Chamber Music
in the time of COVID-19

Celebrating the 80th birthday
of Canadian composer/oboist
PATRICIA MOREHEAD

with
Alex Klein
(Principal Oboe, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra)
Jamie Thompson
Beste Kalender
Gena van Oosten
Madoc String Quartet
The Ezra Duo
Philip Morehead

Works performed

All works available from the Canadian Music Centre or from the composer
Elegy and Meditation and Exultation are available from Jeanné

Arioso for Baroque oboe and harpsichord
Fantasy Variations for solo harpsichord
Meditation and Exultation for solo oboe
Elegy for viola and piano
The Edible Flute for flute and piano
Die Taube for mezzo-soprano and piano
The Shimmering for mezzo-soprano and piano
Design One for bass oboe and piano
It Is Dangerous to Read Newspapers for mezzo-soprano and piano
Design Two for flute and piano
Night Sky for string quartet 

PROGRAM

Arioso
Alex Klein, Baroque oboe
Philip Morehead, harpsichord

Arioso is a lyrical piece for oboe and harpsichord, which begins
non-tonally and moves into neo-romantic style in the harpsichord
and then moves to neo-Baroque gestures in the oboe to close the piece.

Fantasy Variations
Philip Morehead, harpsichord

Fantasy Variations for solo harpsichord uses passacaglia
techniques to create variations; a three-part canon brings the work to a close.

Meditation and Exultation
Alex Klein, oboe

“Meditation” is inspired by the feelings of awe, fear and elation experienced by the Blessed Virgin Mary at the news brought by the angel Gabriel that she will conceive and bear the Son of God. “Exultation” portrays the five joyful mysteries (The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Presentation, and The Finding in the Temple) contemplated when praying the Holy Rosary.

Elegy
The Ezra Duo
Jacob Clewell, viola
Sasha Bult-Ito, piano

Elegy, originally for English horn and piano, is an outpouring of emotion concerning my sister, who had an incurable mental disorder. Through the composition of the piece I was able to express my anguish for Sheryl Anne Noonan. The piece is constructed over a five-note cantus firmus, which serves to unify the work.

The Edible Flute
Jamie Thompson, flute
Philip Morehead, piano

The Edible Flute is inspired by Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s novel The Edible Woman. Atwood deals with the issue of Woman as the nurturing sex and the inner demands that this makes on her. Eventually she has been consumed by those dependent on her and is left with nothing for herself. She becomes just an outer shell with no inner resources left. The flute takes on the role of the Woman and the piano represents the world and dependents consuming her.

Die Taube
Poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke
Beste Kalender, mezzo-soprano
Philip Morehead, piano

Die Taube was composed especially for a leading new music mezzo-soprano, Julia Bentley, for an art song recital at the Chicago Musicians Club of Women. MCW is the oldest professional women’s music club in the US.

DOVE, THAT VENTURED OUTSIDE
To Erika, for the festival of praise

Dove that ventured outside                 flying far from the dovecote:
housed and protected again,               one with the day, the night,
knows what serenity is,                      for she has felt her wings
pass through all distance and fear       in the course of her wanderings.

The doves that remained at home,       never exposed to loss,
innocent and secure,                          cannot know tenderness;
only the won-back heart                     can ever be satisfied: free,
through all it has given up,                 to rejoice in its mastery.

Being arches itself                             over the vast abyss.
Ah, the ball that we dared,                 that we hurled into infinite space,
doesn’t it fill our hands                      differently with its return:
heavier by the weight                        of where it has been.
(translation by Stephen Mitchell)

A Shimmering
Poetry by Sharon Singer
Beste Kalender, mezzo-soprano
Philip Morehead, piano

The inspiration for A Shimmering: It was a perfect night, crisp and still, in late summer, on a northern Ontario lake when the moon painted a silver path across the shimmering water. As the world held its breath, the muse began to whisper.

A SHIMMERING
Tonight there is a shimmering
thin gold train
under a brilliant harvest moon

Last night, the moon
part obscured by dark clouds in a black sky
sat silver high
while a thick mist rose from the lake

Long ago
stars filled the vault
like tossed diamonds
but now the sky is never really black
enough to see the fortune in gemstones scattered there.

