Author Archive for shiragilbert

MON AMI, Mon Amour

MATT HAIMOVITZ, cello    MARI KODOMA, piano

Joie de Vivre in Times of Darkness

WORKS BY FRENCH MASTERS: FAURÉ, DEBUSSY, POULENC, RAVEL, MILHAUD, LILI AND NADIA BOULANGER

The vibrant, expressive musical palette of cellist Matt Haimovitz and the graceful insight of pianist Mari Kodama meld in MON AMI, Mon amour, the new album from the PENTATONE Oxingale Series, available internationally on November 6, 2020. Haimovitz’s soaring cello and Kodama’s incisive piano flow together in constant, colorful conversation for rarities by sisters Lili and Nadia Boulanger, in the poignant Kaddish by Ravel and the melancholic Élégie by Milhaud, for iconic works by Poulenc and Debussy, and in beloved gems by Fauré. Framed by the 20th century’s two world wars, these French composers overcome profound moments of darkness, never losing sight of their joie de vivre.

An experience with the Poulenc Sonata – a work replete with musical ironies – set in motion the idea for MON AMI, Mon amour. In 2016, while working with a student on this sonata, Haimovitz reached for the score and lost his balance. His priceless 1710 Goffriller cello crashed to the ground, dramatically breaking in two. After the attentions of an expert luthier, the cello emerged 15 months later to new life. The cello and Haimovitz are reunited on this recording. 

“Poulenc illuminates the human instinct to connect, to engage, to share life and love with each other,” Haimovitz notes. Recalling the recording sessions, he continues: “It feels like a dream … making music without a care in the world – certainly with no worry of viruses and social distancing. We played the music of French masters to our heart’s content … the memories of friendship, and once again being transported to this pictorial sound world, takes me out of the oppression of this moment.” 

Additional information on the recorded works may be found in the booklet notes, here.

MON AMI, Mon amour marks the 20th anniversary of the ground-breaking, Grammy Award-winning OXINGALE RECORDS. Launched the in 2000 by cellist Matt Haimovitz and composer Luna Pearl Woolf, the label embraces both mind and heart, melding genres and boldly navigating between the worlds of classical, new music, Jazz, crossover and opera. Releasing their recording of the Bach cellos suites in 2000, Haimovitz boldly took the music of Bach into then-unimaginable venues for classical music, like punk palace CBGB, sparking what would become the alt-classical genre. This was followed by his 2003 tour of “Anthem” to all 50 US states. Cutting-edge collaborators over two decades have included DJ Olive, David Sanford, John McLaughlin, pianist Christopher O’Riley, the Miró Quartet, and conductor Dennis Russell Davies, among many others. January 2015 marked the debut of the PENTATONE Oxingale Series, a new partnership with the Netherlands-based label, renowned for its discerning artistic quality and superior audiophile technology.

MATT HAIMOVITZ is praised by The New York Times as a “ferociously talented cellist who brings his megawatt sound and uncommon expressive gifts to a vast variety of styles.” Along with his performances around the world, he currently holds positions at the Schulich School of Music in Montreal and as the first John Cage fellow at The New School’s Mannes School of Music. Haimovitz made his debut in 1984, at the age of 13, as soloist with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic. At 17 he made his first recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for Deutsche Grammophon. He has gone on to perform on the world’s most esteemed stages. His honors include the Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center, the Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He studied with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University. Haimovitz plays a Venetian cello, made in 1710 by Matteo Gofriller. 

Born in Osaka and raised in Germany and Paris, MARI KODAMA is consistently praised for her virtuosity across a wide range of repertoire. She studied piano with Germaine Mounier and chamber music with Genevieve Joy- Dutilleux at the Conservatoire National in Paris, in addition to private studies with Tatiana Nikolaeva and Alfred Brendel. Since her Carnegie Hall recital debut at in 1995, Kodama has performed with renowned orchestras and conductors including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. In her native Japan, she has played with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and and many others. Kodama has brought infrequently heard gems of the piano repertoire to global audiences, including performances of Stenhammer’s Piano Concerto no. 2 and Alban Berg’s Chamber Concerto for Piano and Violin.

www.pentatonemusic.com

2020 Azrieli Music Prizes Gala Concert Features Four World Premieres

Medici TV to livestream the performance with works by 2020 Azrieli Music Prize-Winners Keiko Devaux, Yotam Haber and Yitzhak Yedid

Performers include Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne led by Lorraine Vaillancourt, mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó and soprano Sharon Azrieli

[Français ci-dessous] The Azrieli Foundation presents its biennial Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) Gala Concert on October 22, 2020 at 8:00 PM ET featuring world premieres by the three 2020 AMP Laureates. The concert will be livestreamed by the world’s leading classical music channel, Medici TV, and on Azrieli Music Prizes’ Facebook page, free for all to enjoy.

Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Le NEM) – an international leader in the performance of 20th and 21stcentury classical music – makes its debut on Medici TV under the direction of its founder Lorraine Vaillancourt. Canadian soprano Sharon Azrieli and Hungarian-Canadian mezzo Krisztina Szabó join Le NEM as soloists.

These world premiere performances form part of the total prize package each AMP Laureate receives – valued at over $200,000 CAD – which also includes a cash award of $50,000 CAD; two subsequent international performances; and a recording of the winning work released on Analekta. 

Keiko Devaux, the first winner of the new Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music, comments,

“Canadian music is defined by the voices of the people living here, and because of this country’s dynamic and multi-faceted identity, it is a tapestry containing influences of many traditions and histories woven together. These collective sonic memories that we have held onto, shared, diffused and celebrated together are what define the Canadian sound to me.” Her work, Arras, weaves together the tapestries of her French and Japanese-Canadian heritage.

Yotam Haber, winner of the 2020 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music, wrote Estro poetico -armonico III for mezzo-soprano solo, chamber orchestra and pre-recorded audio to continue his ongoing exploration into the music of the Jewish community of Rome. Haber explains, “As a composer of Israeli background, I have spent years thinking about how I should look back at my past while looking forward at my future. I wished to compose a work using text by modern Israeli poets sung by a mezzo-soprano in conjunction, or in opposition to, traditional cantillation and liturgical texts found in the Leo Levi recordings, virtually always recited by men.”

Yitzhak Yedid, winner of the 2020 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music, wrote Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed, which consist of twenty tableaux, or musical scenes, that bridge between variegated compositional approaches originating from remote, opposing musical traditions. Yedid remarks, “My attempt in this composition, and my endeavour for over a decade, has been to broaden the aesthetic resources of Western art music through the incorporation of musical elements of Sephardic Jewish music. My interest in textures, derived from micro-intonations of Jewish tunes, led me to compose multi-layered voice textures and to embed a Baqashot-Piyyut of Sephardic music into the sound of textural harmony in order to create a strange, surreal atmosphere.”

Lastly, Canadian composer Jonathan Monro has prepared a special new arrangement for Le NEM and Sharon Azrieli of Canadian composer Pierre Mercure’s song cycle Dissidence. These three songs form part of Mercure’s seminal Cantate pour un Joie (1955), which sets poems by Gabriel Charpentier that express modern man’s search for the happiness of faith.

The gala concert will take place at University of Montréal’s Salle Claude-Champagne with the help of Azrieli’s livestream production partner, Prodcan Inc. Viewers may tune in to the concert for free at home on Medici TVor Azrieli’s Music Prize’s Facebook page.

