Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Nov 21 1970, Page 96

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - November 21, 1970, Winnipeg, ManitobaMusic arts Winnipeg free press saturday november 21, 1970 new Leisure re v t c k s b my of Ostia f c do Sefc Llhee with 1-Fcather new recordings to most of us for whom he has brought a recurrent theme in our lives Edward Kennedy Ellington is More King than Duke. To do any thing less than unqualified homage to him would be tantamount to Lese Majeste. Nobody knows this better than Stanley dance a Bri Tish born critic with a Back ground of about 43 years As an Ellington watcher. Accordingly in the world of Duke Ellington Scribner dance has produced a sprawling Panorama that will not even displease the player of the title role. This is no Small feat for in 1946, when critic Barry Ulanov began a straight biography Duke Ellington he had to Complete his project without the consent or co operation of the Maestro. Said Elling ton Are like monuments. They re not for living peo the Book valuable though clearly incomplete has Long been out of print. Dance s Book makes it apparent that Ellington has not changed his stand. It is says the author neither a history a biography nor an All inclusive it is in fact just what its title implies not a Book about Ellington himself As much As an anthology that exam i n e s his entourage. You learn How Barney bigard got his Start in new or leans what happened to a trumpeter named Willie Cook before during and after his Ellington incumbency and a thousand other such details Ninny of them esoteric. The Choice of subjects aside from such Indi spans Ables As Cootie Williams and Johnny Hodges could to debated. Ruth Ellington. Duke s sister who certainly has been closest to him of All in his immediate family is omitted. Alice Babs. A swedish Singer who per formed at a sacred concert a couple of years ago. Is the subject of a separate article while singers who made memorable contributions to the Ellington evolution Are totally ignored. The Man who could Best talk about him. Certainly his most intimate associate out Side the music world is Harold Udkoff. A Hollywood swimming Pool manufacturer who. As a lifelong Ellington fan. Has followed Duke and the band to the ends of the Earth. He is not interviewed. By Leonard Feather the Best interviews certainly those that come clo Sest to shedding Light on Ellington the Man Are those with his son Mercer Billy Strayhorn his late associate manager and Tom Whaley his copyist. Nowhere though is there a rounded portrait of the enigmatic personality of the composer who As one of the hand Ful of major . Contributors to the arts in the 20th Century could provide the material for a fascinating in depth study. Harry Carney a member of the orchestra for 43 years the musician with whom Ellington has habitually travelled in a private car Between one night stands is in a unique Posi contralto becomes a Witch one of the world s Grea test concert artists rid ing a Broomstick wearing a red wig talons and a Witch s hat it took More than Patricia Harshaw s expert makeup a n d Suzanne mess s in genious costume design to create the perfect Witch for a Csc to opera production of Hansel and Grote. It took Mauron Forrester. Canada s great contral to breathes life into the larger than life role of the Witch who turns Little Chil Dren into Gingerbread in her flaming oven. And she had a Hall doing it. As somebody remarked on the set during the tap ing last she s not a grotesque Witch she s a fun says the usually dignified concert artist herself it was marvellous of do. I always sing Queens and ladies in waiting in my opera appearances hut this the Witch is me Kooky Dotty and Sci Hansel and Gretel Marks miss Forrester s first performance in a Complete opera on television Al though she has appeared often in to concerts and operatic excerpts. Tion to illuminate certain facets of the Man that Only he can know. The space devoted to a discussion of Carney s favorite baritone saxophonists or of the Dif Ference Between the Albert and Boehm systems of play ing the clarinet would bet Ter have been used for an intimate View of his world renowned travelling com Panion. The Laisnez Faire morale in the band does Duke get results when they treat him that is just one aspect of the Ellington mys Tique that is left More or less unexplained. A quote from trumpeter Clark Terry comes closest the time i was with Ellington was like College if Guys want to have an argument hell say look Fellows i thought everyone knew i am not a disciplinarian. I hired you because you Are Superb in your Field and i want you with me because of that fact. Apart from being excellent musicians you Are All men so govern your selves accordingly and he gives everyone enough rope to hang in his Brief Forward. Duke Ellington says of dance he has been a part of our scene for a Long time maybe longer than he cares to remember. However i am sure he has not revealed More than he since this is. To some extent an authorized Book the sup Posedly facetious remark leads to speculation. There is another work which i Hope will eventually materialize