The SPOGreatMusic P erformance Series: S41E07
Release Date: January 15, 2021
On this seventh episode of our SPOGreatMusic Performance Series (Season 41, 2020/2021), we’re pleased to present the following videos:
Maurice Ravel’s “Ondine” from “Gaspard de la Nuit”
“Gaspard de la Nuit” (subtitled Trois poèmes pour piano d’après Aloysius Bertrand), M. 55 is a suite of piano pieces written in 1908. It has three movements, each based on a poem or fantaisie from the collection “Gaspard de la Nuit – Fantaisies à la manière de Rembrandt et de Callot” completed in 1836 by Aloysius Bertrand. The work was premiered in Paris, on January 9, 1909, by Ricardo Viñes.
The piece is famous for its difficulty, partly because Ravel intended the Scarbo movement to be more difficult than Balakirev’s Islamey. Because of its technical challenges and profound musical structure, Scarbo is considered one of the most difficult solo piano pieces in the standard repertoire. Mr. Panizza performs this challenging work with the fluidity of water, which he incorporated in this video, which he also made. Alexander has performed around the world and has a most wonderful touch, artistry, and interpretation in each performance. His smoothness and ease on the keys is most impressive.
Dvořák’s Serenade for Wind Instruments, Cello and Double Bass in D minor, Op. 44 – Movement 1
Performed by the Winds of the SPO. “Serenade for Wind Instruments, Cello and Double Bass in D minor” (Czech: “Serenáda pro dechové nástroje d moll”), Op. 44, B. 77, is a chamber composition dedicated to the music critic and composer, Louis Ehlert, who praised the Slavonic Dances highly in the German press. It was created in 1878, shortly after the premiere of the opera, “The Cunning Peasant” and is one of fifteen compositions he submitted for the Austrian State Stipendium Award. The work was first heard on November 17, 1878, at a concert exclusively dedicated to Dvořák’s works, with the orchestra of the Prague Provisional Theatre (Czech: Prozatímní). The composition was performed under the composer’s baton. The Serenade evokes the old-world atmosphere of musical performances on the castles of the Rococo period, where the worlds of the aristocracy and the common folk merged. It is composed in a ‘Slavonic’ style (shortly before the Slavonic Dances), though not quoting folksong directly; and the middle part of the second movement contains rhythms reminiscent of the furiant dance. This fantastic performance was recorded by John S. Gray at St. Dunstan of Canterbury Anglican Church in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.
Oboe: Gillian Howard, Elizabeth Brown | Clarinet: Kaye Royer, Joshua Zung | Bassoon: Larkin Hinder, Patrick Headley | Contra Bassoon: Graham Martin | Horn: Andrew MacDonald, Elizabeth Fava, Beth Curley | Cello: Samuel Bisson | Double Bass: Conor Crone
Video created by: Devin Scott
“Pistol Shrimp” – Animated Short Film
A shrimp bank robber is public anenome #1 and comes face to face with the law. Who will win? Find out and have a whale of a time in the discovery. Created by a graduate of the Sheridan College Animation program and featuring newly composed music. For more information on the Sheridan College Animation program, visit https://academics.sheridancollege.ca/.
“Ontario Sketches: Land of The Silver Birch” Scrolling Score
Arranged by Bruno Degazio. The main musical theme of “Land of the Silver Birch” is of course the well-known campfire song of that name. This song is of unusual interest precisely because it is true “folk music” – music that has sprung up anonymously from the people themselves; from the unconscious land, without known author or composer. It is a remarkable musical phenomenon – a melody of unknown origin, but known by every Ontario schoolchild, which seems to have always been present, but is timeless and without history.
The music begins by depicting, misterioso, the primeval forest in the time before human occupation. Thematic fragments of the Silver Birch melody struggle to form themselves into something greater. This leads to a musical depiction of Turtle Island and the Awenda (world) Marsh on its back, and its wildlife, including the White Throated Sparrow, Pileated Woodpecker, Black Capped Chickadee, Canada Goose and of course the Common Loon. Soon the first people arrive – the Ojibway – and the civilizing effect of human culture is heard in their Paddling Song, a sort of hunter’s love song to his canoe, and his life. The arrival of European explorers is depicted by a return of the Silver Birch melody, but this time with a suggestion of the cultural catastrophe brought on the aboriginal inhabitants by their arrival.
J. S. Bach’s “Minuets” from Suite No. 1
We are honoured to present this performance of J. S. Bach’s Minuets from Suite No. 1, performed by an extremely talented young cellist, Ellamay Mantie. Ellamay has wonderful intonation, expressive bowing, and lovely vibrato.