e-NEWS
Listing news about MRDe-music, upcoming events of interest to MRDe-music's creative staff, and anything else MRDe-music's creator feels inclined to include.


THE PAST
Aug. 26 2006 (sat.); More sad, and more personal, news to follow that of the 25th. Composer James Tenney, my first composition teacher, passed away late Friday night. The reports I've read indicate that his lung cancer had returned after many years of remission.

Instead of a dry recitation of his acheivements, I'll just write of the last time I saw Jim. I was in Newfoundland in 2004 for the Sound Symposium. Jim was also involved in the Symposium, although the focus for him there was as a performer, not a composer. He performed two works by composers who he had admired and championed during his life ... Charles Ives (the Concord Sonata) and John Cage (the Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano). These two performances are stand-outs in my concert going 'career'; Jim's passion and commitment to the works of these two composers was clearly heard, and he re-created these works in as magnificicent a pair of concerts as any performer could hope to stage.

I'm certain I'm not alone in feeling a great deal of gratitude to Jim in assisting in developing my skills as a composer (he taught for many years at Toronto's York University, aiding many young Canadian composers in the early stages of their development). Canadian music in general owes him much gratitude, for his tireless creativity, teaching and advocacy of new music. My appreciation for and understanding of several of my favourite composers (notably Ives, Cage, George Crumb, Iannis Xenakis and Edgar Varese) were enriched by Jim's teaching, and my understanding of and interest in random and stochastic processes are very much thanks to him introducing them to me.

Thanks Jim, and my deepest condolences to your friends and family.

I think I'll have to find my copy of Jim's piece A Quiet Fan for Erik Satie and have a re-listen. It's my choice for the best piece to remember him by.

Aug. 25 2006 (fri.); Dr. John Weinzweig, (O.C., O. Ont., 1913-2006) also known as the 'Dean of Canadian Composers' and the 'radical romantic of Canada', the co-founder of the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian League of Composers, passed away peacefully on the evening of Thursday August 24, 2006. He was 93. (quoted from a release from the Canadian Music Center).

Anyone who has studied composition in Canada, or the history of classical music in Canada, should know John Weinzweig by name; as a proponent of new music (among his acheivements in this field were co-founding the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian League of Composers, both now nation-wide organizations), as a teacher, and as a composer, he was an active force for decades.

For those unfamiliar with his work and life, I suggest listening to CANADIAN COMPOSERS PORTRAITS: JOHN WEINZWEIG, which includes a documentary on the composer, and several of his works (the recording is available for purchase here; there are audio samples and a transcript of the documentary on this page as well).

Aug. 23 2006 (wed.); As my valiant and hopefully-not-yet-fed-up-with-my-music Beta Testers know, a Piano Sonatina in A is now "complete" ... ie ... in for final proofreading and listed as complete in my TOTALLY AMAZING WORKS DATABASE, which uses my incredible competence in database archeticture, spelling, and query writing to exist.

Aug. 18 2006 (fri.); DAMMIT AND ... more importantly ... just for fun, I'm going to call my Piano Sonata #3 "Alien Airs, No Dances" done, even though it's really in the final proofing stages. Thanks to my "Beta Testers", who are looking, or have looked through, the work.

Jun. 12 2006 (mon.); Composer György Sándor Ligeti passed away yesterday on this day. For music types, the loss will be easily understood; Ligeti wrote many outstanding works and his technical processes are fascinating. For non-music types reading this (including people who think western classical music ended about 1900), you may be aware of Ligeti's writing due to its inclusion in films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut, giving him a wider audience than many of his avant-garde compatriots. Personal suggestions for Ligeti repetoire are his excellent Piano Concerto and Cello Concerto.

Jun. 7 2006 (wed.); So as to be, for a change, not late in a concert announcement I posted the following on the indicated date (quoting the Earshot release):

Friday June 9, 5:00 (please note unusual start time!)
The Fields Institute (U of T campus), 222 College St. (between Spadina and St. George)
This is a free event!


Earshot Concerts is proud to present its final concert of the season as a part of the soundaXis Festival of Music and Architecture. (there was more, but it's not here!)