REPERTOIRE

Yitzhak Yedid: Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed (2020 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music) 

Pierre Mercure (arr. by Jonathan Monro): Dissidence
Yotam Haber: Estro poetico-armonico III for mezzo-soprano solo, chamber orchestra and pre-recorded audio (2020 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music)
Keiko Devaux: Arras (2020 Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music)

About Keiko Devaux, 2020 Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music Winner

Keiko Devaux is a Montréal-based composer who writes for ensembles, dance and film. Her compositions focus on musical ‘translations’ of experience through the interpretation of extra-musical form and patterns. She holds a Master’s in Instrumental Composition from the University of Montréal and is currently completing a Doctorate in Composition under the direction of Ana Sokolović and Pierre Michaud. She has been awarded several distinctions, including the 2019 Jan V. Matejcek Award from the SOCAN Foundation and the audience and jury prizes of the 2017 Accès Arkea Competition. She was the 2016-18 composer in residence with Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne.


About Yotam Haber, 2020 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music Winner 

Yotam Haber was born in Holland and grew up in Israel, Nigeria and Milwaukee. He is the recipient many prestigious prizes, residencies and commissions, and is widely performed by the leading new music groups around the world. Haber is Associate Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory and Artistic Director Emeritus of MATA, the non-profit organization founded by Philip Glass that, since 1996, has been dedicated to commissioning and presenting new works by young composers from around the world.

About Yitzhak Yedid, 2020 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music Winner

The multi award-winning Yitzhak Yedid melds the music of his ancestral Syrian and Iraqi Jewish background with Western art music. His musical style is eclectic, multicultural and very personal, blending jazz and Jewish cantorial music with classic European and avant-garde techniques. His added experience as an improvising concert pianist allows him to create a highly expressive, eclectic and alluring new Jewish music. Yedid studied piano at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, continued his schooling at the New England Conservatory and earned a Ph.D. from Monash University. He currently lectures in composition and piano at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in Brisbane.

About Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne
Guided by a duty to interpret the great modern and contemporary repertoire and by a desire to stimulate the creation of original works, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Le NEM)’s mission is to disseminate and to promote the music of our time. An essential leader in both Canada and on the international scene, Le NEM is recognized for its modernism and excellence in all aspects of the interpretation, creation and preservation of musical works of the 20th and 21st centuries. In residence at the University of Montréal’s Faculty of Music, Le NEM has performed in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Japan, Australia, China, Singapore and eight European countries. Since its inception, more than 185 pieces have been written specifically for the Ensemble.

About the Azrieli Music Prizes

Established in 2014, the biennial Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) seek to fulfill the Azrieli Foundation’s pursuit of its belief in music as a vital human endeavour that allows humankind to express its creativity; to expand its worldview; and to foster positive cultural exchanges. Open to the international music community, AMP accepts nominations for works from individuals and institutions of all nationalities, faiths, backgrounds and affiliations, which are then submitted to its two expert juries through a biennial open call for scores and proposals. The three AMP prize packages – valued at $200,000 CAD per Laureate – currently makes it the largest music competition for music composition in Canada and one of the largest in the world.   Past prize-winners include Israeli-American composer Avner Dorman (2018), Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy (2018), Canadian composer Brian Current (2016) and US-based Polish composer Wlad Marhulets (2016). 

About The Azrieli Foundation

One of the largest philanthropic foundations in Canada and in Israel, the Azrieli Foundation fulfills the philanthropic legacy of David J. Azrieli and has been funding institutions as well as operating programs since 1989. Driven by a strong belief in the powerful role and responsibility of philanthropy, the foundation empowers and supports a broad range of organizations in the fields of Education, Research, Healthcare and the Arts. Through the Azrieli Music Initiatives (AMI), of which AMP is a part, the Foundation is committed to discovering, elevating and amplifying artistic voices, granting broad access to meaningful musical experiences that both exhibit artistic excellence and advance a shared pursuit of learning and wellness. AMI creates meaningful and practical realizations of the Foundation’s mission to improve the lives of present and future generations.

Le Concert gala des Prix Azrieli de musique 2020 présente quatre premières mondiales

Medici TV diffusera la prestation des œuvres des lauréats des Prix Azrieli de musique 2020, Keiko Devaux, Yotam Haber et Yitzhak Yedid.

Les œuvres seront interprétées par Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne sous la direction de Lorraine Vaillancourt, la mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó et la soprano Sharon Azrieli.

Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano

La Fondation Azrieli présentera le Concert gala biennal des Prix Azrieli de musique (PAM) le 22 octobre 2020 à 20h00 HE. Proposant trois premières mondiales composées par les lauréats des PAM 2020, le concert sera diffusé gratuitement en direct par Medici TV, la plus importante chaîne de musique classique du monde, ainsi que sur la page Facebook des Prix Azrieli de musique

Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM) – un des principaux ensembles du monde à défendre le répertoire classique des XXe et XXIe siècles – fera ses débuts sur Medici TV sous la direction de sa fondatrice, Lorraine Vaillancourt. La soprano canadienne Sharon Azrieli et la mezzo canado-hongroise Krisztina Szabó se joindront au NEM en tant que solistes. 

Ces premières mondiales font partie de la récompense décernée à chacun des lauréats des PAM. D’une valeur de plus de 200 000 $ CAD, les PAM comprennent notamment une bourse de 50 000 $ CAD; deux performances internationales subséquentes, ainsi qu’un enregistrement commercial de l’œuvre primée sous étiquette Analekta. 

Selon Keiko Devaux, première lauréate de la Commande Azrieli de musique canadienne, « la musique canadienne est définie par les voix de ceux et celles qui vivent ici; compte tenu de l’identité dynamique et plurielle de ce pays, [notre musique] est une tapisserie dans laquelle se retrouve l’influence de nombreuses traditions et histoires interreliées. Ces souvenirs sonores collectifs que nous avons préservés, partagés, diffusés et célébrés ensemble constituent pour moi ce qui définit le son canadien. » Sa composition primée, Arras, se veut le reflet de son double héritage français et canado-japonais. 

Yotam Haber, lauréat de la Commande Azrieli de musique juive 2020, a composé Estro poetico – armonico III pour mezzo-soprano solo, orchestre de chambre et matériel audio préenregistré. Pour Haber, cette œuvre s’inscrit dans une exploration continue de l’héritage musical de la communauté juive de Rome. « En tant que compositeur de souche israélienne, explique-t-il, je me penche depuis plusieurs années sur les manières d’explorer mon passé tout en portant un regard sur mon avenir. Mon objectif était de composer une œuvre basée sur des textes de poètes israéliens contemporains chantés par une mezzo-soprano, et d’y marier – ou d’y opposer – des cantillations traditionnelles et des textes liturgiques tirés des enregistrements réalisés par Leo Levi, lesquels sont pratiquement toujours récités par des hommes. »

Yitzhak Yedid, lauréat du Prix Azrieli pour la musique juive en 2020, a composé Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed, une œuvre en vingt tableaux, ou scènes musicales, qui font le pont entre des approches très variées de la composition, issues de traditions musicales distantes, voire opposées. Comme le souligne Yedid, « S’inscrivant dans une démarche entreprise il y a plus d’une décennie, cette composition vise à accroître les ressources esthétiques de la musique savante occidentale en y intégrant des éléments issus de la musique juive sépharade. Mon intérêt pour les textures, qui découle des micro-intonations des mélodies juives, m’a mené à créer des textures vocales multicouches et à intégrer les bakkashot et les piyyoutim de la musique sépharade au son des harmonies texturales, afin de conjurer une atmosphère étrange et surréelle. » 

Enfin, le compositeur canadien Jonathan Monro a créé un arrangement inédit de Dissidence, le cycle de mélodies de son compatriote Pierre Mercure, pour le NEM et la soprano Sharon Azrieli. Ces trois mélodies font partie de la Cantate pour un Joie (1955), une œuvre majeure de Mercure, qui met en musique des poèmes de Gabriel Charpentier exprimant le bonheur dans la foi auquel aspire l’humain. 