Crickets do not listen to the moon.

Design One
Alex Klein, bass oboe

Design One is a composition that builds increasing tension and virtuosity by way of layering extended techniques, such as color trills, multiphonics, different types of vibrato, bending tones, microtones, and flutter-tonguing. The piece uses a six-note set and its complement, as well as its melodic inspiration.

It is Dangerous to Read Newspapers
Poetry by Margaret Atwood
Gena van Oosten, mezzo-soprano
Philip Morehead, piano

I wrote this piece just after the shooting at Columbine high school in Colorado. Margaret Atwood’s poetry expressed the anguish I felt for the young people who died that fateful day of gunshot wounds.

IT IS DANGEROUS TO READ NEWSPAPERS
While I was building neat castles in the sandbox,
the hasty pits were
filling with bulldozed corpses
and as I walked to the school washed and combed, my feet stepping on the cracks in the cement detonated red bombs.
Now I am grownup
and literate, and I sit in my chair as quietly as a fuse
and the jungles are flaming, the under- brush is charged with soldiers,
the names on the difficult
maps go up in smoke.
I am the cause, I am a stockpile of chemical toys, my body
is a deadly gadget,
I reach out in love, my hands are guns,
my good intentions are completely lethal.
Even my
passive eyes transmute everything I look at to the pocked black and white of a war photo, how
can I stop myself
It is dangerous to read newspapers.
Each time I hit a key
on my electric typewriter, speaking of peaceful trees
another village explodes.


Margaret Atwood, Selected Poems 1966-1984
Music “It Is Dangerous to Read Newspapers” © 2009. Lyrics are the Poem: "It Is Dangerous to Read Newspapers", by Margaret Atwood, from the poetry collection SELECTED POEMS 1, 1965 –1975 currently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the U.S. ©1976 Margaret Atwood; and SELECTED POEMS 1966 – 1984 currently published by Oxford University Press in Canada ©1990 Margaret Atwood; All rights reserved.

Design Two
Jamie Thompson, flute

Schubert inspired the opening four notes. As the movement progresses, it is an argument between fast and slow tempi using ever more desperate gestures.

Night Sky
Cassiopeia – Interlude – Phases of the Moon – Interlude – The Big Dipper – Interlude – Aurora Borealis
Madoc String Quartet
Leslie Townsend and Sebastian Sallans, violins — Jacob Clewell, viola —
Amahl Arulanandam, cello

My inspiration for NIght Sky is my love of astronomy and the paintings of the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson. “Cassiopeia” is shaped like a big W in the sky, and I used this shape visually on the music staff to create the five pitches that start the string quartet and portray this very beautiful, but also very haughty and selfish lady that rules the night sky. A nine-note set of pitches is used for the “Milky Way” interludes. “Phases of the Moon” uses a slowly developing mood from the first crescent, which becomes the sublime light of the full moon. “The Big Dipper” portrays Ursa Major (mother bear) and Ursa Minor (little bear), who are dancing around Polaris (the North Star), which is represented by a recurring note A. The piece ends with the ever-changing colours of the “Aurora Borealis.”  The piece was commissioned by the North Bay Symphony for its 2017-18 inaugural professional chamber music series.

BIOGRAPHIES

AMAHL ARULANANDAM

With interests from baroque to metal, Toronto cellist Amahl Arulanandam is known for his musical versatility and ability to adapt to many genres. At home in studios, clubs, and halls, Amahl hopes to convey that musical expression is beyond labels. Passionate about the music of our time, Amahl has performed with ensembles such as Soundstreams, New Music Concerts, Caution Tape Sound Collective, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Music in the Barns and Esprit Orchestra. He has had the opportunity to work with leading composers such as Salvatore Sciarrino, Ana Sokolovic, Luna Pearl Woolf, and Brian Current. Amahl has wholly embraced the bizarre sounds the cello has to offer and takes special pleasure in playing on areas of the instrument other than the strings. 