No review posted for this ... additionally,. I attended a further Xenakis concert the same evening, where New Music Concerts performed 3 Xenakis chamber works and a premiere of a piece by James Harley. That was a good show overall ... but no official MRDe-review for that either. Why? Feel free to ask, but expect no answer.

Jun. 6 2006 (tues.); My epic three-part review cycle; Part 3, Part 2 and Part 1 can be found by following the links that preceed these words.

May. 30 2006 (tues.); In response to a friend's request, my qualified list of my 13 favourite "songs". My friends comment in response was essentially ... "OMG, it's THREE PAGES long". I never claimed brevity as one of my virtues ... actually, I've never really claimed to have much in the way of virtues, and any I've claimed I've never proved to have had in the first place.

May. 27 2006 (sat.); I performed at an open house in Toronto. Here are the details for the overall open house (I'm not listed in this information... I'm a chronic latecomer with poor promotion. The proof? I'm not in the printed advertising!). For those who want to know, it was a "plugged" show, almost exclusively electronic. Repetoire wise, if you'd been there you'd have heard some improvisation, as well as remixed performances of Thundersnow and Experimental Train Traffic Controls in Winter.

I was located at the bottom of an elevator shaft during the performance, and I'm happy to say no-one chucked things down the shaft at me. I declare, on that basis, theat the performance was a sucess!

Many thanks to my "old" but forever young looking colleague Jen Wardle (visual artist/saxophonist) for inviting me to perform.

May. 21 2006 (for a concert from May. 18); A damn GOOD review, poorly written ...

May. 18 2006 (thurs., really really early thurs.); Worst review EVER! Wait, that came out wrong ... what I mean isn't what I was reviewing was bad, but the review is. Read it ... you'll see. I'd apologize, but I'm lazy. Reading this is a better idea. Marginally.

May 17 2006 (wed.); On this day, I posted the following short notice of a concert!

The Esprit Orchestra's 2006 New Wave composers festival is underway. Free concerts yesterday (haha) and tonight (there's still time), and a pay-if-you-have-money-and-don't-get-in-if-you-don't concert at the Jane Mallet Theatre on the 18th. I mention this festival to suggest people go to hear the works of Earshot composers Ben Heaslip and Scott Good.

May. 15 2006 (mon.); Find out what movie I saw recently, AKA a new movie review in the NICE REVIEW section.

May. 5 2006 (fri.); Ohnooo ... Zombies.

May. 5 2006 (fri. ... again); A concert by earshot concerts that I went to. No review though, as I'm a member of the group and that would be ad copy, not a review.

Kafka Fragmente, composed by György Kurtàg, performed by Kristin Mueller-Heaslip, soprano; and Christian Robinson, violin.
Friday, May 5th @ 8:00
Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen St. W.
Tickets: $15 / $10 (seniors, members, artsworkers) / $5 (students)

This dark and beautiful work by Hungarian master composer György Kurtàg is a setting of numerous short fragments of the writings of Franz Kafka. Intimately scored for soprano and violin, this work has been described as "theatre with just two people onstage" by New York director Peter Sellars, who staged the work at Carnegie Hall in 2005. Speaking of the work's power, Sellars said: "A tiny little thought opens out into immense vistas... open up the secret world where the audience members can bring in their own thoughts, dreams, wishes, and regrets. One of the incantatory powers that the song recital has is that it's once of the most public private acts."


Apr. 20 2006 (thurs); Here are the results of my recent exciting opportunity to again review the audience at Toronto's great orchestral venue, Roy Thomson Hall. Was this audience as involved in the music making as those at the last concert I attended? Find out, and learn more about some english guy who's named something like Tippet-Richardson (maybe related to the moving company that operates in Ontario?) and some Austrian whose time may yet come, by clicking here. Mar. 18 2006 (sat) ... A concert that I was unable to get attend happened. If you got to hear, you're more fourtunate than I. Here are the details, in many of the promoter's own words ...

Bassic Reeding: New Music for Low Winds
When? Saturday March 18th at 8:00
Where? Music Gallery (197 John Street, 1 block north of Queen, in the Church of St. George the Martyr)
How much? Tickets: $15 / $10 (seniors/members/artsworkers) / $5 (students).

