Archive pour March, 2010

Liszt’s Years of Pilgrimage

31 March 2010

“Music is never stationary; successive forms and styles are only like so many resting-places – like tents pitched and taken down again on the road to the Ideal.” (Franz Liszt)

To listen to the album…

Salon son et image

29 March 2010

We saw a lot of you at the Analekta booth at the Salon son et image this weekend and we were delighted to meet you all and talk about our catalogue, the new online boutique and the differences between mp3 and FLAC formats. A special $4.99 rebate was offered to all participants, so that they could appreciate by themselves the impressive quality of the FLAC files when visiting the boutique for the first time.

Now is the time to register and really get the maximum out of our online boutique. To do so, you just have to follow that link.

You’re still unsure about the file format you want to download? You want to try it but still have some questions? At any time while visiting, don’t hesitate to click on the pink tab at the right of your screen. That will lead you in a flash to our very complete FAQ section.

Cantus Mariales

28 March 2010

When launched, the album had been hailed on the national or international scenes, by audience and critics alike, who were eager to bring to light the remarkable qualities of the performance given by the monks of Saint-Benoît Abbey. More than 60 000 copies of the recording were sold at that time. Analekta is particularly happy to release a new edition of Cantus Mariales: Medieval Sacred Chants to the Virgin Mary, almost 15 years after his first release. Gregorian chant at its very best!

To listen to the album…

Boulez celebrates his 85th birthday in Vienna

26 March 2010

“I have the kind of temperament that tries to make rules for the pleasure of breaking them later.” French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, who turns 85 today, is celebrating his birthday with a series of concerts in the world’s musical capital, Vienna. Not only will he be conducting the famous Vienna Philharmonic in the Austrian capital’s legendary auditorium of the Musikverein concert hall, but there will also be a special Boulez Festival at the city’s University of Music and the Performing Arts.

Boulez will conduct a set of six concerts – including on his birthday tonight – of Karol Szymanowski‘s Third Symphony, Claude Debussy’s Jeux plus his own work-in-progress, Notations.

Once all the 85th birthday celebrations are over, Boulez plans to take a sabbatical from conducting next year and concentrate on composition, he said. “It’s wonderful people are so attentive. It’s very touching. But when 85 is gone, then I have to concentrate on my own work,” such as the completion of his unfinished Notations, he said.

To better understand the mythical composer of the Marteau sans Maître, Pli selon Pli or, more recently, Messagesquisse, you can read a transcript of some CBC radio interviews here…

To get a closer look at the Marteau, one of the masterworks of serialism, you can follow this link instead.

Today in Music’s History

23 March 2010

What happened in the musical world on March 23, let’s say in 1891? Maybe you need a little hint.  We’re talking about the first jazz concert, presented at the famous Carnegie Hall in new York. The first recording, by the Original Dixie Jass Band, would be launched a few years later, in 1917.

Did you ever wonder where the word jazz came from? The multiple explanations are all truly fascinating I must say but nobody seems to agree on any particular answer. The word could be derived from the French verb jaser (to chat), from the name of some musicians (for example Chas Washington), from the slang ass, from a deformation of the chassé, a cakewalk figure, from the bantou jaja (“to dance or to make music”), from the African jasi (“to be excited”) or from the indonesian jaiza (“far away sound of the drums”). The word was used for the first time in a musical context in March 1913 in the San Francisco Bulletin. Up until then, it would be used by baseball fans to describe the energy of a player. It was first apposed to the music of Art Hickman’s group, a baseball player who was training with the San Francisco Seals.

One thing is for sure, though: jazz is eternal and multiform. To share, one of my favourite jazz piano albums of the last few years, Montreal Variations…


21 March 2010

Yes, indeed, it’s March 21, first official day of Spring, maybe not the most inspiring day weather-wise to kick off the season officially but, let’s not complain, we were most lucky in the past few weeks. Could there be a work that would serve the day best? Of course! André Mathieu’s Printemps canadien, as performed by Alain Lefèvre…

Musical Chairs

20 March 2010

Sometimes, orchestras have some very original ideas to raise funds. For the third year in a row, Symphony Nova Scotia is partnering with local artists to present a “Symphonic Art” fundraiser. In past years, participating artists have transformed old musical instruments into works of art – but this year, some 50 old chairs have been donated, recycled, and transformed by local artists into striking, innovative, and fully functional works of art.

Some of the chairs have been on display in storefront windows, and photos of the full collection to date are available online on the orchestra’s Facebook page.

Sunken Cathedral

18 March 2010

A severe drought in Venezuela has exposed a church that had been inundated when a hydroelectric dam was built in 1985. The 25-meter-tall church and the Andean town of Potosi were flooded to establish the Uribante-Caparo water reservoir to power the plant. The church has now become the ominous symbol of energy shortages in the country. There is no doubt in my mind that only one piece of music can accompany properly the viewing of the before and after pictures seen on the National Geographic Website : Debussy’s La Cathédrale engloutie.

To listen to this wonderfully atmospheric prelude, performed by Francine Kay…

Surely the soundtrack behind this sequence of pictures should be Debussy’s La cathédrale engloutie.

Handel in Darmstadt

16 March 2010

The harpsichordist Geneviève Soly continues her incursion into the universe of the composer Christoph Graupner with the launch of a new album today, Handel at Darmstadt. The recording highlights several pages from the Darmstadt Harpsichord Book, an anthology that not only contains works by Graupner but also several pages by Georg Friedrich Handel. “It is my great interest in Graupner that led me to study the pieces by Handel in the Darmstadt Harpsichord Book. It quickly became apparent that certain obvious stylistic traits linked the two composers. I also wished to examine the extent of their relationship. Their friendship is attested to in an obituary published in Hamburg in May 1760, shortly after Graupner’s death,” explained Ms. Soly.

The study of the manuscript has allowed Ms. Soly to come up with the hypothesis that the Darmstadt Harpsichord Book could well be the copy of a personal notebook Graupner started in his Leipzig years, and which he continued to expand during his stay in Hamburg and even beyond. A good amount of Handel’s music it contains could have been given to Graupner during friendly exchanges between the two Saxons while working at the Hamburg Opera, around 1705-06, and kept up after they parted ways. Another proof that composers do have connections with the “outside” world…

To listen to the album…

Art films

14 March 2010

The 28th FIFA (Festival international of films on arts) will be held from March 18 to 28. Several films seem most appealing in the “music” category. Among those, let’s mention El sistema: la musique avenir du Vénézuéla, a very inspired documentary about that unique in the world music education system, Big Alma, on Alma Mahler the composer or L’Art de Chopin, a must on this anniversary year. Let’s not forget Suggestion diabolique, captured in a dynamic sequence-shot executed by a robot, in which the virtuoso pianist André Laplante performs Sergei Prokofiev’s work and Symphonie Montréal, a portrait of the OSM’s 75th season.

All the details here…