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

Buddy Black & The Ghost Umbrellas: “The Story on the Road to Waterloo”

Buddy Black

Buddy Black and the Ghost Umbrellas will guide you down dusty roads. Their ragged music, a guided tour through the history of folk, country, and punk, will lead you from the country down to the sea, to the place where we all come together. Continue reading

Page Tuner: “The Man Who Sold The World: David Bowie & the 1970s”

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Early on in his remarkably well-researched book, “The Man Who Sold The World: David Bowie & the 1970s”, Peter Doggett posits that Bowie’s seminal folk-rock song “Changes” is a thesis statement for his entire legend, a sort of musical I Ching wherein all the complexities and possibilities of David Jones the man combined to form David Bowie, the legend. Continue reading

Motion Pictures: “20,000 Days On Earth”

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The rock biography is a tough form to work with these days. With the expansion of the documentary form and the rise of the “mockumentary”, the format is rife with expectations and clichés. “20,000 Days On Earth” manages to avoid all of this by sidestepping any concept of straightforward documentary. Instead, the film functions as a sort of biography of the myth, rather than the man. Continue reading

Jason Sadites: “Tales”

Jason Sadites: "Tales" (2014)

Jason Sadites: “Tales” (2014)

The ultimate goal of musicianship, as I understand it, is to reach a point where personal expression is not limited by external factors like technical ability or straightforward commercialism. Once you’ve reached a point where you can play anything that comes to mind, then the great infinite plateau of musical ideas stretches out before you like an ocean of time. On his latest release, guitarist and composer Jason Sadites has further shed the trappings of the concept of “genre”, and entered into a rich world of diffused pure instrumental expression. By tapping a couple of world-class musicians to accompany him, he has exponentially multiplied the sonic possibilities of the guitar as a composition tool. Unbound by mechanics, he is free to roam his own particular universe as a guitar-wielding free radical. Continue reading

Will Gillespie: “Learning How To Let Go”

"Learning How To let Go" by Will Gillespie

“Learning How To let Go” by Will Gillespie

“Move as quickly as you can/ you’ll never be this young again.”- Never Be This Young

Will Gillespie’s latest album “Learning How to Let Go” is intimate in the extreme. You can hear fingers touching guitar strings. You can hear the air in the studio. You can practically hear the dust floating around the room. Gillespie’s voice is completely unadorned and closely recorded, like he’s singing into your ear without any amplification. The percussion is simple and unobtrusive, letting the guitar and the odd instrumental solo take centre stage, along with the voice. Then there are otherworldly touches of analogue drum machine, which places the album firmly in the present musical climate. It’s an electro-jazz-folk-rock album by a fidgety songwriter who is looking within to find the guidance he needs to navigate the external world. Continue reading

Metamorphosis @ Royal Alexandra Theatre

Curtain @ Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto ON

Curtain @ Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto ON

Last week I attended at performance of Metamorphosis at the Royal Alexandra Theatre here in Toronto. This production premiered in 2006 in London. It was adapted for the stage from Kafka’s novel by an innovative Icelandic company called Vesturport, and this is the first mounting of the production in Canada. The big draw for me was the fact that this production is scored by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, of the Bad Seeds/Grinderman. Continue reading

Mozart Masterworks Concert, Toronto Symphony Orchestra

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

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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