Sgt. Pepper reinvented

Picture Courtesy of Pop Matters

Picture Courtesy of Pop Matters

Andrew Burashko was introduced to the Beatles for the first time when he arrived in Canada in 1973 aged eight years old, part of a large wave of Jewish emigration from the then-Soviet Union. He’s been a fan ever since.

“The first pop music I heard was by the Beatles. The first two albums were Help and Abbey Road. And I just became addicted to them.”

That beginning has turned into a life-long love affair with the music John, Paul, George and Ringo. And it has found its way into Burashko’s music. His favourite Beatle back then was Paul.

Today Burashko is a classically trained pianist and the artistic director of Toronto’s Art of Time ensemble which is in its 12th season, with a mandate to give classical music contemporary relevance and context. Art of Time is “committed to finding new ways of blending classical music with other genres as well as other art forms.”

It was a natural for the group to adapt Beatles music including the iconic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. So they prepared this new look at Sgt. Pepper’s in time for the 45th anniversary of the released of the album in June 2012.

On Nov. 28 at Dominion-Chalmers United Church (where else?), this reimagining will be part of the 2013-14 concert season of the Ottawa Chamber Music Society.

Art of Time’s ensemble for this concert includes: Andrew Burashko, piano; Véronique Mathieu, violin; Stephen Sitarski, violin; Carolyn Blackwell, viola; Doug Perry, viola; the artistic director of the OCS Roman Borys, cello; John Johnson, saxophone; Rob Piltch, guitar; Joseph Phillips; bass and Rick Sacks, drums and percussion.

And they will be joined by some big names in Canadian music: Steven Page (formerly of the Barenaked Ladies), John Mann (Spirit of the West), Andy Maize (Skydiggers), and Craig Northey (The Odds). Over the years, the ensemble has worked with artists such as Peggy Baker, Sarah Slean, Tom McCamus, Shauna Rolston, Ted Dykstra, Phil Dwyer and Michael Ondaatje.

The new interpretation of the Lennon-McCartney masterpiece features arrangements running from pop, jazz and classical composers. The one rule the arrangers had to stick to was that the vocals and vocal harmonies had to be exactly as they were on the original “ to be true to the Beatles.” These vocals are the anchor for the new work, Burashko says.

Sgt. Pepper isn’t his first Beatles effort. Art of Time reworked Abbey Road on its 40th anniversary. “It just worked like a dream and so I wanted to do another album.

Why the Beatles: “It’s the most universal music that I can think of. To me the Beatles were this remarkable freak of nature.”

Of special note: a live album will be officially launched at the Ottawa concert, the OCS says in a media release.

Art of Time Ensemble is crowdfunding the CD on Indiegogo. That campaign opened Sept. 13 and in four days has raised more than $23,000 toward its $25,000 funding goal.

OCS says there will be one $500 Ottawa Show Package perk with two tickets to the Nov. 28 show, a CD, the funder’s name in the album credits, and two T-shirts. Copies of the disc will be on sale on the night of the performance. If you want to take part in the crowdfunding:

The OCS concert season:

Oct. 19: 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Church (82 Kent St.): Pianists Lucille Chung and Alessio Bax, the husband-and-wife duo, unite for a one-piano, four-hands program. Repertoire to include Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides; Stravinsky’s Petrushka; selections from Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, and Ligeti; and three of Piazolla’s sexy neuvo tangos.

Nov. 28: 7:30 p.m. at Dominion-Chalmers United Church (355 Cooper St.): Art of Time Ensemble with Steven Page, John Mann, Andy Maize, and Craig Northey. Songs from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, except Within You, Without You by George Harrison.

Feb. 6: 7:30 p.m. at Dominion-Chalmers: Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the Vesuvius Ensemble recreate a day in the musical life of Naples in the baroque period including: the classical repertoire of the royal court and the music of the street.

Feb. 28: 7:30 p.m. at Dominion-Chalmers: The St. Lawrence String Quartet performs String Quartet No. 62 in C major, Op. 76, No. 3, among the last six string quartets Haydn wrote and said to be the most ambitious of his chamber works; Britten masterpiece, String Quartet No. 2 in C major, Op. 36; and Beethoven’s radiant String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59 no. 3.

April 22: 7:30 p.m. at Dominion-Chalmers: Pianist Menahem Pressler and the New Orford String Quartet together the series with a programme of Vivier (String Quartet No. 1), Beethoven (String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat major, Op. 74) and Schumann (Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44).

Source: Peter Robb – Calgary Herald


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