DISCoveries - May 2007 WholeNote - The Wholenote Magazine

DISCoveries - May 2007 WholeNote - The Wholenote Magazine

EDITOR’S CORNER continued from previous pageOrchestra and the TSO might respectivelygive our local journeyman low-riders ScottIrvine (tuba) and Fraser Jackson(contrabassoon) the opportunity to rattleour sphincters. I know that Scott hasrecently acquired (for the COC’s RingCycle performances) just the rightinstrument for the task, but the liner notestell us that the contrabassoon concertorequires a very recently designedinstrument that I’m not sure even exists in Canada yet. It would beworth while to beg, borrow or steal one to hear this piece live!On a slightly different scale, but still not in the same league as themajors like Sony/BMG or Universal Music, Supraphon (distributed byGillmore Music in Canada) is the only former Eastern Bloc musicpublisher to have maintained a number one position in its domesticmarket since the Fall of the Wall, and has continued to measure upsuccessfully in the ever more competitive international environment.Interestingly, former CBC Records executive Jana Gonda now headsthis national label in her native Czech Republic, which she had originallyfled after the Soviet invasion in 1968. Supraphon’s extensive catalogueincludes a wealth of archival material, but also features many newrecordings by outstanding Czech artists, such as the Panocha Quartet.Founded in 1968, the ensemble came to international attention as thelaureates of the 1975 Prague Spring International String QuartetCompetition. Since that time they have been frequent visitors toCanada and the USA and have performedextensively throughout Europe and theMiddle East. Their discography forSupraphon comprises eight CDs whichinclude the complete chamber works ofDvorak, works by Smetana, Fibich andSchubert, and most recently, stringquartets by Josef Suk and MauriceRavel (SU-3955-2). The lesser-knownwork by Suk holds its own in theillustrious company of Ravel’s gem and is given a loving performanceby the Panocha. Composed a few years before the Ravel in 1896,Suk’s quartet shows some of the same sensibilities – late Romanticbordering on Impressionism – while acknowledging the influence ofmentors Dvorak (his father-in-law) and Brahms. The disc offers theoption of selecting an alternate finale movement composed in 1915,and the Meditation on an Old Czech Hymn “St. Wenceslas”. For methe Ravel is always like visiting an old friend and the Panocha give usas fine a performance as we would hope for. Of particular note is thesprightly tempo in the Assez vif second movement and the emotionaltension of the Très lent third. All in all this is a welcome addition tothe catalogue. Concert note: The Kitchener-Waterloo ChamberMusic Society presents Quebec City’s Cartier Quartet performing theRavel as part of QuartetFest on June 4.We welcome your feedback and invite submissions. Catalogues, reviewcopies of CDs and comments should be sent to: The WholeNote, 503 –720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4. We also welcome your inputvia our website, OldsEditor, DISCoveriesdiscoveries@thewholenote.comDISCS REVIEWEDPLEASE NOTE:Here following are the full length reviews of the CDs covered inbrief in the May 2007 issue of the magazineVOCAL AND OPERAWe apologize for any inconvenience.The art of pasticcio, a sophisticated form ofcompiling music, reached its peak in theeighteenth century. That is why we canenjoy this oratorio, created probably in 1764, even though Handelhimself died in 1759. The “compiler”, one John Christopher Smith,came by this occupation honestly – his father, J.C. Smith the elder,was Handel’s contemporary and they had met at the University inHalle. Almost twenty years later, Handel invited Smith senior towork for him in London – a position which necessitated anglicizingthe name of Johann Christoph Schmidt. As Handel’s principal copyistand assistant until the composer’s death, Smith inherited all themanuscripts of scores, published and unpublished alike. His son, whoalso worked for Handel, started his pasticcios of Handel oratoriosaround 1764 with Rebecca. Working with one of Handel’s preferredlibrettists, Thomas Morell, Smith proceeded to assemble Nabal, TheTriumph of Time and Truth, Gideon and Tobit. In all cases the wordswere fitted to existing music, resulting in many memorable airs,including “The Lord sends his Thunders” from Tobit. The Tobit of thetitle is the biblical Tobias the elder. As in most Handel oratorios, thebiblical themes are followed closely, though not to the letter.This recording features exquisite playing and uniformly good singing,with a special mention to Stephan MacLeod as Raguel and Toronto’sown Barbara Hannigan as Azarias (the archangel Raphael in disguise).Yet another superb recording from Naxos and a most welcome changeafter a season filled with multiple performances of Messiah. Tobitprobably won’t replace it in the public’s affections, but it deserves agood – and repeated – listening.Robert TomasHandel – TobitVarious Soloists; Junge Kantorei;Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra; JoachimCarlos MartiniNaxos 8.570112-14Concert note: Tafelmusik performs Handel’s oratorio Solomon May10-13 with Michael Chance and Karina Gauvin.Verdi - OtelloGran Teatre del Liceu; Antoni Ros-Marba;Willy DeckerOpusArte OA 0963DBecause of Wagner’s increasing influence andpopularity, in 1871 Verdi, at the pinnacle of hiscareer, lost his self-confidence, regarded hisown operas of melodic set pieces outmoded andstopped writing any new work for 15 years.During this time, however he subconsciouslyabsorbed some of the essence of WagnerianM AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM3

music drama and with an enormous amount of will power heproduced Otello, perhaps his finest work. What is so great aboutOtello, is how Verdi succeeded in infusing Italian melody into theturbulence of music drama, forming a unique and original masterpiece.This DVD from the Liceu of Barcelona is a stunning newinterpretation by avant garde German director Willy Decker who hasalready attracted wide international attention. He has a rare ability toreach the essence of the tragedy concentrating on the three maincharacters, with minimalist staging of strongly designed elements anda central symbol, in this case the cross to which everything seems torelate. The stage is confined, tilting and narrowing towards the backgiving a feeling of oppressive confinement and unsteady discomfort.In the title role, Argentinean heroic tenor and versatile musician, JoséCura is an elemental force, passionate and virile, and this translatesinto his tremendous acting and singing. His nemesis, the sly andconniving Jago, Lado Ataneli, a very sought after young Georgianbaritone, is equally spectacular in voice and characterization. HisCredo is triumphant, one of the best I’ve heard. Desdemona, a moretraditional operatic character, is sympathetically interpreted byBulgarian soprano Krassimira Stoyanova with warm and securesinging. The conducting of Antoni Ros-Marba creates even furtherexcitement with urgent forward momentum and somewhat fastspeeds.Janos GardonyiConcert note: The Canadian Opera Company presents Verdi’s LuisaMiller May 3, 5, 9, 11 and La Traviata May 4-26.Menotti - Help, Help, the Globolinks!Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra;Matthias Kuntzsch; Gian Carlo MenottiArtHaus Musik 101 281Help, help, I may never ever watch anotheropera film in the same way again!Faceless tube-like space aliens namedGlobolinks, accompanied by an unearthlyelectroacoustic soundtrack, primitive lightingand mirrored sets, arrive to conquer the world, yet disappear uponhearing human music! A school dean learns to sing! A frustrated musicteacher gets to, sort of, run the show and save the world (with a littlehelp from her fellow teachers and students)! The formidableelectroacoustic, instrumental and vocal score, libretto and direction ofGian Carlo Menotti! Yes, this is outrageous, but it is opera after all!Help, Help the Globolinks! is the DVD release of the historical 1969studio production, after the 1968 world premiere from the HamburgState Opera, of Menotti’s opera of the same name “for children andall those still young at heart”! Sung in German (with Englishsubtitles), it really is one of the best productions I have ever seen,though parents need to be the judge whether it is suitable for theirown children. Menotti’s lyrical yet occasional slapstick wit isbrilliant – where else would you hear such unforgettable recitative as“just because you teach music does not mean you have to be boring”!Menotti’s compositional acuity is matched by stellar vocalperformances, especially that of Arlene Saunders as the over the tophusband-seeking music teacher Madame Euterpova.The somewhat dated nature of the simple story lines, costumes andsets only add to the charm and appeal of the film. But I really have togo and practice now - a girl just never knows when she might have todefend herself against a Globolink in her studio!Tiina KiikIf you want to hear why MeashaBrueggergosman has quickly become one ofCanada’s most exciting singers, look nofurther than this recording of works ofBerlioz and Massenet. Recorded in 2004 butonly recently released, it finds the soprano in superb voice, singingrepertoire which suits her perfectly. Berlioz’s song cycle Les Nuitsd’été lies somewhere between the soprano and mezzo range, andBrueggergosman’s voluptuous middle range is heard to excellent effecthere. She carefully balances the exuberance of the first and lastmovements with the introverted, yearning qualities of the inner ones.Yet she always pays careful attention to diction and the text. Manysingers have recorded these songs, and in a crowded field,Brueggergosman’s sensitive readings stand up against the best.Massenet’s soprano heroines sing some of the most sensuous musicever written. In a sampling of their most famous arias,Brueggergosman lets her powerful voice pour forth in a stream ofbeautiful, rhapsodic sound. An unusual selection is the aria from theoratorio L’extase de la vierge, which creates a truly ecstatic finale tothe CD.Yoav Talmi leading the Quebec Symphony Orchestra providessympathetic support, though sometimes he drags out the tempos alittle too far. Occasionally, Brueggergosman’s voice takes on a brassyquality under pressure, and a couple of high notes lack the supporther ample middle register has. But this is a welcome release from athrilling artist.Seth EstrinExtaseMeasha Brueggergosman; Orchestresymphonique de Quebec; Yoav TalmiCBC Records SMCD 5236The Berlin Concert - Live from the“Waldbuhne”Placido Domingo; Anna Netrebko; RolandoVillazonOrchestra of the Deutchen Oper, Berlin;Marco ArmiliatoDeutsche Grammophon DVD 073 4302It seems like a generation ago that the ThreeTenors DVD took over the Billboard charts withthe first of their four concerts issued on CD andDVD. The question was, were theyentertainment or classical? I always believed that they were anentertainment presented by ‘classical’ artists. The record companieshowever believed that they were classical and this led to anunreasonable expectation for classical sales across their catalogues.Perhaps hoping to replicate the Three Tenors phenomenon, DeutscheGrammophon has issued an exceptional concert recorded live at theBerlin Waldbuhne on July 7, 2006 and I must say that this is themost outstanding event of its kind ever made available on DVD. Theconcert consists of songs, arias, duets, and trios of solidly popularrepertoire. Sometimes a soloist, or two or three, goes ‘over the top’but who would not be swept along by the sense of occasion.Domingo, Villazon’s mentor, takes the baritone part for the PearlFishers’ duet, and elsewhere the spontaneous interplay between thethree is quite endearing. Villazon sings and animates La Danza withsuch gusto that it brings the house down. The house, by the way, isan amphitheatre in the woods accommodating over 20,000 fans! Thefinal encore item is a trio from Lehar’s Land of Smiles, “Dein ist meinganzes Herz”, sung with unbounded enthusiasm and style making itthe perfect finale to this exceptional evening.4 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COMM AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007

Documented by faultless camera work and state-of-the art surroundsound, this DVD is a winner by any standard! Don’t miss it!Bruce SurteesCanada’s most beloved and sexiest“Carmen” has just released an album that,while including the most famous aria fromBizet’s opera (Habenera), focuses onnon-operatic fare which nonetheless retains a sense of thatcharacter’s unbridled “liberté”.For this album, following on the heels of sold-out “Unzipped”cabaret performances for Tapestry New Opera Works at theDistillery District, the gypsy/mezzo Jean Stilwell and pianist andfamous Beaches ‘bluestocking’ Patti Loach provide a travel map ofadventure and misadventure in love, as well as a guidebook fortattoos picked up along the way. There are whimsical and sensitivepieces by New York cabaret songwriter John Bucchino, as well asjazz, film and theatrical standards by Harold Arlen, Kurt Weill,Friedrich Hollaender and Maurice Charlap. Two selections inparticular by the popular Manhattan songwriting team Heisler &Goldrich, Taylor the Latté Boy and Apathetic Man are uproariouslyfunny.Lovingly recorded by Patti’s husband John Loach, who also playstrumpet on Falling in Love Again, the homey atmosphere provides awarm but pristine sound quality that captures the extreme strength,vivacity and intelligence of these two gorgeous and talented women.Time, indeed, for the world of opera to unzip its laced-up image.Dianne WellsCarmen UnzippedJean Stilwell; Patti LoachIndependentConcert note: Jean Stilwell is featured along with PatriciaO’Callaghan and Theresa Tova in Tapestry’s “3 Divas” at theDistillery May 26-27.EARLY MUSIC AND PERIOD PERFORMANCERise, O My Soul - English AnthemsStudio de musique ancienne de Montreal;Consort des Voix humaines; ChristopherJacksonATMA ACD2 2506An anthem, at its most basic definition, is acomposition to an English non-liturgicalreligious text sung in the context of anAnglican service. Christopher Jackson’s new album, “Rise, O mysoul” restricts itself to verse anthems of the Elizabethan period,composed between 1600 and 1640. Jackson’s three-decade reign as aleading force in early Baroque choral/organ music has culminated in aseamlessly curated anthology. The music is peerlessly performed bythe 16-voice Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal (SMAM)accompanied deftly by the Consort Des Voix Humaines – a highlyrespected 5 viols and organ ensemble in its own right.This collection of eleven works encompass the genius of sixcomposers of the day – including four penned by the hand of GlennGould’s favourite composer, Orlando Gibbons. The third anthem isaccompanied by a Fantasia for viols in four parts. Indeed, three cutson the album are wholly instrumental. These fantasia serve to roundout the total listening experience. The title track is a work by WilliamSimmes for soloists, 5-part chorus, viol consort