Archive pour October, 2013

Two orchestras to perform at Lac-Mégantic

31 October 2013

The citizens of Lac-Mégantic have invited both the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (led by music director Kent Nagano) and the Orchestre symphonique de Québec (led, on this occasion, by resident conductor Andrei Feher) to perform in their community this weekend, and, thanks to generous public funders and the natural desire of all concerned to make it work, both concerts are free. 

Tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at the Centre sportif, the OSM will perform a program of music by Mozart, Vivaldi (the Four Seasons, with each season performed by a different OSM violinist), and Mussorgsky/Ravel’s Pictures at an Exhibition, which was on the regular program of the Orchestra this week. 

Saturday evening at 8 p.m., the OSQ will perform an all-Beethoven program at Eglise Sainte-Agnès, including  the Leonore overture No. 3, the two Romances for violin (featuring the OSQ’s associate concertmaster Catherine Dallaire), and the Symphony No. 5.  “We were first approached by a committee of citizens from Lac Mégantic,” said OSQ Directrice générale Thérèse Boutin, “and we simply had to say yes!”

That certainly is music to everyone’s ears…

Creations to be seen as well as heard

28 October 2013

 “I kept on getting ideas that I couldn’t just say in music. I needed these extra layers to tell the things I wanted to tell.” This is Dutch composer Michel van der Aa talking, he who is best known for his works requiring musicians to interact with counterparts present on film. For example, Up-close, to get its American premiere tonight as part of the Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, gives the cello soloist an enigmatic and silent alter ego: a woman who appears in a film directed by van der Aa. The piece is accessible and shifts between acoustic and electronic sounds, and received the the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition last year.

“What I found is that there are so many similarities between filmmaking and composing: the way you handle time, the way you handle phrasing, the editing of the film,” he said. “I’ve always been a very visual person, so for me, it was a very natural way to work.”

You can learn more about the composer and his works in this thorough article from The New York Times.


Two Félix for Analekta

23 October 2013

It was last night, salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, on the red carpet and multiple flashes, that the ADIQ gave the Félix in the classical music, jazz, world, hip-hop, etc. categories. This Autre Gala was once more this year hosted by the Denis Drolet. Two Analekta albums (out of three possible categories) were saluted with a prestigious Félix.

In the  “album of the year- classical, orchestra and big ensemble” category, ANGÈLE DUBEAU & La Pietà was rewarded for Game Musicalso in the running this year for the Grammys.

In the “album of the year – soloist and small ensemble”, the jury saluted pianist ALAIN LEFÈVRE for Dompierre: 24 préludes, corpus premiered at the Festival de Lanaudière in 2012 in front of a record crowd, which continues to garner rave reviews and kudos from the audience.

Several Analekta were in the running in the three classical music categories: Bach: Brandenburgh Concertos and Shostakovich: Preludeby Ensemble Caprice, Couperin: Concerts royaux by Clavecin en concert and Luc Beauséjour, Mahler: Orchesterlieder with the OSM and Christian Gerhaher under Kent Nagano’s direction, Rameau: Les amants trahis with Philip Sly and Hélène Guilmette, In Dreams with Philip Sly and Michael McMahon and Ave Maria with Daniel Taylor and Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal.

Congratulations to all!

Adagio: Ensemble Caprice’s latest album

21 October 2013

The Ensemble Caprice launches a new concept album, Adagio, centered around Charles Ives’ A Consideration of a Serious Matter (best known as The Unanswered Question). The album features 12 famous adagios, all meditations on the essential questions of life and death, You can listen to and download the album here…

Matthias Maute, artistic director of Ensemble Caprice, talks about this album.

1—The repertory is full of well-known adagios. How did you arrive at this selection?

The idea was to find works with content that we deeply related to. Throughout different periods, one could find compositions that reflected the uncertainty floating around our existence, in other words, the joy of life and the fear of death. When we think about the Prelude Op. 28, No.4, by Frederic Chopin, which he wanted played at his funeral, just as was the case for Mozart and his Requiem, we have a good idea of the existential depth the composer was trying to convey through his music.

The text of the famous aria Ich habe genug by J.S. Bach describes the spiritual peace rediscovered upon reaching the gates of death, but the profound melancholy that resides in the music adds a measure of sadness that corresponds to our human experience.