MARGARET ATWOOD

Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in more than forty-five countries, is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels. Her latest novel, The Testaments, is a co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize. It is the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning TV series. Her other works of fiction include Cat’s Eye, finalist for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondella in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; The MaddAddam Trilogy; and Mag-Seed. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award. She lives in Toronto.

SASHA BULT-ITO

Making her solo debut at age seven with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, Alaskan pianist Sasha Bult-Ito stands out in her expressionistic and technically dazzling performances. She has appeared in solo performances at the John Perry Academy, Internationaler Klaviersommer Cochem in Germany, and at the Southeastern Piano Festival, where she also served on the Young Jury for the 2018 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. As pianist of The Ezra Duo and Velox Quartett, she has appeared in chamber settings at the Scotia Festival in Halifax, and toured through the United States and Canada. Sasha is a teaching artist and co-artistic director of the Emerald Coast Chamber Music Festival and Institute in Niceville, Florida.

JACOB CLEWELL

American violist Jacob Clewell stands in the vanguard of musicians of his generation. Gold Medalist of the 2017 Vancouver International Music Competition, standout moments from recent activities include solo and chamber performances at the Scotia Festival, Green Lake Festival of Music, Northern Lights Festival de Febrero, and Festival Pablo Casals Prades, as well as his first solo performance in Chicago’s Symphony Center, performing on the VIMC winner’s tour with works by Henri Vieuxtemps. With pianist Sasha Bult-Ito, he has appeared as a guest artist with numerous orchestras and chamber series and toured throughout the United States and Canada. Jacob is a teaching artist and co-artistic director of the Emerald Coast Chamber Music Festival and Institute in Niceville, Florida.

THE EZRA DUO

Formed at The Glenn Gould School in 2016, The Ezra Duo quickly established itself as a performing ensemble of the highest caliber. Since then, the duo has appeared in recital across Canada, and toured with their "Women in Music" and "Art of the Duo" programs in the United States, as well as Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. In November 2017 they appeared in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, and in April 2018 performed as guests at a G7 Summit event held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Ezra is currently ensemble-in-residence and at the newly-formed Emerald Coast Chamber Music Festival and Institute.

BESTE KALENDER

A frequent performer on concert and opera stages internationally, Turkish-Canadian mezzo-soprano Beste Kalender was featured as The New Artist of The Month by Musical America Worldwide after her recital debut with Warren Jones at Carnegie Hall in 2017. Beste has recently performed at Opera San Miguel (Mexico), Helikon Opera (Russia), Bolshoi Theatre (Belarus), Bologna Opera (Italy) and Les Chorégies d'Orange (France), as well as with various companies in Canada. Her professional debut was as CARMEN with Calgary Opera and American role debut was as CENERENTOLA at Music Academy of The West. Among her accolades, Beste was named Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques and won the 2019 Prix Jeune Espoir Lyrique Canadien, the 2016 Sylva-Gelber Foundation Award and the 2018 Inaugural Stuart Hamilton Memorial Award. www.bestekalender.com

ALEX KLEIN

Alex Klein is a Brazilian-born Grammy-Award winning oboist hailed as one of his instruments’ top performers in the World. Winner of top prizes in international competitions in Geneva, New York, Prague and Tokyo, Klein served as Principal Oboe with the Chicago Symphony under Barenboim, departing due to Musician’s Focal Dystonia, later returning with Riccardo Muti and receiving Emeritus status. Klein studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and is the founder and Artistic Director of the FEMUSC Festival in Brazil. His dozens of recording titles have received wide critical acclaim. Klein is currently Principal Oboe with the Calgary Philharmonic in Canada and maintains an international career as performer and pedagogue.

MADOC STRING QUARTET

The Madoc Quartet:  Four accomplished orchestral musicians sharing a passion for the string quartet discovered in each other the desire to play classical music for people who rarely, if ever, get to hear a professional concert hall performance.  Finessing the traditional string quartet repertoire and exploring new sounds in music by modern and particularly Canadian composers, the Madoc Quartet is primed to bring great music to audiences everywhere.  "Canadian composers are writing the music for our time," Sebastian Sallans, quartet leader, says. "The string quartet is a sonorous, versatile and stunningly beautiful instrument for which the great composers wrote their best music.” 

