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THE SCOOP | Order of Canada Appointees Announced, Including Big Names From The Arts

(L-R) George Stroumboulopoulos (Photo: Danilo Ursini/ CC BY 2.0); Ardyth Brott (Photo courtesy Brott Music); Linda Manzer (Video image capture)
This week, Governor General Mary Simon announced 78 new appointments to the Order of Canada. The honorees include a diverse group of industry leaders, authors, luthiers, artists, and journalists.
The appointments feature three “companions” of the Order, the highest level of recognition, alongside 15 officers—one being an honorary officer—and 59 members.
Ardyth Brott, C.M. stands out as the Executive Director of the Brott Music Festival. As the widow of the late conductor Boris Brott, she has been pivotal in establishing the festival, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and BrottOpera. The Brott Music Festival is noted as Ontario’s premier and Canada’s largest orchestral music festival, now celebrating its 36th year. Ardyth has also achieved literary success with her best-selling book, “Jeremy’s Decisions.”
Deantha Edmunds, C.M., a native of Corner Brook, developed her musical talents from a young age, drawing inspiration from her father’s choir experiences in Hopedale, Labrador. She has been recognized for her roles as a composer, mentor, and performer, with notable audiences including King Charles and Pope Francis. 
Patricia Fraser, C.M., has been the Artistic Director of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre for almost three decades. She has played a crucial role in developing a supportive network for dance education in Canada.
Tim Jones, C.M., the former CEO of Artscape in Toronto, has significantly impacted Canada’s arts scene, contributing to the creation of cultural venues and affordable housing for artists. Currently leading Base31 in Prince Edward County, Jones continues to fuse arts, entertainment, and community development.
Linda Manzer, C.M., a renowned luthier from Almonte, Ontario, began her celebrated fifty-year career under the influence of Joni Mitchell. She apprenticed with Jean-Claude L’arrivée and Jimmy D’Aquisto, leading to innovations like the Pikasso guitar. Her recent Sunflower Guitar initiative has raised significant funds for Ukraine.
George Stroumboulopoulos, C.M., affectionately known as “Strombo,” is celebrated for his two-decade-long influence in music media. His career includes a variety of roles, from VJ on MuchMusic to hosting on CBC, Rogers, and Apple Music. He has been pivotal in showcasing emerging artists and remains a prominent figure in Canadian households.
Other distinguished recipients include filmmaker Peter Pearson, visual artist Yisa Akinbolaji, and musician and multiculturalism advocate Alfredo Caxaj.
For the complete list of honorees, see [HERE].

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A specialist in digital media for over 15 years, he has worked as a senior editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto. Latest posts by Michael Vincent (see all)

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Angela Gheorghiu Explores Puccini’s Rare Gems

A te, Puccini (Signum)
★★★☆☆
Presto Classical | Apple Music
Giacomo Puccini died 100 years ago of throat cancer, on November 29, 1924. Almost every opera he wrote was an instant hit, so he hardly bothered to write anything else – other than some church music, a string quartet and a fistful of drawing-room songs that get little attention. I don’t think I have seen a complete album of them before.
His thumbprint is recognisable throughout. A ‘Storiella d’amore’ in his early 20s sounds like a sketch for a Mimi aria in La Bohème a decade later. The title song, ‘A te’, written when he was just 16, sounds like chippings off Verdi’s woodpile. ‘Avanti, Urania’ belongs more to Tosca mode. The songs, with piano accompaniment, are mildly enjoyable, borderline trivial. The last track, ‘Melanconia’ aims for psychological profundity and misses by a country mile. Puccini had many assets but depth, spirituality and intellect were not prominent in his creative portfolio.
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Accompanied by Vincenzo Scalera, the Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu milks these miniatures for all – and more than – they have got. The last time she sang in London, Gheorghiu was savaged in the Times for singing her first three arias some way out of tune with the orchestra. Here there is no problem with intonation (unless it was digitally corrected). Gheorghiu’s instrument is still formidable and pleasurable, notwithstanding a tendency to shrillness in the upper storeys. I’d give the producer Anna Barry a cover credit for keeping emotional overflow in check and letting Gheorghiu remind us how she sounded at her abundant best.
To read more from Norman Lebrecht, subscribe to Slippedisc.com.
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Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries. Latest posts by Norman Lebrecht (see all)

