Archive pour September, 2012

Rameau’s Cantatas

28 September 2012

Clavecin en concert launches its 2012-2013 season on Sunday, at 2 p.m., at Salle Bourgie of the Montreal Fine Arts Museum. You will hear some of the beautiful cantatas Jean-Philippe Rameau wrote, performed by soprano Hélène Guilmette, bass-baritone Philippe Sly and an instrumental ensemble featuring Adrian Butterfield and Chloé Meyers (violin), Grégoire Jeay (flute), Mélisande Corriveau (viola da gamba) and Luc Beauséjour (harpsichord).

Some of these cantates will be recorded soon for an upcoming Analekta album (to be released in the Spring of 2013).

A third outdoor piano to be inaugurated

26 September 2012

The concept started in New York, was adopted with much enthusiasm by Paris. Montreal couldn’t be left behind and a 3rd outdoor piano will be inaugurated tomorrow morning, 11 .a.m.. as part of the Piano des villes, piano des champs project, at the Wilfrid-Laurier Park, in Plateau Mont-Royal. The mayor of the burrough, Luc Ferrandez, will officialize the moment, with the Chœur du Plateau performing.

This third piano on which anyone can perform until October 8, from 10 to 8, is avalaible every day of the week, except on Tuesdays.

De Analekta


Alain Lefèvre with the OSL on Wednesday

24 September 2012

Under music director Alain Trudel’s direction, the Orchestre symphonique de Laval opens its 28th season on Wednesday with a European folklore program, featuring pianist Alain Lefèvre in Ravel’s Concerto in G. “For me, the music of a concerto, should be light and brilliant, and not aim for depth or dramatic effects,” explained the composer.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra invited several important composers to write compositions for its fiftieth anniversary season of 1930-31, among them Stravinsky, Roussel, Honegger and Prokofiev. Ravel too was asked for a work, and he suggested a piano concerto. Nevertheless, the dedication did not go to the Boston Symphony after all, but to the composer’s favourite pianist, Marguerite Long. The first performance was given in Paris by the Lamoureux Orchestra on January 14, 1932. Ravel had originally intended to play the piano part himself, but because of declining health, he granted the solo role to Marguerite Long, while he conducted.

The concerto is infused with music from the Basque Country and Spain, as well as several jazz idioms, reminiscent of Gershwin’s Concerto in F. This comes as no surprise since both composers had established a relationship around that time.

Program also includes : Zoltán Kodaly Dances of Galanta and Antonin Dvořák’s Eight SymphonyFor more information…

The fall’s releases

19 September 2012

It was yesterday late afternoon, at Galerie Gora, that François Mario Labbé met with medias, partners and Analekta artists to talk about the upcoming fall albums. Releases from young Canadian artists to be followed closely include Aquarelles by harpist Valérie Milot (a 5th Analekta album) who will later on launch Christmas Fantasies, a series of duets with Antoine Bareil,  cellist  Stéphane Tétreault in his first recording with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec under Fabien Gabel, and In Dreams  from bass-baritone Philippe Sly.

Pianist Alain Lefèvre will as well launch an album devoted to François Dompierre’s 24 Preludes (in a boogie-woogie form and many other things) and Ensemble Caprice a suprising version of Bach’s Brandenburgh Concertos. The latest project by Gryphon Trio is a program centered around Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.

We will also expect albums from the Eybler Quartet (a complete reading of Haydn’s opus 33), Daniel Taylor, the Theater of Early Music and the Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal in beautiful Ave Marias, and a recording of the chamber version of Carmina burina by the Taiwan National Choir,under Agnès Grossmann’s direction.

During the event, bass-baritone Philippe Sly sang a few pieces by Schumann, Ropartz and Ravel, accompanied by pianist Michael McMahon. Moreover, cellist Stéphane Tétreault and harpist Valérie Milot performed Saint-Saëns’s “The Swan” as a duo.  The harpist also played an excerpt from The Moldau by Smetana, from her album Aquarelles.

