AUTUMN TONES

AUTUMN TONES is a chamber music ensemble of local musicians with Nicola Everton on clarinet, Sue Gold on piano and Martine denBok on violin and viola. All three musicians are associated with the Symphony of the Kootenays as either members of the orchestra or as visiting soloists. Nicola and Sue have performed many times in the area, along with cellist Jeff Faragher, in the classical chamber music ensemble THE SELKIRK TRIO. In both the Selkirk Trio and Autumn Tones the intent seems to be to explore the modern edge of classical music as well as excursions into the realms of the traditional classical repertoire, Jazz, Latin, Klezmer or anything else that strikes their fancy. On this beautiful fall afternoon in the lobby of the Key City Theatre that is the musical realms they set out to explore.

They kicked off the afternoon with Darius Milhaud’s Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano. For me it was a moment of unbelievable synchronicity. On the drive to the theater I had been listening to some Brazilian Choro on the car CD player (yes, some of us still listen to CDs). On this beautiful fall afternoon what could be more appropriate than bouncing down the highway to the warm rhythms of Brazilian Choro. From the opening bars of the Milhaud piece the choro music I had just been listening to immediately came to mind and I began mentally adding in the percussive sounds of the Brazilian Pandeiro to the trio on stage.The Pandeiro is a Brazilian tambourine that is the heart beat of  samba. That mental notion is completely understandable when you consider Darius Milhaud’s musical associations with Jazz and Brazilian music.  He was one of the most prolific modern classical composers of the last century and was influenced by the sounds of Jazz and Brazilian music. While it is not his only claim to fame he was a musical mentor to the Jazz musician Dave Brubeck. So much so that Brubeck named his son Darius after the composer. One of Milhaud’s former students was the popular songwriter  Burt Baccharach. Milhaud is reported to have told Bacharach, “Don’t be afraid of writing something people can remember and whistle. Don’t ever feel discomfited by a melody.”.  This Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano lived up to that standard with lots of melody, rhythm and musical interplay between the instruments.

Popularity in music usually means world tours and mega arena performances. Modern classical composers do not rate that sort of popularity or attention and yet, in the realm of classical music, Arvo Part is probably the most popular modern classical composer of the last few years. This Estonian composer of classical and religious music uses self invented compositional techniques in the minimalist style (think Phillip Glass with darker Eastern European overtones). For this afternoon’s performance the trio selected Part’s popular Spiegel im Spiegel written in 1978. “Spiegel im Spiegel” in German literally can mean both “mirror in the mirror” as well as “mirrors in the mirror”, referring to an infinity mirror which produces an infinity of images reflected by parallel plane mirrors: the tonic triads in the composition are endlessly repeated with small variations as if reflected back and forth. The piece was originally written for a single piano and violin. Other versions exist with cello or viola, double bass, clarinet, trombone, flute etc.  This performance is for piano, clarinet and violin and is in F major in 6/4 time.

Aram Il’yich Khachaturian (1903 – 1978) was a Soviet Armenian composer and conductor and is best known for his composition  the Sabre Dance. He was the most renowned Armenian composer of the 20th century and is considered one of Soviet Russia’s  leading composer. While following the established musical traditions of Russia, he broadly used Armenia and, to a lesser extent, Caucasian, Eastern & Central European, and Middle Eastern peoples’ folk music in his works.  His style is “characterized by colorful harmonies, captivating rhythms, virtuosity, improvisations, and sensuous melodies”. The trio performed movements 1 and 3 from his Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano.

In the vernacular the clarinet has been referred to as a liquorice stick. Maybe it is the colour of the instrument but I like to think it is because of the liquid smoothness of the music of Mozart when played on the clarinet. Autumn Tones pulled us away from the “edginess” of contemporary classical music into the smooth mainstream of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio, K498 in E flat Major for piano, clarinet and viola. No composer before Mozart had written for this combination of instruments. The origin of the nickname Kegelstatt is interesting. The German word Kegelstatt means “a place where skittles are played,” akin to a bowling alley. Mozart is reputed to have written this while playing skittles. At the time the clarinet was a relatively new instrument and in the first performance the then vituoso Anton Stadler played clarinet, Mozart the viola, and Franziska von Jacquin the piano. This trio composition, along with his Clarinet Quintet and Clarinet concerto helped increase the instrument’s popularity. The piece is in three movements: Andante /  Menuetto /  Rondeaux: Allegretto

 

For the final piece the trio took us back to the edge for a little slice of Yiddish Klezmer in the tune Moldavanke. This style of music is mostly associated with Eastern European Jewish traditions and is performed in a lively bouncing style with overtones of Jewish humor and melancholy. Nicola has fallen in love with the style and wants to put together a Klezmer band.

  

Autumn Tones would like to thank The Kootenay Cultural Alliance and sponsors that have made this tour possible.