one that could give us a ducks Eye View of All the topics incompletely discussed Here one that might reveal him As a total admirable fallible Scruta blk human being who bleeds when pricked cries inwardly when Hurt who knows the invective of impatience As Well As the Magni Loquence o f Diplo Macy. Such a Story would Tell us what went wrong or failed to go right in the life and times of a Man who for All his triumphs still has Boon frustrated much More often than he has Ever admitted. The world of Duke Elling ton is. By the Way liberally illustrated. I would gladly Trade each picture for a thousand words from or. Wellington s own ung hosted pen. The Las Angeles times Boyd Neel conducts Handel Elgar Holst. Handel overtures to and Fara Elgar serenade for strings in e minor of. 20. Hoist fugal concerto for flute oboe and string orches tra of. 40, no. 2, with Nicholas Fiore flute and Stanley Wood oboe. Deutsche Grant Sophon 2530-015. Despite or. Boyd Neel s longtime International reputation it is still a Surprise to find that purely Canadian phenomenon the Hart House orchestra being recorded by Deutsche Gramm Phon though one is bound to be very grateful for the excellent Job they have done. As a natural successor to the famous Boyd Neel orchestra the Hart House orchestra has become one of the great chamber groups of the world and As far As this record is concerned they seem almost equal to the English chamber orchestra in the works Here done. In fact their performance of hoist s fugal concerto can be very favourably compared with the latter group s version on Syrita and the second movement has definitely a More impressive atmosphere. It s interesting to note that the music of Gustav hoist d. 1934 is rapidly coming Back into the radius of civilized approval. This delicate witty pointed score is Well designed to Appeal to modern listeners. Not so the Elgar at least not to the same extent. It s pleasant enough but cannot be revived for genuine greatness. The late victorian sentiments 1893 somehow lost value during the inflation. But the performance is quite exquisite. The Handel overtures Are if anything even better. The playing is imbued with the indescribable spirit of youthfulness and it is direct and masculine though never unfeeling. Or. Neel does t fuss and his idea of Handel is As natural As it is satisfying. With this Type of music it would seem to be easy simply to Start at the beginning and go straight ahead to the end but it is noticeable How rarely the average playing of Handel gives this impression. Here the approach is dynamic from the word go. And yet the More lyrical movements like the Musette of Al Cina and the minuet of Are As subtly poised As i be Ever heard them. Altogether a delightful recording enhanced by some excellently Bright and Tongue in Cheek notes which i suspect or. Neel to have written though they Are unsigned. Music from Marlboro Mozart piano Trio in b Flat k. 502, with Rudolf Serkin. Piano. Jaime Laredo violin and Madeline Foley cello quintet for clarinet and strings in a k. 581, with Harold Wright clarinet Alex Ander Schneider and Isidore Cohen violins Samuel Rhodes Viola Anil Leslie Parnas cello. Columbia ms-7417 the Marlboro new England festival was founded in 1950 Ana is now in its 20th year. Tin s recording is the lat est in Columbia s acknowledgement of the outstanding chamber music activity there though chamber music is not All that is done when these holidaying professional musicians forget the exigencies of professionalism in favor of simple music making. All the records from Marlboro seem to have a distinctive atmosphere of peacefulness. But in some of them everything is so relaxed that the Peculiar intensity of peace is reduced to something very like refined lethargy. Though Mozart like love and sleep can not be forcibly or aggressively induced the Allegro of the b Flat Trio is so reserved in this Reading As to seem almost apathetic though in the last Beautiful three minutes of the move ment Grace descends and All is changed. The question is always there How to play Mozart and after due consideration and a lot of thought the honest musician is bound to answer wisely and naively Well sometimes it works and sometimes it does t on the whole the Trio is very enjoyable though or. Serkin s piano sounds too liquid and a bit far away in comparison with the strings. My taste is for less pedal in the runs in fact no less obtrusive Ness in the end ing of trills and More half staccato in the figures. The quintet is of course extremely Beautiful and in the performance in the main extremely alive. Harold Schneider is a virtuoso clarinet St but the master control is always that of music. The fiddlers Don t always produce their tone As purely As Mozart demands especially in slow passages but As a Blond and in conjunction with the lower strings their effect is most satisfactory. A word of Praise to the violist he docs some Beautiful work. The great virtue of the quicker passages in the piece is that the style sounds convincing without being coyly "18th Cen it is always vital without being bouncy. Chester Duncan

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