Segovia: “Music For The Guitar”

Segovia- Music For The GuitarContinuing my exploration of the history of the guitar as a concert instrument, today I am digging into “Music for The Guitar”, an LP released in the late sixties/early seventies featuring the immortal titan of classical guitar, Andrés Segovia. Continue reading

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Guitar Music & Songs of the Spanish Renaissance

Guitar Music & Songs of the Spanish Renaissance (LP, 1968, Everest)

Guitar Music & Songs of the Spanish Renaissance (LP, 1968, Everest)

Today being Thursday, I am exploring the ultimate throwback in the form of the earliest surviving compositions for the guitar, contained on this remarkable and arcane slab of vinyl. Continue reading

Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” @ TSO

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My wife and I recently attended the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. This famous proto-modernist work is one of the most popular and controversial pieces of music of all time. Originally conceived as a ballet, the work has achieved fame for its incredible rejection of classical ideas of tonality and key signature. The first performance in Paris caused a famous riot, as patrons reacted violently against the shocking musical motifs and decidedly non-traditional dancing.  Continue reading

Mozart Masterworks Concert, Toronto Symphony Orchestra

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January 22nd, 2014, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto ON

Program:

Featured Performers:

There’s a particular flavor to Mozart’s work. He never walks anywhere if he can cartwheel, if you get my meaning. The man was an inveterate showoff, and an indisputable genius. Continue reading

Interview: Lee Piazza (The Benefit of the Free Man)

Lee Piazza (lead singer of The Benefit of the Free Man)

Lee Piazza (lead singer of The Benefit of the Free Man)

The Benefit of the Free Man are one of my favourite Toronto bands. They marry dark poetic meditations with the lush drama of acoustic strings. They employ deeply absorbing rhythms, haunting melodies, and intense dynamics, all combined with a certain stately grace. Their debut EP/mini-album is one of the most affecting listening experiences I’ve had during the last year.

I sat down with their lead singer, the one and only Lee Piazza, to talk about his early love of language and rhythm, the genesis of the band, and the inspirations behind the songs on their first release. Continue reading

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 @ TSO

So many instruments, so few roadies...

So many instruments, so few roadies…

My wife and I recently attended our second performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Continue reading

Interview: Steve Poltz

Steve Poltz (thoughtful)

Steve Poltz is a restless and creative spirit. He is one-of-a-kind.  He’s a true Renaissance man who can change his artistic hat at any given moment. He is a musical shape-shifter who dances between genres. He is a well-spring of creative urges. Since his early days in the San Diego band The Rugburns, he has charted a unique and dynamic artistic path that few others would be able to pull off. Although he is presented as singer-songwriter, Poltz incorporates a wide background in music and the arts into his own unique stew of entertainment. Continue reading

The Benefit of the Free Man

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The Benefit of the Free Man are not afraid. They mine the dark places of the human psyche, extracting beauty from the loneliest places. Their warped metaphors and shifting dynamics form a type of sonic dance with the listener, and the emotions they express echo through space like voices in an empty ballroom. This is Dylan and Cohen jamming at David Lynch’s house, after conjuring the ghost of Bach. Continue reading

Mozart Symphony No. 40 @ TSO

Roy Thomson Hall, pre-show

One of the great gifts that age has bestowed upon me is my renewed appreciation for classical music. Music is a never-ending well of magic and beauty, and the deeper down into it you go, the more you are able to fathom the alchemy of sound and emotion.   Continue reading

Album Cover of the Week: “The Goldberg Variations” by Glenn Gould

 

Today, Album Cover of the Week celebrates the recent anniversaries of Glenn Gould’s birth and death. Continue reading