REPORT | In The Struggle Of Classical Musicians Vs. Online Bots, The Faceless Algorithms Often Win

Image by Gerd Altmann (CC0C/Pixabay)
Classical music, in many respects, is an odd fit for the digital world. When it comes to classical music streaming, for example, the nature of the genre means that mainstream services like Spotify fall short when it comes to being able to find that perfect version of your favourite work.
Even setting aside the unprecedented issues that AI or artificial intelligence presents, copyright flags often result in video deletions where no legal issues actually exist. It’s a brave, and oh-so-complicated, new world out there.
Content Creators vs Musicians
DIY music videos on YouTube, TikTok and other online social media platforms can come from many sources, but they roughly break into two categories: content creators and the musicians themselves.
Content Creators
Anyone per se can create videos to post on the web, and add music from various sources. Here, copyright problems surrounding classical music often stem from confusion over the issues in play.
Currently, Canadian law protects a composer’s copyright for a period of their lifetime plus 70 years. That still, of course, leaves the works of many composers who died centuries ago.
That’s the crux, however — it’s only the work as they wrote it that is open to the public domain. Specific arrangements, for example, may not be.
Content creators tend to use work that is already recorded, however, and that opens up another side of copyright many people are not aware of.

In Canada, sound recordings are copyright protected for a 50-year period from the date of fixation (or when the copyright took effect).
The performer’s rights also enter into the picture, and are also protected for a 50-year period.

There are further complications in both cases depending on when the copyright was fixed, and when the law itself was issued.
So… the solution is to play the work yourself, right?
Musicians
The answer is, sadly, maybe yes, maybe no. There is no actual legal issue when a musician or ensemble plays, for example, the works of J.S. Bach, or Beethoven, or Mozart.
But, someone needs to explain that to the bots.
Because of a push to recognize copyright in online social media forums, platforms like Facebook and YouTube monitor the music in videos that are posted. Their algorithm compares the notes to the vast library of works in its catalogue, and then renders a verdict: copyright, yes or no.
It’s easy to see where the issue arises.
That catalogue consists of works that have been submitted by record companies and performing rights societies. The potential clash with classical musicians seems inherent. The bots can’t make the subtle distinctions between different recordings and renditions of the same work.
The Algorithm Is Always Right
When the pandemic first sent a wave of classical musicians online, the complaints first began to surface in numbers. You play Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001 for solo violin in a video that you post online, the bots flag it, and it’s silenced.
There is no human intervention, even at the appeal stage, to make sense of the ruling. What the bots decide, stays in force.
In an even more bizarre twist, a musician who plays work that they have previously recorded and released themselves (even original compositions) may find that the bots deem it a copyright violation — and there is no one to explain to that you’re the actual copyright holder.
It’s a Kafkaesque development that was clearly not anticipated by programmers, and, despite the passage of years, and any efforts to negotiate a different deal for classical musicians, is still taking place.
From professional musicians to student videos, posting a classical music video of your own work means taking a chance that it will be flagged, and the audio removed.
And online, there’s no one to hear you scream.
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Anya Wassenberg is a Toronto City Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor. Latest posts by Anya Wassenberg (see all)

