To begin with, the issue’s ever so clever, if somewhat opaque, main headline was a reference to the impact that the preceding June 1995 Ontario provincial elections was already having on the music community. Remember that election? No? Well does the phrase “common sense revolution” help ring a bell? Thought it might. One of the newly elected Tory Harris government’s biggest casualties had been the Ontario Arts Council. It had its budget slashed 28.6%, had to lay off close to half its staff (41 people), and slash grants all over the place. So our “don’t just burn while Rome (i.e. the Harris govt) fiddles” headline was directed to our readers, exhorting them to write fuming letters to their MPPs, but, while waiting for a reply, to “pick one new event or ensemble you didn’t know, from the 200 listed here, and add it to your regular diet.”
Come to think of it, that’s not a bad New Year’s resolution any time.
Handel, Disney and the RCMP
But wait! For nostalgia buffs, Vol 1 #4 has more! How about this formula? RCMP + Disney=Trouble. I can’t remember too many “cultural” stories that pushed more angry buttons than when the Feds, also in mid-1995, awarded Disney a five year exclusive licence on the marketing of images of that most quintessentially Canadian of all icons – the red coated Mountie. By December the roiling and boiling was still going on, so we chipped in. Under the heading Handel’s turn we opined:
“Want to persuade Walt Disney Co. to relinquish marketing rights to the RCMP (and throw in Pluto and Goofy to sweeten the pot)? The only card you’d need would be the rights to Handel’s Messiah (for ever and ever and ever ...). ... This season alone you can hit the Hallelujah Trail no fewer than 9 times.”
Nine sure sounded like a lot back then! How many performances of Messiah are there this year? Even after a good little flurry of them in late November, there are still close to thirty left. You can find a handy list of them, titled “The Trumpet Shall Sound” in The WholeNote blog.
A promise kept
For those of you who caught the previous installment of this little series, the fact that at the top of the cover page it says “Comprehensive Concert Listings” rather than “Complete Concert Listings” may draw a bit of a smile. The “Complete” boast, as pointed out last time, was both brash and rash. But, undeterred, in Vol 1 #4 we were back to the business of making promises. Under the heading “Pulse’s Pledge – Getting the Word Out” we offered the following:
Pulse’s philosophy is to print as many copies as we can distribute effectively! We’re up to 8000 this time, but we’re willing to go a lot higher. So how about it? If you know a place that we should leave Pulse or can put out copies yourself, let us know.”
Who’da thunk it?!
Far and away the greatest pleasure I’m getting flipping though old issues like this is looking at the ads and concert listings from fifteen years ago side by side with those in the current issue, finding reverbs and resonances. A pleasurable frisson, you might say.
An example: fifteen years ago the Music Gallery, then at 179 Richmond, ran an ad for a two week event, titled “80 Flowers” based on the “last completed work of American poet Louis Zukofsky.” Who’da thunk that 13 years later in 2008 composer Elliott Carter, still active in his hundredth year, would compose a work (for soprano and clarinet) based on the same source. Or that, in his 103rd year, Carter would be contemplating another visit to Toronto December 10 for a New Music Concerts concert featuring this 2008 “Poems of Louis Zukofsky” along with even more recent work.
And who’da thunk where one of the “Stars of Tomorrow” at a Jan 14 1996 Mooredale concert, Isabel Bayrakdarian, would be today?
Whatsisname, in his new book, watchamacallit, says that as the short term memory goes out with the tide, the flotsam of memory is left in plain view. Indeed.
Next time: Volume 1 #5: farewell to the forward fold.