Music Connects Us.
Notes from our Artistic Director
~ November 1, 2021 ~
THE SEASONS ARE CHANGING…
Last weekend, we planted the spring bulbs in the garden and set the lights around the dwarf fir trees outside our front door. Quietly residing now at the back of the fridge is our traditional plum pudding, maturing gently under the persuasion of certain spirits. Canada Post just delivered some intended gift books from Chapters-Indigo. The surprises I’ve been picking up for months are hidden and piling up in the closets. In other words, I’m getting ready for the season I love the most – Christmas!
And so is Huron Waves building momentum towards December. Specifically, I’m referring to the project currently underway to plan, record, film, edit, promote and release our second holiday video, A Huron Waves Christmas, 2021. Once again we’re fortunate to be working with the team at FauxPop Media in Goderich, the same creative people whose work
on 2020’s Celebrate the Season with Huron Waves reached more than 20,000 screens, with 12,000 viewers on Facebook alone and others on YouTube and the music festival’s website.
The goal for A Huron Waves Christmas, 2021 is to win even more viewers than last December, and we’ll do this with terrific Huron talent, a few regional guests, a fresh approach to showing off the beauty of the county and, most importantly, wonderful choral, instrumental and vocal music, plus a few surprises. Filming begins soon. I’ll have a full report as the highlight of my December 1 newsletter.
AN HONOUR of a LIFETIME IS COMING…
…to a friend of Huron Waves – the distinguished Canadian actor, Graham Greene. Canada’s Walk of Fame recently announced its 2021 laureates and we were thrilled to see Graham’s name among the famous and deserving recipients. Over Thanksgiving dinner I heard one of Graham’s friends deliver a personal toast saluting and praising him as a man who has excelled in his craft, worn his celebrity proudly but humbly, and devoted his career to being an example to young people, especially the First Nations youth of Canada.
Photo of Graham Greene with Drummers and Dancers from Kettle and Stony Point, 2020.
Huron Waves was especially fortunate to have Graham host our 2020 video. At one filming session near a ceremonial fire set beside the Lake, we witnessed the deep respect and admiration which the young dancers from Kettle & Stony Point and the older First Nations musicians of the region held for Mr. Greene. It was clear that just meeting their hero and then posing with him for this photograph would be one of the great memories of their lives. We concur with their high regard and send our sincere congratulations to this gentleman of stage, film, tv and the inaugural Huron Waves video!
THE JIGSAW PUZZLES ARE SELLING…
Sales promotions often speak of ‘last minute shopping tips’ for seasonal gifts but I’d like to make my suggestion an early idea for holiday shopping. What could be finer that one of Huron Waves’ puzzles with just enough pieces (308, to be exact) to make them fun and not too difficult for assembling into the beautiful image of a Lake Huron sunset, captured by Goderich photographer, Dave Wise.
Photo by Dave Wisexxxxxx
Puzzles are available from Huron Waves Music Festival
Board Members and local businesses in Huron County and Stratford.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
to inquire about where you can pick up yours.
CANADIAN PIANISTS KEEP BUILDING DISTINCTIONS…
Last month you may recently have read that a young Montreal pianist, Xiaoyu (Bruce) Liu, won top honours in the Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition, one of the world’s senior competitions for keyboard mastery. Bruce’s performance of Chopin’s Concerto in E minor, Opus 11 with the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra was, by all accounts, stunning. This photograph from his competition finale says all there is to know about the winner’s vigour.
Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu performing at the 18th International Chopin Piano Competition.
Photo by Wojciech Grzędziński / NIFC
Canadian pianists seem to have a particular affinity for interpreting the music of Chopin. Two pianists in particular come to mind: Janina Fialkowska, whom some readers will remember from her appearances at Stratford Summer Music, and Jan Lisiecki, from Calgary, another Stratford alumnus and, I admit, a particular favourite of mine. Jan, who is 26, has built an extraordinary international career yet he seems always to remember Canadian audiences and settings so we’re fortunate once every two years or so to experience him in performance in Ontario.
Because November is the time of the year when I nominate my personal Classical Record of the Year (and suggest it’s a first-class gift for seasonal giving), Jan’s newest CD – a two-disc set presenting Chopin’s Complete Nocturnes – gets my five gold stars for 2022. Recorded in Berlin in October, 2020 for the Deutsche Grammophon Premium label (# B003411202), this is a superb compilation of 21 works that deserves to be in everyone’ classical collection, as it is in mine.
In his introduction to the set, Jan writes: “When you begin playing an instrument, there is music that draws you in and propels you – those works you aspire to one day, maybe, hopefully play. Many of these will be challenging, technically demanding pieces, to which your early abilities will be no match. But Chopin’s Nocturnes can provide an early introduction to the kaleidoscope of his inventive and enthralling music. It is thus that I was introduced to Chopin at a young age, with his first Nocturne (op. 9/11), spending many hours searching for the secrets hidden within. I was enamoured, and through the years of becoming better acquainted with my instrument – a process that continues to this day – Chopin’s Nocturnes have kept me company.
“They embody what I cherish most in his music: the yearning, captivating melody, the framework he provides for flexibility, the endless fresh ideas. Chopin was a master of the piano, using its full range of tonal possibilities while spinning long, melodic cantabile phrases over a rich harmonization.
“The Nocturnes hail from the night – a magical time of endless possibilities – and present a personal story from the interpreter to the listener. They are a canvas, a sphere to dive deep into one’s own emotions and thoughts.
“Yet, most importantly, they remain elegant and simple. After all, as Chopin himself said, ‘Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.’ ” Jan Lisiecki
Everyone has a method of purchasing recordings but if it helps, let me suggest contacting the online Canadian recording store, L’Atelier Grigorian, grigorian.com, where this CD set sells for $29.98
And there you have the Huron Waves musical news for November…an exciting new seasonal video underway, an honour for the host of our December, 2020 video, two recommendations for holiday shopping, and a CD recommendation for which you’ll thank me every time you’re moved by the music.
Till we’re together again, stay safe and healthy. And remember that Music Connects Us.
John A. Miller, Artistic Director November 1, 2021