The music of Adagio: A Consideration of a Serious Matter lies exactly where real questions begin…

2—How does music continue to answer our existential questions?

Music cannot give answers to our existential questions, but the Colombian writer   Gabriel Marquez, a great lover of classical European music, offers a good explanation of what music can do. According to him, it can give us the illusion of knowing what direction our lives will take and you could say that, temporarily at least, music can bridge the gap between “illusion” and “certainty”.

We can therefore interpret the suffering expressed in Allegri’s Miserere as a reaffirmation of Christian faith, as the Gregorian chant used in certain verses indicates, but J.D. Zelenka’s Miserere is intended as a cry of despair that does not appear to be softened by any religious certainty.

The music of this album, however, resides between these two extremes. Charles Ives’s The Unanswered Question perfectly illustrates the delicate balance between fate and our individual hopes. 

Tango could lesser Parkinson’s side effects

17 October 2013

Dr. Gammon M. Earhart, a scientist from the Washington University School of Medicine, had already stated in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine that “dance appears to meet many, if not all, of the recommended components for exercise programs designed for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.” 

A new study from Emory University, Atlanta, set out to determine the practicability and the effectiveness of delivering adapted tango for PD in the community. The trial involved 31 patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease. Among the patients 24 received 20 90-minutes long adapted tango lessons over the course of 12 weeks. Nine patients were assigned to a patient-centered education program on Parkinson’s disease management. 

The Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale  scores showed an increase in both groups. Spatial cognition as evaluated with the Brooks Spatial Task improved significantly in the tango group but no change was seen the education group. In their conclusion the researchers wrote that “Community-based adapted tango for PD can be safely delivered with high participant satisfaction/retention and potential for improving balance”.

Another reason to put your dancing shoes and listen to music!

You can read the full article here…


Women and music today

15 October 2013

The latest Where are the women? brochure published by the SACD certainly hit a nerve. Indeed, women are still very under represented in France in music and in theater (to read the document– in French). A number picked out ot the hat? Throughout the 2013-14 season, only 17 women will lead one of the 574 orchestra concerts scheduled. 

Asked to comment on the matter, composer and head of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris Bruno Montavoni didn’t help matters when he explained that women were not strong enough physically and psychologically and that maternity and kids were not compatible with a career. Are we really in 2013? Social medias went wild and nasty, of course, but some posts are far more interesting than others, for example this piece written by Anastasia Tsioulcas or this list of women conductor by Jessica Duchene, Fanfare for the uncommon conductor woman.

We are lucky that the situation is a tad more encouraging on our side of the Atlantic. Several important ensembles are led by women. Let’s mention here Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà, Tafelmusik, and numerous contemporary music leaders including ECM+, NEM,  Bozzini and Molinari quartets… Let’s not forget either Dina Gilbert (head of Arkea) who recently became assistant conductor of the OSM. The war is not quite over of course on the equality front, but progresses are obvious.

Let’s concentrate for once on something positives, for example while listening to the all-female Cecilia String Quartet playing Janacek, Webern and Berg.



Celebrate Verdi’s 200th birthday

10 October 2013

Exactly 200 years ago today, Giuseppe Verdi came into this world and you are invited to celebrate! You may have to leave work a tad earlier, but you will surely want to be one of the hundreds who will join their voices in a popular choir, at 4:15 p.m. at the Berri-UQAM station. Under the direction of Claude Webster, the dynamic Opéra de Montréal chorus director, you will have 20 minutes to learn the famou “Va pensiero”, from Verdi’s Nabucco. You will then sing it in front of everyone! All STM users are welcome!

You can even rehearse a bit on your lunch break with this video (with text).

Other events will be organised by the Opéra de Montréal in the next few months to celebrate this landmark anniversary.

October 31, 6 to 8 p.m. at ARTVStudio –  Happening Verdi 

November 4 to 6  – Verdi Bouffe: the Opéra de Montréal will be featuring during the event MTL à TABLE with singers from the Atelier lyrique. Info :

November 9  – red carpet for the premiere of Falstaff, starring Marie-Nicole Lemieux.