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A BONUS: By it’s very nature music is of the moment. As soon as the musical note leaps into the air it is in the process of dying and until the invention of sound recordings that was it. All we had left were memories.  The recording industry has changed all that and performances can become more permanent if they are recorded. Unfortunately not all performances make it “onto wax”. This concert by Autumn Tones is now but a pleasant memory. Perhaps some day Autumn Tones and The Selkirk Trio can be persuaded to record those musical gems that over recent years they have cast to the winds. To make up for that here is a bonus for you from YouTube –

Darius Milhaud: Suite op.157b for Clarinet, Violin and Piano – Cologne Chamber Soloists

ENJOY

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YouTube Pick (#12) – The Brasil Duo

Certain musicians, or groups of musicians, often have “a lock” on a genre or a particular musical approach. For instance Blue grass and old timey musicians own banjo music. After all they virtually invented the instrument and the appropriate styles so it only stands to reason that they should “own” banjo music. Similarly, for a multitude of reasons that I could bore you to death with, “Classical Guitarists” have a lock on Guitar Duets, Trio and Quartets. “The Brazilian guitar duo João Luiz and Douglas Lora are one of the most exciting and recent chamber groups to emerge on the music scene. These two talented young guitarists combine energy and technique with a dazzling musicality………. the duo shows maturity, talent and perfect technique in their interpretations and executions of intricate Brazilian rhythms……. Their sonority is exceptional, robust and varied and their whole repertoire is played with verve and enthusiasm, with stylistic balance and sensitivity …….. Excepts from Wikipedia  –  Amen to all of that.

Classical music, and classical guitar may have a reputation for being stuffy, “uncool” and uninteresting. I think this piece, Bata Coxa, by the Brazilian composer Marco Pereira (born 1950) played by this very energetic duo should dispel some of those notions. CDs by the duo are expensive and hard to come by…… thank God for YouTube for giving me a chance to experience their music.

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KIMBERLEY KALEIDOSCOPE FESTIVAL – The Selkirk Trio

Poster-AftenoonTea_fortheWeb

AFTERNOON TEA WITH THE SELKIRK TRIO, Studio 64, Kimberley BC, Sunday August 7, 2016

112. Selkirk TrioFor most people the idea of Classical Music usually means symphony orchestras, opulent concert halls, musicians in formal attire and patrons dressed to impress. It doesn’t necessarily follow that the symphony is the be all and and end all of classical music. The great virtuoso violinist Yehudi Menuhin, no stranger to large orchestras and concert halls, is reputed to have expressed the notion “that the true essence and application of music is to be found in chamber music”. If there is any doubt to that concept one has only to spend time with The Selkirk Trio. A couple of hours with Sue Gould (piano), Nicola Everton (clarinet) and Jeff Faragher  (Cello) and you should become a true believer in chamber music. Over the years I have attended at least three concerts of the trio and each time I am impressed with their program selection, their technical virtuosity and their musicality. The strength of the trio, and chamber music in general, is the lack of filters. There is no sound re-enforcement to get in the way and distort the true sound of the instruments. The musical arena for chamber concerts tends to be human scale with the audience and the musicians all within hand reach of each other. The nuances of musical dynamics and shading are right there in and around the audience. The trio kicked off the concert with the Cuban classical composer and jazz musician  Paquito D’Rivera’s Afro. Jeff doubled on Djembe  to provide some authentic 142. Clarinetatmosphere. This was followed by Ludwig Van Beethoven’s  Trio in B Flat Major, Opus 11, the second movement. My favorite item in the trio’s program is the 7 Balkan Dances  by the Croatian composer Marko Tajčević. Nicola obviously revels in these short but intricate pieces that bounce around the essentially odd rhythmic elements of Balkan music. I have tried to find a recording of these particular pieces but so far I have not been successful. I only think it fair to suggest that the trio needs to record them at some future date.

Sue and her coat of many colours

Sue and her coat of many colours

Pavel Karmanov is a Russian rock musician with musical credentials that go way beyond the limits of that style of music. Sue Gould selected his minimalist composition Birthday Present to Myself. The Minimalist School of classical composition is a recent innovation and is best exemplified by the music of Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. Minimalist  compositions usually consists of repetitive melodic motifs that need to be comprehended as part of the larger composition. A friend of mine declared that Steve Reich’s classic minimalist piece  Six Marimbas to be  some form of advanced Chinese water torture. Of course I beg to differ. It is one of my favorite pieces of music. I am looking forward to spending more time with the music of Pavel Karmanov.

Nicola kicked off the second half of the program with some Klezmer compositions by the Canadian composer Milton Barnes (1931-2001). The pieces were scored for clarinet and piano duo.

