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ALUMNI QUARTERLY - winter 2008
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A Shorter Distance,

Effendi Records, 2002, Christine Jensen, BMus'94.

McGill jazz alumna Christine Jensen is back with her second release on Montreal's Effendi label. A Shorter Distance "is a salute to Wayne Shorter, who made monumental contributions to the harmonic movement and sound of Miles Davis's group from the sixties, a period that was so influential for me and many others musicians," says Jensen.

As with her debut record, Collage, and her contributions to sister Ingrid's work, Jensen's sophisticated compositional skills shine here. She is of course a wonderful saxophone player as well and sax aficionados will have a lot to explore on the disc with her and long-time collaborator Joel Miller, BMus'93, joining her once again. Ingrid Jensen, BCom'89, a dazzling talent in her own right, enters the fray on trumpet and flugelhorn, and John Sadowy, BMus'94, Fraser Hollins, Ken Bibace and Jon Wikan back Jensen up on piano, bass, guitar and drums respectively. Fresh vibrant jazz from deeply talented young players.

Princeton Management Consultants Guide to Your New Job,

John Wiley & Sons, 2003, $26.50, by Niels H. Nielsen, BA'51, MA'54.

After years of experience as a human resources and management consultant, Niels Nielsen concluded that conducting a job search is a process almost identical to establishing a start-up company. Job-seekers must have a mission statement, conduct market research, plan a sales campaign for their product (themselves), and develop a price structure. The difference is that ultimately job hunters need only one customer -- the perfect employer.

Nielsen, founder of Princeton Management Consultants, encourages the use of all media to find and apply for positions, including creating a web page for oneself. Whatever the chosen method of self-promotion, he issues important reminders about making a good impression in a hurry, noting that web page browsers "have the patience of a New York cab driver," and that HR people screening resumes usually take about 20 seconds to decide whether to fling or follow up any submission.

While the book contains useful, easily digested and well-organized information, half of it consists of an appendix of 43 sample cover letters and 51 resumes, a number that seems a little excessive as any reader will certainly "get it" after 15 or 20.

Visiting Scholar: A Reader for Educational Leaders,

Shoreline Books, 2002, $21.95, edited by Judith C. Isherwood and Patrick A. Baker, MEd'74.

Visiting Scholar is the story of McGill Education Professor Geoffrey Isherwood, who died in 1998, as told through his own writings and those of the people who knew and worked with him. Isherwood had been writing "The Book," the story of his career as an educator, but never had the chance to finish it. After his death, the editors of the present volume -- Isherwood's wife, Judith, and Patrick Baker -- asked former students and colleagues to contribute stories about how they had "played out their lives." They were overwhelmed with responses and the result is this hybrid memoir and reader in educational leadership.

From the personal narratives included here, it is obvious Isherwood touched a great many people with his lively spirit, wit and teaching skills. Contributors range from emeritus professors and deans (including McGill Dean of Education Ratna Ghosh), to high school principals and teachers, to former graduate students fondly remembering a consummate and innovative teacher. Interwoven with these personal essays are writings from Isherwood, part memoir, part educational theory. The whole emerges as greater than the sum of its parts, dozens of voices contributing to a moving and illuminating portrait of a career educator.

On February 27, 7-9 pm, there will be a Visiting Scholar reception at the McGill Faculty Club for contributors to the book, former students, colleagues and friends.

Variations for 2 Pianos, Mozart, Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Reger,

CBC Records, 2002, Dale Bartlett and Jean Marchand.

The ascension of the pianoforte in the early nineteenth century as the keyboard instrument of choice for both recital and home use led to some of the great solo repertoire (Beethoven, Schubert, and later Chopin and Liszt). But the popularity of the piano also contributed to a growing body of work for two keyboards as well as transcriptions and arrangements of the symphonic repertoire. Variations draws from this body of work and features Brahms's Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56b, Saint-Saëns's Variations on a Theme by Beethoven, Op.35, and Max Reger's Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 132a.

The Brahms would later become better known in its full orchestra version (and interestingly enough, it's pointed out in the notes that the theme may not even be by Haydn but by Ignace Pleyel). Saint-Saëns was one of the champions of two-piano composition and the Variations on a Theme by Beethoven (taken from the third movement of the Piano Sonata No. 18, Op. 31, no. 3) is rhythmically lively as the composer works through variations in E-flat major. Reger, a late nineteenth-century German, takes his theme from Mozart's well-known Piano Sonata in A Major, K.331, and again the work is perhaps better known in its orchestral variations, but the final fugue (a form Reger pursued often) as heard on two pianos here is perhaps more suitable, Reger's contrapuntal style given is great clarity by the performers.

The disc opens with Mozart's Andante with Variations K.501, originally intended as a two-piano piece but published as a four-hands duet to sell more copies.

The project is the result of a collaboration between the CBC and McGill's Faculty of Music, recorded at Pollack Hall in 2001. While CBC Radio has produced many broadcasts from the hall, this marks the first time the CBC has produced a recording project there. The two performers are both McGill faculty members -- Dale Bartlett, an associate professor and piano instructor, and Jean Marchand, an instructor and accompanist who is also an actor in theatre, TV and film productions. Playing throughout is marvellous and the CBC production is fine indeed.


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