Archive pour October, 2014

Metal meets classical for Halloween

31 October 2014

It is Halloween and why not celebrate it musically? Yes, of course, you could decide to listen to a couple of frightening classical music pieces to spook up your day, but instead, here is a list of strange but rather convincing cross-connections between classical music and heavy metal. You wouldn’t dream of juxtaposing the two? Hum… One must admit that some of those metal takes on cornerstones of the classical repertoire are rather convincing. Dare to be surprised.

Mekong Delta: The Hut of the Baba Yaga. This is of course taken from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Very few witches are meaner and leaner than Baba Yaga.

This one is not as frightening as just plain fascinating. Here is a feud between The Commander-in-Chief and her seven-string electric supremo and classical guitarist Craig Ogden in Paganini’s 24th Caprice, a theme that has surely inspired more than one classical composer and a staple of metal’s classical obsessions.

This is another exciting demonstration of virtuosity, Dr Viossy playing the finale of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata with much bravura and sophistication.

Hope Lies Within: Der Erlkönig. No real distortion of material (well, maybe a bit in the sound though) as the group just adds a new spin to this already very frigthening lied by Schubert.

Why pick just one song to play with when you could have four? Pergamum creates a suite from Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, the Moonlight Sonata, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Vivaldi’s Summer.

Metamorfosi by Constantinople

27 October 2014


“As artists, we endlessly replay our utopias, with Babel as a backdrop. The territory to explore is infinite: cultures and memories whose lines we like to shift so that they finally converge. We also make migration and the mixing of cultures our territory. Perhaps it is our early exile that led us to return to the source, to follow the traces of our predecessors, to tirelessly search for creative allies. This awareness of belonging to several space-times is as basic to us as respiration, as inspiration.”

Here is the idea behind Ensemble Constantinople’s latest album: Metamorfosi – Impressions Baroques. This album is the natural continuation of their previous album, Early Dreams. Here too, Constantinople decided to think outside the box and invited baroque violinist Miren Zeberio and singer Suzie LeBlanc, one of the early music most popular  sopranos of her generation, to revisit and explore new avenues and Italian composers often unknown to the general public, yet among the finest in the second half of the 16th and early 17th century: Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (1580-1651 ), Marco Uccellini (1603-1680), Salamone Rossi (1570-1630), Tarquinio Merula (1595-1665), Stefano Landi (1587-1639) as well as singers and composers, Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677) and Andrea Falconieri (1585-1656).

You can discover and download the album here…

Blanc wins a Félix at ADISQ’s Autre Gala

23 October 2014

It was last night,  at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Place des Arts, as part of L’Autre gala that the ADISQ gave 25 Félix in various categories, from classical to hip-hop, without forgetting country and humour. Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà’s Blanc has won the Félix in the category  Album of the Year – Classical – Orchestra and big ensemble. Two other Analekta albums were also nominated in this category: Handel – Boieldieu – Mozart: Concertos for harp  (Valérie Milot, Les Violons du Roy, Bernard Labadie) and Beethoven: Symphonies nos 1 & 7 (Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Kent Nagano).

Four other Analekta albums were  nominated in other categories: three in the Album of the Year – Classical and vocal (Handel & Porpora with Julie Boulianne, Clavecin en concert and Luc Beauséjour, Adagio by Ensemble Caprice and Matthias Maute as well as Serata d’Amore with Gino Quilico and Ensemble Triosphère,  the other in the Instrumental category  (Der Prinz by  the MG3 Montréal Guitare Trio).

There is still time to get your ticket for Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà’s Blanc program performed live tonight at Maison symphonique. The violinist will also perform at the “regular” ADISQ Gala on Sunday night.

Congrats to all!

David Baskeyfield wins the Canadian International Organ Competition

21 October 2014

Congratulations to the organist David Baskeyfield (United-Kingdom), grand prize winner of the 2014 Canadian International Organ Competition, held last week. He wins 30 000 $ (25 000 $ as First Prizewinner and 5 000 $ as Polly Bales’ Prize winner). He also will get a recording contract and be supported through a mentoring program for the next three years. The final round of the Competition took place at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal on October 17, as 5 finalists battled it out at the organ in a one-hour recitals. You can hear their recitals on the CBC Music website.

Other prizes were given to the following outstanding organists:  Andrew Dewar, United-Kingdom (2nd place), Daria Burlak, Russia (3rd place).  David Baskeyfield was also awarded the prize for the best interpretation of a Canadian piece, The Bach Prize was awarded to Andrew Dar. The three top-prize winners all performed on the Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique à Maison symphonique on Sunday night.