and organ. Only fourof his anthems survive – and this one has curious references that, attimes, harken back to Monteverdi in style.Anyone who wishes to transport themselves to the cathedrals ofearly 16th century England, need only pop this disc into the player,close his/her eyes and let the music do the magic.Heidi McKenzieMusic & Sweet Poetry AgreeMatthew WhiteAnalekta AN 2 9918The smooth liquid sound of Matthew Whitebrings a repertoire of 16th and 17th centuryEnglish music by, among others, Dowland,Campion, Morley, Wilbye, Byrd, Locke andPurcell. While much of this music is similarin quality, the singing is sweet, sensitive, beautifully in tune, and bornof innate musicality. Equally charming are the various combinationsof recorders, viols, cornetti and sackbuts, accompanying andproviding tonal variety. The brass are particularly articulate andstylish, especially in Matthew Locke’s Suite in D minor. Sadly, noneof the instrumentalists are identified.White’s distinctive voice is deceptively strong, easily heard above thebrass ensemble (in Byrd’s Ambitious Love); still his phrasing remainssuave and uncompromised. If there can be any criticism, it would bethat much of the music sounds the same. The rhythm in Lanier’s Fire,Fire! is taken too literally, whereas some freedom would contributeanother dimension to the performance.The cute lament-style arrangement (It’s not easy) Bein’ Green(Kermit’s song from The Muppets) could have been “Bein’ aCountertenor”?All in all however, this is a lovely repertoire sung by one of our finestinterpreters of early music.Frank NakashimaMondonville - Pieces de Clavecin avecvoix ou violon, Op.5Luc Beauséjour; Shannon Mercer;Hélène PlouffeAnalekta AN 2 9920This disc of sacred psalm texts and violinsonatas combines three of Québec’s biggestclaims to fame – Shannon Mercer, soprano;Luc Beauséjour, harpsichord and HélènePlouffe, violin. The three of them seem to work together with easeand companionship, which makes the recording a pleasure to hear.Mondonville’s sacred works are markedly exquisite and they paint apicture of the French Baroque that is not soon to be forgotten.Beauséjour plays with his usual confidence and assurance of style,which lends a feeling of accomplishment to every work. I do wonderslightly, however, at his choice to use the lute-stop on hisharpsichord in a couple of movements. It makes me think that theywished they could have afforded a lutenist.Mercer’s opulent tone lends itself beautifully to the era, and herexpression of the text is perfect in every way. She gives place for theviolin when the two are in tandem, and her voice is used as a chamberinstrument.Hélène Plouffe has an interesting sound on the violin – one I’m notsure I altogether enjoy. There is a kind of wispiness to the soundwhich makes her instrument sound like it is not being used in itsentirety. The excellent manipulation of the words by Mercer is notcompletely captured by Plouffe.M AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM5

In all though, this is a disc of music that is unlikely to be foundelsewhere, and of performers of a high standard. I recommend it tothose who are working their way through the “M”s in their CDlibraries.Gabrielle McLaughlinCLASSICAL AND BEYONDOffenbach - RomantiqueJerome Pernoo; Les Musiciens duLouvre; Marc MinkowskiArchiv Produktion 4476403This recording should perhaps be renamed“The forgotten Offenbach” or even“Offenbach rediscovered”. Anyoneexpecting delicious tidbits from Offenbach’sfamous operettas will be disappointed. Esteemed French conductorMarc Minkowski, who formed his Les Musiciens du Louvre periodinstrument ensemble in 1982 to perform Baroque and Classicalrepertoire, has branched out to embrace the Romantic era and one ofhis favourite composers, Offenbach. This is his third very successfulrecording in this territory.The centerpiece is the premiere recording of the composer’s recentlyunearthed Cello Concerto “Militaire”, which took painstakingdetective work to assemble by music historian Jean-Christophe Keck.Offenbach was a virtuoso cellist and he wrote this immensely difficultconcerto for himself. The solo part reminds me of Paganini. In fact it’ssometimes hard to tell that it is not Paganini’s diabolical violin.Unfortunately the piece is a bit of a mish-mash of styles, withincongruous military drum-rolls inserted at unexpected points, butthere are some attractive melodies and the beautiful Cologne versionof the Andante 2nd movement is a joy. Young cellist Jerome Pernooplays with breathtaking brilliance.The second half is devoted to Offenbach’s completely forgotten stageworks. Going through the pieces we encounter, with great surprise,some beloved old friends such as the wonderful Barcarolle, probablythe most inspired and haunting melody ever written. We find itactually comes from a neglected opera, Die Rheinnixen, connivinglytorpedoed in its day by a vicious Wagnerian faction. Another stagework, Ballet of the Snowflakes, contains the delightful Polka rescuedas part of the Gaîté Parisienne, played here with Gallic charm andrefinement.This is an interesting, adventurous disc, lovingly played withpolished performances and high quality sound.Janos GardonyiProkofiev - Debussy - WagnerMarina Piccinini; Adreas HaefligerAvie AV 2087Opera FantaisieLeslie Newman; John LenehanIndependent F-LN0601These two CDs have much in common, bothfeaturing accomplished Canadian womenflutists, and both making welcomecontributions to the flute discography: LeslieNewman’s gives us faultless, perhaps evendefinitive, readings of repertoire from the“golden age of the flute”, in which thetechnical and expressive possibilities of thethen new Boehm flute were being exploredand defined; Marina Piccinini’s gives usbrilliant renderings of two masterpieces of the flute repertoire, theProkofiev Flute Sonata and Debussy’s Syrinx, and a transcription ofa violin masterpiece, César Franck’s A-Minor Sonata.Ms. Newman, with technique to burn, reveals how late nineteenthcentury operatic fantasies should sound. They all at times requirethat the flutist play an operatic theme, accompanying herself atbreath-taking speeds in the spaces between the notes of the melody.With a sound pleasantly coloured by a slight huskiness, strongthroughout the entire range of the instrument, and crystal cleararticulation, she navigates these many passages flawlessly,intensifying the melodic notes to stand out clearly from theaccompaniment. In the more lyrical passages, however, I wished shehad used vibrato more as an expressive device and less as an attributeof her already beautiful sound. To my ear her continuous vibratoimposed itself on the music, tending to conceal its character, a minorquibble, however, with a recording that offers so much to the seriousflute student or aficionado or anyone with an interest in Frenchcultural history.Piccinini uses vibrato more sparingly, often adding it to long notes tosustain or increase intensity, part of a consummately effectiveinterpretive strategy of varying the intensity of her playing to revealthe interest and the direction of the music. For example, she playsthe lovely sad first theme of the Prokofiev’s first movement with anonchalance that seems to deepen with each of the five repetitions.As the music requires she is able to move from nonchalance to fieryintensity and back again, inviting you to hear the music in a new way.In the technically demanding second movement she achieves asparkling lightness, wearing her virtuosity lightly, which is magical.Her extensive palate of colours, so intelligently used, produces