Transcendent is a CD from the Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI). It features works by six American and Asian composers performed by Davóne Tines, Matthew Aucoin and members of the AANMI Ensemble in various combinations.
The first set is two settings of Walt Whitman by Matthew Aucoin for baritone and piano (. The poems are The Sleepers and A clear Midnight. They alternate a sparsely accompanied lyrical vocal line, beautifully sung by Tines, with much denser passages for the piano, played here by the composer. It’s interesting music and supports the text well.
Back to the Royal Conservatory yesterday for the first time since the plague struck. Ironically the programme, which had originally featured the Dover Quartet with Davóne Tines, had to be rearranged at less than 24 hours notice due to one of the Dovers testing positive for COVID. What we got instead was two mini concerts. In the first half the New Orford Quartet performed works by Caroline Shaw and Mendelssohn and in the second Davóne Tines, with Rachael Kerr, performed excerpts from his Recital No. 1: MASS. Continue reading
Only the Sound Remains is a chamber opera by Kaija Sariaho based on two Noh plays translated by Ernest Fenellosa and Ezra Pound. The piece was premiered in Amsterdam in 2016 by Dutch National Opera, where it was recorded. It’s a co-pro with Teatro Real, Finnish National Opera and the COC so Toronto audiences will likely get a look at it eventually. Which is good because it’s really hard to figure out much of it from the video recording. As he so often does, peter Sellars directs for both stage and camera and while I like his stage work here I find his video direction quite annoying, especially in the first piece.