Le Concert gala aura lieu à la Salle Claude-Champagne de l’Université de Montréal et sa captation audiovisuelle sera réalisée par le partenaire de la Fondation Azrieli, Prodcan Inc. Le concert pourra être visionné gratuitement à domicile sur Medici TV ou sur la page Facebook des Prix Azrieli de musique.  

PROGRAMME

Yitzhak Yedid : Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed (Prix Azrieli pour la musique juive 2020) 

Pierre Mercure (arr. par Jonathan Monro) : Dissidence 

Keiko Devaux : Arras (Commande Azrieli de musique canadienne 2020) 

Yotam Haber : Estro poetico-armonico III pour mezzo-soprano solo, orchestre de chambre et matériel audio préenregistré (Commande Azrieli de musique juive 2020) 

Au sujet de Keiko Devaux, lauréate de la Commande Azrieli de musique canadienne 2020 

Établie à Montréal, Keiko Devaux compose des œuvres pour divers ensembles et collabore avec des chorégraphes et des cinéastes. Ses compositions visent à traduire des expériences en musique par le biais de l’interprétation de formes et de motifs extramusicaux. Elle détient une maîtrise en composition instrumentale de l’Université de Montréal et termine actuellement un doctorat en composition sous la direction d’Ana Sokolović et de Pierre Michaud. Elle est lauréate de nombreux prix et distinctions, y compris le Prix Jan V. Matejcek (2019) de la Fondation SOCAN, ainsi que les prix du public et du jury de l’édition 2017 du Concours Accès Arkea. De 2016 à 2018, elle a été compositrice en résidence au Nouvel Ensemble Moderne.

Au sujet de Yotam Haber, lauréat de la Commande Azrieli de musique juive 2020

Yotam Haber est né aux Pays-Bas et a grandi en Israël, au Nigeria ainsi qu’à Milwaukee. Il est lauréat de nombreux prix, résidences et commandes prestigieux, et ses compositions sont fréquemment jouées par les plus importants ensembles de nouvelle musique du monde. Haber est professeur agrégé au Conservatoire de l’Université de Missouri-Kansas City et directeur artistique émérite de MATA, l’organisation sans but lucratif créée par Philip Glass qui, depuis 1996, commande et présente de nouvelles œuvres de jeunes compositeurs des quatre coins du monde.

Au sujet de Yitzhak Yedid, lauréat du Prix Azrieli pour la musique juive 2020

Récipiendaire de nombreux prix, YitzhakYedid marie la musique de ses ancêtres juifs d’origines syrienne et irakienne à la musique savante occidentale. Adoptant une approche éclectique, multiculturelle et hautement personnelle, il combine le jazz et les chants sacrés de la tradition juive à des techniques européennes classiques et d’avant-garde. En alliant ces éléments à son expérience de pianiste improvisateur, il a créé une nouvelle forme de musique juive qui est à la fois expressive, éclectique et séduisante. Yedid a étudié le piano à l’Académie de musique et de danse de Jérusalem, pour ensuite poursuivre ses études au New England Conservatory et obtenir son doctorat de l’Université Monash, à Melbourne. Il enseigne actuellement la composition et le piano au Queensland Conservatorium de l’Université Griffith, à Brisbane. 

Au sujet du Nouvel Ensemble Moderne 

Guidé par le devoir d’interpréter les grandes œuvres musicales et le répertoire du XXe et du XXIe siècle et par le désir de stimuler la création d’œuvres originales, le NEM a pour mission de diffuser et de promouvoir la musique de notre temps. Chef de file incontournable dans son milieu et sur la scène internationale, le NEM est reconnu pour son modernisme et son excellence dans tous les aspects de l’interprétation, de la création et de la préservation des œuvres musicales des XXe et XXIe siècles. Ensemble en résidence à la Faculté de Musique de l’Université de Montréal, le NEM s’est produit au Canada, aux États-Unis, au Mexique, au Japon, en Chine, à Singapour et dans huit pays européens. Plus de 185 pièces ont été composées spécifiquement pour l’ensemble depuis sa fondation.

Au sujet des Prix Azrieli de musique 

Créés en 2014 et décernés tous les deux ans, les Prix Azrieli de musique (PAM) concrétisent une conviction profonde de la Fondation Azrieli : que la musique et les arts constituent des activités humaines essentielles qui nous permettent d’exprimer notre créativité, de développer notre compréhension du monde et de favoriser les échanges culturels positifs. Ouverts à l’ensemble de la communauté musicale internationale, les PAM accueillent des œuvres provenant d’individus et d’organismes de toutes nationalités, origines, croyances religieuses et affiliations, qui sont évaluées par deux jurys composés d’experts au terme d’un appel biennal à propositions et à partitions. En vertu de la valeur totale des prix – 200 000 $ CAD par lauréat – les PAM représentent le plus important concours de composition musicale du Canada, et l’un des plus importants du monde. Parmi les lauréats des éditions passées, mentionnons l’Israélo-Américain Avner Dorman (2018), la Canadienne Kelly-Marie Murphy (2018), le Canadien Brian Current (2016) et le compositeur polonais établi aux États-Unis, Wlad Marhulets (2016). 

Au sujet de la Fondation Azrieli 

Une des plus importantes fondations philanthropiques au Canada et en Israël, la Fondation Azrieli concrétise depuis 1989 la vision philanthropique de David J. Azrieli z”l, en soutenant divers programmes et établissements. Animée par la conviction que l’action philanthropique a une responsabilité et un rôle importants à jouer, la Fondation appuie une vaste gamme d’organisations dans les domaines de l’éducation, de la recherche, des soins de santé et des arts. Par le biais des Initiatives musicales Azrieli (IMA), dont font partie les PAM, la Fondation s’est engagée à découvrir, cultiver et faire rayonner les voix d’artistes. Elle assure l’accès du plus grand nombre à des expériences musicales significatives et caractérisée par l’excellence, et qui font avancer la quête partagée de l’apprentissage et du bien-être. Les IMA appuient de manière significative et pratique la mission de la Fondation, qui est d’améliorer la qualité de vie des générations présentes et futures. 

Cellist Ofra Harnoy Releases “On the Rock”

An unprecedented musical celebration of the sounds and spirit of Newfoundland

For her second recording on the Analekta label, On the Rock, superstar cellist and five-time Juno Award winner Ofra Harnoy was inspired to celebrate the sounds and spirit of Newfoundland. Upon visiting “The Rock” in the summer of 2018, the cellist immediately fell in love with the place and its people. “The more I explore this beautiful island and get to know the people, food, and the culture, the more I feel Newfoundland becoming a part of me. Through these songs I can really express the wonderful connection I have with my new home,” says Harnoy. 

Her husband, Mike Herriott, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and co-producer of the album, adds “With the guidance and contribution of Bob Hallett, we were able to compile a selection of songs, jigs, and reels that Ofra felt she really connected with and that told a story of what she has come to know and love about the province.”

The new album features an array of special guests, including Alan Doyle, formerly of the iconic Canadian band Great Big Sea, in a new version of the classic St. John’s Waltz by Ron Hynes, Newfoundland’s unofficial poet laureate. This song speaks of a simpler time, when foreign fishing boats still filled the harbour, Portuguese sailors played soccer in the piers, and a night spent waltzing in the bars was as much as anyone could ask. Intrigued and excited by Harnoy’s passion to combine her world of classical music with Newfoundland traditional songs, Doyle says, “I could not be happier to sing St. John’s Waltz with Ofra and in a completely new musical environment.”