PHILIP MOREHEAD

Philip Morehead retired in 2015 after 34 years at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Since coming to Canada, he has been a member of PROBUS North and the Dwight Lions Club. With his wife Patricia he has taken part in a number of Serenade concerts at All Saints' Anglican Church and has performed in several local music theater productions. He is a member of the Muskoka Big Band and Music Director for the Highlands Opera Studio in Haliburton, where last summer he conducted Richard Strauss' opera Ariadne auf Naxos. Mr. Morehead is also an editor of reference books and the author of The Penguin Thesaurus and The New International Dictionary of Music. www.philipmorehead.com

RAINER MARIA RILKE

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) was a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist. He is "widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets". He wrote both verse and highly lyrical prose. Several critics have described Rilke's work as "mystical". His writings include one novel, several collections of poetry and several volumes of correspondence in  which he invokes images that focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude and anxiety. These themes position him as a transitional figure between traditional and modernist writers.

SEBASTIAN SALLANS

Sebastian Sallans, violinist, was born in Madoc, Ontario. He is well-known not only as a violinist of great skill, but also as a versatile multi-genre musician who plays with great sensitivity and beauty. He graduated in 2014 from the University of Toronto with a B.Mus.Performance Violin degree. Sallans has performed with many orchestras throughout Ontario and Quebec including symphonies from Sudbury, North Bay (principle 2nd/Guest Associate Concertmaster) Abitibi-Témiscamingue (Assistant Concert Master/Soloist) and Niagara. Sebastian studied under Mark Skazinetsky (TSO), Jonathan Crowe (TSO), Karoli Sziladi (NACO), Michael Frischenschlager (Salzburg Mozarteum), Andrew Wan (OSM)  and Victor Dernovski  (l’Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse) and continues to pursue advanced instruction.

SHARON SINGER

Sharon Singer, poet and librettist, wrote the book and libretto for the opera Isis and Osiris, Gods of Egypt, composed by Peter-Anthony Togni, which had its world premiere at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in 2016. Highlights of the opera are currently streaming on YouTube. Sharon has four published poetry books to her credit, as well as three CDs and a long history of spoken word performances in Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Dallas and New York. www.sharonsinger.com

JAMIE THOMPSON

Flutist Jamie Thompson studied at The Royal Conservatory and the University of Toronto. He undertook advanced studies at Banff and Music at Shawnigan with Robert Aitken. He pursued private study with Louis Moyse and Douglas Stewart, and master classes with Geoffrey Gilbert and Marcel Moyse. His Suzuki training took place in Kingston, Ontario. The freelance musician belongs to the Toronto Musicians' Association and is a member of Fiori with harpist Sharlene Wallace and the Kalais Trio with Bruce Redstone (saxophone) and Peteris Zarins (piano). Jamie has been on The Royal Conservatory faculty since 1989.

LESLIE TOWNSEND

Originally from London, UK, Leslie Townsend is classically trained in violin and piano. Studying in three world famous conservatories his performing career has taken him on tour in Africa, Europe, Canada and Asia. Inspired and supported by amazing teachers and family, at fourteen he played as soloist in Vivaldi’s “Winter.” Yehudi Menuhin called him “a player of passion and interest.” In search of his family and musical heritage he studied in Russia, where his great-grandmother had studied piano. Returning to England his string quartet won prizes at Trinity Laban and nationally before touring France and Switzerland. In Vienna he learned the precision and gracefulness of the Viennese style, before starting a busy playing career working for the BBC and teaching students.

GENA VAN OOSTEN

Canadian Mezzo-soprano Gena van Oosten is a graduate of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program at the Vancouver Opera. She was awarded the Vancouver Opera’s Kurt Sickert Memorial Scholarship and has appeared in various roles throughout their 2018/19 and 2019/20 season, with roles including Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Flora in Verdi’s La Traviata, and Tisbe in La Cenerentola. She is a winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Western Canada District, as well as the 2018 Concerto Competition winner for the University of Toronto from where she holds a Masters of Music degree in Voice Performance. www.genavanoosten@gmail.com