Archive pour June, 2010

Symphony for vuvuzelas

28 June 2010

You probably caught a few snippets of a World Cup soccer game in the past couple of weeks but, like me, became quickly disturbed by the beelike buzzing of the infamous vuvuzelas, those cheap trumpets clearly built to annoy the listener? What if they were playing a real song, something by Beethoven for instance. Wouldn’t it be a little different?

The Mystery GuitarMan decided to toy with the concept in this video… Enjoy!

Lorraine Desmarais solo tonight and tomorrow

26 June 2010

Her latest album with big band may be on the effervescent side but, tonight and tomorrow night, you are invited to take in Lorraine Desmarais’ fabulous pianism as she performs solo at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

It’s at Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur at 7 p.m. and the tickets are more than affordable.

You can listen to her latest album here…

Get your instruments out!

25 June 2010

Bring your instruments, whatever that may be, and play a new work by Matthias Maute, of Ensemble Caprice, tomorrow afternoon. Don’t fret about it, it’s not a real concert! Instead you will be part of the Montreal Baroque Festival parade! The meeting place is on Place Jacques-Cartier, corner of St-Paul at 2 p.m. The parade should leave 15 minutes later.

With the participation of Bread & Puppet, the parade will take over the Old Montreal, filling it up with the magic of giant puppets.

It’s not too late to rehearse the short motif Matthias Maute has designed for you. The score is here (four short bars, really, it’s easy as pie!). Maybe we’ll play next to one another?

Xenakis: composer, architect, visionary

23 June 2010

“Art, and above all, music, has a fundamental function, which is to catalyze the sublimation that it can bring about through all means of expressions. It must aim through fixations which are landmarks to draw towards a total exaltation in which the individual mingles, losing his consciousness in a truth immediate, rare, enormous, and perfect. If a work of art succeeds in this undertaking even for a single moment, it attains its goal. This tremendous truth is not made of objects, emotions, or sensations; it is beyond these, as Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is beyond music. This is why art can lead to realms that religion still occupies for some people”

Iannis Xenakis, Formalized music

I must recommand the exhibit Iannis Xenakis: composer, architect, visionary, held at the Centre Canadien d’Architecture until October 17, which explores the fondamental role played by drawing in Xenakis’ works. A total immersion can be experienced, through sound (thanks to iPods and two listening stations) and sight (drawings and photos). Fascinating…

Play me, I’m yours

21 June 2010

The event is not celebrated that much (not enough?) in Canada but, today, first official day of summer, it’s Music Fest all over the world. If the initiative was born in France in the 1980s, it quickly spread to the rest of Europe and now, our American neighbours are starting to seriously get into the knack of things.

Indeed, “Play Me, I’m Yours” brings 60 public pianos to outdoor locations around New York City for two weeks starting today. Donated for the cause and decorated by a host of artists, pianos will invade the city. Manhattan will get 27 pianos, Brooklyn 10, Queens 5, and 4 to both Staten Island and the Bronx. The ferry terminal, the Staten Island Zoo, the Children’s Museum at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden and the South Beach Boardwalk all will get pianos.

The installation opens on the same day as the free citywide outdoor festival Make Music New York, which features more than 1,000 concerts at outdoor locations around the city, but continues for two weeks. When the installation is over, the instruments will be donated to schools and hospitals.

How more inspiring can this get? And you, what will you listen to today?

There is an app for that… an Analekta one

18 June 2010

If I can leave my cell phone behind and not feel I have to go back to get it, I must confess that I have a little more trouble living without a wifi connection but I know I could – I can -, for a week let’s say. (I’ve done it before and was not in withdrawal.) But to live without my iTunes? You’ve got to be kidding me!!! This is possibly the one thing I cannot live without. So I was happy to learn that, now, I’ll be able to get the Analekta Radio right there on my iTunes and yes, of course, it works also on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

This attractive application, designed by mPhase, is totally free and it is available on the iTunes stores around the world. It gives you the chance to listen to a large selection of new releases and great classical compositions, updated each Friday. You can also create and listen to your own playlist of favourites, send it to friends or learn more about artists, albums and composers, all this while listening to the music. You like what you hear and want to buy it? One click and you can find pieces and complete albums on iTunes.

Life has become so easy… It must be summer!

You can download it here…

The Child Prodigy

16 June 2010

I’ve known about André Mathieu’s music for quite a few years already. Indeed, in 1992, some of my young students took part in the documentary Jean-Claude Labrecque devoted to the composer and learned some of his “easy” pieces. I was also fortunate enough to dig into various sets of archives (almost non existing, up until now) to write articles and program notes.

So, of course, I had to see Luc Dionne’s movie, The Child Prodigy (presented in original French with English subtitles in some movie theatres). If the editing is not truly original (and ressembles one of a made-for-TV movie most of the time), the casting and actors’ direction is amazing. Patrick Drolet is totally inhabited by André Mathieu’s character – sometimes, it’s almost unsettling – and young Guillaume DuBon just burns the screen in many of his scenes, notably the ones played with Lothaire Bluteau (in the role of another prodigy of the piano turned gypsy) and Itzhak Finzi, a Bulgarian actor who plays Rachmaninoff, in one of the most touching scenes of the film.

Bruce Chun is a photo director often rather poetic but I will, above anything else, remember the essential role played by the music, whether Mathieu’s or Alain Lefèvre’s interludes, which become a second narrator. And, yes, I’ll admit it, I’ve listened to the soundtrack a few times since I came out of the cinema…

Discover it here for yourself…

Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the helm of the Philadelphia Orchestra

14 June 2010

It will be officialised today by a press conference but we can already confirm that Yannick Nézet-Séguin will become music director of the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra starting in September 2012. The contract of the young conductor is for seven years but the managers of the orchestra are not hiding the fact that they would love to have him in this position for more than a decade.

His schedule will remain packed for the next few years. He will continue to lead the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and, until 2015, is still the music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic. Plus, let’s not forget that, until 2014, he is the principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic and his various guest conductor’s engagements.

A thorough article on the matter by the Philadelphia Inquirer

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Homage rendered to Arvo Pärt in Istanbul this week

11 June 2010

Arvo Pärt’s new work, Adam’s Lament, just had its world premiere a few days ago at the 38th International Istanbul Music Festival. Commissioned jointly by the 2010 and 2011 European Capitals of Culture, Istanbul and Tallinn, the work was performed by the Borusan İstanbul Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Vox Clamantis.The composer was presented with the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award before the concert.

Tonight, a program designed as an homage to both Schumann and Pärt, will feature the Turkish premiere of Pärt’s Symphony no. 4 “Los Angeles”.

No need to rush to the airport, since you can listen to wonderful renditions of some of Pärt’s most interesting works, with Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà’s Portrait…

Sitting next to the composer

9 June 2010

Of course, when you attend a concert of, say, Beethoven’s Third Symphony, you obviously don’t stretch your neck out to look if old Ludwig is by any chance sitting in your section – unless you are into things way stranger than most. But what if you’re listening to the performance of a contemporary work – yes, that would be the one by a living composer? Would you recognize him or her at first glance? What if he or she was sitting very next to you?

Composer John Adams has written a very thorough and quite catchy post on the matter in his blog. You’ll be surprised what you’ll learn from his experience of listening to one of his works from the hall rather than the stage. (He admits he’d much rather conduct his work than just “listen” to it.) To read…