Earshot! Concerts presents two of Toronto’s new music stalwarts together in a recital of contemporary works for the lowest of the low: bass clarinet and baritone saxophone.

Max Christie and Wallace Halladay collaborate for this rare duo event involving international and Canadian compositions for their instruments, including three world premieres ... If you think you know these instruments, be prepared to expand your mind! New sounds and virtuosic technique permeate this programme of solos and duos, including a guest appearance by baritone saxophonist Robert Carli for Sofia Gubaidulina’s Duo Sonata for Two Baritone Saxophones.

In my words, I'll add that Keith Denning and Erik Ross had world premieres, Franco Donatoni was featured, and some other stuff was played.

Feb. 21 2006 (tues): I appeared at the Ambient Ping in Toronto, performing a solo electroacoustic show entitiled "COLD". There was much positive response, although the two idiots sitting at the front of the house having a loud conversation while I was playing may have become irritated when I played loudly enough to drown their stupid talk out (they left). Jerks. Click here for the COLD show's page for further details.

Dec. 1 2006 (thurs): The Esprit Orchestra featured Canada's largest organ, in this, their second concert of the year. The theme was music with a spatial element, with Ives' The Unanswered Question serving as the piece with the greatest marquee value. The review is here, or you can find it on the list on the nice reviews page

Jan. 10 2006 (thurs.): a special note for the new year ... For those of you who have complained that it's hard to remember my domain, I've decided to take mercy upon you and help you to remember. You can find me at the simple and accurate URL thebestmusicpageever.com. You're welcome.

Jan. 8 2005: In honour of the concert I didn't go to tonight (because going out hurts my shut-in soul, and driving sucks), a new music review! Or go to the review page!

Jan. 5 2005 (thurs.): The first site update of 2006, with an update of the works list to include two pieces finished in the tail end of 2005).

Dec. 5 2005 (mon.) and Nov. 20 2005 (sun): Reviews added on these days. See all the nice MRDE-reviews in the review section.

Nov. 18 2005 (fri): Dinner and then the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for me and a friend. The music this evening was Mahler (Symphony No. 5) and Rachmaninoff (it was supposed to be a piano concerto, but there's been a programme change and we get Rhapsody on a Theme of Paginini instead). The review is here, or you can find it on the list on the nice reviews page.

Nov. 10 2005 (thurs): (updated Nov. 13 2005 (sun)) ... A professional, yet sad, note.

Faithful readers will note that many of my works in progress are acoustic in nature, that there are quite a few of these in-progress projects, and that I refer too frequently to the day job. I've realized that I'm a bit over-busy and that something had to give, so I have decided to indefinitely step down from working with the Canadian Electronic Ensemble (CEE). I thank them for the many opportunities, good times, performances, and improv sets we’ve enjoyed during the past few years, and I’m certain that they’ll continue to thrive and innovate.

Nov. 6 2005 (sun): Update to the trains page and re-organzing of the UTTERLY POINTLESS model trains section of the site. I'm just wasting time ... you could tell I was focusing on writing music today as I actually did housework. The only we to get me to clean is to get me onto music, especially if I'm trying to get the structure of a piece clear in my head. And it's back to work Monday to further delay writing.

Nov. 4 2005 (fri) Totally off-topic and POINTLESS: This was "Bring A Model Train To Work Day" to railroad modellers everywhere. Here's my contribution to the tradition!

Oct. 28 2005 (fri): The review in the nice review section for the Oct. 27th show mentioned below was added, with underwhelming response.

Oct. 27 2005 (thurs): Toronto's Esprit Orchestra presented their season opener at the Jane Mallet Theatre in Toronto. I got to hear R. Murray Schafer's Minnelieder (sung by mezzo-soprano Eleanor James) live (not recorded for a change). The late Harry Freedman's music was also performed. Go here to find the MRDe-review.

Oct. 19 2005 (wed): SURPRISE!!! The long promised nice review section is here. Thank you, G.F. Handel and the Canadian Opera Company, for inspiring a nice review! (As I wrote on the day of the Oct. 18 performance of the opera: "Off to the opera tonight ... Handel. If I feel like it, I may tell you, my loyal readers, more about the spectacle tomorrow. Maybe. But the day job is busy and other things are sapping my strength, so maybe not ... it'll be a surprise whether I do or not. I'll stop rambling now.") Additionally, the train page has been slightly updated since Oct. 11.