Fascinating statistics about artists

17 October 2014

Hill Strategies Research has recently released A Statistical Profile of Artists and Cultural Workers in Canada, a report on the state of the arts in Canada, built on data collected by Statistics Canada. It contains some fascinating information. Did you know for example that…

  • One in every 129 Canadian workers is an artist.  The number of artists (136,600) is slightly higher than the labour force in automotive manufacturing (133,000) and slightly lower than the labour force in the utilities sector (149,900) and telecommunications (158,300).  Musicians and singers are the largest sub-group:  they make up 25% of the artist work force.
  • Artists are much more likely than other workers to hold multiple jobs. In 2011, 11% of artists reported having at least two jobs, compared with 7% of cultural workers and only 5% of the overall labour force.
  • The rate of self-employment among artists is many times higher than the self-employment rate among the overall labour force.  Women represent 51% of artists and 50% of cultural workers but only 48% of the overall labour force.
  • Artists tend to be older than the overall labour force: there are fewer artists than the overall labour force under 25 years of age (12% vs. 14%) but many more artists 55 and over (25% vs. 19%).
  • Canada’s artists and cultural workers have much higher levels of formal education than the overall labour force. The percentage of artists with a bachelor’s degree or higher (44%) is nearly double the rate among the overall labour force (25%), while 38% of cultural workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

You can access the complete report here…


Angèle Dubeau to perform at the ADISQ gala

14 October 2014

Angèle Dubeau will perform at the upcoming Gala de l’ADISQ on Octobre 26, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. (The event will be broadcast on ICI Radio-Canada Télé from 7:30 p.m. on.) She will be the only classical artist to play that evening, with the likes of Alex Nevsky, Vincent Vallières, Lisa LeBlanc,Half Moon Run, Koriass, Patrice Michaud, Brigitte Boisjoli, Misteur Valaire and the Revelations of the Year.

This 36th edition of the gala will be hosted by Louis-José Houde who will write his texts with the collaboration of François Avard. David Laflèche will act as music director for the evening.

Let’s not forget as well that eight Analekta are nominated for a Félix, in the categories “Classical album of the Year – orchestra and big ensemble”, “Album of the Year – Classical/Vocal”, “Album of the Year – Instrumental” and “Anthology of the Year”. Those prizes will be awarded at the Autre Gala on October 22, 8 p.m, also held at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier.


Last instalment of the OSM’s complete Beethoven symphonies

9 October 2014

Beethoven 2ndThe Orchestre symphonique de Montréal had already recorded seven of Beethoven’s nine symphonies. The Poetry of Freedom, this last instalment, just released, is devoted to the Second and Fourth Symphonies, maybe less often performed but nevertheless essential assets of the symphonic catalogue.

“We might suppose Beethoven, in his creative work, pursued a specific dramaturgical strategy, explains Kent Nagano in the liner’s notes. But what, then, about those peculiar retreats – his Second Symphony, and his Fourth? Where the symphonies that preceded them has each taken two or three steps forward, the Master stops, takes a step back, disengages from his boldness, risk-taking and pioneering attacks, and advances anew in an almost “classical” measure. Robert Schumann, not coincidentally, characterized Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony with the remark that it was “a slim Greek maid between two Norse Giants”. What he meant was the exemplary and immaculate “Classical” order of its symphonic design. And in fact, where previously, in the Third Symphony, the entire orchestra spreads itself out in a massive emotional discharge, the Fourth is transparent and light-footed, sparkling and witty, as fine and delicate as chamber music. It aims less for “meaning” than for play and playful gestures. The First and Second Symphonies also represent utterly different, even contradictory worlds. In one, a loud and clear announcement of the new, in the other a colorful luxuriance of festivity and charm – which, in turn, does not preclude persistent elements of unruliness from breaking in and sometimes making listeners shake their heads and wonder just what they are hearing. What may have induced Beethoven to develop this dramaturgical process in his symphonic work? Was it perhaps that he realized that this was what the “new way”, of which he himself spoke, possibly meant? Namely, that the progress implied might perhaps lead into fascinating new territory – but also a land in which one wanders aimlessly in the end? Whatever thoughts may have preoccupied him, it is certain that just through this repeated pausing in the process, the fundamental progression and the subjective, individual claim to freedom of decision and action took on the highest importance.”

This album will be also part of the box set of the complete Beethoven symphonies, to be released on November 4.

To listen and download the album…



Conservatoire: the chairman of the board resigns

7 October 2014

Since the possible closing of regional conservatories has been mentioned, several artists have shared their concern, whether through letters or interviews, both on TV and radio. Alumni were prompt to express their indignation and to share stories about the years they spent in the various antennas of the institution, reassessing the neccessity of such a service. An essential service some would say.  We learned earlier today that, less than four months after having been named by the Couillard gouvernment, the chairman of the board of the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec, Jean-Pierre Bastien, just resigned and has refused to voice any comments.

Let’s be reminded that, last week, the minister of Culture and Communications Hélène David had rejected the report the board had produced that would have led to the closing down of the Rimouski, Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Gatineau and Val-d’Or branches in the hopes to eliminate the 14 millions dollars deficit. She stated that he would be better to deal with the cumbersome adminstrative procedures.

Can young musicians and actors living outside the big centers breathe more easily? Not quite. Let’s keep our fingers that a solution will be found in the next few weeks.

Arthur Kaptainis of The Gazette has an interesting take on the subject here…


3 October 2014

The Tymes was a very popular American soul group in its days and made it to the top of the charts with So Much in Love in 1963. It also recycled the first movement of the Mozart K. 545 Sonata, often nicknamed the “Easy” Sonata (though students dealing with it certainly won’t ever think of it as being easy) for this other love song (that only made it to Number 19), Somewhere. Notice how at first you readily recognize the theme but it becomes more and more tinted with those wonderful a capella harmonies. Some sunny sounds to forget about the rain ahead… Have a great weeekend!