Archive pour January, 2013

Happy birthday Franz

31 January 2013

Schubert was born on January 31, 1797 and left us, much too early, on November 19, 1828.  Nevertheless, in just 31 years, he would bring the lied to an all-time high, more than 600 times, finding inspiration in the poetry of his contemporary, whether famous or not. Throughout his corpus, he would come back time and again to the three main themes that would constantly haunt him: nature, love and death. 

The allegory Mein Traum (My dream) may put all of this in poetic context, but the cycle that represents the apex of his Winterreisecreative art may well be his Winterreise (Winter Journey), written in the last two years of his life.  In this work Schubert pushed the boundaries of the melodic and harmonic language very far but, most of all, he grants us a rare glimpse of the human soul.

You can listen to it here, performed by Daniel Lichti and Leslie De’Ath (on a Viennese pianoforte).


Prix Opus: and the winners are…

28 January 2013

The great talent of the Québécois classical music scene has been saluted once more yesterday afternoon, salle Bourgie, with the 16th annual ceremony of the Prix Opus. Several Analekta artists are among the winners: Louise Bessette (two prizes for her marathon event underlining her first 30 years of carreer), Stéphane Tétreault (discovery of the year, who rendered a heartfealt homage to his mentor Yuli Turovsky), Philippe Sly and Michael McMahon (Concert of the year, romantic, postromantic, impressionnistic repertoires) and Lorraine Desmarais (performer of the year).

Here are some of the winners

Louise Bessette : 30 years career, Société de musique contemporaine du Québec witha Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, March 31, 2012

The Tempest, coproduction : The Metropolitan Opera (New York), Festival d’opéra de Québec, Opéra de Vienne (Wiener Staatsoper), coll. Ex Machina, July 26, 28, 30, August 1, 2012

Marc-André Hamelin éblouit dans Busoni, Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières, April 6, 2012

 Inaugural concert, Salle Bourgie, Fondation Arte Musica, September 28, 2011

Philippe Sly and Michael McMahon in recital, Société d’art vocal de Montréal, May 21, 2012

Louise Bessette : 30 years career, Société de musique contemporaine du Québec witha Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, March 31, 2012
AKOUSMA 8 : sens_action : France Jobin, Réseaux des arts médiatiques, 14 octobre 2011

Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble : 4+2, Les Productions Art and Soul, October 14, 2011

Convivencia, Fidelio Musique/Art et musique La Mandragore,  October16 and 31, 2011

Atacama : Symphony  No. 3, Tim Brady, Atacama !, Bradyworks and VivaVoce, June 12, 2012

Les aventures fantastiques de Flonflon, Jeunesses Musicales du Canada, November 26, 2011

François Morel

Simon Bertrand

Stéphane Tétreault

Lorraine Desmarais

You can access the complete list of winners here…

A different way to sell classical music

24 January 2013

All musicians know it but don’t mention it too loudly: composers are, most of the time at least, “regular people.”  You probably waited in line at the grocery store with them, sat next to one of them in a concert hall or at the movies, even shared small talk while waiting for the metro. So why not demystify them a bit and present them in a new light? This is what the Berlin Philharmonic has chosen to do, featuring Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn not in the buff (this would have been tacky) but in some “intimate,” even mundane, moments.

This ad campaign is definitely different and makes one pause and smile. Composers can be so endearing, really…



Deeply moving ceremony for Yuli

22 January 2013

Around 300 people gathered yesterday to pay one last homage to Yuli Turovsky. The hearts of colleagues, students, music lovers were all beating at the same slow and saddenned pace at Paperman Funeral Home, the same exact place some of them attendend last March Eleonara Turovsky’s service.

Music played an essential role obviously. Musicians from I Musici as well as the Nouvelle Génération orchestra played, led by Alain Aubut and Aïrat Ichmouratov, as well as a few of maestro Turovsky’s students, including Stéphane Tétreault, who both spoke and played for his mentor (Bloch’s deeply moving Prayer).

A sober but touching farewell.

 funérailles Turovksy


Yuli Turovsky’s funeral

18 January 2013

For those who wish to extend their condolences, respect and support, Yuli Turovsky’s funeral will take place, Monday, January 21 at 2 p.m. at Paperman & Sons
3888 Jean-Talon St. W.
Information: (514) 733-7101

Goodbye, Yuli

16 January 2013

He left us much too early, at 73, and his death has been closely hit the heart of so many Canadian musicians. Cellist, conductor, founder of I Musici de Montréal, a sought-after teacher, he was loved, as much from the audience as from the musicians he performed with. Everyone just called him Yuli, with a deep sense of affection. He was one of the most honest artists I have ever encountered, one of the most human as well.

Born in Moscow, Yuli Turovsky was serious about playing the cello by age of 7. He entered the Tchaikovsky Conservatory and studied with the celebrated Galina Kozulupova. In 1969 he received First Prize in the USSR Cello Competition, and in 1970 was among the laureates of the 22nd Prague Spring International Competition. He began touring around the world as a member of the celebrated Moscow Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Rudolph Barchai.

