Archive for July, 2007

The Coole Trio

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Two-Step Cindy

You’ve gotta love spontaneous music, especially when it’s for a good cause!

Recently at a fundraiser for the CIBC Run for the Cure on the shaded lawn of U of T’s International Student Centre, I really enjoyed some of the finest live music so far this summer, all the sweeter for the informal, chance encounter! (more…)

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Kensington’s Source for Jazz and Funk

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SoulJazz Orchestra 1

SoulJazz Orchestra 2

I came for the Pink Lady apples, and stayed for the funk! Like an acoustic beacon, it was the distinctive, eclectic music emanating from this shop that first drew me in. ‘The Source for Jazz and Funk’ is how the media has described 4 Life Organic Foods in Kensington Market.

Pots, one of the owners and pictured above, tells the most incredible tales of the power of music. His epic yet incredibly personal stories are a testament to the life-affirming properties of music that cross cultures and musical genres…the story of a woman who stood, sobbing and immovable in his shop, for example. (more…)

Urban Bansuri

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Raga Shivranjani, Banusri

About 5 weeks ago I dropped by the busy worksite of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandira just north of Pearson International Airport to see if I might don work boots and lend a hand, and was welcomed onto the site with a wonderful, friendly and informative tour. This temple, a cultural & architectural jewel – and very much in the news with its grand opening just last weekend – is simply indescribable. Although only able to catch the festivities after sundown, I was impressed by the incredible enthusiasm and excitement still in the air. (more…)

Liberty Piazza

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Piazza, Andante

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Piazza, Allegretto

After a morning of recording under the Gardiner Expressway and in vacant, cavernous (and haunted, I’m told) buildings on the CNE grounds, I passed northward through the Dufferin Gate to Liberty Village.

I had just happened upon this little courtyard by chance a few weeks earlier, and what a magical place – the ambience of this tastefully restored outdoor space is unique and worth visiting in person, if you can find it! (more…)

Honky Tonk Dog

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Honky Tonk Dawg!

Had to pull the car over on an impulse for this one! A few days earlier I had heard someone playing piano on the display instrument just outside Paddon Pianos, but sadly did not have minute to spare. It’s a busy strip, and as I wandered back through traffic, the recorder rolling, a dog leashed outside Food Depot near the corner of ‘Dup n Dav’ started warming up. As you will hear, both piano player and canine show off their extraordinary Honky Tonk stylings! This is a wonderful example of music integrated beautifully and spontaneously in an everyday setting.

There is more than just one Food Depot, this one in New Mexico where the National Flute Association convenes for this years Flute Convention.

Musical Refuge

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Sound files will gradually emerge from an exquisite performance last week on the campus of the University of Toronto.

Trinity Treat

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There was a treat awaiting at Trinity College Chapel last week, with a concert presented by Fresca.

More details and links soon!

Palestrina on the Beach

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Trinity College Chapel

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Berbiguier, Etude

How sweet is this? Listening to Palestrina by the lake!

Music History Instruction at the RCM’s Mississauga location could not possibly be any more delightful than this totally chilled class ‘en plein air’ and completely away from the hustle and bustle of the city; extension cords courtesy of Canadian Tire and on-line resources provided by NAXOS.

What would Palestrina have thought? I’m sure that absolutely dumbfounded and with a silly grin on his face, he would have silently nodded his wholehearted approval! (more…)

Somewhere

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Bernstein, Somewhere

These buildings are now definitely slated to go. Inspired by this evocative urban backwater, I spent some time framing photos, capturing the scene before it changes dramatically over the coming weeks and months. Here is a sampling of what I recorded, and please check the next post for Gary Kulesha’s recently premiered Symphony No.3.

I recorded a few pieces in this quasi-courtyard just off of Charles Street West, but as I was leaving (more…)

A Forgotten Courtyard

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To compliment my solo flute pieces, I discovered the middle movement of Gary Kulesha’s Symphony No. 3 (Andante) to be particularily poignant for this setting: lyrical and full of emotion. [Simply click on the link, and scroll through to the bottom, and then click once again to play. I recommend some volume, and headphones might enhance the spatial effect of the orchestra.] (more…)

Elusive Rococo at BATA

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Migot, Pastorale

All of a sudden the dramatic architecture of the Bata Shoe Museum is looking a little conservative compared to the ROM’s Crystal! It’s a great museum to visit and keep an eye on for unusual upcoming events and I was delighted by this quiet Rococo display room, with its shoe-box (oh, that’s a joke!) proportioning and resultant live acoustic, as you can hear in this recording.

Georges Migot I will always associate with Paris. When I travel, I like to sniff out a print-music souvenir, and the one time I was in Paris a few years ago, I set aside an afternoon to visit the Mecca of Music Stores for flutists the world over: Alphonse Leduc. It was tough making (more…)

Assiniboine Pavilion

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Cernauskas, Pan Pipes

This wintry scene evokes some of my earliest memories as a child, although I remember it at night, with the muffled sounds of fellow skaters lazily looping figure-eights, laughing and chatting to keep warm on the twin ponds nestled down the hill on the far side of this pavilion, the icy luge-run from earlier in the afternoon now lost in the shadows and silhouettes of the vast, limitless Assiniboine Forest.

Flash forward to a taxi pick-up in mid-June, the penetrating warmth of late-afternoon sunshine (more…)

Regina’s Art Deco Temple

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Quantz, Largo e Double

Despite the stark, almost Hitchcockian impact of this photo, this Government of Canada building across the street from SaskPower and kiddie-corner to Regina’s landmark Hotel Saskatchewan (Radisson) is easy to miss somehow! Perhaps this has somehing to do with the intersections six lanes of traffic to keep an eye on, or getting distracted by the play of the prairie light on the mature trees in Victoria Park (more…)

Caboose Perspectives

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Pennsylvania 6-5000!

Here’s a fun, little piece, alluding to the carefree days when these de-commissioned cabooses rode the rails from coast to coast!

For something a little more substantial, here is a fun, bigger piece entitled The Great Train Race, by Ian Clarke, posted by Nina Perlove on her YouTube site amidst a wealth of videos and on-line, flute-related pedagogical materials.

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Caboose for Two

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caboose improv

I was not alone…as I quietly entered the second abandoned caboose, the sudden rush of wings startled me for a moment!

Caboose Interior

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Puccini

I find that even the idea of a caboose is romantic in the extreme, and immediately evocative of the golden age of rail transport. So, after a day of exams in Regina, I went exploring and discovered not just one, but two caboose (cabii?), de-commissioned and left rather forlornly in the middle of a broad expanse of rail lines. (more…)

Caboose on the Loose

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Reger Romance

Here is another view of the interior of the two caboose (cabooses, caboosii?) in Regina, with a Romance by Max Reger that immediately evokes a sense of nostalgia for the travels and colourful history embodied in these parked cars.

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Caboose No.04990

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And this just in…help restore this 112-year old piece of history!

In simply looking for a Railroad Song, I first tried Arlo Guthrie which led to learning about Casey Jones, and in a matter of minutes, I had opened a window on a whole musical railroad culture with links directly back to Stephen Foster, one of America’s most renowned and prolific songwriters.

I invite you to learn more about The New Christy Minstrels, one of whose members is Dolan Ellis, “Arizona’s Official State Balladeer” since 1966! Well, just some technical difficulty embedding his song…and in the meantime, this should keep you railway buffs amused!

Photo Cliff Grassmick

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