anuanced interpretation of Syrinx; and in the Franck sonata, hersensitive use of colour against Haefliger’s caressing touch makes aconvincing case for playing it on the flute. This is artistry of a highorder.Allan PulkerSoloAngèle DubeauAnalekta AN 2 8741-2This is an entire album of solo works as thecover title implies; Ms. Dubeau’s personaltribute to her instrument, the violin.Recorded during the summer of 2006 in thelate 19th century Church of the Annunciation in Oka, Quebec, thereverberant acoustic provides Dubeau’s “Des Rosiers” Stradivariusviolin (1733) with a sonic partner supporting her well-spoken musicalstatements.Fearlessly and confidently, she attacks the opening knuckle-bustingCaprice No. 9 by Locatelli. Three of Astor Piazzolla’s Etude-Tangosare included on this recording, all of them sensuous and playful, by acomposer who is intimately familiar with the violin’s expressivequalities. Other pieces, the contemplative Prelude Op.9, No.1 byEnescu, Glick’s lyrical Serenade & Dance, Brubeck’s intricate jazzyBourée, Campagnoli’s Divertimento Op.18 No.7 with its variations,and Alan Ridout’s Ferdinand le taureau featuring the smoky voice ofPierre Lebeau (also in English, Ferdinand the Bull, colourfullynarrated by Blair Williams), offer a showcase for Ms. Dubeau’sconsiderable talent, versatility and brilliant technique.Also included is a DVD that offers short video clips of the recordingsession in surround audio. Beautifully recorded, packaged, andpresented.Frank Nakashima6 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COMM AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007

Beethoven - Piano Sonata No.32 in Cminor, Op.111; Six Bagatelles Op.126; Andie ferne Geliebte, Op.98Boris Zarankin; Giles TomkinsDOREMI DDR-71151Pianist Boris Zarankin is a regular performeron the Toronto music scene, includingappearances with the TSO as guest soloist.He is also well known to music lovers who frequent our smaller sizedvenues. These are the denizens of the Glenn Gould Studio and the StLawrence Hall and even more intimate rooms where variouscommitted entrepreneurial groups present salon-sized recitals andevents.Zarankin must be a most inspiring teacher because this recording isthe direct result of his playing before a gathering in his home of theAjax-Pickering Branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teacher’sAssociation. So impressed were these professionals that they wantedto make a recording to share their enthusiasm. The Branch embarkedon a fund-raising campaign the result of which is this recording madein Glenn Gould Studio last June.Zarankin illuminates these complex piano works with outstandingassurance. His measured playing clarifies the serious side ofBeethoven’s late works while maintaining their essential melodic,singing lines. His realizations may, or may not, impress on the firsthearing but once you tune in to what he is saying the rightness of hisintentions clearly register. The first movement of the two movementsonata, Beethoven’s last in this form, demonstrates this to perfection.The Bagatelles are spontaneously contrasted and delineated.Baritone Giles Tomkins is on the threshold of a career. He possesses apromising and pleasant vocal instrument with clear potential forartistic growth and musical refinement. He is supported andpresumably guided by his astute and sympathetic accompanist inwhat is credited as the first true song cycle, An die ferne Geliebte.In sum a well balanced programme, beautifully executed andsplendidly recorded.Bruce SurteesCalgary. The other Laureate from the 2003 Competition was WinstonChoi, familiar to me as one of four candidates currently beingconsidered for an Assistant Professor position at the University ofToronto.Robert Plano displays a wonderful sense of breadth in hisinterpretation of the Brahms Sonata. I would have liked a quickertempo and more impetuous rhythmic drive in the outer movements,but the second movement won me over with lyrical phrasing, lovelytone quality, and a wonderful sense of rubato heading into climaxes. Ihad a similar impression with the Klavierstücke. I thought that theopening Intermezzo could have had a bit more abandon, warranted bythe ‘molto appassionato’ indication. The Ballade could have had agreater sense of ‘energico’, but these are small and subjectivecriticisms. Plano is already a mature artist – he creates lovelysonorities that fill space with rich and imaginative soundscapes.Xiang Zou is an intimate pianist. His Schubert is performed withsensitivity and gentle beauty. Voicing is always clear and controlled,especially in the Scherzo movement where the melody happilybounces around between different registers. There is never harshnessin his tone quality. Occasionally, I found myself wanting a morehorizontal sense of phrasing, and a freer sense of rubato.It’s great to hear Xiang Zou show his virtuosic side in the GodowskyPassacaglia. An expansive work based on the opening of Schubert’s‘Unfinished’ Symphony, there are plenty of moments that demand alot from the performer, and Xiang Zou shows that he’s up for thechallenge. No matter how thick the texture gets in the Godowsky,there is always attention to detail, and we always hear melodiessinging out clearly.Jamie ParkerEditor’s Note: You can read about the third 2003 Honens LaureateWinston Choi’s Arktos CD in the Editor’s Corner of our October2006 issue, available on-line at note: Reviewer Jamie Parker joins the Tokyo String Quartetin Schumann’s Piano Quintet at Music Toronto on May 10.Mozart - Cosi (un opera muet)PentaedreATMA ACD22545BrahmsRoberto PlanoArktos 200691 CDSchubert; GodowskiXiang ZouArktos 200692 CDLast October, I had the pleasure of servingon the jury for the Fifth HonensInternational Piano Competition. Foundedin Calgary in 1991, the Honens is one of theworld’s great music competitions. Everythree years pianists from all parts of theglobe compete for cash prizes and an evenmore lucrative Artistic and CareerDevelopment Program to launch and sustaintheir careers. Honens seeks to discover“Complete Artists – musicians who add knowledge, audacity, risk,individuality and the widest perspective to all they create orperform”. In addition to generous cash awards, the HonensFoundation manages the careers of the top three Laureates of eachcompetition for three years, and produces CD recordings for theseemerging artists on the Arktos label. Robert Plano and Xiang Zouwere two of the laureates of the Fourth Honens Competition in 2003.I heard Xiang Zou perform in Calgary, and my Honens host spokefondly of Roberto Plano, who she hosted during his first visit toThe idea of recording an opera without anywords might at first seem to be acontradiction in terms, but this disc byPentaèdre, one of Canada’s finest and longlivedwoodwind quintets, proves that thedrama of Mozart’s music transcends anyconstraints of language or instrumentation. This project is the audiblehalf of a collaboration between Pentaèdre and a mime troupe calledOmnibus. The dramatic framework of Così fan tutte is maintained bythe actions and expressions of the mimes, who are joined on stage bythe musicians (liberated from the orchestra pit), and the wholebecomes a new kind of theatrical experience.This effective, compact, yet surprisingly rich and colourful reductionof Mozart’s full orchestral/vocal score was made by Ulf-GuidoSchäfer, with some additional modifications by Pentaèdre. Thequintet plays with great panache and stylistic charm, a blended yetindividually distinct sound, and many nuanced details of shading anddynamics. Thus the music is always changing colour, moving thedrama forward, evoking emotional responses, just as Mozart’s subtlechanges of orchestration keep his music sounding fresh to our overstimulatedears.The recording is clear, warm, and balanced, though the engineer haschosen to record the horn at a slight distance from the rest, whichresults in a beautiful sound, but somewhat lacking the presence of hiscolleagues. As bassoonist Mathieu Lussier states in the liner notes,M AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM7

