I’d like to begin this month by welcoming two new reviewers to the WholeNote family. Singer/songwriter Bill MacLean is no stranger to reviewing in his capacity as Entertainment Editor with the Beach Metro News, and you can read his take on Adi Braun’s maiden voyage into singer/songwriter territory in our Pot Pourri section. Sharna Searle is a pianist with a Music History degree whose subsequent Law studies and call to the bar in both British Columbia and Ontario has left her hankering for an artistic outlet. You will find her impressions of Ian Parker’s (yes, of that Parker family) ATMA recording debut in concertos of Ravel, Gershwin and Stravinsky with the London Symphony Orchestra in Early, Classical and Beyond.

fialkowska_chopin_concertosMy own choice recording this month is another disc of piano concertos on the ATMA label, featuring Janina Fialkowska. Last month’s review of Fialkowska’s “Chopin – Études, Sonatas and Impromptus” erroneously stated that these were new recordings postdating her recovery from the cancer which affected her left arm (not the right arm as stated). In fact that 2-CD set was a 2010 repackaging in honour of Chopin’s bicentennial of recordings made in 1997 and 1999 before she was afflicted with the devastating illness. Fialkowska’s outstanding Chopin performances with Tafelmusik last month are testament to the fact that she has indeed overcome her cancer and that her exceptional abilities remain intact, as is the recording of both Chopin Piano Concertos with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Bramwell Tovey (ACD2 2643). Recorded live in the Orpheum Theatre in March 2010, there is an energy and élan to these performances which literally jumps out of the speakers. The warmth and depth of sound capture the music in all its grace and grandeur and none of the nuance is lost. Fialkowska and Tovey are both in their element here and together they bring out the best in the members of Canada’s third largest orchestra, much to the delight of the enthusiastic audience. In fact they are so enraptured of the performance that even listening on my full frequency range headphones I was not aware of their presence until they burst into applause. With this latest release ATMA is proving itself a truly trans-Canadian label and with the sheer number and diversity of recent releases, as reflected in the following pages, confirming itself as a label of international importance.

There are a number of other discs I would have liked to tell you about this month, but they will have to wait until December. After lamenting the demise of the record store as we know it with some colleagues I was taken to task by reviewer Janos Gardonyi who chastised me for not embracing the brave new world of the internet and the wealth of retail possibilities to be found there. I subsequently invited him to write the following guest editorial, a layman’s guide to shopping on the World Wide Web.

We welcome your feedback and invite submissions. CDs and comments should be sent to: The WholeNote, 503 – 720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4. We also encourage you to visit our website, www.thewholenote.com, where you can find added features including direct links to performers, composers and record labels, “buy buttons” for on-line shopping and additional, expanded and archival reviews.


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Author: David Olds
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