Nicola's Freilach dancing shoes

Nicola’s Freilach dancing shoes

In this day and age we all have toys. For Jeff it is the looping pedal. Jeff has just completed a solo CD recording project entitled Voices Within. One of the object of the exercise was to give Jeff the opportunity to experiment with a looping pedal. This is a device that is very common in pop music circles. It allows a performer to lay down  tracks of music in an orderly fashion to create a complete solo performance. In this case Jeff chose a number of cello pieces where he performs all the parts. To give some idea of how the process works Jeff gave a working demonstration by using the looping pedal to first lay down the melody of The Largo from Vivaldi’s Concerto in G Minor for Two Cellos, BV351. He then went back and, while the melody was playing, he added the bass part. He followed this up by finally adding the harmony part thus completing the piece. “Boys and Their Toys”……… Sue was not to out done. Her toy was a relatively simple device attached to the iPad containing her musical scores. With a tap on the foot pedal she is able to turn the pages, thus overcoming a major nuisance for pianist playing off the printed page. Nicola did her “party piece” with the Klezmer tunes, Jeff did his “party piece” with Vivaldi and the foot pedals. Sue’s “party piece” was a solo performance of Bela Bartok’s Romanian Dances for Solo Piano. The trio came together to perform Nino Roto’s  (of God Father film music fame) Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. For the encore the trio  played an arrangement of The Ashokan Farewell from Ken Burn’s CBS Civil War Documentary. It was a hauntingly beautiful end to a great afternoon of music.

084a. Cello100. Jeff Faragher   126. Sue Gould

Happiness is a sun tan and a good clarinet reed

Happiness is a sun tan and a good clarinet reed

“Jeff, what are you doing down there?”

"I'm playing with my toys"

“I’m playing with my toys”

162. Jeff Faragher  164. Jeff Faragher

154. Sue Gould124. Sue and Nicola  135. Nicola Everton

The concert is over .... I can lay myself down and sleep

The concert is over …. I can now lay myself down and sleep

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A YouTube Pick (#6) – Smaro Gregoriadou

In the classical music world the ladies comprise a significant number of the professional musicians out there. Maybe not at the conductor’s level of course, but among pianists and string players their numbers are very notable and noticeable. Up until very recently that was not the case among the Classical Guitarists.  Considering that there were not to many Classical Guitarists around in the first half of the 20th century that is understandable. The first significant female guitarist I became aware of is Ida Presti (1924-1967) and her performances with Alexander LaGoya in the Duo Presti-Lagoya. As a duo they set the standard at a pretty high level. When Julian Bream and John Williams recorded their duos around in the 1970s they were following in the footsteps of Ida Presti and Alexander LaGoya. Also in the 1970’s the Canadian Liona Boyd came to prominence and, although a very competent performer I always found her to be a bit of a musical light weight  –  “she played like a girl”.  That rather derogatory phrase took on a whole new meaning when the American guitarist Sharon Isbin also launched her career in the late 1970’s. She had the looks and demeanor of a New York fashion model and a guitar technique that literally over shadowed all her male and female peers. She was no musical light weight (just check her recording of the Bach Lute Suites) and if what she was doing, “playing like a girl”,  then God bless us all with the ability and power to “play like a girl”.  In the late 1980s the Brazilian Badi Assad emerged on the scene with an  original approach to Classical Guitar. Although raised within a strong classical tradition, her two brothers are a famous Classical Guitar duo, her approach has been more folkloric and Brazilian. Badi is also blessed with extraordinary good looks and marvelous technique. It seems that stunning good looks is a prerequisite for female classical guitarists. After cruising YouTube one would think that is definitely the case (is that being sexist?). The ladies on YouTube, Leonara Spangbenger, Julia Lange, Tatyana Ryzhkoua and Ana Vidovic, just to mention a few, are all beautiful young women who do not “play like a girl”.

 The latest female guitarist to come to my attention is Smoro Gregoriadou. This Greek Smaro Gregoriadoulady is virtually re-inventing the guitar. She plays a wide range of interesting classical guitars that include, double course instruments, high strung FLAM-CLASS-FRONT DETAILinstruments, instruments with scalloped finger boards (a’ la John McLaughlin), guitars with odd shapes and styles. This lady is absolutely brilliant. I have yet to hear another classical guitarist that is more spell binding in performance. Check the YouTube selections below. I find her technique and musicality absolutely astounding

Cueva Del Gato is a composition by the famous flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia. She literally outshines the original. I believe the instrument is tuned higher to an A (equivalent to playing with a capo at the 5th fret) and also note the scalloped fingerboard).

