Cambria Master Recordings (2017)
In short, this recording and the music so beautifully performed on it are, and will continue to be for many years, a precious gift to us all in the year of our nation’s 150th birthday. - The WholeNote, Allan Pulker, January 23, 2017
Track 1 Chris Meyer: Fundy: A Poem of Wind and Waves (7:08)
Tracks 2-3 Ronald Royer: Rhapsody for Oboe, Horn and Wind Ensemble 2. Andante Maestoso, Allegretto (5:28) 3. Allegro Vivace (5:17)
Tracks 4-5 Ronald Royer: Travels with Mozart, Variations on a Theme from The Magic Flute 4. Theme, Variations 1-4 (6:46) 5. Variations 5-7, Finale (8:50)
Track 6 Alex Eddington: Saturday Night at Fort Chambly (8:21)
Track 7 John S. Gray: Allemande for Eleven Instruments (4:55)
Track 8 Jim McGrath: Serenade for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble (5:23)
Track 9 Alexander Rapoport: Whirligig for Ten Instruments (6:22)
Track 10 Howard Cable: McIntyre Ranch Country (7:52)
Introduction by Music Director Ronald Royer
In honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) presents our first commercial recording, Canadian Panorama. The creation of this album has been a journey of celebration that started in 2013 through our collaboration with seven Canadian composers who have been closely involved with the SPO. Our request to the composers was simple: provide music that would celebrate Canada’s cultural heritage and expand the musical repertoire for our talented wind players.
Canadian culture, history or geography inspires each composition featured on this album. Four works are original commissions by the SPO and four are arrangements of existing music that fit our theme. The compositions Fundy, Saturday Night at Fort Chambly and McIntyre Ranch Country are each inspired by different regions of Canada and their local folksong traditions: the East Coast, Québec, and Alberta respectively. The new works Allemande and Whirligig illustrate the ways in which European classical music has inspired Canadian composers to create new, colourful works. Rhapsody and Travels with Mozart are inspired by the rich cultural diversity of Canada. And finally, Serenade pays tribute to Canada’s vibrant film industry and culture.
The ensemble featured in this album consists of eleven wind players, two percussionists and one string bass player. One goal of this project is to help expand the limited repertoire for medium-sized woodwind ensembles such as ours. Beyond the wonderful compositions by composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak, Gounod, and Richard Strauss, we now have the addition of eight exciting Canadian works. The SPO has enjoyed many concert performances featuring this ensemble’s special musical and artistic qualities, and we are pleased to be able to share this music for Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Jim McGrath – Serenade for Clarinet and Winds
Kaye Royer: Clarinet
Serenade features the artistry of the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal clarinetist, Kaye Royer. It is a playful showpiece for the solo clarinet, exploiting the instrument’s expressive lyricism, wonderful agility and wide range. McGrath infused this work with a feeling that might remind you of Carl Stalling’s music from the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Or, one could imagine the music of Mozart mixed with Hollywood composer Randy Newman. The final ingredient is McGrath himself, adding his own unique and Canadian style to the mix. Whimsy and nostalgia suffuse the work, including some clarinet acrobatics that are sure to bring a smile. Serenade was commissioned by the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ronald Royer – Travels with Mozart: Variations on a Theme from The Magic Flute
Danielle Johannes-English Horn & Richard Burrows-Darabukkah
Theme: Bei Männern, welche Liebe Fühlen
Variation No. 1 – London – Mozart’s Symphony No. 1
Variation No. 2 – Munich – Minuet
Variation No. 3 – Mannheim – The Mannheim Orchestra
Variation No. 4 – Rome – Allegri’s Miserere
Variation No. 5 – Prague – Furiant
Variation No. 6 – Vienna – The Turkish Influence
Variation No. 7 – Paris – Gavotte
Finale – Naples- Tarantella
Travels with Mozart: Variations on a Theme from “The Magic Flute” seeks to explore the ways in which different cultures affect an artist and the artist’s music. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart spent one third of his lifetime traveling, visiting nine European countries and over two hundred cities. He was also eager to learn about, and be influenced by, cultures outside of Europe. The Turkish influence on Mozart’s music is well known through such compositions as The Abduction from the Seraglio and the Rondo alla Turca. On November 29, 1765, Beda Hubner, librarian at St. Peter’s in Salzburg, wrote in his diary: “There is a strong rumour that the Mozart family will again not long remain here, but will soon visit the whole of Scandinavia and the whole of Russia, and perhaps even travel to China, which would be a far greater journey and bigger undertaking still…”. The Mozart family didn’t have these experiences, but it is interesting to imagine how these far-flung travels might have influenced him.
Like Mozart, Royer has been profoundly influenced by his exposure to a wide range of cultures through his travels and by living in the culturally-diverse cities of Toronto and Los Angeles. In Travels with Mozart, Royer takes a theme from Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute, and brings it on a journey through Europe to North and South America, the Middle East and Asia. For each variation, Royer starts with a destination Mozart visited and uses a musical element or idea that was present in that city during Mozart’s time. Royer combines this musical element or idea with the original theme and then adds more contemporary musical elements. For some variations, Royer adds elements from music outside of Europe. In one destination, Prague, the variation is cast in the form of a Czech dance, but also picks up some Latin American rhythms and percussion. In Paris, the theme is transformed into a courtly gavotte, combined with the gamelan music of Bali. Originally written in 2006 for the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart by five commissioning orchestras, Travels with Mozart was arranged for the Canadian Panorama project.
Alexander Rapoport – Whirligig
Whirligig is an archaic name for a spinning top and was also used metaphorically to mean the great wheel of fortune (think of Feste’s “whirligig of time” in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night). The principal theme whirls and winds around a central starting note. In the first section, the theme is picked up, instrument by instrument, in a manner suggesting a fugue. The high energy of the beginning, with the whirligig in full spin, alternates with the calm of contrasting sections, where the whirligig perhaps runs down before it is wound up again. At the beginning, the clicking of instrument keys, and at the end, the sound of players blowing air through their instruments, add another dimension to the sound-scape. Loon-like calls in the contrasting sections add another interesting and Canadian twist. Whirligig was commissioned by the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra.