Archive pour December, 2012

Taking a musical journey

31 December 2012

You are resting before celebrating the New Year with a bang and just feel like daydreaming for a few minutes? Jazz pianist and composer Lorraine Desmarais, bassist Frédéric Alarie  and drummer Camil Bélisle invite you to follow them in Toulouse, the pink city. The piece is taken from the Couleurs de lune album… No reservation needed…

Happy New Year to all!

Tetris

27 December 2012

Your nephew or your daughter are just driving you mad with their new video game? Will they ever be able to vanquish the boss in World 3? Clearly you can’t take one more second of this aggravating music… But what if it’s played by Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà, in clever arrangements? Quite obviously, a whole different story. Here is Tetris‘ theme, for example, with just a hint of countrepoint and Kakinka, that transforms the whole experience entirely…

Landfill harmonic

23 December 2012

Because every now and then, one needs inspiration…

Happy holidays to you all!

Lorraine Desmarais performs at Upstairs

20 December 2012

Jazz pianist and composer Lorraine Desmarais is the latest recipiend of the prestigious Coq d’Art from the Fondation Culture et Arts Visuels
of the city of Laval.

You’ll be able to hear her live on Saturday December 22 at the famous Upstairs Club on Mackay Street in Montreal, in trio formation, in a Christmas program, a natural declination of the album Jazz pour Noël, launched in 2005, winner of a Félix in the Jazz Performance category the following year. 

Lorraine Desmarais will perform with Alec Walkington on doublebass, Camil Bélisle on drums and André Leroux on saxophone at *:30 p.m., 10:15 p.m. and midnight.  More information here…

Three Analekta CDs nominated at the Prix Opus

17 December 2012

Some expect the end of the world in a few days (mainly, I’m sure to avoid Christmas shopping) but most, like Analekta, are looking forward to 2013, because the year will of course filled with interesting projects and because, on January 27, Mozart’s birthday, the annual Prix Opus ceremony is to be held at Salle Bourgie.

Three Analekta recordings are in the running for a prize:

1- Rachmaninov, Concerto No. 4, Scriabin, Prometheus, Alain Lefèvre, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Kent Nagano, in the category “album of the year, romantic, post-romantic and impressionist music”

2- Interwars, Olivier Thouin, Yegor Dyachkov, as “album of the year – modern and contemporay music”

3- Colinda – Noëls de Provence, Ensemble Strada in the “music of the world” category

Congrats to these albums and the other  nominees!

Sad week

13 December 2012

Medias from all over the world are talking and writing about the passing of Ravi Shankar, master of the sitar, who crossed paths with numerous classical musicians and pop icons (including the Beatles) through the years. Sadly, three other giants joined him this week: the sopranos Galina Vichnevskaïa and Lisa della Casa, as well as pianist and musicologist Charles Rosen.

Star of the Bolshoi, a reference when it came to Russian repertoire (you can listen to her wonderful rendition of  Tatyana’s letter from Eugene Oneguin), Galina Vichnevskaïa (wife of Mstislav Rostropovitch) also sang in the premiere of  Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. When he heard she had died, Mikhaïl Gorbatchev said to Interfax: “Her death is a great loss for Russian culture. She was an astounding actress and a singer.”

Swiss-German from birth, Lisa della Casa was the queen of the Vienna Opera for many years. Saluted for her Mozart and Strauss renditions (you can hear her here as Arabella), she was often opposed in fans’ hearts to Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

If several have read parts of Charles Rosen’s wonderful essays, one often forgets that he was also a pianist who studied with Moriz Rosenthal, himself a student of Liszt, and that he premiered several of Elliot Carter’s works. For him, “musical analysis is only there to shed light on enjoyment.” His last book, Freedom and the Arts: Essays on Music and Literature, was published in May.

Berlioz’s Childhood of Christ

10 December 2012

Berlioz was born on December 11, 1803, but the day before his birthday, in 1854, he was in the hall, listening to the premiere of his oratorio L’Enfance du Christ, a work that was to know an immediate success. “It was received like a Messiah, the Magi nearly appeared and offered it frankincense and myrrh,” Berlioz wrote in his Memoirs. “I am told I have reformed, that I have changed my manner … Nothing could be further from the truth. The subject naturally lent itself to a naïve and gentle kind of music. That was why the public found it more accessible – that and the development of their own taste and powers of understanding.” 

Biographer David Cairns suggests that L’Enfance du Christ was engendered by the awakening of nostalgic feelings from childhood as Berlioz began writing his Memoirs. Berlioz wrote that he “was brought up in the Catholic and Apostolic faith of Rome, [which] for seven whole years was the joy of my life.” The hymns, songs and chants he must have remembered singing as a boy came flooding back to him, and colored the very musical style of the oratorio.

 “The Childhood of Christ” is a somewhat misleading title, for the oratorio focuses on a single event during Christ’s infancy, namely Herod’s order for the Massacre of the Innocents and the subsequent flight of the Holy Family into Egypt. The plight of parents trying to save their son is depicted through the characters of Mary and Joseph; Christ plays no active part in the drama. There are altogether seven roles (which can be sung by four soloists), but Christ is not among them. Berlioz devised his own text, expanded from a passage from Matthew in the Bible: “Behold the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.’”

You will be able to hear the oratorio live, next week, on December 19 and 20, as performed by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, in Notre-Dame Basilica. Details cans be found here

In the meantime, you might be interested in hearing Berlioz the flamboyant, in his Symphonie fantastique, as performed by Orchestre de la francophonie.

Dave Brubeck left us

6 December 2012

He would have been 92 today (friendly celebrations were planned on Sunday), but fate decided otherwise. Perhaps Dave Brubeck decided it was time to exchange ideas with other musical giants. It seems somewhat fitting that he left us on the same day Mozart did. After all,  he did write Blue Rondo a la Turk from the classic Time Out album.

Brubeck

 

Violonist Angèle Dubeau knew Dave Brubeck the composer well. You can hear her in his Bourrée here (from the album Solo), and, with La Pietà, in a haunting excerpt from La Fiesta de la Posada, on the Noël album.

Dave, you will live in our hearts for a very long time!

 

 

You can read about this great artist in the Examiner here…

December is here!

3 December 2012

It snowed, we have turned a new calendar leaf. The grinches can lament themselves, the others will be thrilled that they can now listen to holiday classics with the smile. Here are a few suggestions so that you don’t get an overdose of Jingle Bells or Feliz Navidad

Around Christmas: classics of the season, seasoned with real classical references, the new collaboration of Valérie Milot and Antoine Bareil duo

Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà brings you on a Christmas journey around the world

Petit Noël  with Alain Lefèvre and the Philippe Dunnigan quartet: the album won a Félix in Octobre

Jazz pour Noël by pianiste Lorraine Desmarais: a jazzy and comfy take on holiday songs

Colinda de l’Ensemble Strada: Christmas without those perennials. A new way to celebrate!

Nothing like listening to one of those while baking or cooking!