The simultaneous projection of orchestral concerts on big screens is gradually creeping into the classical music world.
The idea hasn’t caught on with the wildfire appeal of opera titles, which stormed the world following their introduction by the Canadian Opera Company in 1983. Part of the problem is that big-screen projections are more expensive and elaborate to produce than surtitles. But there’s also a strong aesthetic resistance to the idea.
Although founded only three years ago by oboist Christopher Palameta, the Montreal-based ensemble Notturna is quickly making its mark on the early music scene. Just recently, their first recording in a series of five compact discs of the complete (27) "quadro sonatas" of Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708-1763) was released on the ATMA Classique label. These progressive sonatas are sometimes referred to as "continuo quartets" because of the 4-voice style in which they are written, like a string quartet.
About a month ago, when I first perused the brochure for Toronto Summer Music, it suddenly struck me that this is quite an unusual festival. In it, I found an array of prominent pianists, string quartets, and other ensembles – all playing classical music. What's up with that? Where are the Dixieland bands, the Celtic harpers and the guitar-wielding singer-songwriters that a summer festival is "supposed" to have? (To read what artistic director Agnes Grossmann has to say about her approach to programming, see my interview with her in the July-August issue of The WholeNote.)
I'd like to say "brava" to Grossmann's programming. I’m pleased that in the year 2009 there’s at least one festival out there that isn’t ashamed to be just classical.
Melody Gardot completely captivated the audience Monday night with her one-and-a-half-hour set as part of the Jazz by the Lake series in the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival. Every now and then a performer comes along who has a quality that goes beyond their singing and playing ability to make an extraordinary stage presence. They say Judy Garland and Edith Piaf had that kind of quality, and Gardot has joined those ranks.
Growing up, I didn't have much musical influence on my life. My father didn't listen to music when he drove. My mother did, but she almost never drove anywhere. Never was music playing in my home, either – so I was forced into finding my musical tastes through my peers.
I started with Weird Al Yankovic as many 10-year-old boys do. Then in my teens I favoured the grunge rock, and bad rap of the early 90s, which I carried with me until I found classic rock: Pink Floyd to be exact. Now, I know you are asking yourself "Pink Floyd in The WholeNote? What is going on here?" Don't worry, I do have a point to all this.
The 21st Annual Beaches International Jazz Festival held a press conference today to announce their line-up of events for July 17–26. The street festival and mainstage concerts in Kew Gardens are their usual robust selves with an eclectic roster of mostly local talent such as Rich Brown with his fusion group Rinse the Algorithm, blues belter Shakura S’aida, and the added international draw of Southern Rocker Jimmy Hall and Barbadian R&B singer Hal Linton.