Browsing: Contemporary

If I look back on what they now call “the roaring Twenties”, it is like looking at a rich tapestry of almost blinding color. So much happened in those years which were marked by abundant prosperity in America and a cultural liveliness which was breathtaking. Music of our time all of a sudden became a matter of interest, and everybody felt like jumping on the bandwagon. So wrote Canadian mezzo-soprano Eva Gauthier, an artist ideally suited to a ­period that invariably attracted the ­sophisticated, the exotic, the adventurous and the new. She had already sung Satie’s music-hall tunes, was familiar…

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On October 17 the OSM gave a much-anticipated concert with celebrated violinist Maxim Vengerov. Together they performed a masterwork of the repertoire, Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major. Also on the program were Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Samy Moussa’s A Globe itself infolding, for organ and orchestra. Notably, the following evening the same musicians played the same program at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Happily for the Montreal performance the Maison symphonique was packed and the audience fully engaged. One of the best artistic decisions of the night was taken before the concert even began: the order of the…

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George Martin: Film scores and orchestral music (Atlas Realisations/Pias Classics) How good a musician was the Beatles’ producer? I talked to George Martin three or four times and, while I found him very likeable, was unimpressed by his musical curiosity. Like many other producers I knew at Abbey Road, he was a purposeful fixer who knew what needed to be done to make a track work and which of London’s hundreds of freelancers he had to call in to patch up a session that, somehow, lacked the finishing touch. String quartet for ‘Yesterday’, piccolo trumpet for ‘Penny Lane’, George Martin…

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Leo Weiner: Five Divertimentos (Chandos) It was George Solti who first mentioned Weiner to me as his most sympathetic teacher in Budapest, an astute encourager of musical temperament. Solti returned to Weiner in what would be the last recording of his life, an affectionate account of the 1906 f-minor Serenade, perhaps Weiner’s trademark work though scarcely known beyond Hungarian borders. This new account by Neeme Järvi and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra is strikingly fresh and virtuosic – just wallow in that sumptuous third-movement clarinet – less relaxed than Solti’s and altogether more together. The rhythms might sound a shade…

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The Canadian Music Centre is situated at 1085 Beaver Hall Hill not far from metro Square-Victoria. Its current home used to be a bank. The Montreal Centre, opened in 1973, is a branch of the organization’s Toronto headquarters founded in 1959. A close partnership links the two centres, including an online exchange of digitized musical scores via the CMC’s national website. The Centre’s director, renowned flutist Claire Marchand, pulls open the large iron door of a large vault that houses some 8000 manuscripts and musical archives, entrusted to the Centre for safekeeping by its 225 accredited composers. Of the 800…

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Evangelista’s sons didn’t fall far from the tree, as both are actively involved in Montreal’s music scene. Gabriel, his elder son, is a sort of musical chameleon: his influences are jazz, Gamelan, classical and salsa. “I describe myself in this order: composer, arranger, musical director and performer,” he says in a serious tone. “My background includes classical music, jazz, Balinese Gamelan, salsa and a little bit of flamenco.” He cites the Bali X album as one of the initiatives of which he is the most proud. “Giri Kedaton [the Gamelan ensemble that had its residence in University of Montreal] and…

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José Evangelista is a composer who perfectly represents the cultural diversity and historical background of Canada and Montreal. In the early 1970s Evangelista was, like many Spaniards of his generation, in search of a better quality of life and trying to escape the Spanish dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Coming to Canada, he says, was not a straight line. “It was like this,” as he mimics a crooked bumpy road. “It was a combination of circumstances because I am an ex-scientist. I have a Masters in ­nuclear physics. I was given a bursary to go study in Geneva at the European Organization…

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REVIEW of REV. 23, a new comic opera that sees beyond the End of Days, conceived and written by Cerise Lim Jacobs, with a score by Julian Wachner; performed September 29, September 30, and October 1, 2017 at Boston’s John Hancock Hall; viewed here September 30 and October 1. The End was at hand, and it was a devil of a good time. The city of Boston recently got a privileged, early glimpse of the Apocalypse – and beyond – courtesy of resident visionary, opera-maker, and eschatologist nonpareil, Cerise Lim Jacobs, who not only conceived and wrote the libretto for…

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What you miss: A great performance by the polyvalent mezzo Marie-Annick Béliveau as she explored with sounds that go from raspy-bluesy to classical to flat out screaming. Saxophonist Jean Derome also showed a big palette of colours and nuances. The music will please any fan of experimental sounds and dissonant harmonies. For those expecting an opera in the traditional sense, be warned, this is more of a song cycle with staging. The sense of the piece seems to be more to explore ways of expressing love than the search of beauty. Grapes: If you’re not a contemporary music lover and instead enjoy…

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A Handel mash-up and an international co-production comprise AtG’s most expansive season to date TORONTO – Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) returns in its eighth season with BOUND, a pastiche workshop of new interpretations of Handel’s music, and a groundbreaking new production of Berlioz’s arrangement of Glück’s Orphée. AtG’s acclaimed #OperaPub nights return as a monthly fixture at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club, and the company collaborates with Canadian baroque-pop artist Kyrie Kristmanson at the Alliance Française in Toronto. In addition, AtG enters its second season as company-in-residence at the Canadian Opera Company (COC). This December, Artistic Director Joel Ivany and Music Director…

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