Home     Content     Articles      La Scena Musicale     Search   

La Scena Musicale - Vol. 8, No. 1


by Wah Keung Chan / September 2, 2002

Version française...

Economic crises in orchestras and in the recording industry dominated the news last year. The events of September 11 had an impact on the industry worldwide. However, a look at La Scena Musicale's online database of classical music events and the list of new recordings shows that music making is still alive.

Some highlights from last year stand out. A concert featuring Tan Dun conducting the Montreal Symphony Orchestra as part of McGill's MusiMars at a sold-out 600-seat Pollack Hall proved that contemporary music can sell. It also showed what is good and bad about today's music. While I cannot hum any parts of Tan Dun's cello concerto, I found the work riveting. Like finely crafted writing, the enticing opening was sustained throughout with a continuous stream of ideas that caressed my sensibilities. Today's composers could really learn from this simple concept: linking the different sections of the composition. Examples of great writing are abundant. Talk to any professional writer, and he or she will tell you that the key to interesting writing is the transition from one idea to another, and not only the wit of the individual word. This simple concept seems to be a key element in the great compositions of the past, yet twentieth-century composers forgot that skill in their desire to create the next new musical idea.

The first Jeunesses Musicales Montreal International Music Competition in voice was a success. Canada did particularly well with three of the top four prizes, showing that our singers are developing into excellent musicians. Musicianship won out as Measha Brueggergosman took home the top honours with the most intelligent and musically convincing interpretation. Vocally, singers could learn a lot from the South Korean contingent; they had the most refined techniques, with four out of their five singers among the best voices in the competition. Indeed, three Koreans made it to the final ten, but in the end did not place high because their singing seemed to lack emotion.

Have the three tenors sung their swan song? This was the question after this summer's World Cup of Soccer. If we were to present a Canadian Three Tenors, we would see onstage Ben Heppner, Richard Margison and Michael Schade. Schade is the featured cover artist in The Music Scene, a special English issue of La Scena Musicale in September, serving southern Ontario and western Canada. As La Scena Musicale begins its seventh year, and as our magazine increases in size, we will introduce new features consistent with our mission as a nonprofit organization promoting classical music. Beginning with this issue, we present a new "Introduction to Music" column" (on clapping) and a new column "Conductors' Choice" (Yannick Nézet-Séguin tells us why Mahler's Third turns him on). More new features will be presented during the year as space permits. We've also been working on improving our Bring a Teen outreach program and will reveal details in the months to come.

La Scena Musicale is brought to you by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers. We are always striving to improve every aspect of our features and services. The readers' feedback is crucial, and we invite you to fill out the readership survey at the back of the magazine. Have a great 2002–2003 season! And don't forget to sample our season's picks!

Version française...

(c) La Scena Musicale