The album also includes beloved traditional Newfoundland songs like an elegantly jazz-tinged version of She’s Like the Swallowand the reel Harbour Buffett Double, with Harnoy forming a classic kitchen-party band with fiddler Kendel Carson. Wayne Chaulk’s Saltwater Joys, an ode to the simpler outport life known to many Atlantic Canadians, features vocals by Ofra’s daughter, Amanda CashFergus O’Byrne is a special guest on vocals for the popular The Cliffs of Baccalieu and on banjo for the peaceful Green Shores of Fogo. The haunting melody of Petty Harbour Bait Skiff and its poignant tale of death on the sea features St. John’s jazz chanteuse Heather Bambrick – and the whole rowdy gang gathers at the pub for the traditional mainstay Mussels in the Corner.

With Ofra Harnoy’s cello at the forefront, the result is a magnificently vibrant and unprecedented musical celebration of the rich musical heritage of Newfoundland.

About Ofra Harnoy

Ofra Harnoy was born in Israel and immigrated to Canada at age 6. She has given concerts on five continents and has played at the request of Prince Charles, President Bill Clinton, three Canadian prime ministers, and several times for the Japanese Imperial Family.

Harnoy has recorded more than 40 solo albums and commands a vast repertoire. Her many recording and live collaborations include Placido Domingo, Sting, Sir Charles Mackerras, Loreena McKennitt, Colin Tilney, Igor Oistrakh, Jesse Cook, Cyprien Katsaris, Claudio Scimone, Charles Dutoit, Jeffrey Tait, Anton Kuerti, and Emmy Verhey.

Her recording catalogue spans many musical styles and genres, and she has won numerous awards and distinctions for her recordings, including five Juno Awards, the Grand Prix du Disque, and critics’ choice awards from a number of international magazines.

About Analekta

Founded in 1987 by François Mario Labbé, Analekta is the largest independent classical music record company in Canada. It has produced more than 500 albums and recorded more than 200 of the country’s most prominent musicians, winning multiple awards in the process. In 2020, Analekta achieved the impressive feat of having the works from its catalogue streamed 200 million times on international streaming platforms.

The Eybler Quartet releases the premiere recording of Franz Asplmayr’s Six Quartets, Op. 2

Renowned Period-Instrument String Quartet Continues Fascinating Mission To Bring to Light Little-Known Composers of the Classical Era

“The Eyblers treat every moment as if the ink were still wet on the page, such is the intoxicating freshness of their delivery.”  – The Scotsman

[Français ci-dessous] Toronto’s Eybler Quartet is internationally-renowned for brilliant performances as well as an unquenchable passion for delving deep into the works of obscure composers of the Classical era, such as Vanhal, Backofen, and Eybler. The period-instrument ensemble has also attracted attention for uncovering gleaming new revelations from the “big three” Classical composers – Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven – earning raves, while ruffling a few feathers among traditionalists. Now, the Eyblers are back with an exhilarating album featuring the music of Viennese composer Franz Asplmayr (1728-1786), the first-known recording of the entirety of his Six Quartets, Op. 2 (published as “Six Quatuors Concertantes, Op. 2” in 1769). The new album is available today from the Gallery Players label. 

“One of the missions of the Eybler quartet is to find music that has been neglected and lost over the years, collecting dust in libraries, and to bring it back to life,” comments violinist Julia Wedman, “Our latest discovery, ’Aspy’, has a simple writing style, but he is able to really get to the heart of the music and to touch you in a deep way.” In fact, violist Patrick Jordan had stumbled on a copy of the modern edition of these quartets by American musicologist Dennis C. Monk in a used bookstore in Toronto around 2006, though the score remained untouched on his shelf until Jordan came across the first edition parts in the Bibliothèque National de France, five years ago. After spending several years studying the original scores and perfecting their performances, the Eyblers have now accorded Asplmayr’s Op. 2 quartets their premiere recording.

Franz Asplmayr was christened on April 2, 1728 in Linz, the son of a dancing master. He was employed at Count Morzin’s court in 1759 as secretariat and violinist, where he would have met the young Joseph Haydn, the court’s Hofkomponist and Musikdirektor. When the Count’s orchestra was dissolved in late 1760 or early 1761, Asplmayr relocated to Vienna, where he continued to work as a composer and violinist until his death in 1786. He composed in several genres, producing at least 41 symphonies, 43 string quartets and 70 trios, but during his lifetime he was best known for his works for the theatre, including at least 25 complete ballets (of which 11 survive) and the first German-language melodrama.

“We are all familiar with Haydn and Mozart,” comments Patrick Jordan, “but we can draw much more depth and richness from the music of this era – representing the history of the string quartet form – by also understanding the context of what was going on around these composers … those like Asplmayr whom you might call the minor characters. We miss a lot by focusing only on a few people; our job is to widen that lens.” In these remarkable works are found genuine experiments with form, as well as an unusually rich harmonic variety and an abundance of invention. While it would be rewriting history to propose that Franz Asplmayr shared the stature of Mozart and Haydn, his work remains remarkable for similar reasons. “Perhaps,” says Jordan, “our 21st-century ears are even better prepared to accept his unique gifts.”

Most recently, the Eybler Quartet released recordings of Beethoven’s Op. 18 quartets, in two volumes, for Britain’s CORO Connections label. Noted for their sometimes controversial and dazzlingly brisk tempos in certain movements, which Gramophone called “straight-up hilarious” and left one Times of London “feeling his age,” the albums were deemed “masterfully played Beethoven” (Early Music America) and absolutely essential listening” (The WholeNote).

The Eybler Quartet brings a unique combination of talents and skills: years of collective experience as chamber musicians, technical prowess, experience in period instrument performance and an ardent passion for the repertoire. Violinist Julia Wedmanand violist Patrick G. Jordan are members of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; Violinist Aisslinn Nosky is concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society. Cellist Margaret Gay, Artistic Director of the Gallery Players of Niagara, is much in demand as both a modern and period instrument player. The Eybler Quartet’s previous, critically acclaimed albums include chamber music of Vanhal, Haydn, Mozart, Backofen, and of course, the quartet’s namesake, Joseph Leopold Edler von Eybler.

www.eyblerquartet.com

On connaît le Quatuor Eybler de Toronto dans le monde entier pour ses prestations remarquables, mais aussi pour son insatiable passion : explorer en profondeur les œuvres de compositeurs méconnus de la période classique, parmi lesquels Vanhal, Backofenet Eybler. L’ensemble spécialisé en instruments anciens a aussi attiré l’attention en mettant au grand jour de nouvelles révélations sur la « trinité » des compositeurs classiques, soit Mozart, Haydn et Beethoven … ce qui leur a valu des louanges, mais aussi quelques froncements de sourcil parmi les traditionalistes ! Le quatuor Eybler est aujourd’hui de retour avec un album passionnant consacré à l’œuvre du compositeur viennois Franz Asplmayr (1728-1786); il s’agit du premier enregistrement connu de ses Six quatuors, Opus 2, dans leur entièreté (publiés sous le titre Six Quatuors Concertantes, Opus 2 en 1769). Le nouvel album, en vente aujourd’hui, est produit par l’étiquette Gallery Players.

« L’une des missions du Quatuor Eybler est de dénicher des œuvres négligées puis perdues au fil des années, condamnées à s’empoussiérer dans les bibliothèques, et de les ramener à la vie, » explique la violoniste Julia Wedman, « Notre dernière trouvaille,’Aspy’, possède un style d’écriture tout simple, mais sait plonger au cœur de la musique pour toucher son public de la façon la plus sincère. » En fait, l’altiste Patrick Jordan est tombé en 2006 sur une édition moderne de ces quatuors, produite par le musicologue américain Dennis C. Monk, dans une librairie usagée de Toronto. La partition n’a pas bougé de son étagère jusqu’à ce qu’il retrouve, il y a cinq ans, les partitions de la première édition lors d’un passage à la Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Après plusieurs années passées à étudier les partitions et à perfectionner leur interprétation, les Eybler ont enfin offert aux quatuors Opus 2 d’Asplmayr leur premier enregistrement.

Asplmayr, baptisé le 2 avril 1728 à Linz, est le fils d’un maître de danse. Il a été engagé à la cour du comte Morzin en 1759 en tant que secretariat et violoniste; c’est là qu’il aurait rencontré le jeune Joseph Haydn, Hofkomponist et Musikdirektor de la cour. Quand l’orchestre du comte est dissout à la fin de 1760 ou au début de 1761, Asplmayr s’installe à Vienne, continuant à travailler comme compositeur et violoniste jusqu’à son décès en 1786. Asplmayr a composé dans de nombreux genres; s’il a produit au moins 41 symphonies, 43 quatuors à cordes et 70 trios, il fut surtout connu de son vivant pour ses œuvres théâtrales, créant au moins 25 ballets complets (desquels 11 ont survécus) et le premier mélodrame en langue allemande.

« Tout le monde connaît Haydn et Mozart, » dit Patrick Jordan, « mais la musique de cette période recèle encore énormément de profondeur et de richesses, représentatives de l’histoire du quatuor à cordes. On cherche aussi à comprendre ce qui entoure les compositeurs qui, comme Asplmayr, étaient en quelque sorte des personnages secondaires. On se prive de bien des choses en n’apprenant à connaître qu’une poignée d’artistes. Notre travail, c’est d’élargir les horizons. » Ces œuvres remarquables sont de véritables expérimentations sur la forme, fortes d’une variété harmonique d’une richesse inhabituelle ainsi que d’une abondance dans l’invention. S’il serait excessif de dire que Franz Asplmayr partage le statut de Mozart et Haydn, son œuvre reste néanmoins remarquable pour des raisons similaires. « Peut-être que nos oreilles du 21e siècle sont encore mieux préparées à accepter ses dons uniques, » dit Jordan.

Tout récemment, le Quatuor Eybler a fait paraître des enregistrements des Quatuors de Beethoven, Opus 18, en deux volumes, pour la maison britannique CORO Connections. Ceux-ci se sont fait remarquer pour le tempo particulièrement vif et parfois controversé de certains mouvements, que Gramophone a décrit comme « proprement hilarant ». Si un journaliste du Times of London a déclaré qu’une telle vitesse lui faisait « pleinement ressentir [son] âge », les albums ont été décrits comme « une magnifique interprétation de Beethoven » (Early Music America) et « un incontournable, à découvrir absolument » (The WholeNote).

Le Quatuor Eybler propose un mélange unique de talents et d’habiletés, soit des années d’expérience en musique de chambre, de véritables prouesses techniques, une grande connaissance des instruments d’époque et une passion sans borne pour le répertoire. La violoniste Julia Wedman et l’altiste Patrick G. Jordan sont tous deux membres du Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. La violoniste Aisslinn Nosky est le violon solo de la Handel and Haydn Society. La violoncelliste Margaret Gay, Directrice Artistique de la Galerie Players of Niagara, est très en demande à la fois comme interprète sur instruments modernes et d’époque. La discographie acclamée du Eybler Quartet comprend des œuvres de chambre de Vanhal, Haydn, Mozart, Backofen et, bien entendu, Joseph Leopold Edler von Eybler, qui a donné son nom au quatuor.

Parzival & Fierefiz: A Contemporary Re-telling of the Grail Myth

Canadian violinist Emmanuel Vukovich has been fascinated by Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival story for over twenty years. This 13th-Century medieval poem about the search for the Holy Grail was the inspiration for Richard Wagner’s final opera Parsifal. Wagner, however, chose to omit a critical element in Eschenbach’s story – the encounter between Parzival and an unknown dark-skinned knight who reveals himself to be Parzival’s half-brother and whose name – Fierefiz – means ‘he of many colours.’ This “hidden” brother of a mixed race opens the grail myth to a wide range of narratives and symbolic interpretations. 

Violinist and co-composer
Emmanuel Vukovich

Inspired by Eschenbach, Vukovich began working on a new musical narrative of the grail story with award-winning American composer John McDowell who also introduced him to the music of West Africa. During his studies at The Juilliard School, Vukovich travelled to The Gambia, West Africa to study with McDowell’s teacher, Karamo Sabally.  Almost two decades later, they have now gathered an extraordinary group of collaborators – including Governor General Award-winning African Canadian-Métis poet George Elliott Clarke, Ghanaian Canadian drummer Kwasi Dunyo, the TorQ percussion quartet, and renowned Canadian baritone Philippe Sly – to explore a more complete musical narrative of Eschenbach’s tale.

“This story could not be timelier in describing the individual’s search for identity as a collaborative process” comments Vukovich. “Eschenbach’s tale is about a ‘brave soul, yet slow to wise’ who initially fails to ask a critical question – a question that has the power to heal an ancient wound. Only after the reconciliation between apparent strangers has taken place can the reunited brothers return to the Grail together and redeem the question that Parzival had failed to ask alone.”

Librettist George Elliott Clarke

“Parzival & Fierefiz” is an original composition for strings and percussion ensemble with solo voice, African drum, and violin currently being co-created by McDowell and Vukovich in collaboration with Clarke. Clarke has explored the intersection of race theory and opera composition for the past 25 years, including his ground-breaking 1998 opera Beatrice Chancy. The new libretto will “challenge the Darwin-derived, white-supremacist views that poisoned the era in which Wagner composed and which have even seeped down as ‘acceptable’ xenophobia today,” comments Clarke.

In honouring Eschenbach’s original story, Parzival & Fierefiz strives to transform the Grail narrative from the individual-centred quest of Wagner’s Parsifal into a contemporary journey of collaboration, community, and a return to wholeness. Parzival’s transformation from ignorance to understanding occurs not only through the power of the intellect, but more importantly, through an awakening to the other.

Additional musical excerpts may be heard here

Along with Ghanaian drummer Kwasi Dunyo, Canadian percussion quartet TorQ, and recently JUNO-nominated baritone Philippe Sly (who contributes both vocal narration and sung text in the medieval troubadour tradition), the musicians of this project also include a number of recipients of the prestigious Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. Through an open score and space for improvisation, a cooperative development of story, and a creative process of collaborative leadership, Parzival & Fierefiz proposes to demonstrate its vision of reconciliation and collaboration through its content as well as form.

The official world premiere performance of Parzival & Fierefiz will take place in November 2020 in Toronto, in conjunction with the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Wagner’s Parsifal and the University of Toronto’s “Opera Exchange” Conference. To date, excerpts of the work have been heard at New Music for Strings Iceland, at the Consulate General of Canada in New York City for the 100thanniversary of Canadian presence in New York City, and will be heard in Chicago in June 2020 for the 100th anniversary of Waldorf education around the world. 

Parzival & Fierefiz is a creation of The Parcival Project an international performance collaborative and Canadian charitable organization founded in 2012 by Emmanuel Vukovich and Canadian clarinetist Dominic Desautels. The Parcival Project Board Chair is Don McLean, Dean of The University of Toronto Faculty of Music. 