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“Canadian Folk Sketches” – World Premier Rehearsals

SOTK Lizzy Hoyt 2016_02_13

In the past there has been a well recognized tradition where classical composers have dipped into folkloric waters to refurbish and re-invigorate their music. In fact there are  whole national music traditions that have come into being as a result of that process. Every now and then folk musicians, rock musicians and jazz musicians have turned that process on its ear by enlisting classical musicians, most notably, symphony orchestras in support of music that is outside the normal symphony repertoire. Over the years The Symphony of the Kootenays has been involved in a number of those type of projects. Lizzy Hoyt’s Canadian Folk Sketches World Premier is the latest in that ilk. Lizzy Hoyt (vocals, guitar, fiddle, and harp) and her trio, Keith Rempel (upright bass and back-up vocals) and Chis Tabbert (guitar and Russian Soviet era mandolin) joined the Symphony and shared the solo spotlights with a number of the Symphony’s outstanding musicians. The rehearsals were on Saturday afternoon, February 13, 2016 in preparation for the premier concert later that evening. Here are some images from that rehearsal.

505. Trio plus Orchestra 100. Lizzy Hoyt    200. Keith Rempell    300. Chris Tabbert  132. Lizzy Hoyt   312. Chris Tabbert    212. Keith Rempel  310. Lizzy and Chris050. Harp  320. Chris Tabbert   408. Wendy  422. Jeff Faragher 144. Lizzy Hoyt  118. Lizzy Hoyt  316. Chris Tabbert 532. Nicola   140. Lizzy Hoyt   146. Lizzy's feet

I know the instrument doesn’t make the music. It is the musician who makes the music. However, having said that, I think it is worth focusing some attention on Lizzy’s magnificent Collings small bodied guitar (probably a Collings OM1). This a truly beautiful example of modern luthiery and it further demonstrates that we are living in a golden era of hand made instruments.050a. The Collins Guitar 126a. Lizzy and the Collings guitar

As for the repertoire it always gives me great pleasure when a Canadian musician stops looking south for musical inspiration and decides to explore the rich, varied, and largely unexplored traditions of Canada.

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“I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound” – Buffalo Springfield

Saturday January 30, 2016, 7:30 pm at Centre 64 in Kimberley: Noemi Kiss and Rita Deane – Voice and Classical Guitar

We live in an era of complete sensory overload so it is nice to stop, step back and listen to sounds that are entirely human scale. There are no Marshall stack amplifiers with three guitars and a thudding back beat here. No fifty member symphony orchestra going full blast. No bar room high level back ground noise. No overhead TV sports distractions. Just a duo of voice and classical guitar performing music from across the musical spectrum. And the best thing yet….. an intimate venue where you can actually hear the music. That just about describes the concert by Rita Deane (Classical Guitar) and Noemi Kiss (Soprano) on Saturday night at Centre 64 in Kimberley.

152. Rita and Noemi

Both musicians  currently reside in the West Kootenays. Rita was raised in Rossland and has been studying guitar and piano since the age of six. She went on to study in Cordoba (Spain) and Salzburg (Austria). Noemi was born in Hungry and studied in Budapest and London. Noemi now resides in Agenta (it’s a long way from the centers of Euopean music to the jungles of British Columbia). Both musicians are fully fledged professional musicians who mostly teach and perform in the West Kootenays. The Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance  has made it possible for the duo to tour though out the East and West Kootenays and perform the following program.

Kiss and Deane program-ed_edited-1

To truly listen and appreciate this music, as in the words of the Buffalo Springfield song, one does have to stop. Then take a moment to re-calibrate  one’s senses to actually hear the sounds. Once done, a different aural universe becomes evident. The old saying “less is more” is very true in this instance. The concert space literally filled with sounds that would be completely lost if the music was amplified. As you can see from the above program of love songs the music covered in this concert is a broad spectrum of styles. From the music of the Elizabethan Lutenist John Dowland, through the Classic Era music of Mauro Giulani and Fernando Sor; the modern Classical composers, Joaquin Rodrigo, Heirto Villa-lobos and Benjamin Britten, to some traditional Irish and Hungarian folk songs and onto some arrangements of Eva Cassidy, including Sting’s Fields of Gold.
My pick of the music performed would be the Villa-Lobos piece, the John Dowland song and Sting’s Fields of Gold and that maybe because they are my favourite composers. In addition to those particular pieces the Hungarian folk song Volt Nekem szeretom   had a very special appeal to me for no other reason that it reminded me of the Agnes Baltsa 1985 album of Songs My Country Taught Me (a marvellous collection of Greek songs).