esonance of the room sounds hollow and barren, though theinstruments are still audible. In the next 15 minutes, the soundsbecome elongated and the pitch is turned on high. Near the final 15minutes of the piece, two things occur. First, a deep hum appears.This is joined by multiple humming sounds that merge from adjacentstreams. Finally, a crackling, loop-like resonating screech brings thepiece to its ultimate death. What was at the beginning is now but athin shadow of its own past. Brilliant work in its extremities and itsbareness of purpose.Tom SekowskiJAZZOne Hot Summer Night (Live at theRegent Theatre)Brian BarlowRhythm Tracks RTCD0009Southern Ontario’s jazz festival scene hasbeen enriched over the last half decade byPicton’s “Prince Edward County JazzFestival”. Drummer/percussionist BrianBarlow, a fixture on the Toronto scene, lives in The County, and isthe festival’s creative director. He’s brought his wide understandingof the music business to the task, presenting a wide range of solidjazz, appealing to fans and casual listeners alike.For this concert last August, Barlow did it all: wrote the fresharrangements and led the band from the drum chair, and welcomedguest artists Melissa Stylianou and Guido Basso to the stage. He justdidn’t know that the concert was being recorded. That turned out tobe a good thing, as no one felt any pressure to “perform”, they justperformed.It’s a generous mix, with a big band at the centre remembering theswing era with Air Mail Special, Stompin’ At The Savoy, Mood Indigoand Sing, Sing, Sing. Soloists include trumpeter John MacLeod,altoist John Johnson and Russ Little, trombone.Ms. Stylianou, one of my favourite singers, and Guido Basso joinedthe band for Fascinatin’ Rhythm and Things Ain’t What They Used ToBe. Guido Basso’s romantic flugelhorn and the trio poignantlycaressed Early Autumn in a perfect change of pace to the generalexuberance.A Dixieland group from the band featured Bob DeAngelis’ hotclarinet on Sweet Georgia Brown; and the rhythm section of pianistRobi Botos (a standout throughout) and Scott Alexander on bass,with Barlow, did a spontaneous There Is No Greater Love.This recording is more than just a souvenir of the night: it’s topqualityjazz. (Search for Brian Barlow at Davidson and Guido Basso, at his lyrical best in a warminterpretation of Embraceable You, add their considerable talents tothe proceedings and each is given good solo space; indeed MikeMurley fans, and you can count me in, might wish for more of theleader’s tenor playing on this album.Not a rip-roaring, high energy album, but a very tasty choice ofbeautifully executed music. It is worth the mention that there areextremely informative programme notes accompanying this CD.Jim GallowayHoarded DreamsGraham CollierCuniform ( of the most notable of masterful Britishcomposer Graham Collier’s orchestral suites,Hoarded Dreams, is preserved here in itsnever-before-available premiere performanceby an all-star, 19-piece big band at the 1983 Bracknell Jazz Festival.Commissioned by the British Arts Council, Collier’s 70-minute,seven-part work slithers between compositions and improvisation.Additionally, the interplay among the individualistic playerstransforms the layered creation as they interpret its multi-facetedcontours. On hand are distinctive international jazzmen in fullpartnership with top-flight soloists from the United Kingdom.Among the highlights are Canadian-born flugelhornist KennyWheeler’s bright, lyrical flourishes in double counterpoint with thewoody bass clarinet growls of John Surman; German trombonistConny Bauer’s rubato breath-and-tongue percussion which contrastswith, or operates as part of, the three-piece ‘bone section. Americantrumpeter Ted Curson’s squeaky triplets and Polish trumpeterTomasz Stanko’s more restrained work are on show; as are pianistRoger Dean’s adhesive comping; and the dissonant, yet inclusivesaxophones vamps of Art Theman and German Matthias Schubert.Inventive use is made of Dave Powell’s slurry tuba blasts andconnective licks from guitarists John Schröder and Ed Speight.Filling in the harmonic framework around the solos is Collier’sorchestration, which presupposes a thorough knowledge of bothAmerican jazz and the European classical tradition. With bravuraexpressions which encompass fortissimo Wagnerian climaxes as wellas the big band conventions of dramatic shout choruses andeconomical swing, the suite reconfirms the unique potency ofCollier’s art. It also suggests that in the early 1980s, more listenersshould have paid closer attention to characteristic U.K. sounds.Ken WaxmanTed O’ReillyThe Melody Lingers OnMike Murley; Tara Davidson; GuidoBasso; Red Schwager; Steve WallaceCBC Records TRCD 3017These performances were recorded at GlennGould Studio in Toronto in February of lastyear. The core group is the trio of Murley,Schwager and Wallace, although they only play The Shadow Of YourSmile as a trio. For the rest of the CD Tara Davidson and GuidoBasso are heavily featured, and nine of the twelve selections aresweetened by the addition of a string section under the direction ofRick Wilkins.There are three Murley originals and a rich selection of standards,show tunes and Hollywood themes.Kansas City SoundsBob Brookmeyer Septet & OctetFresh Sound FSRCD430Lucky Thompson meets Oscar Pettifordwith Hank Jones; Jimmy ClevelandFresh Sound FSRCD424Four classic 1950s albums make a welcomere-appearance here. Kansas City Sounds hasboth of Bob Brookmeyer’s joyous 1958United Artists LPs, “Kansas City Revisited”and “Stretching Out”, while “LuckyThompson Meets Oscar Pettiford” collatesall the music originally issued on a pair ofLPs by ABC-Paramount in 1956. The10 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COMM AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007

Brookmeyer dates reflect the valve trombonist’s Kansas City heritage- he grew up with the musical legacy of the great K.C. jazzmen ringingin his ears. “Kansas City Revisited” is made up mostly of tunesplayed by the original Count Basie band. Former Basie tenorman PaulQuinichette and pianist Nat Pierce (who can sound amazingly likeBasie when he wants to) help give the music that special Kansas Cityflavour. Al Cohn, the other tenor, and guitarist Jim Hall also makevaluable contributions. The “Stretching Out” date has three Basieveterans: trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison, guitarist Freddie Greenand bassist Eddie Jones. Al Cohn’s back, this time with his buddy,Zoot Sims. There’s only one tune from the Basie band book but themusic still has that rocking Kansas City feel to it.The Thompson-Pettiford is a desert island disc that should never beout of the catalogue. The music captured at these sessions displaysjazz at its peak. Tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson and virtuosobassist Oscar Pettiford were probably never heard to better advantagethan here. Both players led chequered careers. Oscar Pettiford, whohad a serious drinking problem, could be totally unmanageable whileunder the influence, but his