Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quintimacy - recorded LIVE May 2008

Last year I embarked on a new venture with a group of like-minded musicians and Quintimacy was born: a Toronto-based group dedicated to rebuilding a close working relationship between composer, performer and audience. We were concerned about the lack of intimate and accessible performances of special and sometimes rare selections from the scope of vocal and chamber music and, much like Mickey and Judy, we decided to just do something about it.

The concept of a return to an intimate salon-style of music presentation with conversation, proximity and artistic immediacy began generating a buzz among artists and music-lovers, performers and audiences, with our very warmly received debut event on November 16. "Conversation, Canapes and Cancions" featured seldom heard songs by Henri Duparc and Federico Mompou, as well as witty inventive pieces for toy piano (yes, toy piano) by our own Chad Martin. February's audience thrilled to "Ravel and other Pleasures" as acclaimed guest artists Shauna Basiuk (flute) and Liza McLennan (cello) joined us in Maurice Ravel’s spectacular Chansons Mad├ęcasses for voice, piano, cello and flute, framed by instrumental solo and chamber works in a scintillating and eclectic program of exotic, passionate and evocative style.

We closed our first season with mirrored poetic expressions of love on May 3, 2009, featuring Richard Wagner's lush and rapturous Wesendonck lieder as well as Franz Liszt’s transcription of Isolde’s Liebestod, and culminating in the premiere of a new commissioned song cycle by Quintimacy’s resident composer Chad Martin, "i will open petal by petal myself," setting love poems by the inimitable ee cummings. This performance was recorded live in a lovely private home, on Avenue Road near St Clair.

Here, for the first time ever, I present to you Quintimacy recorded live in performance:

About the Artists:

Dynamic and versatile mezzo-soprano Ramona Carmelly has captivated audiences in opera, cabaret, jazz, concert and theatre roles from the sublime to the ridiculous in more than a dozen languages, and the critics have raved: "Her performance was a lesson in how deft acting can overcome the limitations of opera on the concert stage," (Opera Canada) and "Ramona Carmelly, with her plush mezzo, was outstanding." (Globe & Mail). In recent years, Ramona was a finalist for the Christina & Louis Quilico Award from the Ontario Arts Foundation and won a coveted position in the Apprentice Artist program with Des Moines Metro Opera. Recently Ramona was featured with the Talisker Players in the premiere of Emily, the Way You Are, a one-woman opera about Emily Carr composed expressly for her. Previous highlights include the Alto solo in Mahler's Third Symphony with conductor Richard Bradshaw and one of the first PEN-Canada concerts in memory of slain WSJ correspondent Daniel Pearl.

Joseph Ferretti has performed extensively throughout Europe, Canada and the USA as both soloist and collaborative artist. Recent series appearances include NUMUS, the Banff Centre for the Arts, COC's Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre, and Canadian Music Centre's New Music in New Places. Joseph frequently performs as a duo pianist with Elaine Lau. Their recording of music by Jack Behrens is featured on an album release by Capstone Records. Dr. Ferretti has been on the piano faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2003.

Elaine Lau has appeared as keyboardist and soloist with Canadian orchestras, and has been broadcast on CBC and Public Radio in the United States, performing Canadian works. A new music enthusiast, Elaine has had the opportunity to work with many composers. Recent appearances include performances with the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, and on the NUMUS and Canadian Opera Company's Piano Virtuoso concert series. As duo-pianist with Joseph Ferretti, she has performed across Canada and the USA. In 2007, she was invited to present at the CFMTA/MTNA/ RCM Collaborative Conference. Elaine has served on the piano faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2003.

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