PARZIVAL & FIEREFIZ ~ ARTISTS

A revered poet, writer, and scholar, George Elliott Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, near the Black Loyalist and Afro-Metis community of Three Mile Plains. The inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, Clarke has also worked as a researcher, editor, social worker and newspaper columnist. Among his numerous honours are the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, the National Magazine Gold Medal for Poetry, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award.  An Officer of the Order of Canada, Clarke is the recipient of eight honorary doctorates.

Master drummer Frederick Kwasi Dunyo, from Ghana, West Africa, has directed, coached, taught, drummed, and danced extensively in a variety of contexts. In 1992, Dunyo was the recipient of a Visiting Foreign Artist grant which provided the basis for his first trip to North America. He is a member of the faculties of York University, University of Toronto, the Royal Conservatory of Music and is a member of the Society of Ethnomusicology of North America.

John McDowell achieved worldwide recognition with his soundtrack to the Academy Award winning documentary Born into Brothels. Composer of several additional film scores and a highly gifted pianist, percussionist, producer and conductor, McDowell’s work draws on classical, jazz, pop, and world music. He has served as founder, artistic director and leader of projects including the world music band Mamma Tongue, has toured and recorded with Rusted Root and Krishna Das, and has produced several albums.

The Musical Insturment Bank of the Canada Council for the Arts a collection of over 20 exceptional string instruments crafted by world renowned luthiers, including Stradivari, Gagliano and Pressenda. Preeminent Canadian classical musicians compete for the opportunity to become the steward and performer of an exceptional instrument from the Instrument Bank on a three-year loan.

French-Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly has gained international recognition for his “beautiful, blooming tone and magnetic stage presence” (San Francisco Chronicle). Mr. Sly is the first prize winner of the Concours Musical International de Montréal and a grand prize winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He has performed with the Paris Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Glyndebourne, and in concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Handel & Haydn Society, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and elsewhere. His solo recordings are available on Analekta.

Described as “outstanding – no, make that astonishing!” (Ottawa Citizen) and as having a “sense of unbreakable continuity and energy” (Toronto Star), TorQ Percussion Quartet brings a new vitality to percussion repertoire and performance. Richard Burrows, Adam Campbell, Jamie Drake and Daniel Morphy have performed throughout North America and Europe, and have appeared with the Toronto Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, among others.

Violinist Emmanuel Vukovich has appeared as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician in prestigious venues in New York City, London, UK, and in Zagreb, Croatia. A three-time recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank, the first recipient of McGill University’s Schulich School of Music Golden Violin, and grand-prize winner of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Emmanuel is founder and artistic director of The Parcival Project and artistic director of Montreal’s Bach Odyssey. Upcoming highlights include the creation and world premiere of a new violin concerto inspired by North Indian Classical Hindustani music by award-winning American composer Sheila Silver.

www.parcival.ca

Iris Trio presents Homage and Inspiration

Masterworks by Schumann and Mozart are paired with modern tributes by György Kurtág and Christof Weiss, for an exquisite and stimulating musical conversation.

Homage and Inspiration is available from Germany’s Coviello Classics label on February 7, 2020.
“A beauty of sound and striking expression that is rarely surpassed.”  – Bremen Weser Kurier

Praised for ensemble playing that is “simply fabulous, perfectly balanced, [and] admirable in its rhythmic security and virtuosity” (Amberger Zeitung), the Iris Trio pairs works by Schumann and Mozart with modern tributes to these masterpieces by György Kurtág and Christof Weiss on Homage and Inspiration, their debut album, available on Germany’s Coviello Classics label on February 7, 2020. Comprised of three outstanding musicians – clarinetist Christine Carter, violist Molly Carr, and pianist Anna Petrova – who first came together in New York City during their years at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, the Iris Trio has performed extensively across Germany, as well as in North America and elsewhere in Europe, consistently offering “a musical and lively performance, strong in technical nuance, and with an exquisite balance of sound” (Augsburger Allgemeine).

Robert Schumann was inspired to compose his spellbinding Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales), Op. 132, for clarinet, viola, and piano, by Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio for the same unusual instrumentation. One of the composer’s final works, the four character pieces range from dreamy to impetuous. In turn, Schumann’s “Fairy Tales” inspired Hungarian composer György Kurtág (b. 1926) when he coached a student chamber ensemble working on the piece. The resulting work which evokes Schumann’s contrasting moods is Kurtág’s intensely expressive Hommage a R. Sch. op. 15d, completed in 1990. 

Iris Trio is clarinetist Christine Carter, violist Molly Carr, and pianist Anna Petrova.

In a similar spirit, German composer Christof Weiss’ (b. 1986) Conversation Among Friends, commissioned by Mozartfest Würzburg and premiered by the Iris Trio, is a companion piece to Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio. “Reflecting the friendly atmosphere and conciliatory spirit of Mozart’s trio into a modern musical language was a great challenge,” comments Weiss, “The different voices change and blend into each other over and over again, until the protagonists progressively abandon their individuality in favour of the collective, as the three melodic lines merge into one and travel together to a euphoric ending.” The Trio gave the world premiere of Conversation Among Friends at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Residence Palace in Würzburg, Germany in 2014.

The Iris Trio made its debut in 2013 for a sold-out audience at the German Consulate in New York City and was immediately invited to appear at the prestigious Mozartfest in Würzburg, Germany.  Each of the three Trio members (Canadian clarinetist, Christine Carter, violist Molly Carr, and pianist Anna Petrova) are active recitalists and educators. Collectively they hold faculty positions at the Juilliard School, University of Louisville, and Memorial University, and have performed around the world on many of the major concert stages from Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Sydney Opera House. 

Combining works from the standard trio repertoire alongside commissions by contemporary artists is a concept that Iris Trio continues to explore. Their recent commissions include two new works for the clarinet, viola, and piano by Canadian jazz artist Florian Hoefner (with poetry by Griffin Poetry Prize-winner Don McKay), and the Brooklyn-based American composer, Randall Woolf. “The concept of paying homage, in addition to bringing together these two pairs of works, is also the inspiration that brought us together to create the Iris Trio,” commented the three musicians, “It is a concept that continues to inspire us, asking us to remember the past, while enlivening and refreshing the present.”

iristrio.com

Sarah Slean & Symphony Nova Scotia

“New, creative music that transcends any stylistic boundaries.” – CBC

Available January 24 on Centrediscs

Eight years in the making, Canadian songstress Sarah Slean’s electrifying performances with composer Christos Hatzis and Symphony Nova Scotia are now available for the first time on one album from Centrediscs. This ground-breaking collaboration began in 2012 with the premiere of Hatzis’ Lamento, broadcast nationwide by CBC and praised as “marvellously colourful and dramatic” (Chronicle Herald, Halifax). Six years later, Symphony Nova Scotia and conductor Bernhard Gueller – then celebrating his final season as Music Director – jumped at the chance to work with Sarah Slean again. The new work, with texts by Slean and music by Hatzis was Ecstasy, a counterpoint to Lamento. Audience reviews called the project “magical” and “a match made in heaven.”

“Christos Hatzis is one of the most brilliant and prolific musical creators alive today,” comments Slean, “I deeply admire his creative curiosity and openness to different kinds of music, his seemingly endless well of ideas, and the passionate intelligence that informs his work.” The evocative songs combine a pop sensibility with a rich orchestral palette. As CBC Music said, in advance of the 2020 release, “If you’re looking for music that successfully crosses over between classical and popular styles, this is it.” 

Hatzis’s three-song cycle Lamento is a musical meditation on the loss of loved ones, mental illness, and suicide. It is based on the well-known aria “When I Am Laid in Earth” from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Hatzis explains that, musically, it is an exploration of the “lamento bass,” a stepwise descending bass line used by composers of the Baroque era to express despondency. Slean herself wrote the texts for Hatzis’s Ecstasy, the dramatic musical antidote to Lamento. This cycle of three songs explores the more luminous regions of the human mind in both its intellectual and mystical expressions. Slean describes angels “in whose clear and shining blood teems the transparent heritage of light,” calling for an accompanying musical language which captures the blissful journey from darkness to light.