talent was such that he remained a muchin-demand session bassist. Eventually, becoming fed up with theAmerican scene, he moved to Denmark where he later died from a“polio-like virus”. Eli “Lucky” Thompson was considered “difficult”by club owners and record producers. His nickname could not havebeen more inappropriate. For a number of reasons, including quirks ofpersonality and outspokenness, fame and success eluded himthroughout his career. But fortunately, he managed to leave somestaggeringly beautiful music on record. This set has seven selectionsby a quintet – Thompson and Pettiford with trombonist JimmyCleveland, either Hank Jones or Don Abney, piano, and Osie Johnson,drums – and nine by a trio – Thompson and Pettiford, with SkeeterBest on guitar or, on once piece, Don Abney, piano. The interplaybetween Thompson and Pettiford is simply remarkable. Theselandmark sessions belong in any reasonably comprehensive jazzcollection.Don BrownCocktails For TwoJoe Temperley; Harry AllenSackville SKCD2-3071If it weren’t for independent labels likeToronto’s Sackville, Sharp Nine and Arbors,the solid main stream of jazz would beinvisible, unsupported and undocumented.For a music which should celebrate individual expression, controllersof The Jazz Business (major labels, press and radio, educators, andall-too-many clubs and festivals) concentrate on spin, buzz and hypeof Supergroups and The New, ignoring contributors like those on thisnew release.Recorded at a specially organized bonus event during Sunnie Sutton’sRocky Mountain Jazz Party in Denver, “Cocktails For Two”presents the soulful baritone sax of Joe Temperley (he turned 77 aweek before the session) and the singular tenor of 40 year old HarryAllen, with a wonderfully supportive rhythm section of the elegantpianist John Bunch, solid Greg Cohen on bass and the irrepressibleJake Hanna on drums.These great players often cross paths at similar jazz party events,and that comfort level allows them to pick up their horns and cruisethrough a session of standards like this one. While mostly the fullquintet, they mix it up a bit with a trio feature for Bunch/Cohen/Hanna, the gently swinging My Romance; Allen’s ballad featureEverything Happens To Me; and a pretty one for Temperley, PolkaDots and Moonbeams.The title track opens the disc, with Tangerine, I’ve Got The World OnA String (popping out of what you think will be Satin Doll, but isn’t),and Sweet And Lovely representing Tin Pan Alley. Jazz favourites areOscar Pettiford’s Blues In The Closet, Ellington’s In A Mellotone andthe swinging wrap up, Basie’s Jumpin’ At The Woodside, which fairlyleaps as well as jumps.The sound on this recording is unaffected and natural. Makes youwish you were there, and you better be next time, or this kind of jazzwon’t be around to enjoy.Ted O’ReillyStengamCor FuhlerPotlatch P206 ( described as a reductionist nocturne,“Stengam”, a solo piano outing, is morehypnotic than harmonic. Featuring onecontinuous 20-minute performance, plus twoshorter introductory tracks, the CD highlights the talents of Dutchkeyboardist Cor Fuhler who uses such stimulators as e-bows andmagnets to transform the sound of an acoustic grand piano as ifelectronic add-ons are altering its function.Without overdubbing, yet in full control of the instrument’skeyboard, strings and soundboard, Fuhler’s internal action includebuzzy scratches with affiliated resonations so that each string’sovertone reflects back on the externally sounded note. Similarly,plucks and slides produce wave-form-like hisses that resonate liketam-tam timbres, prolonged by pedaling. Widely spaced, lowfrequencydrones vibrate powerfully, but are weighed just so in ordernot to mask the dynamic cadences or guitar-like resonations above.One standout is Ferrous, which in performance is more buoyant thanthe title would have you believe. This 12-minute, crepuscule portraitresonates with repeated drum-like textures and fluttering oscillations,yet attains a delicate calm at its climatic finale.Moving unhurriedly from glistening, strummed arpeggios to sharper,dynamic chords throughout the CD, Fuhler delineates a uniquelyconstructed, hermitic yet fascinating sound world. Overall, hedemonstrates that with proper spatial organization unexpected,sustained tones from inside and outside the piano can be structured tocreate organic coherence.Ken WaxmanConcert note: Cor Fuhler’s Corkestra is featured in the Jazz Avantseries presented by the Music Gallery and Rough Idea at the Churchof Saint George the Martyr on May 15.POT POURRIClara Rockmore’s Lost Theremin AlbumClara Rockmore; Nadia ReisenbergBridge Records BRIDGE 9208If you were to walk into a room with thisCD playing, not knowing what it was, youmight do an auditory double take - is that ahuman voice, or a violin or cello with veryextended range, you might wonder? You’d bewrong on all counts. One of the earliest electronic instruments, theTheremin, operating on the principle of valve oscillators and etherwaves, is essentially a wooden box with a number of knobs, and twoantennae to control pitch and volume by waving ones hands aroundthem. Clara Rockmore (born Clara Reisenberg in 1911 in Vilnius,Lithuania), was America’s greatest virtuoso on the instrument, andeven helped in its development, with inventor Leon Theremin. She infact credits Mr. Theremin with saving her “musical sanity”, as shehad been an accomplished violinist before having to give it up due tophysical problems.M AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM11

The present disc contains material recorded in 1975, along with hersister, pianist Nadia Reisenberg. The repertoire is mostly “lightclassical”, familiar numbers such as Dvorak’s Humoreske, Schubert’sAve Maria, a bit of Bach, Gershwin’s Summertime, an excerpt fromVilla-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras and a rendition of La Vie en Rose,among other works. But the sound is truly other-worldly, andRockmore’s skill, impeccable intonation and musical sensitivity,reveal the instrument’s full potential to the highest degree. Programnotes include interview excerpts with Rockmore, Reisenberg, andelectronic music pioneer Robert Moog.Karen AgesBack_ForwardHeribert FriedlNon Visual Objects( Gunter; Heribert FriedlNon Visual Objects( “Back_Forward”, Heribert Friedl hascreated a CD based solely onrecordings of the hackbrett (cimbalom). Aco-founder of the Vienna based Non VisualObjects label, Friedl states “The tracksshould show the changes of concretesounds into abstraction, without losing thesoul of the sound itself. On “Back_Forward” musical movementhappens in a clearly defined space. Even though the initial point andthe endpoint are never the same, the path between is always equal.”For those who’ve not heard the cimbalom, it resembles chopsticks ona metal plate one minute, while the next, it sounds like a Chinese lute.Going further, it had the characteristics of someone dropping changein a wooden bowl or a swarm of bees stuck inside a jar.Reverberations of the instrument itself are stupendous as is thebleakness of the production - barren room, one instrument and asingle musician breaking all crucial new ground. This is one of thoserare occasions when the less someone attempts to use to describe therecord’s intense beauty, the better. Stupendous effort!With his musical partner, Bernhard Gunter, on “Trans~” Friedlunravels a mysterious, eerie side. Use of field recordings on thisrecording is key. Gunter recorded three small power transformers.While the recordings were in progress, he would change microphonepositions in