Here are some images from the Green Room (trying to keep warm)

100. Rita Deane  102. Noemi Kiss  106. Rita Deane 106. Noemi Kiss        104. Rita Deane

022. William (Grit) Laskin guitarSome images from the concert:116. Noemi Kiss  124 Rita and Noemi   130. Rita Deane   134. Noemi Kiss  136. Noemi Kiss  142. Noemi Kiss  150. Rita Deane  166. Rita Deane    168. Rita Deane  174. Rita Deane   244. Noemi Kiss  300. Rita Deane   300a. Rita Deane   302. Rita Deane 176. Rita Deane  246a. Noemi Kiss  310. Rita and Noemi

There was a third partner in the room – Rita’s magnificent William Laskin (“Grit”) Guitar with its distinctive arm rest bevel. That particular feature improves player comfort and has been adopted by a number of other luthiers. Rita has had the instrument for over 10 years and it was originally purchased at a price equivalent to that of motor vehicle. It is Rita’s baby and there is not a scratch or a bump on it. The standard features of a William Laskin classical guitar these days include Indian Rosewood back & sides, Sitka Spruce soundboard, Spanish Cedar neck (with Carbon Graphite reinforcement), Ebony fingerboard (w/ Ebony binding), Rosewood bridge w/ Ebony & Bone tie block, Ebony binding, Bone nut and saddle, Sloane tuners (bronze plate with ebony buttons). He offers enough non-standard features and custom options to please the most discerning musicians.

020. The Grit Laskin arm rest bevel   064. Rosewood Back

In a nutshell this was a “deliciously delicate” performance and I suggest that when they play again in Cranbrook next Saturday they should not be missed.

Feb6 Cranbrook

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Saturday February 6, 2016, 7:30 pm at the ROYAL ALEXANDRA HALL in Cranbrook: Noemi Kiss and Rita Deane – Voice and Classical Guitar

100. Royal Alexandra Hall402. Noemi and Rita

Synchronicity is a concept which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no casual relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related (Wikipedia). Is that what this was? If so then bring on more of the same. The meaningful coincidences could be the musical collaboration of a Classical Guitarist from Nelson, BC and a magnificent Soprano from Hungry coming together in the acoustic environment of the Royal Alexandra Hall in Cranbrook. It was evident within minutes of the musicians entering the room that they were were enthralled by the acoustics. For the audience it was a chance to hear live music without any of the sonic distortion of added amplification. It was a real treat. I have been to a number of concerts in this hall and I have found that any artificial sound re-enforcement has had a negative impact on the music. For me there was only one drawback and and that was the natural prohibition on taking photos during the performance. The click of a camera shutter would have destroyed the musical ambience of the evening. I had to settle for some pre-concert shots  during the sound check. I can live with that………………….. The program was a recap of the sold-out concert in Nelson and the follow up performances in Fernie and Kimberley with the added zest of a unique acoustic environment

334. Rita Deane   202. Noemi Kiss   418. Rita and Noemi450. Rita and Noemi422. Rita and Noemi412a. Rita and Noemi436. Noemi and Rita

Thanks must go to the Kootenay Cultural Alliance for making this very special performance possible.

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Paul Bley and Pierre Boulez – not really famous but …….

There are entertainers who are just that – entertainers. There are entertainers who are musicians and musicians who are entertainers. Sometimes it is hard to tell exactly which is which. Then there there are musicians who are just that – musicians. Then again  there are those musicians who go beyond the accepted artistic norms of their era and create their own categories. Two such musicians are the Canadian Jazz Pianist Paul Bley and the French modern classical composer Pierre Boulez. Both of these exemplary musicians passed away this month (January 2016).

Paul Bley, born November 10 1932, died January 3 2016

Paul Bley North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague in 1990

Paul Bley is a Canadian Jazz Pianist born and raised in Montreal. He was essentially a child of the Be-bop era who performed with some of the jazz greats of the era (including Charlie Parker). He started studying violin at 5 and piano at 8, and as a teenager began playing piano professionally as Buzzy Bley. In 1949, as a senior in high school, he briefly took over Oscar Peterson’s job at the Alberta Lounge in downtown Montreal. Mr. Bley left for New York in 1950 to attend the Juilliard School of Music. During his early years there, he played with the saxophonists Lester Young and Ben Webster. Keeping a hand in his hometown jazz scene, he helped organize the Jazz Workshop, a musician-run organization in Montreal that set up out-of-town soloists with local rhythm sections; in February 1953 he booked Charlie Parker for a concert and accompanied him. That concert was recorded, one of his first extant recordings before his first album as a leader, made nine months later with a trio that included Charles Mingus on bass and Art Blakey on drums. Through the mid-’50s, he was an adept bebop player with a spare style.

As he matured he went further afield in his musical explorations to become involved in what became known as “free form jazz”. In my opinion, what set him apart from the frenzy and frantic performances of other “free form” artists was a more melodic and measured approach. During his time in New York playing with the saxophonists Albert Ayler and Sonny Rollins, he defined as well as anyone the blurry line between the scratchiness of free improvisation and the virtuosity of the jazz tradition. His solo performances are said to have had a significant impact on the extended solo performances of Keith Jarrett.

