Archive pour September, 2009

Homage to André Prévost

30 September 2009

Born in 1934 in Hawkesbury, Ontario, André Prévost studied composition with Clermont Pépin and writing techniques with Jean Papineau-Couture and Isabelle Delorme. He then furthered his studies in Paris with Messiaen and Dutilleux and later returned to study electroacoustic music with Michel Philoppot. The following summer was spent at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, Massachusetts, where he worked with Copland, Kodály, Schuller and Carter.

A tenured professor for many years at Université de Montréal, he taught composition and analysis.  It is in 1967 that Prévost created his most ambitious work, Terre des Hommes, for double orchestra, three choirs and two narrators, based on a poem by Michèle Lalonde, chosen to inaugurate the Expo 67 World Fair. He wrote more than 60 works, including Cosmophonie, Variations et thème, Mobiles and various sonatas and improvisations. We can hear Angèle Dubeau performing his Improvisation for solo violin here. He passed away in 2001.

An homage to the composer will be rendered in the next few days. Tonight at 5 p.m., at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, will be launched La musique que je suis, a book written under the direction of Lyse Richer. For more information: (514) 872-5338.

You will also be able to watch (for a first or second time) Journal d’une création, the fascinating documentary by James Dormeyer in which we follow the composer during the two years leading to the premiere of his Concerto for violin and orchestra, in April 1998. It will be featured on October 4, 6 and 7 at 1 p.m. at the Cinéma Parallèle.

Marianne Fiset is Lauretta at Opéra de Montréal

28 September 2009

The premiere of the diptych Pagliacci / Gianni Schicchi Saturday night at Opéra de Montréal gave us the chance to hear soprano Marianne Fiset as young and sweet Lauretta, charmed by Rinuccio. Supported by the impressive stage direction of Alain Gauthier and by a strong OSM, the young singer has charmed the audience, especially when she performed the mythical “O mio babbino caro” in Gianni Schicchi.

Let’s not forget also the exhilarating stage presence of alto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, who portrays a very colourful and zanny Zita.

Other performances are scheduled on September 30, October 3, 5 and 8.

Concert parisien

25 September 2009

Initiated after an encounter between Argentinean gambist Juan Manuel Quintana and Canadian harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour, Concert parisien is an intimate recording, that gives us a taste of the Paris of the 1740s. As in the time of Louis XV, four musicians gather to play music among friends: Luc Beauséjour, Juan Manuel Quintana, violonist Hélène Plouffe and flutist Grégoire Jeay. Works by Telemann, Blavet, Forqueray and Leclair featuring the violin, the flute and the viola da gamba intertwined with excerpts from Rameau’s Clavecin en concert.

Luc Beauséjour and Juan Manuel Quintana explain how the concept came about in this video.

To listen to the recording..

The fall launch

22 September 2009

It is around noon that, surrounded by some artists featured on the Analekta label, François Mario Labbé has unveiled the recordings to be launched this fall. Among the new artists to join the Analekta family, let’s mention the remarkable double bass player Joel Quarrington, the young harpist Valérie Milot, Révélation Radio-Canada Musique 2009-2010, the London Mozart Players (well-known ensemble with whom Murray Perahia has recorded the complete Mozart Concertos), the Argentinean gambist Juan Manuel Quintana and The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. Music lovers will be happy to hear once again Angèle Dubeau, I Musici de Montréal, Alain Lefèvre and his brother David Lefèvre, Ensemble Caprice, Luc Beauséjour, Hélène Plouffe, Grégoire Jeay, Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal and the Gryphon Trio.

An Analekta launch would be incomplete with some performances. We were treated to two sacred works sung by the  under the direction of their music director Gilbert Patenaude, as well as a performance of Ginastera’s Milonga and Caroline Lizotte’s La Madone by Valérie Milot.

Two enticing musical performances.

Pianist Alain Lefèvre speaks powerfully of André Mathieu’s Concertino.

A group photo, featuring les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal and their music director Gilbert Patenaude, François Mario Labbé, Geneviève Soly, Alain Lefèvre, Valérie Milot and Luc Beauséjour.

Souvenir de Florence

21 September 2009

The Analekta fall will be filled with many happy surprises. One of the titles that will be announced tomorrow will surely carry a perfume of summer with it. Indeed, since the next recording of I Musici, under the direction of Yuli Turovsky, will feature, among other things, Souvenir de Florence, a sextuor for strings by Tchaikovsky, presented this time in a version for string orchestra.

Tchaikovsky loved Florence with a passion, this much is obvious from various letters he sent from that city to friends. Here are some excerpts of letters featuring his “dream city”

“Florence is so very dear to my heart. The longer you spend here the fonder you grow of it. This isn’t a noisy capital, where your eyes don’t know which way to look and which tires you with its bustle. But at the same time, there are so many things here full of artistic and historical interest that there is no chance of being bored.”

“So far as the fortnight in Florence is concerned, it will stay in my memory as a marvellous, sweet dream. I have had so many marvellous experiences here – the town itself, its surroundings, the pictures, the marvellous spring weather, the folk-songs, the flowers – that I’m weary. “

“I cannot begin to tell you how glorious the perfect tranquility of the evenings is, when all you can hear is the distant sound of the waters of the Arno as they tumble or flow down an incline. One can’t imagine a more comfortable or suitable place to work.”

