Urtext Facsimiles of Masterworks from Henle Verlag
May 31, 2012

Thanks to our partnership with the University of Ottawa Music Library, we presently have a collection of interesting books on display at The Leading Note.  Because the Library is currently renovating part of their facility, we are holding onto some new aquisitions that we sourced for them until the Fall.  We are usually unable to keep rare books like these in stock so a special thank you to the Library for allowing us to put them on display for our customers.

The collection includes numerous facsimiles of manuscripts and original publications of masterworks from Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Chopin, Debussy, and other composers.

These facsimiles are published by Henle Verlag and are reproductions of the sources used to make their famous “urtext” editions. The facsimiles are beautifully bound with sewn spines and cloth covers.

Although we cannot stock these facsimiles regularly in our store, they are always available for special order. Come by our shop soon to view the books. They make great gifts for music lovers! You are welcome to purchase any of the facsimiles on the shelf (don’t worry, we will order another copy for the Library).

Special Choral Books from Podium Now in Store
May 30, 2012

We at The Leading Note have been busy in recent weeks helping to organize Podium, the biennial choral conference hosted by the Association of Canadian Choral Communities. We had a booth in the trade show at Podium this past weekend. For this special choral conference, we stocked a wide variety of books on choral strategies, vocal techniques, warm-ups, and sight-singing. Many of these books are new to the Leading Note and we are very excited to have them in stock. Please come by the shop to browse our special display which is now located in the choral room.

We also have multiple copies of many of the choral pieces performed at Podium as well as the titles featured in The Leading Note’s Children’s Choir Reading Session, hosted by local clinician Jackie Hawley. Among these are some of our top-selling choral titles, including Klee Wyck by Brian Tate and Al Shlosha and Shiru by Allan E. Naplan. We also featured several new pieces including the following:

Laura Hawley: Au champ d’honneur

Au champ d'honneurAu champ d’honneur is the official French adaptation of John McCrae’s famous poem In Flanders Fields for use in Remembrance Day ceremonies. Hawley has set the text for unison children’s choir with minor divisi used sparingly at the works climax. Unlike the original English poem, Au champ d’honneur has rarely been set for choir. Hawley’s composition is consequently a very useful addition to the repertoire of Canadian choral music.

Willi Zwozdesky: Hearth and Fire

This new arrangement by Vancouver composer Willi Zwozdesky of the traditional song Hearth & Fire is set for three-part children’s choir with piano. The setting is expertly crafted, moving from the unison beginning to a three-part climax that can optionally be sung a cappella.

Sandy Scofield: Song of Life

Song of LifeSandy Scofield is a singer/songwriter from the Saulteaux and Cree First Nations. Her Song of Life uses vocal sounds to convey a joyful celebration of life without using a literal text. The piece is scored for a solo singer who leads the chorus in canon. The piece is accompanied by rattle and hand drum.

Donald Patriquin: Carol of the Field Mice

The text of this new carol by Donald Patriquin is taken from Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. Sung by a troup of field mice carrying lanterns through the night a-carolling, the song is overheards by Mole and Rat as they scavenge in the kitchen. Patriquin’s setting includes a few good vocal challenges for young singers including a descant on the final verse. This makes a good twist on the familiar Christmas concert repertoire.

Garrett/Nickel: I Dreamed of Rain

I Dreamed of Rain is a beautiful song by American singer-songwriter Jan Garrett arranged here for SSA choir by Larry Nickel, the curator of Cypress Choral Music. The arrangement is set so that each verse builds on the textural density of the previous one. Some brief four-part writing is reserved for the final coda, which ends a cappella.


We also have many other works by local composers whose works were performed at Podium, including Elise Letourneau, James Wright, and myself.


Fun Friday: Let the Music Move You!
May 25, 2012

The concert-going experience is pretty predictable. Often beautiful, and sometimes breath-taking – but predictable. You sit and watch while the orchestra sits and reads and plays. It’s an aural experience.

And yet the students at the University of Maryland are striving to make the classical music concert experience much more.

Their concerts feature everything from theatrical lighting design, to narrations read by orchestra members, to choreographed movement, as seen in this performance of Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”, choreographed by Liz Lerman.


What I find fascinating is that the opposite has been happening in the theatrical world for some time now. A number of musicals have been staged with actors who are also musicians – providing their own accompaniment on stage as part of the production. Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, Finn’s A New Brain, Herman’s Mack and Mabel, and Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, Company and Sweeney Todd have all been staged with the actor-musician concept. Here’s the cast of the 2006 Tony Award-winning Revival of Company performing “Side by Side”, directed by John Doyle.


While the U of M orchestra has taken “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” – an abstract piece – and has added a layer of theatricality through movement, Doyle has taken a theatrical piece and, by putting instruments in the hands of his actors, has moved it towards the abstract by pushing the “suspension of disbelief” line.

Does the added dimension of movement in a classical work and instruments on a theatrical stage add to or detract from your enjoyment of the work?
Should orchestral musicians stay in their chairs and should theatre musicians stay in the pit? Leave us a comment with your thoughts on the matter!