Oct. 18 2005 (tues): The works list has had a few more pieces given their correct composition dates (thanks for the info for that Marco!). For a music update ... I continue to work on new projects (piano composition at this time).

Oct. 14 2005 (fri): The works list and search features have been further refined and expanded: however, the list is still slightly incomplete and the date information is still needing some confirmation. If you are interested in further details on, or in performing, any of these works, please use the contact button in the navigation to the right to get in touch with me.

Oct. 12 2005 (wed): Germane and music-related finally. An initial alpha version of my works list is available ... use the navigation button to the right. The list is still slightly incomplete and the date information is still needing some confirmation (updated since inital version on Oct. 11 2005).

Oct. 11 2005 (tues): I wonder if Molson read my site ... aka a pointless update. More on my trains. Sadly, nothing germane ... ie: music related, although I am working on a few projects at present.

Oct. 7 2005 (fri): I must have no life. More pointlessness added. Some other hidden details here and there as well. Enjoy!

Oct. 6 2005 (thurs): Stuff continues to be added to the site. Check out the new "works" link to the right ... it's amazing. Really. Hahahahah.

Oct. 5 2005 (wed): Thanks for the amazing response to my contest announcement from Oct. 3. Now I know I'm alone in the universe. Contest is closed; no prizes for anyone! Too bad I've removed the entries for those days so no-one knows what the contest was any more. Also ... more pointlessness added. Not that anyone seems to care.

Oct. 3 2005 (mon): Afternoon; More site updates done ... some obvious, some re. functionality. The prize offer below is still open.

Oct. 3 2005 (mon): Morning; It's a subtle update, and it was done fast and dirty and will need to be fixed. I might (maybe, if I feel like it) give a prize to the first person who emails me correctly identifying what was updated.

Sept. 30 2005 (fri): It's payday at the day job. That's the good news. Bad news ... this is the update. I thought about posting something, but decided against it.

Sept. 16 2005 (fri.): A sad loss for Canadian music today; composer Harry Freedman passed away at the age of 83.

The following notice is excerpted from the Globe and Mail; the full article can be found here.

By ROBERT EVERETT-GREEN
Monday, September 19, 2005
HARRY FREEDMAN, 83
Canadian composer penned 200 works
Toronto

Composer Harry Freedman, a major figure in Canadian music for the past four decades, died in a Toronto hospital on Friday of prostate cancer. He was 83.

Mr. Freedman's rugged and expressive music has been performed by every major Canadian orchestra, as well as choirs, chamber ensembles, soloists and dance companies, including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. He also wrote incidental stage music for the Stratford Festival and several film scores, some of which featured the voice of his wife, soprano Mary Morrison.

Please visit this Harry Freedman website for further information (including audio material) on this fine composer and his work.

Jun. 28 2005 (tues.): I appeared at the Ambient Ping (Toronto), at the Hacienda in Toronto, performing with Nick Storring, Michael Keith and Rose Bolton ... live electroacoustic improvisation was the theme of the evening. This performance was a real treat for me: I'd not worked with Michael or Nick before, yet we came up with a really solid improv set with some really good on-stage communication between all 4 of us. Thanks for the great music-making to nick, Michael and Rose!

Jun. 16, 2005 (thurs.) ... I appeared live at the third of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble's (CEE) new series of informal Studio Concerts at the CEE studio (60 Atlantic Ave st. 219, Toronto ON, near King and Dufferin). Guest artists Jim Bailey and Barry Prophet, along with CEE members Jim Montgomery and Rose Bolton, made the evening an enjoyable collaboration.

Jun. 9, 2005 (thurs.) ... I appeared as performer (synths and multiple other instruments!) performing works by Rose Bolton (This is This, and in two movements of her larger work, Elements). Despite the brutal heat in the concert hall, the performance (featuring electrovocal works by Rose and Wende Bartley, with guest artist Janice Jackson (soprano)) went well. To view the initial ad I posted regarding this show, click here.

