The 21C Afterhours concert in Temerty Theatre last night featured a candle lit performance by a varied ensemble of conservatory students conducted by Brian Current. Brian did a great job of introducing the music; contextualizing it and suggesting what the audience might listen for. That could maybe be done more often with complex contemporary music.
The first piece was Bekah Simms’ Foreverdark. It’s a ten minute concertino for amplified cello, ensemble and electronics playing homage to heavy metal. It’s scored for a quite a large group including strings, brass, woodwinds and lots of percussion including a drum kit. It starts out very abrasively then becomes somewhat more lyrical and the then the texture lightens up but it’s still pretty complex. David Liam Roberts was the soloist and did an excellent job.
The line up for this year’s (and a bit of next’s) 21C at the Royal Conservatory has been announced. The full line up is here.
I’m particularly interested in the Kronos Quartet concerts on December 8th and 9th; especially the latter which features “Music for Change” including a world premiere of a piece by Tanya Tagaq.
I’ll also want to see three of the concerts in the new year. On January 21st at 5pm there’s a Cinq à Sept concert in Temerty Hall which, among other things, features a new song cycle by Lembit Beecher and Lisa Balkan. The following day at 3pm in Koerner Hall there’s a concert of new works by Ian Cusson and Stewart Goodyear. Finally, on January 28th at 10pm in Temerty Hall Brian Current and the GGS New Music Ensemble have a candlelit concert of night related works including music by Bekkah Simms and R. Murray Schafer.
No opera says Glyndebourne like Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. It opened the first season in 1934 and inaugurated the new theatre in 1994. Michael Grandage’s production which opened in 2012 was, I think, Glyndebourne’s fifth. In any event it’s a fairly traditional affair though with the setting updated to the 1960s (though still set in a palace in Seville and I’ve got a nagging feeling that late Franco era Spain didn’t have much in common with the Haight and Carnaby Street but there you go). The updated setting does allow for some visual gags with ridiculous 1960s dance moves but otherwise it could pretty much be anywhere, anytime. There’s no concept and Grandage’s focus is on the interactions between the characters and the way they can be expressed in a relatively intimate house.
Soundstreams have just announced their 2016/17 season. There’s quite a lot there for those with an experimental taste in vocal music as well as a bunch of instrumental stuff. Probably the biggest deal is a staging of “musical curiosities” from R. Murray Schafer’s Patria cycle. Odditoriumwill feature selections from The Greatest Show, Ra, and others, immersing audiences in a circus-like atmosphere, complete with host carnival barker. This one is directed by Chris Abramson and runs March 2nd to 5th, 2017 at Crow’s Theatre, a new 215 seat venue on Carlaw. Time for my annual fix of Shafer nuttiness!
I suppose it’s appropriate that R Murray Shafer’s Apocalypsis should be in part based on the Revelations of St. John. Is Revelations divinely inspired genius or the drug addled ravings of a half starved monk? I find myself asking similar questions about Shafer’s massive stage piece.
R. Murray Shafer’s 1980 “musical pageant”, Apocalypsis, is being restaged this year by Luminato. It’s currently in rehearsal and yestrday I got to see part of a staging rehearsal. It’s an unusual work requiring massive forces (500-1000 performers depending who you read) and combines spoken word, dance, singing and other things I’m not sure I have the vocabulary for. Oh, and yes, it depicts the end of the world! It’s big, loud, exciting and a bit mad. Part ego trip, part acid trip perhaps?
Here are a couple more upcoming events that readers may be interested in. The Royal Conservatory has a festival of contemporary music from April 21st to May 25th. There are eight concerts in a variety of genres. The most interesting to me is on May 22nd when there is a concert to celebrate R. Murray Schafer’s 80th birthday. The concert will feature four pieces; Quintet for Piano and Strings Shafer himself, played by the ARC Ensemble; a world premiere of The Questioning by Canadian composer Christos Hatzis, written for and played by the Afiara String Quartet, Faster Still, a work by the by Canadian composer Brian Current played by the ARC Ensemble; and the Canadian premiere of Dutch composer Louis Andriessen’s Anaïs Nin, a semi-staged work for chamber ensemble, video, and mezzo-soprano, based on the diary entries of Anaïs Nin. Singing the role of Anaïs Nin will be a favourite of mine, Wallis Giunta most recently seen in the COC’s Così fan tutte. More details and tickets available here.
On May 1st at 1pm 96.3 FM are broadcasting Sondra Radvanovsky in recital live from the Zoomerplex. You can catch it on the radio or at www.classical963fm.com. There’s also a draw for free tickets for the recital and the reception before. I believe to enter you need to email name, phone number and email address to email@example.com.