8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 9 - June 2004

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  • Festival
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
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tremendous rhythmical

tremendous rhythmical impu!Se; . keen accents and a clear awaren~ss of classic style. In fact, this approach and execution is exactly wijat modern original instrument perfonnances and practices are aiming for today. Except they lack Toscanini's naturally 'right'. instinctual urge. From the very first bars it is Clear that Walter's is more graceful, rec fleeting the euphoria of a day in the country. Particularly outstanding is are.provided for the performers on the sound of the orchestra's wood- this disc (Boulez included). Annewinds. One could easily mistake the Sofie von Otter is indeed world Philadelphians for the Vienna Philc renowned for the ·lustre. of her harmonic of pre WW2 days. The interpretations, arid appears here as same Beethoven countryside ... To- soloist in a lovely, languorous performance of Maurice Ravel's scanini's is an early morning view, Walter's an afternoon. · colourful Sheherazade. The lesser The rest of the M&A set is with known English soprano Alison the New York Philharmonic re- Hagley starred in a recent produccorded between 1941 and 1953. Of tion of ?elleas et , Melisande with interest are the differences between Boulez at the Welsh Opera and is the two thirds, 1941and1949 and featured here in Debussy's Trois two 5ths, 1941 and 1950. Walter, ballades de Franrois Villon. Hers by 1941, had pretty well fixed these is a voice both commanding and symphonies in his mind but the New agile, . perf('(ctly suited to the, de­ York orchestra had a character of mands ofthe·coi:nposer's sometimes its own and the combination of the boisterous orchestrations. two produced some intense playing There are purely orchestral works and unique results, unequalled in his to enjoy as weil, including sumptulater stereo recordings with the spe- ous, beautifully ".balanced performcially created Columbia Symphony ances of ~avel's Tombeau de in Los Angeles. , Couperin and his ever-popular This is a fascinating set for those J'avane pour ~ne in/ante defunte. Of interested in these symphonies and particul~~ int.erest is Debussy's how the great ones interpreted them . . Dans_e~ sqCi;ee et. profane as per­ A word about the sound: the traris-. fotmeq by., tisa Wellbaum, princifers from 78 to CD seem to have · pal harpi~t · ofthe 'Cleveland Orchesextracted all the music with rio cli

Odyssey seems a suitable title for a journey where one encounters most diverse cultures through the strings of the guitar and the man behind it. In his quest to find the real reason for the global popularity of this plucked instrument, Alexander­ Sergei Ramirez reaches· out for the guitar music of the world regardless of genre boundaries or extreme cultural diversity. He explains the worldwide love for the guitar as an outcome of its deep r.oots in almost all cultures on earth, "whether in the form of the Japanese koto, the Russian balalaika or Arab 'ud". Applying all traditional guitar techniques such as tremolo, rasgueado and pizzicato together with more unusual devices like plectrum, bottleneck and even coffee spoon, this genuine master comes up with a fascinating imitation of all abovementioned folk instruments as well as re-creating many sounds from ·nature. "The noises come naturally from the guitar itself', admits the ' artist who contrary to common practice has constantly demonstrated the vast breadth of repertoire of the instrument as well as its wide range of sonority. Familiar voices like Turina, Piazzolla, and Laura are set beside Yocoh (Japan), Houghton (Australia), Bebey (Cameroon) and Koshkin (Russia) to reveal how these 20th century composers use the guitar to convincingly express their cultural roots in the context of today's world where geographical borders are shrinking. Michelle Assay Eshghpour hues of major/minor tonality. Some listeners cheered his new/old esthetic stance, while many critics and composers winced or hurled brickbats at him. It is hard nowadays to recall such inflamed divisions:.instead we have the new catchall word "postmodernism", which unites us in warm and fuzzy friendship, across our artistic divides. On the other hand, it is equally hard to encounter performances ofRochberg, now in his 80s. This disc bills itself as the first complete recording of the 1974 Concerto, written for Isaac Stern, Andre Previn and the Pittsburgh SO. Apparently Rochberg acceded back then to musicians' urges for substantial cuts (roughly 25%!), and was thrilled re~ently when English composerconductor Lyndon-Gee wanted to do some serious restoration work. The result is a 52-minute, fivemovement dark journey through the land of late Romanticism. Imagine a great Hollywood film composer given free rein to be lengthy and brooding. Skaerved seems a flawless fiddler of objectivist stripe, the Saarbri.icken RSO are fine, engineering is fine, Naxos pricing is great. Lis- · ten to this when you want a reminder that life is fundamentally grim, and that the concerto form is about contention and sober dialogue rather than about either heroism or romp. Peter Kristian Mose JAZZ George Rochberg Violin Concerto Peter Sheppard Skaerved Saarbriicken Radio Symphony Orchestra; Christopher Lyndon-Gee Naxos American Classics 8.559129 Everything I Love Nikki Iles Trio (Duncan Hopkins, bass; Anthony Michelli, drums) Basho Records SRCD 5-2 lilli AMRRIC-\N Cu.sstcs - GEORGE ROCHBERG Violin Concerto ~11--QrlclM ........ ) VtUr Sht;ip:i:"l'I ~tw.r•·flt $:"1rtw0d:t11 ltadlii SJtnphonyt~ll Cbtht(ljllttrI.,nclnn·G,., George Rochberg had a few years of fame in the 1970s and 1980s: He was the respected US academic serialist composer who wrote a manifesto turning his back on the Schoenberg/Boulez cause and returned to the outmoded emotional Bill Evans' intermingling conception of the always-evolving jazz trio is the framework used by this Anglo/ Canadian combo (England's Nikki Iles with Canadians bassist Duncan Hopkins and drummer Anthony Michelli, recorded in Toronto); two of the ten selections are his, and he did definitive versions of both the title tune and I Loves You, Porgy. Further, it's fair to say that John T~ylor and Enrico Pieranunzi )UNE 1 - )ULY 7 2004

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