Sarah Slean performs with orchestras in London, Ottawa, and Quebec City this spring. For tour dates click here

Signed to Atlantic/Warner Records at the age of 19, Sarah Slean has since been nominated for three JUNO Awards and has released 11 albums in over 10 countries worldwide. Over her 25-year career, Sarah has toured internationally, published two volumes of poetry, starred in short films and a movie musical (spawning one of two Gemini Award nominations), composed chamber music commissions, held numerous exhibitions of her paintings, and shared the stage with 10 of the country’s professional orchestras. Classically trained from the age of five, she routinely collaborates with cutting-edge contemporary classical ensembles and has been invited to sing world premieres by Canada’s leading living composers.

Born in Greece, educated in the United States, a Canadian citizen since 1985, and a Professor at the University of Toronto since 1995, Christos Hatzis is one of Canada’s most important composers. Christos’ eclectic and powerful music captivates audiences internationally, and has been awarded several coveted Canadian and international awards, including two JUNO Awards. He has received commissions from some of the world’s best-known soloists and ensembles, such as violinist Hilary Hahn, percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, the Gryphon Trio, the New Orford and St. Lawrence quartets, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Music Director Laureate of Symphony Nova Scotia (Music Director, 2002-2018) and Principal Guest Conductor of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernhard Gueller is acclaimed for the interpretations and excitement he brings to the podium. Bernhard has collaborated with many of Canada’s foremost musicians, such as James Ehnes, Jan Lisiecki, Janina Fialkowska, Anton Kuerti, Jon Kimura Parker, and Marc-André Hamelin, along with other international stars such as Joshua Bell, Metropolitan Opera singers such as Pretty Yende and Johan Botha, and the Vienna Boys Choir.

Symphony Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s most versatile and dynamic orchestras. Founded in 1983, the 37-member orchestra proudly performs music that reflects Nova Scotia’s diverse musical interests and history, combining classical masterworks, historically informed baroque, new compositions, and ground breaking collaborations featuring artists from Nova Scotia’s rich pop, indie, and Celtic music scene. With a home base in Halifax and performances across the province, Symphony Nova Scotia reaches more than 80,000 Nova Scotians of all ages each year with its diverse mix of concerts, free community programs, and educational outreach.

symphonynovascotia.ca         musiccentre.ca/centrediscs

Ensemble Made in Canada’s Mosaïque Project ~ 14 New Works Celebrate the Beauty & Diversity of Canada

Piano quartet Ensemble Made In Canada’s acclaimed Mosaïque Project is a massive musical initiative inspired by the diversity and richness of Canada’s culture and geography. Since its premiere in July of 2018, the commissioned suite of new works by 14 Canadian composers has reached almost every corner of the country – from Iqaluit, Nunavut to British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast to Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, and beyond. Featuring thrilling new works from a diverse array of composers and genres – from classical, jazz, singer-songwriter, electronic, and First Nations traditions – the Mosaïque Project culminates in a special livestream event and album launch on Friday, January 24 at 7:30 pm.

Violinist Elissa Lee, pianist Angela Park, violist Sharon Wei, and cellist Rachel Mercer gained new perspectives throughout their travels, seeing first-hand the truly awesome nature and culture of the country, which had inspired the Mosaïque composers: “We never imagined the transformation we would experience, working so closely with local artists, teachers and music lovers across Canada. Now that this music is part of the fabric of our ensemble, we are so excited to share this recording and journey of discovery with you.”

Learn about the Mosaïque composers and their works: https://www.ensemblemadeincanada.com/mosaique-project/artists-2/

On Friday, January 24 at 7:30 pm, the Mosaïque Project will be presented in an extraordinary cinematic  concert experience from FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, featuring multiple screens providing close-ups of the musicians and their instruments, footage from the tour across the country, as well as newly-created images inspired by the music. The concert will be live streamed on Ensemble Made In Canada’s website and Facebook page as well as via the streaming service Stingray Classica, reaching millions across Canada and 156 countries around the globe. 

The Mosaïque album is available online and on all streaming platforms starting January 24. 

Order on iTunes here; CDs may be purchased at www.ensemblemadeincanada.com

Vivaldi: Manchester Sonatas

Violinist Mark Fewer and Harpsichordist Hank Knox Are First Canadian Artists to Record Exquisite Sonatas, Unearthed from a Manchester, UK Library in 1973

“I’d be glad to hear these gentlemen play anything … they make me want to hear whatever else they want to do. The ensemble and intonation are perfect …” – American Record Guide

Leaf Music is proud to present a new recording of Vivaldi’s Manchester Sonatas featuring violinist Mark Fewer and harpsichordist Hank Knox. This is the first Canadian recording of the “Manchester” sonatas of Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741), a masterful collection of 12 works brought to light only in 1973. A follow up to their acclaimed 2018 recording of the Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord by J.S. Bach, this new recording from Fewer and Knox is available as of January 17, 2020.

These remarkable sonatas changed a great many hands over the centuries. When Cardinal Ottoboni – a patron of Vivaldi’s – died in 1740, a large number of manuscripts from his private collection were purchased by English classical scholar Edward Holdsworth. These manuscripts were then passed on to Charles Jennens, librettist of Handel’s Messiah. The scores came into the possession of several more collectors before coming to auction at Sotheby’s in London in 1918 and were acquired by renowned musicologist Newman Flower. When Flower died in 1964, his musical holdings were purchased by the Manchester Public Library, attracting the international attention of scholars and the media alike; Flower’s reputation as an eminent Handel scholar implied that important revelations concerning the musical giant were forthcoming. However, a nearly exclusive focus on Handel resulted in the neglect of some of the other manuscripts, including these sonatas by Vivaldi which, despite being housed in Manchester’s Henry Watson Music Library from 1965 onward, were only discovered by British musicologist Michael Talbot in 1973.

The 12 “Manchester” sonatas, heard on the new album as arranged and recorded by Fewer and Knox in January 2019 at Eglise St. Augustin in Mirabel, Quebec, represent a high point of Vivaldi’s chamber music. The violin part offers complex compound melodies while the bass focuses primarily on its harmonic role, with both instruments free to improvise on the written score. Gramophone calls the sonatas “music of great beauty and vitality which will delight most if not all lovers of the late baroque.”

Known for his exceptional versatility, violinist Mark Fewer has been described as “intrepid” (The Globe and Mail) and “profound” (The WholeNote). His musical diet includes performances from the early baroque to the avant-garde, performing worldwide in famous halls such as Wigmore, Carnegie, and Pleyel, to smaller venues such as Le Poisson Rouge (NY), Bartok House (Budapest), and The Forum (Taipei). As a soloist, he has performed with the symphonies of Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Quebec, San Francisco and Melbourne, as well as with groups such as the Fodens-Richardson Brass Band (UK), the Zapp Quartet (Amsterdam), and as a featured guest with Stevie Wonder and his band. He was a founding member of the Duke Piano Trio, has been a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players for over 15 years, and was violinist with the St. Lawrence String Quartet at Stanford University. Artistic Director of the SweetWater Music Festival for 16 years, Fewer was appointed Artistic Director of Stratford Summer Music in 2019. A Juno and Prix Opus winner, he is currently Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Toronto.

