My early pleasure at our playfully shiny December/January cover was, sad to say, more than slightly diluted by receiving a gentle note from Against the Grain artistic director Joel Ivany shortly after we sent him a link to the online flip-through edition of the magazine inquiring as to whether we might be able to change the title on the cover “because the people in the photo were in fact Meher Pavri and Joshua Wales, not, as we had stated, Miriam Khalil and Stephen Hegedus.”
To clarify: Meher, Joshua, Stephen and Miriam were all four involved in the Against the Grain production of the Messiah to which the cover, admittedly obliquely, referred. But unless they were all switched at birth (in which case we missed a GREAT story), Joshua Wales is NOT Stephen Hegedus; and Meher Pavri is NOT Miriam Khalil.
To clarify even further: Hegedus and Khalil were two of the the four soloists (bass-baritone and soprano, respectively) in the rollicking AtG Messiah which once again sold out its Harbourfront run; Wales and Pavri (tenor and soprano, respectively) were members of the chorus in the same show. (All are rising presences on our increasingly adventurous home-grown opera scene.)
One might be tempted to theorize that, given the number of projectiles flying around in the cover photo, the soloists demanded stunt doubles for the shoot, and that the nostrils of tenors are less susceptible to injury from flying french fries than those of bass-baritones!
But a simple apology to all concerned is probably the wiser course, and will leave me some room to talk about this issue’s cover! So, sorry again, Joshua, Meher, Stephen and Miriam – and on we go!
This issue’s cover: It would be interesting to count the references to the subject of this issue’s cover photograph, violist Teng Li.
MJ Buell takes up Li’s story on page 8 (and continues it in Music’s Children on page 49.) But I also counted passing references in at least three other places in the issue (four if you include this one!). First of these references, as a matter of fact, is in the other story commencing on page 8, Paul Ennis’ in-depth interview with Art of Time artistic director Andrew Burashko, in whose series Li will appear, for the first time this coming April. (Burashko is also referenced on this month’s cover.)
Our third cover reference is to “Legacies”: those of two musical masters, both of whom died early in this new year – both remembered in this issue. Modern jazz piano master Paul Bley is celebrated by columnist Ken Waxman on page 68. Waxman’s own regular CD column in the issue is in many ways testimony to Bley’s influence. David Jaeger weaves his encomium to Boulez into his ongoing memoir of the golden years of CBC Radio that now occupies the inside back pages of the magazine (this month on page 70).
And a roundabout elegy to a third “B” also finds its way into our pages – perhaps for the first time. David Olds, in his Editor’s Corner on page 50, finds himself engaging with David Bowie’s death.
Tributes to, and gatherings for, Boulez and Bley are coming together, slowly. Bowie’s passing generated a firestorm. A Choir! Choir! Choir! singalong/gathering at the AGO drew over 500 people within 25 minutes of being announced – an astounding range of people – all ages shapes and sizes – the all-ages children of Faceborough seeking out live music to mourn life lost. Now there’s a message of hope.