He often talked about being eager to get outside his own habits. In  the 1981 documentary “Imagine the Sound” he professed not to practice or rehearse, out of what he called “a disdain for the known.” He did not stake his work on traditional notions of acceptability, or the approval of the listener. With that particular musical philosophy it is easy to see why he is not a household name even in his own country.

Paul Bley was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2008.

Although I don’t have an extensive collection of his music I do treasure and enjoy the recordings he made in 1961 (Fusion and Thesis) with the Jimmy Giuffre 3 (Jimmy Giuffre on Clarinet, Paul Bley on Piano and Steve Swallow on Double Bass). The albums were re-released as a double CD by ECM records in 1992. For that I am forever thankful. Another CD of interest is the 1993 duo recording he did with fellow Canadian, saxophonist Jane Bunnet called Double Time (released by Justin Time). Although  Jane is better known for her extensive explorations of Cuban music the album shares some of the “spacey” textures of the Jimmy Giuffre 3. I am sure these albums are only the tip of the iceberg.

Here is an audio clip from the Jimmy Giuffre recordings and a clip of Paul Bley in an interview.

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 Pierre Boulez,  born 26 March 1925 , died 5 January 2016

Pierre Boulez

“Pierre Boulez, the French composer and conductor whose career spanned from the avant-garde post-World War II era to the computer age, has died, according to the French culture ministry. He was 90. Boulez famously challenged his peers and his audience to rethink their ideas of sound and harmony. In his music, Boulez often created rich and contrasting layers that were built on musical traditions from Asia and Africa, and on the 12-tone technique pioneered by Arnold Schoenberg — as in his 1955 work, Le Marteau sans maître (The Hammer Without a Master).”

To be honest I am more familiar with his reputation than with his music. Classical music of the 20th century was mostly overshadowed by the music of the Romantic Era and that made it extremely difficult for musicians and composers who tried to create a new vocabulary. Pierre Boulez was one of a number of musicians trying to create a “new music”. Among concert goers “the new music” tends to alienate audiences and it is only though the dedicated efforts of musicians like Pierre Boulez  that the music moves forward and, possibly in time, develop a dedicated audience.

This short YouTube video of his most famous composition LE MARTEAU SANS MAITRE  will give listeners some idea of the challenges they face when exploring the music of Pierre Boulez. This is not your typical symphonic fare.

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These two musicians may not be well known and they played music that, by and large, most audience would chose to ignore. However, they have demonstrated that there is more to music than three guitars and a back beat.

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Vocal Showcase

Vocal Showcase

This concert at the Knox Presbyterian Church was a great opportunity see and hear what the young performers of the area have to offer. This is possibly the finest small performance venue in the area and one likely to show off their talents to best advantage.  All of these performers have been through the local education system and have come out the graduate end with an unbridled passion for making serious vocal music. Most, if not all, have gone onto post secondary education in music and a number have already obtain their degrees in music. So here they are:412. The entire cast

and this is what they did on this special night in this special place.

Caitlin McCaughey – Caitlin is currently studying opera at the University of Toronto with 104. Catlin McCaugheyDr. Darryl Edwards and during this past summer she attended the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy.  For this concert she performed Quando men vo from Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme. For her second piece she chose Ah! Je Veaux vivre from Charles Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. Caitlin plans to pursue a professional career in Opera.

Danielle Nicholson is a lyrical Mezzo-soprano who is 114. Danielle Nicholsoncurrently completing her A.R.C.T. Performance Diploma with the Royal Conservatory of Music  and is planning to begin her BMus in Vocal Performance at either UBC, University of Toronto or McGill.  She chose Must the Winter Come So Soon from Samuel Barber’s Vanessa and Faites-lui-mes aveux  from Charles Gounod’s Faust.

Courtney Green is currently the head teacher 130. Courtney Greenand choreographer at Stages School of Dancing in Golden. Her selections were Breathe from In the Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leonard Bertein’s Glitter and be Gay from Candide.

 

Heather Byford. After graduating from Mount Baker 140. Heather ByfordHigh School Heather attended the University of Lethbridge and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Music with a major in Vocal Performance. She has returned to the East Kootenays with the intention of starting her own teaching studio. Heather selected La Mer est plus belle from the music by Claude Debussy and the poem by Paul Verlaine. Her second selection was Cruda Sorte! Gia so per practica from Giachino Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri.

Darren Adams is in his third and final year of the Acting for Stage and Screen Program 150. Darren Adamsat Capilano University in Vancouver. Darren performed Try Me from Jerry Bock’s She Loves Me and Jason Robert Brown’s The Old Red Hills of Home from Parade. He was joined by Courtney Green for a duet performance of Jason Robert Brown’s I’d Give it all to You.

164. Darren and Courtney

Justin Swanson is a third year undergraduate at the McGill University Schulich School 180. Justin Swansonof Music. He has been studying for five years with aspirations of becoming an opera singer. He performed Francesco Paolo Tosti’s Ideale (lyrics by Carmelo Errico). He followed that up with a refreshing performance of the old war horse Mother Machree. He was joined on 202. Danielle and Justinstage by Danielle Nicholson for a duet performance of Come What May from the Baz Luhrmann’s movie Moulin Rouge.

The mezzo-soprano Amanda Weatherall is no stranger to performances in the Knox Presbyterian Church. She is 220. Amanda Weatheralla fourth year vocal performance major at Western University studying under Todd Wieczorek. She has participated in professional development programs offered by the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy and the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera and is looking forward to her first full operatic role, Trisbe, in La Cenerentola. For performance on this evening she chose Charles Gounod’s Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle? and Alma Mahler’s Laue Sommernacht (lyrics by Gustav Falke).

Former Kimberley resident Clara MacLeod is happy to 240. Clara MacLeodback in the area and for her performance this evening she chose A Change in me from Alan Menken’s Beauty and the Beast and How Lovely to be a Woman from Charles Strauss’ Bye Bye Birdie.

 

Jocelyn Molnar received her Diploma of Music 260. Jocelyn Molnarfrom Capilano University in 2014 and has also received  a significant number of awards and scholarships. For the evening’s performance she chose Frere! Voyez! du gai Soleil from Jules Massenet’s Werther and Ah, Love, but a Day written by Amy Marcy Beach. Amanda Weather and Caitlin McCaughey returned to the stage for a duet performance of Leo Delibes Sous le Dome epais from Lakme. Amanda sang the mezzo-soprano part and Caitlin the soprano part. As always, this was an extremely popular selection. And not be forgotten the accompanists for the evening were Arne Sahlen and Erica Ortlieb (Ross). Arne’s solo performances of We Three Kings and Beethoven’s second movement of the Pathetique were enjoyable instrumental interludes in a night of vocal music.072. Erica and Arne

Here are some more images from the evening’s performances

118. Danielle Nicholson    116. Danielle Nicholson   112. Danielle Nicholson  134. Courtney Green 144. Heather Byford

070. erica Ortlieb (Ross) and Arne Sahlen 184. Justin Swanson  206. Danielle and Justin 160. Darren Adams  224. Amanda Weatherall  050. Elizabeth Ross MC  246. Clara Macleod

This was a wonderful night of music and the organizers should be very happy with the turn out. The venue was full to overflowing.

020. Xmas Candle

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A Steal of a Deal – TAFELMUSIK

Orchestra_group_by_SianRichards

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra: The Complete Sony Recordings. Originally released between 1989 and 1998, the recordings of the famed orchestra’s Baroque and Classical repertoire are all being issued together for the first time in a single Sony Classical box set of 47 CDs. The price of the set varied depending when and where it can be purchased. My purchase was through http://www.arkivmusic.com for $65 + exchange rate, shipping etc. It is also available from Amazon.ca for around $85+ taxes – shipping is free. That’s less than $2 a disc – a steal of a deal.

Tafelmusik? Who are they? As described in the liner notes of their recent Sony Boxed Set of recordings they are Canada’s award-winning period instrument orchestra that has become an internationally recognized ensemble. Lauded by Gramophone magazine “as one of the world’s top baroque orchestra’s.” Founded in 1979 by Kenneth Jeanne_group_2011Solway and Susan Graves, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra has flourished under the inspired leadership of Jeanne Lamon, who was the Music Director from 1981 to 2014. With its artist-focused mandate and commitment to excellence and innovation , Tafelmusik actively creates new context for the performance of baroque and classical music . The vitality of Tafelmusik’s vision clearly resonates with its audiences : the orchestra performs more than 50 concerts a year in Toronto for a passionate and dedicated following.

At the heart of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is a group of remarkably talented , enthusiastic and dynamic permanent members , each of whom is a specialist in historical practice. Their collaboration results in a delightful transparency , vitality and richness of sound , which has gathered acclaim around the world. The musicians participate on many levels , whether as core members, soloists, or contributors to exceptionally creative programming ideas that bring Tafelmusik concerts to life and make them fully relevent in a 21st-century context. Tafelmusik has become a major force on the international scene, with a rigorous touring schedule that sees the orchestra on the road for seven to twelve weeks each year. Regular tours in Canada the United States and Europe are complemented by ambitious tours to more distant destinations such as Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

An integral part of Tafelmusik’s success has been its critically acclaimed discography of over 80 baroque and classical albums, which have garnered many national and international awards. Tafelmusik’s long and celebrated collaboration with Opera Atelier has helped establish Toronto as an important North American centre for baroque and classical opera performance. Tafelmusik has also invested much energy in supporting the next generation of period performers though its artist training programming.