COFFEE BREAK | Eight Of The Most Iconic Uses Of Classical Music In Film

Maestro, the Bradley Cooper biopic about Leonard Bernstein, puts a spotlight on the late conductor/composer’s own music, along with the music of Beethoven, Walton, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, which he conducts in a moving scene. The soundtrack, featuring the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, is tearing up the classical music charts.
Naturally, the music is an integral part of Bernstein’s story. Western classical music, however, has provided the emotional underpinnings to many a Hollywood movie. In fact, in some cases, the music has reached iconic status because of it.
Here’s a look at some of the more memorable uses of classical music in Hollywood’s dream factory.
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Raging Bull | Intermezzo from Cavelleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni)
Robert De Niro’s portrayal of boxer Jake LaMotta was widely acclaimed for its realistic depiction of the sheer physicality of the sport, along with the tragedy of his story. Mascagni’s Intermezzo comes from his one-act opera Cavelleria Rusticana, written in 1889. The music’s passionate intensity and emotional appeal underscore the movie’s major themes admirably well, and are used in the opening credits of the movie.
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Prometheus | Prelude Op. 28, No. 15 (Frédéric Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin’s Prelude, also known as the Raindrop because of the repetitive notes played by the left hand, appears a couple of times in Ridley Scott’s gruesome space opera. It’s pure tones create a gently melancholic mood that starkly contrasts the brutal realities of the alien antagonism, ultra-toxic gene-modifying chemical warfare, and other far space hazards faced by the characters in the story. It plays over the end credits in the violent aftermath of the plot. Interestingly, Op. 28, No. 4 is used in the Jack Nicholson flick Five Easy Pieces. He plays it in his old family home, and its mournful qualities come to the fore.
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Apocalypse Now | Flight Of The Valkyries (Richard Wagner)
While iconic in its own right, it’s probably a truism to say that Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries, which is taken from the beginning of act 3 of Die Walküre, the second of the four operas in the composer’s Ring Cycle, is best known from its use in Francis Ford Coppola’s movie. As the helicopters prepare for a deadly strike, Robert Duvall’s war-loving Lt. Col. William Kilgore orders the music to be played. It’s a surreal soundtrack to the rain of death from above.
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2001: A Space Odyssey | Also sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss)
While it’s not the only piece of classical music used in the film — the other Strauss’s Blue Danube appears in one scene, among other pieces — Richard Strauss’s tone poem, Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30, has reached iconic status in popular culture. It plays over the opening credits of Stanley Kubrick’s masterwork, with the sun rising over earth in the dark loneliness of space. Its triumphant tone is offset by the sense of impending doom. Strauss’s Nietschian inspiration for the music adds its note of existential absurdity to the proceedings.
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Platoon | Adagio for Strings (Samuel Barber)
The emotional depth that classical music can add to a film is highlighted in Oliver Stone’s Platoon. Samuel Barber’s mournful Adagio for Strings plays as Willem Dafoe’s Sergeant Elias dies – just as the helicopters arrive to evacuate the remaining soldiers. The rescued soldiers watch helplessly as Elias runs from multiple enemy combattants, only to be shot numerous times. The music reaches its emotional peak just as he makes his final defiant gesture. It’s a scene that has become a touchstone for many about the horrors of war.
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The Shining | Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (Béla Bartók)
Stanley Kubrick makes the list twice, which must say something about the filmmaker’s taste in music. For his 1980 horror classic The Shining, he uses the Adagio from Béla Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz. 106, BB 114. Its eerie sense of tension and suspense accompanies Danny Torrance’s child character Danny Lloyd as he becomes acquainted with the dead residents of the haunted mountain resort, adding to the audience’s growing sense of disquiet. He also uses music by Penderecki, and the opening theme as composed by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, was based on medieval hymns and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.
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The King’s Speech | Symphony No. 7 (Ludwig van Beethoven)
Colin Firth’s King George VI struggles with his stutter in the Academy Award winning film The King’s Speech. As the Second World War breaks out, however, he’s called upon to make a live radio speech to the British Empire. The upward motion of the second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 matches the trajectory of his all-important speech; as his voice becomes more confident, verging into strident and passionate, the music grows in intensity. The scene cuts to his vocal coach, played by Jeffrey Rush, the live audience and those listening by radio. It’s a remarkably adept pacing of the scene and the music.
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Alien | Symphony No. 2 (The Romantic), II. (Howard Hanson)
Ridley Scott also makes a second appearance on the list with his use of American composer Howard Hanson’s little known Symphony No. 2 for the end credits of his 1979 space thriller Alien. The music’s romantic swell of strings and melody gives the film a lush finish – just after Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley has blasted the last of the movie’s Aliens out of her escape ship. The music’s use came with a controversy. Film composer Jerry Goldsmith wrote the score for the rest of the film, but he objected to the way they had cut and pasted bits of it, and most of all, that he was replaced for both opening and closing credits. Hanson himself was said to be so displeased by its use in the flick that he was contemplating legal action until he was persuaded against it by the movie’s popularity.
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Anya Wassenberg is a Toronto City Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor. Latest posts by Anya Wassenberg (see all)