Archive for the ‘RCM EXAMS’ Category

A Jurassic Moment

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The Blue-Eyed Lass, Scottish Trad

Well, last week was March Break here in Ontario, and it seemed like half the city cleared out, sensibly heading someplace warm or maybe hitting the slopes north of the city. Me? Between meeting with students and a few gigs around town, I had just enough going on that I stick around and revel in how much less traffic there was in getting around town. I ended up having some fine adventures in-town, including this Jurassic moment out in The Junction!

I had been tipped off the day before that a couple of the buildings out in The Junction were coming down, including the old, abandoned GE factory and NRI (National Rubber Institute?) where I had tagged along with members of TLR camera club. I had joined them and played flute in the cold while they wandered around taking photos and documenting massive interior spaces.

Dinosaurs of the manufacturing era, I’m glad that these buildings have been documented in sight and sound as they meet their demise: these warehouses each have their own characteristics, personality…and lifespan, it would seem. NRI is like an contemporary version of the slow-moving herbivore like the Brontosaurus, especially when compared to the stealth and deadly accuracy of the T-Rex pictured above. This Trawna-saurus Rex is kinda cute, though, don’t you think?

This image reminds me of that scene in Jurassic Park, you know, where the dinosaur peers eerily into the car of our hapless heroes. The sounds that this dino made were absolutely awe-inspiring, and if you listen carefully, there is one particular moment towards the end where a wall comes down, the cascade of bricks completely engulfing this old Scottish Air.

Where one might imagine the sound of a building being being torn down as ugly or just plain noisy, this recording reveals that the sounds of demolition can be endlessly nuanced and even beautiful in their own way. The flute offers contrast, and adds to the poignancy of the moment where our urban landscape changes dramatically. For the better? For the worse? Depends on who you talk to, of course.

Recorded on a second floor area of NRI as the adjacent section was being torn down, I returned a few days later at dusk, just to check in on my old friend. As I tried to get my bearings in the fading light and clambered over large mounds of bricks and metal, I suddenly realized that the space where this recording was made – that whole section of the building – had vanished.

Where I had stood and played my flute no longer existed.

So, how was your March Break?

Spring Skiing in December

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Duo for Flute & Chairlift

There have already been waves of snowstorms in Southern Ontario, and in fact it was the first coast-to-coast white Christmas in Canada since 1971 – but late in December, the weather had turned mild and I found myself just north of Toronto with an hour or two of muted daylight on my hands: a perfect chance for a little spring skiing in December!

As I steered my car into the muddy parking lot for my inaugural visit to the Mansfield Ski Club, it suddenly dawned on me that there was a unique Urban Flute Project recording opportunity in the making.

I’ve had some odd flute ‘conversations’ in the last year or two: flute and paddle, flute and pneumatic drill…but the possibility of a duet for flute and chairlift totally caught me off-guard!

Tucking a bamboo flute in the sleeve of my Nike parka that a student recently had brought back from India for me – thanks, Sarah! – and securing my trusty Edirol digital recorder in one of my zip pockets, I was ready to hit the slopes. This was my first bomb down the hills in a couple of years – just like riding a bike I kept reassuring myself!

My thanks to Debby, Barb, Brendan and all the staff at Mansfield Ski Resort!

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…)

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 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…)

Cut from the Same Cloth?!

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Gariboldi

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Koehler

Hey, how did Jack and Meg embed themselves on UrbanFlute?!? The music of The White Stripes can be found all the way from The Royal Opera House to your local bowling lanes…

I think it’s the first time I have ever left a taxi with it’s meter running, but it was worth it! Just finished with exams in Winnipeg, and on an impulse I stopped in and recorded in the historic setting of the Uptown Bowling Lanes. Originally opened as a movie theatre in 1931, this wonderfully preserved buiding was alive with the sounds of kids’ birthday parties on a Saturday afternoon (more…)

Regina’s Old Train Tunnels

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Puccini

It was a brutally long day of conducting RCM music exams in Regina, so after recording discreetly in some de-commissioned twinned cabooses just north of the mall, I made my way along the rail lines and came upon the old passenger platform for the historic Regina Train Station. In the fenced off shadow of today’s booming Casino Regina, I discovered that one of these decrepit entranceways was no longer boarded over. I entered the dank, dark space, and descended (more…)

Gariboldi Goes Green!

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Gariboldi

Here is a view of the SaskPower building in downtown Regina, a 1960’s classic. This angle – from my exam room in the historic Hotel Saskatchewan – captures the whimsy of an architectural timepiece, and I was given the nod by security to record briefly during my tea-break. The lobby, festooned with ‘Green Energy’ literature, features vintage mosaic detailing, and a sizeable tiled fountain that can be heard in the background for this playing of a RCM Grade 2 study by Gariboldi.

Thanks to everyone at SaskPower for the warm welcome!

Toronto’s Historic Mausoleum

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Ch. Koechlin

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At the heart of Toronto’s richly-wooded Mount Pleasant Cemetery is a historic building of Classical design possessing remarkable acoustics: the Mount Pleasant Mausoleum. (more…)

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Summerhill Clocktower

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The welcome I received, not to mention the architectural splendour, historical significance and fine acoustics of this site, continues to be a source of inspiration…

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