBC5143 INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC Riemenschneider: Music of His Time (Mouton, Isaac, Ockeghem et al) II Curioso, Hedos Ensemble Oxford Camerata Naxos Art and Music 8.558145 Okay, which do you want first: the good news or the bad news? Let's' get the bad out of the way ... th~ r~cording industry as we knew It 1s dying so fast they won't even have time to plan the funeral. Enter: partnerships that em?ty the archiv~s and re-issue recordmgs at bargam basement prices to shore up the corporate bottom line. Universal Music has agreed to manufacture and distribute gems The Naxos Art and Music series hidden away in the CBC (and othpresents the composers who were er: DECCA, DG, PHILIPS) reactive during the lives of leading cording archives. Who wins? We painters and sculptors, thereby set- do. The new Eloquence label is a ting a music context for their worls:. catalogue of modest offering at pric- Over a period of40 years, Tilman es they claim to be for "the Riemenschneider (c_ 1460 - 1531) thrifty" ... nokidding: nolinernotes, - was the most important sculptor, no pictures, no frills - nothing. working in both stone and wood, Nothing but great music that is. around Wiirzburg, Germany. His This recording of Canadian pianist work was deeply rooted in the late William Aide is brilliant from start Gothic style and his workshop ful- to finish, capturing_ him at his prime_ filled numerous commissions, for Playing through the twelve etudes of churches in the region as well as opus 10 and 25, one hears fluency, further afield. breathtaking technique, and honesty. Composers represented on this re- Honesty _ what's that? In a piano cording include Mouton, Finck, Hof- performance it's the original i~terhaimer, Walter, Stoltzer, Isaac, pretation of an over-exposed piece Lapicida, Obrecht, and Ockeghem_ (the actor's nightmare equivalent of No fewer than 20 pieces by "Anon- Hamlet's soliloquy) in a way that ymous" are also included, performed makes it new and believable though mostly by consorts oflike instruments you've heard it countless times. One - recorders, flutes, or crumhorns. listen to the E Major Etude of Opus The Oxford Camera ta caresses the to and you know that Aide has disrelong sinewy melismatic P.hrases ~f garded every other performance of Ockeghem's "Alma redemptons this in order to make it his own-and mater," and the recorder playing in at no expense to Chopin. selections from Attaignant's dance In this re-issue of a 1987 recordcollection is particularly smooth. ing "Bill" Aide takes no maniacal While there are a few tracks, name- approach to the frequently flaming ly with low-pitched flutes, which requirements of Chopin's blackened lack definition and c(arity: most ?er- pages of notes. He plays through formances bubble with cnsp, art1cu- them with relentless precision. The late, cheery enthusiasm. result is pure wonder and sparkling There are informative no~es abo~t -delight. Damn fine disc -10 fingers Riemenschneider, the music of his up! time and mini-bios of the composers, lyrics and English translations, APRIL 1 - M AY 7 2004 Alex Baran 171e 'Final Piano SC1iwtas Les.dern1~r.;ss(11111ies pourpfrmo Op.109, I JO, 111 Anton Kuerti I '1'11rtie11,;w,110~ ,,., ·'Fdm.wriu.• (Clr (' l Jr;. f::1~:I~ !l,J:>_'.'

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