Browsing: Popular Music

REVIEW: of works by composers David Lang and Gregg Kallor – The Mile-Long Opera by Lang, performed on the High Line; and sketches from The Frankenstein Suite, plus the monodrama “The Telltale Heart,” by Kallor, performed in the Catacombs of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. Some uncanny musical surprises graced unusual locations both above and below New York City street-level during the early part of Halloween month. Here’s a diary retrospective. Going the Extra Mile Beginning at twilight on six consecutive evenings (October 3 through 8; viewed October 7), Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer David Lang and a host of collaborators presented a unique choral…

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Three composers are involved in this first co-production between Analekta and the Azrieli Music Prizes: Brian Current and Wlad Marhulets, winners of the 2016 Azrieli Commissioning Competition and Azrieli Prize in Jewish Music, respectively, and the American Lukas Foss. The Czech National Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Steven Mercurio, the choir by Miriam Nmcová. Soloists are soprano Sharon Azrieli, clarinetist David Krakauer and tenor Richard Troxell. In The Seven Heavenly Halls, Current offers his musical vision of the Zohar, the fundamental text of the Kabbalah. Tension in the orchestra, a tumult of voices, mystical flights of fancy and dense textures…

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The opening show of the Segal Centre fall season is the musical Once, which won eight Tony Awards in 2012, including best song (“Falling Slowly”) and best musical. Once is based on the low-budget 2007 Irish film of the same name directed by John Carney about a Dublin-based busker and vacuum repairman and his relationship with a Czech immigrant who is an aspiring pianist and single mother. Their friendship quickly develops into a complex, passionate love story built on their love of music. The film’s soundtrack also garnered an Academy Award and a Grammy. The Montreal production is set in…

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Born in Roncole, Italy, on Oct. 9 or 10, 1813, Verdi was named in French, Joseph François Fortunin. At that time, that part of Italy was still under French dominion. He was the son of Carlo and Luigia Verdi. Verdi’s parents owned a tavern close to Busetto in the Parma region of northern Italy. His parents were middle-class, educated Catholics. His father even bought a spinet piano for his young son, which indicates both that they were people of means and that they supported Verdi’s talent from a young age. Verdi received his main musical education as a child from the…

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A fixture on the Montreal music scene with an impressive following abroad, Josh Dolgin, a.k.a. Socalled, has been dubbed “the mad wizard of Yiddish hip-hop.” Over the last two decades, his whimsical blend of seriously irreverent artistry has popped up in concert halls, clubs and cinemas, as he dabbles in cartooning and magic and takes part in far-flung collaborations like Tales from Odessa, his Yiddish gangster puppet musical for the Segal Centre, and the Juno-nominated album AKOKA, with classical cellist Matt Haimovitz and klezmer clarinettist David Krakauer. This fall sees the release of both his original queerotic film The Housesitter along…

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Kleztory is a stunning example of the power and the universal nature of the language of klezmer music. Strange to say, this internationally renowned quintet does not have any members of Jewish origin. From Russia, Western Canada and Quebec, the five musicians came together for their shared love of traditional klezmer music – into which, however, they do not hesitate to take the liberty of weaving their diverse personalities. Their return from Trondheim, Norway, where they will participate in a festival of Jewish culture, will mark the beginning of a rich season of travel and gatherings. Sidewalks to Studios Clarinettist…

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Saturday, September 1 was one of the busiest journeys of the five-day Festival with 6 indoor concerts, a Masterclass with Russian accordionist Roman Jbanov,  a Trad Quebecois dance event and free concerts held all over the town in different outdoor stages and restaurants. I also wanted to visit the Accordion Museum at the historical Manoir et four a pain Couillard and the photographic exhibition by Julien Simard which documented 30 years of the festival’s history. My first order of business was to meet with accordion prodigy Andrea Di Giacomo. The 22-year-old left the audience in awe at the Opening night…

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PROFILE/REVIEW: of the 2018 Glimmerglass Festival Season: Silent Night by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell; West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim; Cunning Little Vixen by Leoš Janáček; and The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini and Cesare Sterbini. “It’s remarkable how many important things happened in 1918,” observes Glimmerglass Festival artistic and managing director Francesca Zambello, speaking at a recent pre-show audience address in Cooperstown. “The end of World War I. The birth of Leonard Bernstein. And the premiere of this piece” – this last a reference to Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, which was…

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INTERVIEW: with renowned composer John Rutter. Mark it a red-letter day in the Canadian classical music calendar: on Friday the 13th of July, John Rutter – among the world’s most beloved and widely performed living composers – arrives in Ottawa. “I feel very much at home in Canada,” Rutter says from his home in Great Britain. “I was quite a regular visitor in past years, when I was patron of the Toronto Mendelsohn Youth Choir. But this will be my first trip to Ottawa, and I’m very much looking forward to it.” It’s a journey occasioned by the two back-to-back…

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War came to an end with the Treaty of Versailles. Music societies and festivals around the world are observing the centenary and paying their respects. Reflections of Wartime is the theme of this year’s Toronto Summer Music Festival, which runs from July 12 to Aug. 4. “I didn’t want it to be just World War I-inspired, but wartime-inspired in general,” artistic director Jonathan Crow explains. “An incredible wealth of music comes from wartime and not all of it dark.” Toronto Summer Music combines a festival with an academy program for pre-professional classical musicians. Most have completed their undergraduate degrees and…

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