order to get a varying intensity of their hum. This formsthe basis for the 45 minute piece. While Gunter lays down the fieldrecording, Friedl plays an amplified cimbalom (the same hackbrett heused on the previous recording). Often times, these are just individualstrokes and resonance from the strings being played filters throughfor the next several seconds. Gunter plays an electric cellotar - a selfmadebamboo flute - along with three different harmonicas. Everwhispery, harmonicas are played with utter stillness. Oftentimes, thesounds of the harmonicas resemble loud bird calls, while at othertimes they sound like truly foreign objects. There are no melodies,just individual blows that permeate the room. Only time the heatrises is when Gunter plays arco on his cellotar for a few minutes. Youget a feeling something more intense will ensue but luckily the heat isreturned to a slow simmer and everything goes back to its normal preboilingtemperature. Music for the stillness of the night. Anotheroutstanding effort from Gunter and Friedl.Tom SekowskiStuart McLean’s History of Canada - IRemember WayneStuart McLean; CBC Radio Orchestra;Mario BernardiCBC Records SMCD 5242Much has been spoken in the past decade,about the supposed “dumbing down” of theCBC, and that train of thought has been given more fuel in recentweeks with the drastic re-shaping of Radio Two. So how are we toperceive this, the least “classical” release from CBC Records?Stuart McLean’s “History of Canada” consists of two humorousworks for narrator and orchestra. Stuart McLean is his vintage self,with delightful dead-pan irony in every line. His irreverent view ofCanada’s history is very entertaining, and can be appreciated by thosewho are historically knowledgeable and those less so. In fact, if onewere completely ignorant of our national past, much is there to belearned from this thirty-four minute production.Also on the disc is the hockey tale, I Remember Wayne. McLean’sapocryphal story will greatly amuse people of all levels of sports fanenthusiasm.Matched with McLean is composer/arranger Cameron Wilson, whowrote the music for the pieces, and showed himself to be equallyadept at originality and pastiche, where required. Conductor MarioBernardi was at the helm of the CBC Radio Orchestra, and all wasrecorded in the Chan Centre in April 2006. A veritable who’s who ofCBC music production people are credited, including Don Harder,Denise Ball and Jess Milton.John S. GraySong of the Lodz GhettoBrave Old WorldWinter & WinterDescribed as a musical performance piece,“Song of the Lodz Ghetto” is a musicaldepiction of life in one of the largest ghettosin Poland during the Second World War.Drawing on ethnographic recordings ofsurvivors made by Israeli ethnomusicologist Gila Flam in the 1980's,Brave Old World weaves together a tableau of contiguous sound (eachtrack segues into the next, sometimes with instrumental interludes),made up of songs composed in the Lodz ghetto in the 1940's as wellas original pieces in the same style. The CD opens and closes withthe voice of Yaakov Rotenberg from an original field recording; theremainder is sung expertly in Yiddish by Brave Old World’s MichaelAlpert, who also plays violin, percussion and guitar. Some of thesongs contain references to Khayim Rumkovski, a Jew givenunprecedented power by the Nazi’s to ensure the smooth running offorced labour factories within the ghetto. When the ghetto wasliquidated in 1944, the survivors, including Rumkovski, were sent toAuschwitz.This is a different style of klezmer music than what we might beaccustomed to; rather than entertaining, the music is deeply moving,the texts sometimes depressing, and there’s even a bit of sarcasm inthe piece There goes a yeke (German Jew), with a musical quotationfrom Beethoven’s ninth symphony.The other members of Brave Old World are musical director MichaelBern (accordion, piano), clarinettist Kurt Bjorling, and StuartBrotman (bass, cello, cimbalom, trombone, fiddle). Interestingly, theyall live in different cities (New York, Chicago, Berkeley and Berlin),but manage to come together for recordings and concerts worldwide,and are considered to be in the forefront of new Jewish music.Karen Ages12 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COMM AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007

Editor’s note: Brave Old World performed at Toronto’s Isabel BaderTheatre in April but unfortunately we did not receive this disc in timeto review it in advance of the concert.Gamelan from Central JavaVarious ArtistsARC Music EUCD 1902Produced by Italian gamelan activist andarchivist Giovanni Sciarrino this is anidiosyncratic introductory survey of theJavanese gamelan, a type of orchestra withroots around the late 16th century closely entwined with the historyof Indonesia. The tracks here were recorded in Java and also in thegamelan diaspora - Italy and England.Starting our journey is one of the most ancient Javanese gamelanpieces, Gendhing Munggang. This 3-tone melody, played on a sacredgamelan from the court of the Sultan of Surakarta, was recorded insitu at the Sekaten, an Islamic religious festival, as was GendhingSekaten, performed by gamelan Kyai Guntur Sari (Venerable Essenceof Thunder), its personal name suggesting connections to powerfulforces of nature. The tracks Carabalen and Kodhok Ngorek (CroakingFrogs) round out the ancient compositions on this CD, which stillcrop up in motivic form in works by contemporary Javanesecomposers.Two important instrumental numbers from the theatrical and dancerepertoire are included in this survey: Srepeg and Sampak, bothreceiving crisp and concise performances, clearly recorded. Lebaran(1989) by Javanese composer Joko Purwanto is presented as anexample of a contemporary gamelan composition. It is a lively andboundary-stretching work which receives a convincing performance, afitting tribute to both its Javanese composer and to Dr. Neil Sorrell,the director of the University of York group featured here, who is apioneer of gamelan in England.Andrew TimarConcert notes: Reviewer Andrew Timar is part of Toronto’s owngamelan orchestra the Evergreen Club which will be performing aspart of the South Asia Music Festival on May 6 at Lula Lounge andagain at the Music Gallery on May 18.M AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM13

DISCS OF THE MONTHSelections from the 2006 National TourNational Youth Orchestra of Canada;Jacques LacombeIndependentNYOC2 ( will try to avoid every cliché about theNYOC here: this orchestra holds its ownalongside major professional orchestras, andwill be judged by that standard. The new CDis an ambitious double-disc release,containing something over 115 minutes ofexcellent performances.Leading off with Shostakovich’s 1st is a boldstroke, and it certainly pays off: the orchestra’sdynamic range is immense (careful, headphoneusers!) and the players truly are in top form.Debussy’s La Mer then follows, with suchaccuracy and a real sense of the 1905 period,that I’m afraid that I’ll be ignoring my favoriteSimon Rattle for some time to come. Who canbest the NYOC’s rendition of Chant de Rossignolby Stravinsky? This 1914 tone poem ischallenging enough for big Europeanorchestras, yet these musicians make it soundtotally effortless. And they give us a finish ofgreat strength with Don Quixote by Strauss.Conductor Jacques Lacombe deservesaccolades for his work on this CD.The tracks were recorded over two days inJuly 2006 in McGill’s legendary Pollack Hall.Engineer Kevin Tighe and Producers JulianJeun and Georges-Etienne D’Entremont haveworked