Philippe Dunnigan, violin
Philippe Dunnigan graduated with a unanimous First Prize degree in violin and chamber music from the Montreal Conservatory of Music. An inquisitive musician, he has been [...]
The idea of offering you this Petit Noël (Little Christmas) is not fortuitous. It follows naturally from the special Christmas Eve broadcast that I present live on Espace Musique and the Première Chaîne of Radio-Canada, alongside my career as a concert pianist. As a matter of fact, for eight years now, as the host and at the piano, I have been sharing December 24 with all the people who, in solitude or reunited, joyful or nostalgic, join together to experience these few hours before the stroke of midnight in a cozy and festive atmosphere suggestive of possible happiness, as they listen to the most beautiful songs of the holiday season.
It was with great pleasure that for this recording I again met up with the violinist Philippe Dunnigan, with whom I had worked on the Montréal Jazz Club Session 3 project. He immediately accepted the invitation to join me with his quartet so that we could prepare this intimate Petit Noël, recorded in the peacefulness of Saint-Benoît de Mirabel Church.
I also called on Richard Savignac, once again, for the arrangement of the pieces. He was praised by the critics for his arrangements of some of my compositions, which were played by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in California and by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, in the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier Hall at Place des Arts.
Petit Noël is also the title of one of the pieces that I composed and that you will find here, with two new works, Noël en traineau (Sleigh Ride)) and Première neige à Kamouraska (First Snow in Kamouraska). Certain “classics” complete the musical selections, along with the work Un Canadien errant (A Wandering Canadian). The latter is in memory of my father-in-law and great friend, Louis Martineau, who particularly liked it, and who, much to my sadness, passed away last December 24, in the morning. It is addressed to all the lonely individuals for whom this period of the year is synonymous with hardship, as well as to all those abroad who cannot join their families, friends and loved ones for the holiday celebrations.
© Alain Lefèvre