December 1  – VERDI GALA

Patrice Chéreau leaves us

8 October 2013

The French director Patrice Chéreau died in Paris yesterday, after a long illness. He was 68. In the last four decades, he was very active, in the theater, movies and opera worlds. Some lucky few fled to Aix-en-Provence in July to attend what would become his last opera setting, Richard Strauss’ Elektra. The milieu is shocked by the news. French president Francois Hollande stated: “The cultural world is mourning. France loses an artist… who is its pride across the world,” 

Considered a prodigy, Chéreau entered the world of opera in his twenties. In 1976, he became instantly famous as an opera director with his staging of Richard Wagner’s Ring at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. Amongst many others, he collaborated with Barenboïm (Berg’s Wozzeck in 1992, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in 2007), Daniel Harding (Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte in 2005) and Boulez  (the mythical Ring in 1976, Berg’s Lulu in 1979,  Janacek’s From the House of the Dead in 2007).

Here is an excerpt of his famous Ring cycle…


Classical Iconoclast remembers the master here…

Three questions for Gino Quilico

4 October 2013

His album Serata d’amore hits the stores on Tuesday, but is already available to listen and download here. A distinct nostalgia haunts some of the pages of the album, presented in lovely intimate arrangements. It includes composer from Chopin (Tristezza) to Tosti, Rossini (La danza) to Dalla (Caruso), Mozart (Deh vieni a la finestra, from  Don Giovanni) to Aznavour (Lei) as well the unforgettable O sole mioSanta Lucia and Torna Sorriento.Gino Quilico

Gino Quilico kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us.


– This album was born out of a performance with multiple influences. How did the Italian repertory take precedence?

This album was first born from my Italian roots, and then from opera repertory, which I have known throughout my career and which obviously contains a lot of Italian repertory. The cities where I’ve lived and sung — Rome, Milan, Venice and Naples — have also directed my choices.  And finally, I also let myself be inspired by the memory of my parents: my father, Luigi Quilico, who sang many of the songs that I recorded on this album, and my mother, Carolina Pizzolongo, who accompanied him on the piano. I grew up in that musical world and I lived in Rome for many years when I was a child. On this album I wanted to share these moments of pure happiness. 

2   No doubt each of the songs on this album has its own particular story. Is one of them your favourite? If so, why?

There is a special story attached to one of the songs on this cd that touches me deeply. “A vucchella” (Tender Mouth) is a Neapolitan song that we used to sing in the car, on the way to Ostia with my Dad, Mom, my sister and my grandmother. Each weekend we left Rome for Ostia.  This trip, which took about an hour, served as the perfect pretext for my mother to take out the accordion she had bought for herself and to play all kinds of Italian music. Dad drove and we all sang during the drive. When I sing this song during a performance, my musicians and I pretend to be in the car and we have lots of fun!

3 – What particular mood did you wish to convey in this album?

If I had only one word to describe the mood I wanted to bring out in this recording, it would be ‘warmth’. A feeling that warms the soul.

When listening to this disk, I would very much like the listeners to have images of sunny days, feelings of love, romanticism, family happiness and, finally, that they finish listening to the album by telling themselves that La vita è bella!



International Music Day

1 October 2013

International Music Day was created in 1075 by Lord Yehudi Menuhin, so that everyone can reflect on the role music plays in our lives. Of course, music still plays a very important role, but sometimes we take it a little bit too much for granted. Do take a few minutes today to listen intently to a piece of music, with no distractions whatsoever.

You are a professionnal musician? Lucky you. Why not play a piece for a friend or car an elderly that you love and give him or her a short private concert? You will instantly become a hero, I can assure you!

You are an amateur musician or singer? Make music with others today. No need to fight with a piece you are still learning and are not at ease with! Pick a piece that you all know and love and concentrate on the music itself. The magic is bound to operate.

You are a music lover? Of course, you can listen to your favourite album, far from the constant bustle of the outside world, in a protective bubble so to speak. Pick a calm environment (rush hour might not be ideal) or listen to your album with high quality headphones that block all other stimulation. This way, you’ll be able to really follow the performer(s) on a musical journey. You are free tonight? Check out local listings and go to a concert. Even if technology can be wonderful and your sound system top of the line, nothing replaces the concert experience.

Have a great International Music Day!

Because music is meant to be share, the Allegro from Vivaldi’s Sinfonia per archi R.V. 146, as performed by Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà.