Browsing: Baroque and Early

Averse as I am to teenage prodigies, I heard Daniel Lozakovich in a Berlin nightclub this week and had no doubt from the first touch of bow on string that he is the genuine article. Sixteen years old, raised in Stockholm by Kazak-Russian parents, he gives the impression of belonging nowhere but some deep place inside himself. Fresh from a sleepless night on a bench in Tokyo airport where his flight had been cancelled, he draws energy – as the great ones do – from an audience. No-one breathed on the dance-floor during his Bach Partita. His DG debut recording…

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Earlier this year, when Ottawa’s Music and Beyond festival announced that its 2018 roster would include a concert of works written and conducted by acclaimed British composer John Rutter, ticket-buying activity exploded across North America. Within 90 seconds, a two-ticket order from British Columbia augured the continent-wide deluge to come. “We were selling tickets faster than anything else we ever released in our history,” recalls the festival’s founder and executive and artistic director, Julian Armour. “I thought, ‘we’d better see if we can offer another performance.’” Armour quickly contacted Rutter, along with the three choruses involved, and members of his…

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Toronto, May 23, 2018 … Tafelmusik Board Chair Helen Polatajko announced today that William Norris has resigned from his position as Managing Director, his last day being July 4, 2018. Mr. Norris will be relocating to London. Ms. Polatajko also stated that Tafelmusik will immediately form a search committee and engage a search consultant to begin the process of appointing Tafelmusik’s next Managing Director. “Over the past three years, William Norris has skillfully steered Tafelmusik through a period of profound change for the organization. During his tenure Elisa Citterio was appointed Music Director, and Tafelmusik has continued to build its stature as a global leader in…

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In times of stress I reach for Bach in the raw, one instrument, one pair of hands. I’m choosy who I listen to when the nerves are frayed. The immortal interpretations – Gould in the Goldbergs, Milstein in the Sonatas and Partitas – are too profound, too perfect, to afford prompt and gentle relief. Two new releases are just what the soul doctor ordered. Peter Hill is an English pianist, a Messaien expert who studied with Nadia Boulander and taught at the University of Sheffield. I have come across him on record and radio, never in the concert hall. His…

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Domenico Scarlatti: Sonatas, volume 1 (Chandos) It feels dangerously transgressive, and thus all the more enjoyable, to listen to Scarlatti’s keyboard pieces on a full-throated Steinway D piano set up in an English country barn. Why musicians submit so readily to the tyranny of political correctness – composers to the imposition of serialism, performers to the doctrines of period practice – is a mystery to me. So to find a young pianist at the start of his path who is prepared to defy the professorial rule makers and play a Bach contemporary on a modern big banger of a concert…

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On April 28 COC premiered to a full house the last production of their 2017-18 season with Gaetano Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. Directed by British Stephen Lawless, in a set design inspired by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, this production was originally built by Dallas Opera. Lawless also directed the previous productions of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda in 2010 and Roberto Devreux in 2014 at COC. With Anna Bolena, the COC completes the Donizetti Tudor trilogy, all portraying Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. Soprano Sondra Radvanosky embodies the vocally demanding role of Anna Bolena whilst being supported by an equally renowned cast. All three Americans,…

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1747 : C.P.E. Bach Infusion Baroque, Sonates en trio Wq.145 à 148 et Wq. 150, Leaf Music, 63 min 48 s In 1747, J.S. Bach traveled to Berlin to visit his son Carl Philipp Emanuel. There he composed The Musical Offering, at the heart of which is a trio sonata. This may have inspired C.P.E. In the same year, he reworked several trio sonatas he had written at 17 in collaboration with his father. He offered a modern version, halfway between baroque aesthetics and the new galant style. The Montreal ensemble Infusion Baroque made a wise choice by selecting this seductive repertoire, still…

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Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra/Jeanne Lamon. Trio Arabica. Alon Nashman and Maryem Tollar, narrators. Conceived by Alison Mackay. Tafelmusik Media TMK 1035 DVD & CD. Total Time: 97:15 (DVD); 70:00 (CD). A founding member of Tafelmusik, Alison Mackay has also developed such multi-disciplinary projects as The Four Seasons: A Cycle of the Sun, The Galileo Project, House of Dreams. The latest, Tales of Two Cities, draws together music, history and culture from Europe and the Muslim world, drawing attention to what we have shared for centuries. Leipzig and Damascus have long been important as…

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Alexa Raine-Wright, Sallynee Amawat, Andrea Stewart and Rona Nadler are rising stars of baroque music. In 2013, the ensemble founded Infusion Baroque because of their common passion for fine-tuning early music. In February 2017, the group launched their first album featuring sonatas by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The 2017-18 season cements their innovative qualities beyond musical performances. Infusion Baroque’s uniqueness lies not only in artistic sensitivity but also in a fondness for musical and historical research. The players present baroque music to new audiences, combining other artistic media with chamber music. This modernization breathes new life into the historical context…

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Tribute to Telemann (Lukos Records) Never sampled Georg Philipp Telemann? It’s like Vivaldi with added carbs, or Bach at a gentle walking pace. That Telemann (1681-1767) was a significant composer is indisputable. Handel held him in high esteem and Bach named his son Carl Philipp Emanuel after his good friend. Both were happy to receive his scores and both expressed concern for his irregular personal life. Telemann’s music is well written, sits easily beneath the fingers and does not last too long. So why do I find it so hard to thrill to? Perhaps because the others had so much…

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