miracles with their microphones andrecorders. The photographers have evenincluded some monochrome action shots, butthe players are in their best duds, and so,presumably, not captured during these sessions.Unreservedly recommended.John S. GrayTen PlanetsRichard SacksArtifact Music ART-037This remarkable CD is quitesimply a tour de force ofmusical creativity, with abrilliantly paced program of Canadianmasterpieces played by the gifted percussionistcomposerRichard Sacks.The disc opens and closes with Michael J.Baker’s The Waldo, an extraordinary work formarimba performed in its fraternal-twinincarnations as both an acoustic and acoustic/electronic piece. Baker’s grace of musicalgesture and senses of spaciousness and humourare all beautifully in evidence here. RodneySharman’s Apollo’s Torch for vibraphone isexquisitely expressive, as are Barbara MonkFeldman’s Verses for Vibraphone andGlockenspiel, the latter of which in particularhas a pungent yet reflective ‘Zen’ flavour. Therichly varied sound worlds of James Tenney’sMaximusic, and Sacks’s own Ten Planets withits rich multiplicity of textures and rhythms,make for the more high-octane expressions onthis disc. And every piece receives aremarkable performance from Sacks, whoplays with great musical insight and sensitivityas well as obvious technical virtuosity.Sacks suggests listening to his disc in one sitting– surprising, perhaps, in this world of i-Podsnippet taking – but he rewards you richly forso doing. Besides the virtuosity andexpressiveness, there’s a subtle yet distinctivelyreflective quality to this disc which I very muchappreciated. Try it, you’ll like it.Alison MelvilleConcert Note: Rick Sacks is a long-timemember of Arraymusic whose “Array Legacy”concert features music of Michael J. Baker andother past Arraymusic directors at YorkUniversity’s Accolade Centre on May 19 th .14 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE. COMM AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007

OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLESFINE OLD RECORDINGS RE-RELEASEDFor many, BernardHaitink’s Concertgebouw(1962-1971) cycle of theMahler symphonies wastheir introduction to these incomparableworks. In theearly nineties when Philipslet loose most of their prizedartists and orchestras, theywere past the half-waymark in a new Mahler/Haitink cycle with thepost-Karajan Berlin Philharmonic releasedon laser disc during 1992-1994. Philips returnsthem to us on three DVDs with 1 & 2 togetheron 074 3131; 3 on 074 3132; and 4 & 7 on 0743133. A 5th from the same series has never madeit to video. How different these performancesare from the Bernstein/Vienna complete cycleas seen on the complete cycle from DG. Thepatrician Haitink is no lesser a Mahler interpreterthan the flamboyant Bernstein who unashamedlywears his heart on his sleeve. Both menare intensely committed and get exactly whatthey want from the players. Whereas Bernsteinreally gets wrapped up in the scores and theirimplications, Haitink is nowhere near as subjectivewhich enables him to live not for the momentbut keep some objectivity. I don’t believethat one is better than the other but, in their wayI find them equally convincing. The video aspectis 4:3 on both but the sound is better on theHaitink which postdates the Bernstein by up to20 years.ence… a very big difference! On May 29th,Sony will issue a 2006 “re-performance of the1955 Goldberg Variations played by GlennGould” (SACD hybrid 88697-03350-2).Zenph Studios, a music-technology company inRaleigh, North Carolina has developed a “groundbreaking” process. “Their process analyses a recordedpiano performance and separates its musicalattributes (pitch and duration of notes, velocityof key strikes, key releases, and so on)from the surrounding noise, then encodes thoseattributes digitally to allow the performance tobe replayed on a high-resolution computer-controlledpiano like the Pro.” The Pro being “a ninefootYamaha Disklavier Pro grand piano, drawingon high-definition MIDI files, that can reproducea digitally encoded performance with eighttimes the precision of the ordinary Disklaviermarketed for home use.” So now you know thata re-performance is “not a re-mastering or restorationof a recording, but a re-creation of theoriginal performance behind the recording.” ThisPossibly no recordedperformance has attractedmore internationalattention andseen so many re-issuesas GlennGould’s 1955 GoldbergVariations. Hereis one with a differparticular“performance” took place, very appropriately,in the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio lastSeptember. Needless to say, the sound on thisnew disc is vastly superior and very much morecomfortable upon the ear than the 1955 monorecording. A not-for-sale demonstration disc includestwo different samples for comparison withthe original in the right channel and the Zenphrecording in the left. A few of us listening criticallywere able to detect no significant differencein any aspect between the old and the new.So, on May 29th you might just hustle into yourlocal record store and be the first one on yourstreet to own the Glenn Gould 1955 performancein SACD surround sound. Oh yes, there isa second version on the disc in binaural stereo. Iunderstand that Sony has undertaken to issuemore “re-performances” of different artists. Iwonder what Zenph can do with that famouscylinder of Johannes Brahms playing.Bruce SurteesEditor’s note: Although Mr. Surtees was hesitantto “state the obvious” regarding GlennGould’s notorious vocalizations, at my request heprovided the following addendum: Here is theway Gould heard Bach in 1955 now without hisvocal embellishments. Presumably spontaneous,he may have needed them to maintain coherenceand line to his instrument. Does it add to ordetract from the instrument? If one feels it to bean integral ingredient then this “re-performance”can only be, at best, a suggestion of the original.Personally, I find it quite illuminating.RCA has issued five more SACD versions fromtheir Living Stereo editions. Welcome are twomore from Fritz Reiner conducting the ChicagoSymphony; Don Quixote (Antonio Janigro,cello) and Don Juan (88697-04604-2), and“Spain” which comprises suites from Falla’s ElAmor Brujo (Leontyne Price), The Three-CorneredHat and La vida breve, plus works byAlbeniz and Granados (88697-04607-2). JulianBream plays “Popular Classics for SpanishGuitar” recorded in 1962 (88697-04606-2). Charles Munch and The Boston Symphonyadd Schubert’s 8th and 9th symphonies to theircatalogue of SACDs (88697-04603-2) and finallyHeifetz in an album of Double Concertosincluding Bach’s BWV1043 for two violins (ErickFriedman), Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante K.364(William Primrose, viola) and Brahms Double (Piatigorskywith Wallenstein conducting) (88697-04605-2). Although each one is well worth having,I was disappointed in the brilliant but detachedplaying in the Brahms, demonstrating thattechnique isn’t everything.Travel is more than just A to B. Travel should help you hit all of life’s high notes.Before the curtain rises, fall for the Pre-Theatre Express Menu at Tundra,steps away from Toronto’s opera house and entertainment district.Award-winning cuisine & wine await from 5 to 10:30 pm daily.Cocktails & tapas in Tundra Bar until 11:30 pm daily.For reservations call (416) 860-6800145 Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2L2 Tel: (416) 869-3456 • Fax: (416) 869-3187M AY 1 - JUNE 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM15

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