I don’t know about you but, suddenly, I feel the very pressing urge to buy a one-way ticket to Firenze to enjoy the Duomo, I Uffizi and the Fiesole’s hills. Life isn’t always fair…

André Mathieu: a biographical sketch (2/2)

19 September 2009

After the war, Mathieu returned to Paris to study, but alone this time. He took classes in composition with Arthur Honegger and in piano with Jules Gentil. The painter Simone Beaulieu, who was also in Paris at that time, had already noticed how emotionally unstable the boy was: “He was a quiet boy. He wasn’t happy. He was hypersensitive. I found a boy who was of great uprightness, very honest intellectually. He needed to be loved, and he was lovable. He was beautiful and he had unusual hands. He had the rare gift of kindness. I don’t know of his having had friends in Paris.”

The following year, he composed his Symphonie romantique, subtitled “Concerto de Québec”, whose second movement became part of the soundtrack of the Canadian film La Forteresse. He is supposed to have composed a fourth concerto, of which the third movement remains a Fantaisie brésilienne, for violin and piano, and vocal works, such as “Le Ciel est si bleu”, “Hymne du Bloc populaire”, “Les Chères Mains” and he set some French-Canadian folk songs to music. (more…)

André Mathieu: a biographical sketch (1/2)

17 September 2009

Very early on, André Mathieu, who was born on February 18, 1929, showed exceptional talent as a pianist and composer. His father, Rodolphe, who had studied with Vincent d’Indy, was a composer, and his mother, Wilhelmine Gagnon-Mathieu, was a violinist. At the age of four, André had already written a series of pieces evocative of his everyday life: Les Abeilles piquantes, Les Gros Chars (inspired by the evening train his father took to get home in Saint-Constant), Danse sauvage (written after an Amerindian dance show), and Procession d’éléphants (composed after the passage of an American circus in Montreal). One should also mention the particularly accomplished Trois études pour piano, which reveals how large the child’s hands were, even at that age. Yet, this exuberance was already tinted with a certain sadness, as the title of the piece Tristesse demonstrates, as well as Dans la nuit and the Marche funéraire. (more…)

11 nominations at the ADISQ gala!

15 September 2009

Analekta has received 11 ADISQ nominations yesterday, including “Producer of the Year” and “Website of the Year”, designed and programmed by Motion in Design and nurtured by the loyal Analekta staff.

In the category “Classical album of the Year: Vocal”, the Ensemble Caprice garnered a new nomination for its recording Gloria! Vivaldi’s Angels, a disc that earned a Juno last April. Marianne Fiset was also nominated in this category for Melodiya, a CD that features both recital material and works with orchestra, led by Jean-Philippe Tremblay. Shannon Mercer, nominated for a Juno in 2009, is also nominated with her Land of Song, an incursion into Welsh folk music.

In the category “Album of the Year: Soloist and Small Ensemble”, we find the Chopin Recital by pianist André Laplante and the first collaboration on disc of brothers Alain and David Lefèvre.

We also find Alain Lefèvre and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (led by George Hanson) nominated in the “Classical Album of the Year: Orchestra and Large Ensemble” category for their acclaimed world-premiere recording of André Mathieu’s Concerto No. 4. The exceptional work of Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà was also recognized in this category for the recording of Philip Glass: Portrait, unanimously acclaimed by critics. In addition, this recording has been nominated in the “Sound Recording and Mixing Award” category for the outstanding work of Carl Talbot, the official producer at Analekta.

Let’s not forget Lorraine Desmarais – Big Band, the tenth recording in the career of Lorraine Desmarais, in the category “Jazz Album of the Year – Jazz Creation ”.

ADISQ (Association de l’industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo), in its 31st year of existence, will announce the names of the winners at a gala to be held on October 26. Of course, we’ll keep you posted!

A double bass recital

15 September 2009

Reviewing Joel Quarrington’s debut recital for the International Society of Bassists’ Oklahoma City convention in June of 2007, England’s Double Bassist magazine declared, “his performance was mesmerizing – his trademark bel canto playing style brought an otherworldly quality to Bottesini’s Elegy in D…impeccable articulation, a rich tonal palette, absolute control and crystalline clarity.” Reviews such as this have solidified his reputation as one of today’s leading double bassists.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Joel Quarrington began playing the double bass at the age of eleven and was trained in Toronto, Rome, Vienna and Prague. He received the Eaton Award (1975) from the University of Toronto as the outstanding graduating performer, and top awards in the Canadian Broadcasting Music Competition (1976), the Isle of Man (1978) and the Geneva International Competitions (1978).

For over thirty years, Joel Quarrington has served as the Principal Double Bassist of many ensembles, including the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.

Joel Quarrington is an enthusiastic advocate of the historical practice of tuning the bass in fifths (CGDA, an octave lower than the cello), rather than the customary fourths. He believes fifths tuning leads to clearer and more accurate performance in all ranges of the bass, as well as greater tonal richness.

He launches today on the Analekta label a recital devoted to this undeservedly ill-liked instrument. To listen…

The Song of the Earth

14 September 2009

Released on the Sony label during the Orchestra’s European tour last spring, Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) is now finally  available on the Canadian market on the OSM label.The second-to-last work completed by Mahler, The Song of the Earth sets out to be a true symphony with voices. For its composer, it marked a return to life after a series of severely testing experiences. The fragility of the human condition, desolation, consolation: the themes touched on embody a poignant humanity. Made up of six lieder with orchestra, some for tenor voice (Klaus Florian Vogt), some for baritone (Christian Gerhaher), Das Lied von der Erde was in a sense Mahler’s Ninth Symphony.

To listen…