Sep 18, 2013
Dominic Teresi's 'My Musik'
Inspired by the CBC Radio 2 programme “This is My Music,” we have launched a series in which Tafelmusik musicians offer their reflections on various pieces of music that play a special part in their lives. view full listing
J.D. Zelenka: Sonatas for two oboes and bassoon, played by Ensemble Zefiro
I start with this amazing recording because it is perhaps the beginning of my acquaintance and subsequent love affair with period woodwind instruments. I first came in contact with it while in grad school at Yale. By my second year there I had already developed a hearty interest in baroque and classical music and I formed a chamber ensemble consisting of two oboes, bassoon and continuo on modern instruments. Of course, we dove directly into Zelenka's trio sonatas which are THE pieces to play in this formation and I picked up the Zefiro recording as a reference to help get to know the works. For those of you who don't know Zefiro, they are an Italian period instrument group led by Afredo Bernardini (oboe), who we recently had as a guest leader at Tafelmusik, joined by the Grazzi brothers, Paolo and Alberto on oboe and bassoon respectively. I previously knew nothing about these musicians and very little about period performance practice in general. My initial reaction to this recording was of disbelief and astonishment. The virtuosity, musicality, and sheer excitement of their playing was utterly overwhelming. I had no idea baroque woodwinds could be played like this and was so enchanted that I listened to this recording most frequently during my hour-long commute to New Haven. The relentless and driving intensity of Zelenka's music coupled with Bernardini and the Grazzi brother's stellar virtuosity was the perfect way to get me through my commute. Let me just say that I got multiple speeding tickets during the weeks leading up to my group's first performance and by the end of the year had my first baroque bassoon.
Cannonball Adderley: Somethin' Else.
It is a little known fact around here that I started musical life as a saxophone player. My first teacher was a jazz alto player and when I was about 13 or 14 he told me to go out and buy some jazz records and gave me the names of a few players to look for: Charlie Parker, Art Pepper, Cannonball Adderly, etc … I dutifully went down to the local Tower Records store and by pure dumb luck one of the first records I came home with was Cannonball Adderley's Somethin' Else. Thirty years later this is still perhaps my favorite jazz album of all times. Miles Davis is featured as a sideman and is of course brilliant, but it is really Adderley who blows me away on this record. I love the soulful influence of gospel music in all of his solos and this album has the all-time greatest rendition of Autumn Leaves. Later on in university I gained a much wider exposer to jazz playing in big band and combo during the four years of my undergrad degree. I remain particularly fond of bop and post-bop from the 1950s and '60s, and am a big fan of Mingus, Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Hank Mobley, Jackie McLean, and many others – but I always come back to Cannonball and Somethin' Else.
J.S. Bach: Cantatas 18, "Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt"
Trying to choose your favourite Bach cantata is like trying to choose your favourite child, but one of my most beloved is BWV 18. It is an early work with an unusual scoring: soprano, tenor and bass with four violas, a cello, a bassoon, and continuo. Bach later wrote a version that uses recorders, but I prefer without. Notice anything missing? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the violin but a little break every once and a while isn't such a bad thing, right? The dark scoring creates such a delicious texture and the Sinfonia is one of my favorite pieces of instrumental music by Bach. It is part sinfonia, part canzona, part ciaccona, and seems poised perfectly midway between the seventeenth and engithennth centuries in style. The Purcell Quartet recording features Emma Kirkby, Charles Daniels, and Peter Harvey – could you ask for anything better?
The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour
When I'm not spending my evenings playing concerts at Trinity St. Paul's, I can often be found in my basement studio working on the reeds I have to make for the several different bassoons I play. Reeds wear out regularly and each bassoon requires a different size and shape, so I spend a fair amount of time doing this patient work. I often listen to music while reed-making, including music I grew up with. When I was young, I was a fanatical aficionado of classic rock from the 1960s and '70s. It all started with the three hand-me-down records my elder brother bequeathed me when I was nine or ten years old. They were the Beatle's Magical Mystery Tour, Help! and Abby Road. These being the only records I owned, I listened to them over and over, etching them so strongly into my brain that even to this day I cannot hear the songs on these records out of order without being disturbed.
Giovanni Battista Fontana: Sonate a 1.2.3, played by Ensemble Sonnerie
This collection of eighteen solo, duo, and trio sonatas is the only extant music from the seventeenth-century Italian composer G.B. Fontana. They can be played by various combinations of violins, cornetto, viola da gamba, and dulcian. The Sonnerie recording is the only complete recording I know of, and includes exquisite performances by some wonderful musicians including Monica Huggett, violin, Bruce Dicky, cornetto, and Sarah Cunningham, viola da gamba. Fontana's music is ethereal, texturally rich, and sublimely beautiful. It exemplifies what I love most about the stile moderno: invention, rhetoric, and beautiful sonorities. I love the amazing tonal variety Sonnerie achieves on this recording, which is due in part to the luxuriously large continuo section composed of gamba, dulcian, theorbo, lirone, harpsichord, and organ all used in various inventive combinations.
Song of the Day: Horace Silver "Que Pasa," from the album Song For My Father