De Lancement automne Analekta
De Lancement automne Analekta
De Lancement automne Analekta

Imagine being a concert pianist

17 September 2012

British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor wowed the audience at the Proms this summer. He may be just 20 years old but he has baffled critics and music lovers for quite a few years already. To watch him perform as a child in the the piano section of The Young Musician of The Year Competition is just mind-boggling. In 2005, Alan Yentob talked to the 12-year-old Grosvenor about his success the previous year about his dreams, his way of working, music. Interviews with Yevgeny Kissin, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Lang Lang are also included in this BBC documentary.

Clara Schumann: the first superwoman?

13 September 2012

Everyone knows her famous husband Robert, her close (maybe closer) friend Johannes Brahms, but we forget too often that Clara Schumann was considered one of the greatest pianists of her era, as well as a gifted composer and a celebrated piano teacher, who believed in transmitting the method of her father, Friedrick Wieck (who at first was strongly opposed to Clara and Robert’s wedding). She was also the mother of eight children, which came on tour with her and were breastfed before or after recitals, four of which sadly died before their own mother who ended up  enjoying a six decades long career. A feast most of today’s pop stars would envy! She would have been 193 today…

Google decided to honour her memory with a doodle today and a few articles were published in its wake. Here is an interesting profile from the Christian Monitor.

Here is her Ballad Op. 6 No. 4.


A second concert for the OSSM

10 September 2012

The Orchestre de la Solidarité sociale was founded in the spring, as a echo to the students crisis. More than 1500 people attended the first concert, in May. They seemed thrilled to discover classical repertoire and the orchestra, made up of more than 70 musicians from Université de Montréal,  McGill University and Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal. If all students have headed back to their various faculties in the last few days, it doesn’t mean the project is dead. Far from it! Indeed, next Saturday, September 15, 8 p.m., the same orchestra, now known as the Orchestre de la Solidarité Sociale de Montréal,will give a second concert to support the CLASSE, at Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

On the program: Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “New World,” and Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture. The orchestra is once again placed under Nicolas Ellis’ direction. Admission is free and voluntary contributions will be accepted to help pay for the hall and raise funds for the CLASSE.

You can follow the OSSM on Twitter at @OrchestreOSS.

Dvorak: a prolific composer

6 September 2012

Antonin Dvořák  was born in Mühlhausen (near Prague, today  Nelahozeves, in the Czech Republic) on September 8, 1841, the eldest of eight kids.  The father, an innkeeper, was as well an amateur musician. By 5, Antonin played the violin in the family’s inn and was a member of the village’s orchestra. He soon after took lessons in organ, piano, viola, harmony and countrepoint. In 1859, Dvořák became a member of the viola section in Karel Komzak’s orchestra. To make ends meet, he gave lessons and started composing as well. (He was mostly self-taught.) He was fascinated by Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt, and studied intently works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schumann. He was especially fond of Schubert.

In 1873, he married Anna Cermakova, a 19-year-old contralto. The following year, his first full-lenght opera, King and Charcoal Burner was premiered.  In 1875, he asked for a grant from the Austrian governement “for poor and gifted artists” and attached his Third Symphonie. After studying his Moravian Duets, Johannes Brahms recommanded them to his publisher Fritz Simrock in Berlin. It was the beginning of international success and of a loyal friendship between the two composers, which lasted until Brahms’ death.

Amongst Dvořák’s most important works, often infused with popular Czech music, are nine symphonies (including his famous “New World”),  operas (including Russalka), vocal works, both non-sacred and sacred  (Stabat Mater, Requiem, Te Deum), essential chamber music pages and concertos.

Dvořák died suddenly in May 1, 1904. An immense crowd attended the funerals.

You can listen to his delicate Romantic Pieces for violin and piano, as performed by  James Ehnes and Eduard Laurel, here.

The Brandenburgh Concertos meet Shostakovich

2 September 2012

Winner of one Juno and three Prix Opus from Conseil québécois de la musique, notably “performer of the year” in 2010, Ensemble Caprice is renowned for its innovative interpretations of baroque music. The New York Times even called it “a group that encourages listeners to rehear the world.” The new recording of the Ensemble – to be released next week – combines Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous Brandenburg Concertos,with a few preludes and one fugue by Dmitri Shostakovich, as arranged by music director Mathias Maute.

La Scena Musicale met with Mathias Maute about this juxtaposition in its current issue.

“Now we have to find new answers to the same old questions so as to allow us refresh the music. And for me, personnally, it’s not enough to just look back.”

You can read the full article on page 25.