From the BOX SET INSERT

Track List
DISC 1-2: Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046-1051
DISC 3: Bach:  Concertos for Violin
DISC 4: W. F. Bach:  Sinfonias, Suite and  Concerto
DISC 5: Beethoven:  Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.2 in B-flat major, Op.19 and No.1 in C major, Op.15
DISC 6: Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4
DISC 7: Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat, Op. 73 “Emperor” & Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
DISC 8: Biber: Harmonia Artificioso – Ariosa
DISC 9: Boccherini: Cellokonzerte / Sinfonien
DISC 10:  Boccherini: Cello Concertos
DISC 11: Corelli: Concerti Grossi Op.6
DISC 12: Gazzaniga: Don Giovanni
DISC 13: Geminiani: Concerti Grossi
DISC 14-15: Gluck: Orfeo E  Euridice
DISC 16: Gluck: Don Juan; Semiramis
DISC 17: Handel: Six Concerti Grossi
DISC 18: Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks; Concerti a due cori
DISC 19: Handel: Water Music, Suite from Il Pastor Fido
DISC 20: Haydn: Symphonies Nos.41, 42 & 43
DISC 21: Haydn: Symphonies Nos.44, 51 & 52
DISC 22: Haydn: Symphonies Hob. I: 45, 46 & 47
DISC 23: Haydn: Symphonies Hob. I: 50, 64 & 65
DISC 24: Haydn: Paris Symphonies Hob. I: 82, 83 & 84
DISC 25: Haydn: Paris Symphonies Hob. I: 85, 86 & 87
DISC 26: Haydn:  Symphonies Hob. I: 88, 89 & 90
DISC 27: Haydn:  Paukenmesse; Salve Regina; Motetto “O coelitum beati”
DISC 28: Haydn: Missa Sancti Bernardi de Offida; Motets
DISC 29: Haydn: Theresa and Nelson Masses
DISC 30: Haydn: Missa “Sunt bona mixta malis”; Salve Regina; Ave Regina
DISC 31-32: Haydn: Die Schöpfung (The Creation)
DISC 33: Haydn/Kraft: Cellokonzerte
DISC 34-35: Mozart: 6 Symphonies after Serenades
DISC 36: Mozart: Overtures; Eine kleine Nachtmusik
DISC 37: Mozart: German Dances, K. 509; K. 536/567; K. 571; K. 586
DISC 38: Mozart: Rondo and Horn Concertos
DISC 39: Mozart: Requiem, K. 626
DISC 40: Purcell: Ayres for the Theatre
DISC 41: Schmelzer: Sonatas; Balletti Francesi; Ciaccona
DISC 42: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; Sinfonia “Al Santo Sepolcro”; Concerto Op.3, No.10
DISC 43: Vivaldi: Concertos for Strings
DISC 44: Vivaldi Concerti
DISC 45: Zelenka: Missa Dei Filii/Litaniae Lauretanae
DISC 46: Stamitz, Richter, Haydn, Gluck: Flute Concertos

That is a lot of music. An even though I have had the collection for over six months I am still digesting its riches. Significant number of pieces are familiar (Bach’s Brandenberg Concertos, Haydn’s Symphonies and Cello Concertos, etc) but there is a significant number that are new to me. For instance, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704) Harmonia artificioso-ariosa is a wonderfully “wheezy piece” of baroque music that I really enjoy. If his name is unfamiliar to you check out his entry in Wikipedia. Because there is so much material in the collection it is a little unfair to pick out any particular recording for special mention. I am sure every listener will come to his or her own conclusion about their special choices. I can promise you that if the music of the baroque and classical eras are your special interest then this collection will not disappoint. The only down side is that at this price the collection undercuts even the most reasonably priced “live” concert.

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PS. For a lucky few, Jeanne Lamond performed with a small chamber group in Christ the Servant Church in Cranbrook some 10+ years ago.

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Caitlin McCaughey in Recital at the Knox

CAITLIN McCAUGHEY IN RECITAL AT THE KNOX PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH   Caitlin is one of a number of young Cranbrook performers who take their music very seriously. To prove the point Caitlin presented the following program at the Knox Church on Monday August 17, 2015 at 7pm.

Caitlin's Program

Here are some images of Caitlin and her accompanist Ellen Ortega performing.134. Caitlin McCaughey202. Ellen Ortega    230. Ellen Ortega  242. Ellen Ortega114. Caitlin McCaughey  116. Caitlin McCaughey  120 Caitlin McCaughey244. Ellen Ortega 144. Caitlin McCaughey    146. Caitlin McCaughey142a. Caitlin McCaughey 152. Caitlin McCaughey 250. Ellen Ortega 040. Caitlin's dress@@@@@@@@@@@@