Archive pour March, 2009

Two Junos for Analekta

30 March 2009

Two of the six Analekta recordings nominated for a Juno were awarded the precious statuette last night at a ceremony held at Vancouver’s General Motors Place (broadcast on the CTV network).

In the category “Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble or Soloist(s) with Large Ensemble Accompaniment”, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and his Music Director Kent Nagano won a Juno for Beethoven: The Ideals of French Revolution, a CD featuring The General, an homage to Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire.

In the category “Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance,” Ensemble Caprice’s Gloria! Vivaldi’s Angels, a new reading of Vivaldi’s famous work also won a Juno.

Congratulations to the winners and the nominees!

Andrew Staniland wins the Evolution Competition

27 March 2009

The Evolution Composition Competition’s finals were held last night in Banff.

Andrew Staniland won the Evolution CBC/Radio-Canada National Composition Prize and the Orchestre de la francophonie canadienne Prize for Devolution, in three movements: “Love Song I for C. Darwin”, “II Love Song II for C. Darwin” and “Unweaving the Rainbow “. He talks about the work here…

Vincent Ho received the People’s Choice Award for Nature whisper…

Focus on the OSM

26 March 2009

A very busy week for the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal indeed! Sunday afternoon, Kent Nagano and the musicians premiered Simon Leclerc’s Concerto for radio host and orchestra and on Monday night, the 2009-2010 season was unveiled. On Tuesday, March 24, the OSM launched its new recording, devoted to two works by Korean composer Unsuk Chin and was awarded the 24th Grand Prix from the Montreal Arts Council for the the Canadian premiere of the opera Saint François d’Assise de Messiaen last December.

Louise Roy, president of the Concil, hailed the audacity of such a production and the richness of the 75th season’s programming.

To listen to the OSM’s latest recording on the Analekta label, it’s here…

A talk with Seán Dagher on the challenges as an arranger

24 March 2009

It is first as an arranger that Seán Dagher – also composer, performer and founder of the Skye Consort – collaborated on Shannon Mercer’s latest recording. Welsh songs can be heard as either folk or classical music and it was important for Dagher to place them right on the line between the two styles. “Calling on musicians I know and have worked with on previous line-riding explorations, I found myself with cello, bass, flute, percussion, and two violins. The accordion was then given an extra inner-voice melody (and/or drone) and the cittern replaced the guitar or lute. The harp is the Welsh national instrument so it was a natural addition,” he explains.


Prokofiev in a bar

21 March 2009

No, I won’t tell you one of those horrible jokes that lack a punchline and keep you wondering hours after you’ve heard it. Rather, I was most intrigued by this article in the New York Times, a review of an Elysian Quartet performance… held in a bar! To read about it, it’s here…

André Laplante on Chopin and his recording experience

19 March 2009

Chopin’s Sonata Op. 35 disconcerted his contemporaries in several respects. Schumann saw it as a collection of four of Chopin’s “most unruly children,” while Mendelssohn disapproved of the frenzied presto. But when one considers the work at length, its musical ideas unfold with an implacable logic, all four movements cut out of the same expressive cloth. André Laplante, who has been acquainted with this work for decades, decided to come back to it for this recording with Analekta: “I think the main reason for including this work, as well as the others, in this recording is that I played it for many years, put it away and then came back to it.” He feels that his playing has become more focused, refined, “classical”, and that this new way of approaching the instrument can only serve the work.

Although Laplante is a soloist who is often invited to play with great orchestras and also a recitalist in demand, he hadn’t had the opportunity to make many recordings until now.  “I’ve understood what one can do in the studio. I think that the first time an instrumentalist enters a studio is always intimidating. He has the impression that there is no public to play for, that he’s playing for a microphone. But later, I understood that, in a certain manner, one can feel the freest there,” he explains. “If we play things that we know well, we can be as spontaneous as we wish and interpret the same work in totally differently ways – straight or loose.” In close association with his sound engineer Carl Talbot, a balance between the different approaches has been reached for our greatest listening enjoyment.

To listen to the recording…

Father Lindsay passes away

18 March 2009

The (very) small world of the Quebec classical musical scene lost a giant last night. Father Fernand Lindsay, founder of the Festival de Lanaudière (and still artistic director of the event) and of the Camp musical de Lanaudière passed away at the age of 80. The news shocked everyone since, a few days ago, he attended an evening of celebration in his honour and he seemed in good health.

His joie de vivre and his tenacity will be greatly missed.

Chopin Recital

17 March 2009

Emotional and passionate—the very essence of the Romantic artist—Chopin had to love to be able to understand, to feel to be able to act. His latent vulnerability constantly pushed him to question and grasp the brevity of life on earth. And transcending this quest, he broadened the frontiers of the musical genres in which he worked.

Strongly grounded in the ever moving soil of existence, André Laplante’s journey has been etched with delicate artistic choices made through the years. Over the years he has grounded this atypical course in the joys of sharing his love of the repertoire with his public and, more recently, with the coming generation of pianists. Now in his fifties and at the height of his musical strength, he looks back philosophically at past choices that have enabled him to play both the Classical and Romantic repertoire with equal pleasure and ease, while still preserving his individual touch. His Chopin Recital on the Analekta label was much anticipated.

He granted us an exclusive interview a few days back. It will be featured on an upcoming post. In the meantime, you can read a portrait written fours years ago for La Scena Musicale.

Shannon Mercer at the launch

14 March 2009

Shannon Mercer performing Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn with the Skye Consort at the launch.

Lorraine Desmarais performs live at the launch

13 March 2009

Lorraine Desmarais in La ballade de Riki, that will be performed with big band on her next album, her tenth on the Analekta label.