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The trouble with most music by unfamiliar contemporary composers is that the listener has no idea where it’s coming from. The Austrian Gerald Resch gets over this hurdle by rooting his third string quartet, ‘attaca’, in Beethoven’s first Razumovsky quartet, opus 59/1. The context works remarkably well. Resch, 46, is a former music journalist embedded in Viennese music, both historic and  modern. He works with ensembles as different as the period-instrument Concentus Musicus and the Aureum saxophone quartet. In creating ‘attaca’ he had a period of immersion with the trendy, Frankfurt-based Aris Quartet, among the most accomplished on the circuit.…

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TORONTO (June 7, 2021) – Today, Toronto Summer Music announced details of the 2021 Festival, themed New Horizons, which offers daily performances online from Thursday, July 15 to Sunday, August 1.  In addition to performances of chamber music, art song, and dance by renowned artists, the 2021 Festival features kids concerts, and the return of the TSM Academy for Emerging Artists after a one-year hiatus. The TSM Academy offers exceptionally gifted young chamber musicians and singers, between the ages of 18 and 35, a full scholarship to study and perform with guest artists during the TSM Festival. “For three weeks…

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A recording by violinist Andrew Wan and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Kent Nagano has taken double honours in the 2021 Juno Awards. The Analekta release from October 2020 won the Juno for Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble. One of the selections, the Violin Concerto “Adrano” by Montreal-born Samy Moussa, also won the Juno for Classical Composition of the Year. Other works on the MSO recording, both featuring the concertmaster as soloist, are Bernstein’s Serenade and Ginastera’s Violin Concerto. The orchestra was in the interesting position of beating itself. A BIS recording of Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion (led, like…

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Before and after. Who now does not think in these terms? Many music lovers, for obvious reasons, feel nostalgia for the former and disdain for the latter. Yet there I was, sitting at my dining room table and experiencing, in real time, a concert from the Bergen International Festival. The technology to make such minor miracles happen existed long before the onset of the pandemic but clearly the shutdown last year of public events gave a tremendous impetus to the use of the Internet (and in my case, a seven-year-old laptop) as a means of disseminating and receiving the lively…

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Concert after concert, record after record, David Jacques continues to share “guitar stories” with his collection of instruments. In February, he was accompanied by I Musici de Montréal in a live webcast concert. On June 6, he will perform in recital at the Centre d’Art La Chapelle in Quebec City. A first volume was issued last year by ATMA Classique. Fourteen guitars were featured. This time, 15 guitars are presented, along with nearly 30 19th-century pieces to showcase them. Little-known composers Among the composers on this second solo album, the guitarist especially appreciates Ernest Shand, an Englishman from the end…

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Montreal, May 21, 2021 – The Orchestre Classique de Montréal (OCM) and its conductor Boris Brott, will close its 82nd season “A Musical Tour of the World” on June 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Salle Pierre-Mercure with the concert From Mozart to McCartney. In keeping with sanitary regulations, the indoor concert will have limited seating, and to celebrate the closing of the season, the OCM is offering this webcast free of charge to its audience. “I am proud of our orchestra which presented an entire season without any cancellations, without any spread of Covid, while increasing our local, Canadian and…

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“Finally, we will have people in the hall!” So exclaims Marc Boucher, general and artistic director of Festival Classica, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Under the theme “From Wolfgang to Amadeus,” this edition will feature the participation of elite Quebec artists, who will give more than 20 live-audience concerts in the Roman Catholic parish of Saint-Lambert. “The entire Festival Classica team is happy to finally welcome back its festivalgoers,” Boucher said. “We missed them terribly. We are looking forward to this reunion, especially since, as relaxed regulations are announced, they will also be able to take the opportunity to…

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In the early years of the 20th century, when Arnold Schoenberg jumped off the moving harmonic train into a ditch of atonality, his friends were still finding wriggle-room in the sounds that could be wrung from a 100-piece orchestra. Schoenberg’s brother-in-law and only music teacher Alexander Zemlinsky presented a suite called The Mermaid at a Vienna concert in 1905, then promptly withdrew the score from further performances for reasons, mostly psychosexual, that I shall examine in an essay later this month. Suffice it here to say that The Mermaid is an absorbing, lascivious, self-lacerating yearning for an inconsumable erotic fixation.…

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Latvia’s answer to Estonia’s Arvo Pärt, Vasks writes long, slow, contemplative works with a strong feeling for lakes, forests and landscape. The title piece, for string orchestra, is one of those Samuel Barber-like adagios that has no beginning, middle or end while offering an image of the universe that is at once recognizable and unthreatening. Much of Vasks’s music is filled with mourning – for his country’s occupation by Germany and Russia, for friends who died – but his signal achievement is never to be morbid. There is always hope somewhere on a Baltic shore. A double-bass player who was…

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Classical music institution upholds legal and ethical music licensing throughout the pandemic TORONTO, May 27, 2021 – The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), a leading Canadian orchestra, has earned the 2021 SOCAN Licensed To Play Award for its steadfast and continuing commitment to fair, legal, and ethical music licensing over its nearly century-long history – including 2020, when the world was faced with the global pandemic. The annual accolade is part of the 32nd annual SOCAN Awards, held virtually for the second time, starting May 27, 2021. The TSO’s vibrant music programming and music-related initiatives include internationally recognized composers and music…

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