After immigrating to Montreal, Yuli Turovsky formed the Turovsky Duo with his wife Eleonora the Borodine Trio, and in 1983,  I Musici de Montréal Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble of 15 strings  which still performs over 100 concerts per year locally and throughout the world. In 2011, he founded as well the Nouvelle Génération Orchestra.  To learn more…

I have had the privilege and pleasure to Yuli Turovsky twice. The first time, we discussed the various challenges encountered by child prodigies. The second time, in 2002, I met him at his house, for a portrait, as part of the 25th anniversary of I Musici. I still remember it vividly. He had his cello in the corner, you could hear Eleonora Turovsky’s foot tapping upstaires, in the midst of a lesson. Paintings of their daughter Natasha were all over the place. You just had the impression to be in a house where everything and everyone was linked to a superiour art form. A few weeks after the article was published, I met him after a concert. He looked at me and paused, before he said that I had understood what he was all about. An unforgettable moment, like several concerts he led through the years.

Yuli left us, but the voice of his instrument will always be there to remind us of who he was, what an essential role he played in our lives. Two unforgettable recordings to listen to today: Violonchelo espanol and From Haydn to Bernstein.

Premiere of Concerto de l’Asile tomorrow

14 January 2013

The forces that gave rise to the concerto to be premiered tomorrow (repeat performance on Wednesday) began five years ago when pianist Alain Lefèvre and Walter Boudreau agreed on a collaborative venture. The composer had already written incidental music for a production of Claude Gauvreau’s L’Asile de la pureté, which was mounted by the TNM in 2004. The concerto we hear tonight grew out of a piano piece, the “Valse de l’aisle,” which in turn was derived from music for Gauvreau’s play. The waltz, fragments of which can be heard in the third movement, became the basis for a large-scale symphonic poem that traces the life of the Quebec playwright, poet, literary critic and signer of the Refus global manifesto.

“The main thrust of this concerto,” explains Boudreau, “rests on the very concept of the concerto genre – a large-scale work in which a solo instrument engages in dialogue with the orchestra and in which music, the language par excellence, basically speaks in and of itself, generating in absolute terms all its constituent components.

 “My concerto is a tribute to the avant-garde Quebec poet and author Claude Gauvreau (1925-1971), who died from apparent suicide as a result of the involuntary absorption of LSD. The first movement depicts the bridge between his visionary poetic world (represented by the piano) and the obscurantist society of the time (the orchestra). In the face of this lack of understanding and possibly, according to the poet, the failure of all means of real communication, Gauvreau developed a “sound poetry,” a kind of onomatopoeic language that he described as exploréen (explorean).

 The titles of the first and third movements refer to works Gauvreau wrote for the stage, while the second movement induces memories of the asylum for the mentally disturbed in Saint-Jean-de-Dieu, now a psychiatric hospital in Montreal East (Louis-Hyppolite Lafontaine).

 The first movement (Les Oranges sont vertes) is a dialogue in which the same material is continuously passed back and forth between two “adversaries” (piano and orchestra, neither of which seems to be “listening” to the other) in a kind of highly-organized to and fro without ever arriving on common ground, despite dramatic juxtapositions and attempts at reconciliation in the tuttis. Misunderstood, unappreciated and rejected, Gauvreau slipped into insanity (piano cadenza). Following a series of confinements in a mental institution and a program of sedatives and cruel, electroshock treatments, he withdrew into Baudelaire’s imaginary paradise where “all is order and beauty, luxury, calm and sensuality.”

 The second movement (Saint-Jean-de-Dieu) depicts these “seraphic,” chemically-induced interludes where, in spite of the apparent but deceptive serenity of the atmospherically sensual music, a repressed rebellion wells up, giving rise to a slow return to increasing consciousness and leading into the next movement.

 The third movement (La Charge de l’orignal épormyable), in which not only does the poet return to his senses (preponderance of solo piano here), but forcefully, following a mad waltz, slowly brings back feverish elements of the first movement, “overwhelming” the orchestra and, despite an early death (funeral procession), triumphing by the end in a posthumous, brilliant tutti.”

The OSM, under French conductor Ludovic Morlot, also performs a Wagner ouverture and Debussy’s Images. Details and tickets here…

Peril in the (opera) house

10 January 2013

If some international opera stars are (too) often in the news and on the cover of magazines for their affairs, tantrums and the like, we were used to a – let’s say – more subdued scene in Quebec. This all changed yesterday, with an article published in Le Journal de Montréal, in which Marc Hervieux tells all about how he feels about the Opéra de Montréal’s annual ad campaign (with models selling the various productions rather than the actual singers). Strongly convinced of his position, he even went so far as a “voice strike,” only talking the dialogues and not singing the arias in the upcoming Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (to be sung in French).

The ordeal became so big that the Opéra de Montréal agreed to change its promotional campaign from now until the end of the season. It also opened the door to various questionings about the “originality” of the recent seasons. You can for example read Maxwell Marler’s letter to the Opera in The Gazette about this.

Behind the scenes at the Royal Opera all day

7 January 2013

You always wondered what happens behind the scenes in a big opera house? All day today, you can follow backstage events, masterclasses, interviews with stars and rehearsals at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.

In the next few hours you will be able to get a glimpse of

Fight workshop. Jette Parker Young Artists
Eugene Onegin choreography rehearsal

La bohème behind the scenes
Antonio Pappano vocal masterclass
La bohème vocal warm up. Youth Opera Company
Conductor preparation for La bohème with Mark Elder

The day culminates with a pre-recorded performance of Act III of The Valkyrie with Bryn Terfel as Wotan and in a world first allows you to choose between watching the backstage action, the conductor in the orchestra pit or the full performance from the auditorium.

Be reminded that London is five hours ahead of Montrealers. To join the online community, it’s here…

Happy 2013

3 January 2013

Because – and so that – music can continue to change our lives in 2013, whether in our living room, in the concert hall or on the public place… Happy New Year!