Hailed internationally for his “colorful, kinetic performances,” Hank Knox performs on harpsichord in concert halls, churches, museums, galleries and homes around the globe. A founding member of Montreal’s Arion Baroque Orchestra, with whom he has toured North and South America, Europe, and Japan, Knox also regularly performs and tours with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy and l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, among other groups, ensembles and orchestras.  He has released a number of acclaimed recordings on rare antique instruments as well as copies of historical instruments. He teaches in the Early Music program at McGill University where he conducts the McGill Baroque Orchestra and has also directed a great number of baroque operas.

leaf-music.ca

Stick&Bow present Resonance ~ music from Bach to Radiohead for marimba and cello

Marimba and cello form a vibrant and compelling – if unconventional – duo in the hands of Stick&Bow, comprised of Canadian marimba player Krystina Marcoux and Argentinian cellist Juan Sebastian DelgadoResonance, the debut recording from the Montreal-based award-winning musicians, explores a wide palette of repertoire and styles, transcending tradition with new arrangements of music from Bach to Boccherini, and from Nina Simone to Radiohead. Performing Baroque or tango, rock or gypsy-jazz, Stick&Bow brings unique passion, wit, and technical mastery to eclectic and powerful arrangements of some of the most celebrated music in history, presenting the infinite potential of their combined instruments in refreshing and unexpected ways. Resonance was released on the Canadian label Leaf Music on November 1st, 2019.

The new album – with its bilingual liner notes, in true montréalais style – opens with a captivating mélange of works by J.S. Bach, with a transcription of the Adagio from the Sonata for viola da gamba in D Major swinging into the Prelude in D Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier. Also taking inspiration from Bach is American singer-songwriter Nina Simone, who adopts the composer’s contrapuntal style for the 1928 tune Love Me or Leave Me, here in an irresistible new arrangement. The album features not one but two fandangos, with Boccherini’s take on the traditional Spanish folk dance from his Quintet No. 4, and Paco de Lucia’s Entre Arrayanes, in one of Stick&Bow’s most technically challenging and creative arrangements, capturing the colour and essence of flamenco guitars.

A range of characters and moods emerge in three settings for marimba and cello of Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances, while the gypsy-jazz style of Stéphane Grappelli explodes in Tzigane, with idiomatic embellishments and virtuosic cadence-like runs. The revolutionary Argentine composer and virtuoso bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla is represented with his lyrical and nostalgic Invierno porteño, winter in Buenos Aires.

More illuminating performances from the classical repertoire include two movements from Schumann’s Fünf Stücke im Volkstonand the second movement of Shostakovitch’s cello sonata. The complex harmonies and instrumental textures of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android is a surprisingly convincing element of the album, with marimba and cello exploring a range of timbres, including electric guitar sounds.

Also dedicated to working closely with contemporary composers on daring yet accessible works, Stick&Bowincludes two new works on ResonanceJason Noble’s (b. 1980) Folk Suite, a set of miniatures inspired by the rich folk traditions of his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and Parisian composer and bandoneon player Louise Jallu’s (b. 1994) À Gennevilliers, injected with fresh, jazzy harmonies and a freely improvised rhythmic section.

First-prize winner at the Latin-American cello competition (2008), Juan Sebastian Delgado holds a Doctoral degree in cello performance from McGill University and Krystina Marcoux, first-prize winner of the OSM competition (2012), holds her PhD from the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Lyon. Their music has brought them to share magical moments from Banff to Colombia, passing by Armenia, Italy, the USA, Ecuador, France and two extensive Canadian tours in 2019 & 2020 as “Emerging Artists” of Jeunesses Musicales du Canada.

Marimba et violoncelle forment un duo dynamique et fascinant entre les mains des deux musiciens de Stick&Bow, groupe composé de la percussionniste canadienne Krystina Marcoux et du violoncelliste argentin Juan Sebastian Delgado. Le disque Resonance, premier album de ces musiciens primés basés à Montréal, explore toute une palette de styles musicaux, tout en transcendant la tradition avec de nouveaux arrangements de morceaux allant de Bach à Boccherini et de Nina Simone à Radiohead. Qu’il joue de la musique baroque ou un tango, du rock ou du jazz-manouche, le duo Stick&Bow le fait toujours avec passion, finesse et maîtrise technique, en proposant des arrangements éclectiques et surprenants de certaines œuvres musicales les plus célébrées de l’histoire de la musique. La combinaison de ces deux instruments offre un potentiel infini de découvertes et d’interprétations musicales, sous un angle original et inattendu. L’album Resonance sortira chez Leaf Music le 1er novembre 2019.

Dans un style montréalais bien authentique, ce nouvel album présente un livret bilingue audacieux. C’est une combinaison captivante d’œuvres de J.S. Bach qui ouvre le bal : une transcription de l’adagio de la sonate en ré majeur pour viole de gambe, suivie d’une interprétation swing du prélude en ré majeur du Clavier bien tempéréNina Simone, chanteuse sensuelle et pianiste hors-pair, entre ici en résonance avec Bach dans un arrangement irrésistible où Stick&Bow revisite le morceau « Love Me or Leave Me » dans lequel Simone insère ingénieusement une invention de Bach au centre de la pièce. L’album comprend non pas un, mais deux fandangos : une adaptation de cette danse espagnole traditionnelle dans le quintette no 4 de Boccherini et le morceau « Entre Arrayanes » de Paco de Lucia, un arrangement qui figure parmi les plus originaux et exigeants pour arriver à bien saisir l’essence même de la guitare flamenco.

La combinaison de marimba et violoncelle fait émerger des humeurs et des couleurs surprenantes dans les danses folkloriques roumaines de Bartók, alors que le jazz-manouche de Stéphane Grappelli, s’enflamme avec des ornementations qui sont propres à ce morceau « tzigane ». Le compositeur révolutionnaire argentin Astor Piazzolla est ici présenté dans un arrangement empreint de lyrisme, nostalgie, mais aussi de force rythmique dans « Invierno porteño » évoquant l’hiver à Buenos Aires.

L’album renferme encore d’autres interprétations lumineuses de morceaux du répertoire classique, dont deux mouvements des Fünf Stücke im Volkston de Schumann et le deuxième mouvement de la sonate pour violoncelle de Shostakovitch. Les harmonies complexes et les textures instrumentales de « Paranoid Android » de Radiohead constituent un aspect étonnamment convaincant de l’album, avec le marimba et le violoncelle qui explorent tout un éventail de timbres, jusqu’au son de la guitare électrique.

Stick&Bow cherche aussi à travailler en étroite collaboration avec des compositeurs vivants, sur des œuvres audacieuses et accessibles. L’album Resonance contient deux créations : « Folk Suite » de Jason Noble (né en 1980), un ensemble de miniatures inspirées par les riches traditions folkloriques de sa province natale, Terre-Neuve ; « À Gennevilliers », de la compositrice et bandonéoniste parisienne Louise Jallu (née en 1994), traversée par des harmonies jazz rafraîchissantes et une section rythmique improvisée. Les deux œuvres entrent respectivement en résonance avec Schumann et Piazzolla, démontrant ainsi la surprenante évolution des genres. 

Juan Sebastian Delgado, gagnant du premier prix au concours latino-américain de violoncelle (2008), détient un doctorat de l’Université McGill. Krystina Marcoux, gagnante du premier prix au concours de l’OSM (2012), détient un PhD du Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Lyon. La musique a conduit ces deux artistes à partager des moments inoubliables dans toutes sortes de lieux, de Banff à la Colombie, en passant par l’Arménie, l’Italie, les États-Unis, l’Équateur, la France, et lors de leurs deux tournées au Canada en 2019 et en 2020 en tant qu’« artistes émergents » des Jeunesses musicales du Canada.

leaf-music.ca    stickandbow.com

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des Arts du Canada de son soutien.