May. 26 2005 (thurs.): A major change was made to the site this day. No-one noticed. I refused to update for a while in protest.

May. 24-26 2005 (tues.-thurs.): A brief mention of the Esprit Orchestra's New Wave Composers' Festival, held in Toronto May 24-26/05. I attended this. That's the mention ...

May. 19, 2005 (thurs.) ... The second of the informal CEE Studio Concerts took place. Here's the post-concert summary written by one of my bandmates (this is edited to make it sound more impressive!):
The EPT (Ever Present Trio)(a subgroup of the CEE ... Jim Montgomery, Rose Bolton and the chronically-overpresent (and parenthetically over-enthusiastic) MRD (that's me)) performed with distinction last evening for a near-capacity audience of [deleted], [deleted] of whom were human. If our audience continues to expand exponentially, we'll be filling the Skydome (oops, Rogers Centre) by [deleted]!

Apr. 26, 2005 (tues.) ... My colleagues Rose Bolton and Keith Denning had works performed by the Continuum Contemporary Music ensemble. The show, Strands, featured music composed by Martin Arnold, Rose Bolton, Keith Denning, Guss Janssen and Patrick Saint-Denis. Congrats to both Rose (very tight and convincing piece!) and Keith (very atmospheric ... vibraphone with string trio is a great combination).

Apr. 21, 2005 (thurs.) ... The first of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble (CEE)'s Studio Concerts 05 took place. A select audience took the opportunity to hear and interact with the band in an informal environment. Toronto musician Jim Bailey joined the CEE onstage, adding new elements to the band's usual mix. See the promotional leaflet for details and the dates of future shows in this series.

Mar. 30, 2005 (wed.) ... The Canadian Electronic Ensemble (CEE) performed at the Ambient Ping (Toronto), at the Hacienda in Toronto. This show featured several improvisations by the ensemble, plus the premiere of Kyoto Bells: Smog in February by yours truly, MRD. Thanks to Rose Bolton and Larry Lake for their interpretative skills, which brought the piece to life. Click here for the original promo post for this show.

Mar. 29, 2005 (tues.) ... Heinz Holliger in Toronto. New Music Concerts presented "An Evening with Heinz Holliger" at the Jane Mallett Theatre in Toronto. A performance of Elliot Carter's Oboe Quintet (a surprisingly lighthearted and even humourous work from Carter, who I often find to be a very heavy and serious composer) showed off Holliger's performance skills. The three Holliger works presented were varied, and gave at least a good initial overview of his approach and sound.

Mar. 22 2005 (tues.) A new work completed: Kyoto Bells: Smog in February by yours truly, has its official completion date set to Mar. 22 ... this is, coincidentally, the date of the first rehearsal. This piece will be publicly premiered on Mar. 30 2005 (see the entry for Mar. 30 above for details).

Mar. 9 2005 (wed.) Yours truly played at Toronto's Music Gallery on the Noon-hour Flying Squad program. I was there with compadres Rose Bolton and Jim Montgomery of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble. The concert, curated and also featuring Barry Prophet, also featured guitarist Jonathan Bunce. I've never played with Barry or Johnny before, but enjoyed the experience greatly. All the playing was sensitive, transparent and there seemed a good "link" between everyone. Thanks all for a great playing experience.

Feb. 25, 2005 (fri.) ... Earshot Concerts (Canadian Art Music for the 21st Century) held their Music for Music's Sake fundraiser for Earshot's 2004-2005 season. A good time appeared to be had by all (I bailed early due to snow and bad driving, so I'm just guessing). Check out the Earshot website (link at the begining of this entry) for details on their upcoming events.
The MRD connection ... Yours truly has appeared on the Earshot roster in the past, and is a member of Earshot.

Feb. 18 2005 ... Toronto's Music Gallery presented a show featuring piano works by Atlantic Canadian composers Richard Gibson and Dennis Farrell, performed by Barbara Pritchard (piano). The opening act featured a set of Celtic tunes performed by Rose Bolton (fiddle) and Jamie Snider (guitar, voice). If the "good e-Reviews" section of MRDe-music was operational at this time, I'd put up a review for the show was indeed good.

Feb. 11 2005 ... MRDe-music becomes animate.